The anthropologist Ernest Gellner writes that the Marxist world of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and that of Islam are mirror-images of one another in two key respects. In Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union the Marxist faith has collapsed and people are yearning for the return of pluralistic civil society in preference to strong, centralized states. But there has been no loss of faith in the Muslim world, and though civil society has been eroded in Islamic societies there is little call for its return. Gellner offers an explanation of how these parallelisms came about.
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