Cite: Miles, Israel’s Religious Vote in Comparative Perspective


Miles, William F. S. "Israel’s Religious Vote in Comparative Perspective: An Africanist Analysis ." Israel Affairs 16,1 (2010): 179-200.



Invoking the framework of religion and politics, this article contrasts the explicitly Judaic dimension to the 2009 elections in Israel with the implicitly Muslim one in 2007 in Nigeria. It also highlights the organizational, political, and theological similarities between fundamentalist (qua haredi) Judaism in Israel and fundamentalist (qua Sufi) Islam in Nigeria. Despite the obvious dissimilarities between Israel and Nigeria in terms of demography, standard of living, and dominant religion, both are relatively young democracies in which religious belief, practice and identification occupy key roles in their respective political behaviour and electoral politics. Both polities have also experienced increasing politicization of religion since independence. Proponents of legislating sharia in Nigeria and halacha in Israel unwittingly share compatible policies. Similarities in the organization, leadership, and political functionality of ultra-Orthodox and Sufi religious brotherhoods in the Jewish state and northern Nigeria transcend creedal differences.




Keywords: Nigeria; religion; elections; sharia; halacha; brotherhoods

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