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Systems of Religion and Politics


Deliverable Length: (APA FORMAT). Abstract and references: 3-4 double-spaced pages, not including cover page and reference page


Select a country from the following list and research the political history and the religious history of the country from the last twenty years:

  • Japan
  • North Korea
  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Afghanistan
  • Egypt

Write an essay in which you include the following:

  • Analyze the ways in which government and religion interact with each other. What influence does one have over the other? Please provide two specific examples.
  • Discuss the significance of religion and government on other characteristics of the country’s culture such as in literature, music, and art. Please provide two specific examples.
    • What influences and impacts of religion and politics do you see on the social and business aspect of the country? Please provide two specific examples.
  • How do you think recent events affecting the people of the country have their roots in what you have learned about historical cultural trends in religion and government?




Subject Religion Pages 7 Style APA


Systems of Religion and Politics


This paper discusses the political and religious history of Afghanistan in the last twenty years with particular focus on how they impact literature, music, art, social and business today. This has been achieved by deconstructing the subject into key components to enhance understanding. The first part was a review the county’s history over the last twenty years, in order to gain insight into their contribution to the state of the country at present. The second part was an analysis of interactions between religion and politics in the afghan context. Finally, the role of Taliban’s political and religious systems on social aspects such as arts, literature, music and business were discussed. From reviewed material, it has been established that the intricate interactions between Afghanistan’s political and religious systems over the years shape the country’s social, political and economic landscape today. Inferentially, a clear understanding of Afghanistan’s past is indispensable in understanding its future.










Systems of Religion and Politics of Afghanistan

Few social constructs elicit interest to the same degree as the religion and politics. Today, with hindsight, the role of politics and religion in shaping literature, music and culture can be more appreciated. It is instructive to note that the collapse of communism and subsequent end of cold war was expected to usher in a new world order, marked by increased human rights, freedom, democracy and market economics. However, violent extremism and religious animosity soon followed, fuelling bitter wars for political power leading to more violence and bloodshed. Ongoing conflicts, prior to the fall of communism, such as in Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia and Chechnya escalated into genocide as religious fault lines widened (Waak, 2005).  This paper analyzes the political and religious history of Afghanistan in the last twenty years, with particular focus on their interactions, effects on literature, music, art, social and business aspects of the country.

Afghanistan, a country located in South East Asia, has undergone significant political and religious change in the last twenty years. Modern history of Afghanistan began with the rise of the Taliban, an ultraconservative political and political faction, to power in the mid-1990s. Following the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1992, the new communist regime failed to effectively govern the country, leading to breakdown of law and order. A group of students trained in Madrassahs, and exiled in neighboring Pakistan emerged as a force for social order. By 1996, buoyed by popular support at home and assistance from conservative Islamic groups abroad, and capture of Kabul, Taliban seized power. Over the years, though, Taliban’s policies became unpopular with the people as they excluded women from public life, advocated for harsh criminal punishments, and systematic destruction of non-Islamic artifacts (Sadr, 2014).  Today, Afghanistan remains a conflict zone where radical Islamic groups inspired by Taliban philosophy clash with US-led NATO forces. Continued presence of these forces has compelled government to take a less conservative stance on social and political issues.

Afghan society is an intricate mesh of religion and politics. Like many of its neighbors, it considers Islam as the religion of the state. The constitution expressly states that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of Islam.” This strange confluence of state and religion continues manifesting in a number of ways. The first level of interaction is legislation. All forms of legislation are underpinned by Sharia law. A case in point is the 2004 constitution which confers equal recognition for minority Shias and Christians, but, within confines of the Sharia. Second, political leaders habitually use religion to curtail individual rights and freedoms, a twin assault on secularism and equal education of girls (Gray, 2009).  To a large extent, Afghanistan has been defined fundamentally by the religion and politics of its people.

As the state religion, Islamic Sharia pervades every facet of Afghan life. By implication, literature, music and art borrow heavily from the Islamic heritage of its people and sustained through legislation by its mostly religious legislators. Afghan music, similar in style and composition to Indian and Persian music was once banned by the Taliban, still remains popular with many afghan, both within and without Afghanistan. The atan, a national dance in which dancers twist rhymically from side to side with raised is the most common. Local sharia laws only allow same-sex dances. Afghan literature has also been impacted by local politics and religion. The country is notably famous for its dari literature – a 100-year old Persian import, mostly presented as poetry. However, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, remains the most famous owing to translation by Edward Fitzgerald. The intervention of religious and political leaders over the years propagates a conservative culture that preserves Afghan literature. Due to the country’s war-laden past, remnants of diverse cultures permeate the Afghan landscape. Past inhabitants such as the Persians, Indians, and Buddhists have left relics of architectural designs across the country (Robson, 2002). Thus, Afghanistan’s art, music and literature have been preserved by the complex interaction between politics and religion.

The continued involvement of clerics in active politics has resulted in blurring of distinction between state and religion. This has accorded the country’s leadership greater grip on all spheres of life. In daily interactions, children are expected to greet their elders, while women must dress modestly, in keeping with the country’s laws. Alcohol is strictly forbidden, as well as eating of pork. In commerce, the use of unjust scales is prohibited while making of astronomical profits through usury and charging of interest is prohibited (Robson, et. al., 2002). As the country’s religious leaders get involved in politics, Sharia continues to define social norms and commercial etiquette.

Having considered the country’s strong bias for Islam, and its recent past in light of events leading up to the rise of Taliban and its fall, it can be safely concluded that the country’s current predicament can be traced to historical, cultural trends in religion and government. Afghanistan has been the epicenter of war for decades. While the rise of Taliban restored its conservative aspects such as religion, customs and cultural norms, its fall signaled exclusion of its citizens from the rest of the world. The US led war on the Taliban, after September 11, 2001 attacks only succeeded in cementing the Afghan’s refuge in religion.



Gray, L., (2009).  Afghanistan: Department of State. Reterieved From:             https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2007/90225.htm

Robson,B., Lipson, J., Younos, F., & Mehdi, M. (2002). The Afghans: Their History and Culture. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED482787

Sadr, O. (2014). Understanding War in Afghanistan: Politics, Culture and Social History.    Retrieved from: https://www.fairobserver.com/region/central_south_asia/understanding-        war-in-afghanistan-politics-culture-and-social-history-65324/

Waak, K. (2005). A New History of Afghanistan. Retrieved from:             http://www.helsinki.fi/aleksanteri/english/publications/presentations/papers/ap_5-   2005.pdf




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