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Gushist and Qutbian Approaches to Government: A Comparative Analysis of Religious Assassination

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The disciples and pseudo-followers of the religious ideologues Sayyid Qutb and Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook have now lived without their mentors for more than twentyfive years (in the case of Qutb) and for more than a decade (in the case of Kook). In both instances, putative “disciples” of these thinkers committed assassinations of the acknowledged domestic leader of a sitting government: Sadat in 1981 by al-Jihad al-Islami; Rabin in 1995 by Eyal. In this paper, the theories of both mentors and their ersatz disciples on the issue of violence against the sitting government will be examined for possible comparative results. Rather than finding a symmetry in these examples of Middle Eastern fundamentalist violence, the author elaborates a sharp difference between the two: one (Islam) is centered on the issue of apostasy, while the other (Judaism) is centered on the issue of communal rights and protections. Rather than providing a point for drawing similarities, fundamentalist-inspired assassination points out the differences between Israeli-Jewish and Egyptian-Islamic fundamentalisms.

Affiliations: 1: Trinity College Department of ReligionHartford, CT 06106, USA


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