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Iraqi forces attack Camp Ashraf

Iran Policy Focus

Alain VIVIEN  - Former French MinisterAlain VIVIEN  - Former French Minister

As a general rule, dictatorships do not allow anyone to challenge their authority and, when they claim to be founded on religious ideology, they oppose any dialogue that would inevitably lead them to question it. Hypocritical leaders happily take the place of God, and set themselves up as his only spokesmen.  Any conflicting opinions are swiftly demonized as being sects.

However ambiguous the accepted meaning of the term “sect” is in all the different languages in the world, it is still viewed universally in a very negative light.  It is seen as masking social realities, something which is dangerous both for the individual and for social stability.

The etymological root of the word is the Latin word secare (meaning to cut, or to cut oneself off from someone or something), or the word sequi (meaning to follow a man or a doctrine).  The term sect does not have good press.  Even in the United States where, up until recently, the term was commonly used when referring to religious organisations, the media are now very careful to only use the term circumspectly.  Recently, an Evangelical denomination advised the journalists at the daily paper which they control, to avoid using the term henceforth.


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