This innovative book analyzes the interaction of politics and religion in the Middle East through a comparative study of four countries—Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Iran. Author Robert D. Lee examines each country in terms of four areas in which state and religion necessarily interact: group identity, ideology, institutions, and political culture. He also considers twenty-five commonly encountered (but often contradictory) hypotheses asserting that religion is either an obstacle or an aid to political development, or that religion is largely irrelevant to the development process. The author concludes that politics shapes religion as much or more than religion shapes politics. The nature of religious organization and practice in the Middle East cannot be understood without reference to a national political context.