In the Name of Identity

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In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong is a 1998 book by Amin Maalouf.

In this work, Maalouf discusses the identity crisis which Arabs have experienced since the establishment of continuous relationships with the west, adding his personal dimension as a Lebanese Christian. The book is intended for both Arabs and Westerners (as well as for people with mixed heritage).

This work is divided into five major chapters, "Identity and Belonging", "When Modernity Comes From the Other", "The Era of Cosmic Tribals", "Taming the Shrew" and a glossary. He begins with universal values of identity, which he dissects, describes the extremes, then applies them to the Levant. He tries to describe how the average modern Arab feels, along a wide spectrum of ideologies in practice throughout the Arab world...from religious beliefs and traditional practices to total secularism.

The book also sheds light on recent events in the Arab world, from civil wars to relations with the west.


  • Originally in French as Les Identités Meurtrières, B. Grasset (1998) ISBN 2-246-54881-0
  • English translation by Barbara Bray, Time-Warner (2001) ISBN 1-55970-593-0