In examining the sectarian fabric present in various parts of the Arab Levant, Ahmed Beidoun stresses the aspects of difference, suggesting that “sectarianism” is in fact “sectarianisms”. Beidoun provides powerful examples of sectarian conflict, solidarity, and formation particular to the societies of the Levant, moving from Lebanon and Iraq to Syria and Egypt. In his emphasis on the specifics of each case, paying particular attention to Lebanon, he investigates the process which has been termed “sectarian crystallization”, in that as the historical course of a sect leads to a monopolization of the institutions of a sectarian nature and its spread to the various sectors of community life, the sect achieves a higher degree of crystallization. The process of sectarian crystallization represents a challenge to the authority of the state and even threatens it with collapse. With this challenge growing worse, and with sectarianism advancing in response to the ailments of the paternalist state, the author proposes a different way of tackling this predicament. As opposed to systems of political quotas, which are promoted as political systems appropriate for “composite societies”, he proposes the creation of political and rights institutions that provide safeguards against discrimination on a sectarian basis similar to those which, in the contemporary formulation of human rights, prevent discrimination of the basis of race, gender and language.