A religious community evolving into a nation might not be something widespread, but it's a well documented phenomenon. The Serbians, the Croats, the Bosnians and the Pakistanis are perfect examples of religious communities which evolved into nations. Why turning a religious community into a nation? For the mere fact that a religious community is more than just a cult. It is also a historic community with its own history, its own memories, its historical figures, its victories and catastrophes, its mythology... If Shlomo Sand who is a renowned expert of nationalism doesn't know that, he has a serious problem!
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