The Many Faces of Political Islam
Religion and Politics in the Muslim World
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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This book is a work of synthesis that aspires to fill a major gap in the literature on political Islam—namely, the need for an introductory text that is readily intelligible to the nonspecialist reader while simultaneously highlighting the complexity of the subject and avoiding over simplification. The book is written both for students and for general readers interested in the subject. The idea of...
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Chapter 1: Defining Concepts, Demolishing Myths
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Over the last decade and a half, but especially since 9/11, three major assumptions have inspired much of the popular discussion about political Islam. These are, first, that the intermingling of religion and politics is unique to Islam; second, that political Islam, like Islam itself, is monolithic; and third, that political Islam is inherently violent. This book will argue that none of these assertions ...
Chapter 2: Islam’s Multiple Voices
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Despite the presence of substantial evidence to the contrary, some of which has been presented in the first chapter of this book and will be elaborated on in later chapters, many in the West continue to consider Islam to be a monolith. This monolithic perception of Islam often finds expression in articles, commentaries, and editorials ...
Chapter 3: Self-Proclaimed Islamic States
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This inquiry into the relationship between Islam and politics in discrete Muslim countries begins with the analysis of two states, Saudi Arabia and Iran,whose rulers have self-consciously and vociferously proclaimed themselves and their polities to be “Islamic.” Their respective claims to be genuinely Islamic are based on two contentions: that their societies and polities are repositories ...
Chapter 4: Between Ideology and Pragmatism
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Egypt and Pakistan provide examples par excellence of the quest for ideological purity on the part of Islamist thinkers as well as of the Islamist movements’ ability to adapt to changing political circumstances. The two cases also highlight the importance of regime policies in determining Islamist trajectories. Cumulatively, these factors clearly demonstrate the validity of the proposition that...
Chapter 5: Muslim Democracies
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Democratic forms of governance, imported from the West as part of the colonial experience, are new to Muslim countries, as they are to all postcolonial and non-Western states. As pointed out in chapter 1, the classical tradition of governance in the Muslim world emphasized order for fear of anarchy and the division of the umma. Even those scholars and political actors who stressed the...
Chapter 6: Islamist National Resistance
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There are a few important cases where Islamist political groupings with territorially circumscribed objectives—including those of liberation from foreign occupation, secession, or irredentism—clearly straddle the violent and nonviolent worlds. In many such cases, Islamism blends with nationalism, particularly in the context of resistance against non-Muslim foreign domination...
Chapter 7: Transnational Islam
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The last several chapters have attempted to demonstrate, on the basis of case studies drawn from some of the most important Muslim countries, that main-stream and nationally bounded Islamist political formations, whether in opposition or in power, represent the vast majority of Islamist groups in terms of numbers, membership, and their impact on politics and society within the...
Chapter 8: The Many Faces of Political Islam
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This book has attempted, among other things, to address the potential of political Islam or Islamism to affect, in major ways, the future of major Muslim societies and polities around the world. It has done so primarily by examining manifestations of political Islam in several important Muslim countries where Islamist ideology and rhetoric has been used by parties and movements to fur-...
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Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2008