Islamism and Islam

Yale University Press
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Despite the intense media focus on Muslims and their religion since the tragedy of 9/11, few Western scholars or policymakers today have a clear idea of the distinctions between Islam and the politically based fundamentalist movement known as Islamism. In this important and illuminating book, Bassam Tibi, a senior scholar of Islamic politics, provides a corrective to this dangerous gap in our understanding. He explores the true nature of contemporary Islamism and the essential ways in which it differs from the religious faith of Islam.

Drawing on research in twenty Islamic countries over three decades, Tibi describes Islamism as a political ideology based on a reinvented version of Islamic law. In separate chapters devoted to the major features of Islamism, he discusses the Islamist vision of state order, the centrality of antisemitism in Islamist ideology, Islamism's incompatibility with democracy, the reinvention of jihadism as terrorism, the invented tradition of shari'a law as constitutional order, and the Islamists' confusion of the concepts of authenticity and cultural purity. Tibi's concluding chapter applies elements of Hannah Arendt's theory to identify Islamism as a totalitarian ideology.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Yale University Press
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Published on
May 22, 2012
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780300160147
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Human Rights
Political Science / International Relations / General
Religion / Islam / Theology
Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations
Social Science / Islamic Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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International Relations and Islam: Diverse Perspectives presents the idea of finding a middle way or common ground of understanding between two bodies of knowledge conceived from two different hemispheres of the world; namely, International Relations (IR), a social science discipline conceived in the UK and the US (the West), and Islam or Islamic Studies which was conceived in the Arab world and developed in Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia and many non-Arab countries. The book is divided into two main sections; the first being general perspectives from different backgrounds or cases concerning Islam. The second part specifically examines Turkey, offering various perspectives on the significance of this country and its democratic experience.

The contributions included in this volume range from discussions on the Islamic veil and its associated stereotypes to an article on Islamic feminism. Other subjects discussed include the issues of Muslim integration, Turkey’s international relations, and Islam’s relationship with democracy, in addition to a biographical representation of the current Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoğlu, detailing his scholarship and its impact on Turkey’s foreign policy.

This edited book is part of the mission-vision of the IR-IS Research Cohort, an e-networking community interested in advancing comparative research between International Relations and Islamic Studies.

Contributors: Jessica L. Daniels, Didem Doğanyılmaz, Gökhan Duman, Alessandra L. González, İştar Gözaydın and Ari Varon.

By all measures, the late twentieth century was a time of dramatic decline for the Islamic world, the Ummah, particularly its Arab heartland. Sober Muslim voices regularly describe their current state as the worst in the 1,400-year history of Islam. Yet, precisely at this time of unprecedented material vulnerability, Islam has emerged as a civilizational force strong enough to challenge the imposition of Western, particularly American, homogenizing power on Muslim peoples. This is the central paradox of Islam today: at a time of such unprecedented weakness in one sense, how has the Islamic Awakening, a broad and diverse movement of contemporary Islamic renewal, emerged as such a resilient and powerful transnational force and what implications does it have for the West? In One Islam, Many Muslims Worlds Raymond W. Baker addresses this question. Two things are clear, Baker argues: Islam's unexpected strength in recent decades does not originate from official political, economic, or religious institutions, nor can it be explained by focusing exclusively on the often-criminal assertions of violent, marginal groups. While extremists monopolize the international press and the scholarly journals, those who live and work in the Islamic world know that the vast majority of Muslims reject their reckless calls to violence and look elsewhere for guidance. Baker shows that extremists draw their energy and support not from contributions to the reinterpretation and revival of Islamic beliefs and practices, but from the hatreds engendered by misguided Western policies in Islamic lands. His persuasive analysis of the Islamic world identifies centrists as the revitalizing force of Islam, saying that they are responsible for constructing a modern, cohesive Islamic identity that is a force to be reckoned with.
Civil Islam tells the story of Islam and democratization in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation. Challenging stereotypes of Islam as antagonistic to democracy, this study of courage and reformation in the face of state terror suggests possibilities for democracy in the Muslim world and beyond.

Democratic in the early 1950s and with rich precedents for tolerance and civility, Indonesia succumbed to violence. In 1965, Muslim parties were drawn into the slaughter of half a million communists. In the aftermath of this bloodshed, a "New Order" regime came to power, suppressing democratic forces and instituting dictatorial controls that held for decades. Yet from this maelstrom of violence, repressed by the state and denounced by conservative Muslims, an Islamic democracy movement emerged, strengthened, and played a central role in the 1998 overthrow of the Soeharto regime. In 1999, Muslim leader Abdurrahman Wahid was elected President of a reformist, civilian government.


In explaining how this achievement was possible, Robert Hefner emphasizes the importance of civil institutions and public civility, but argues that neither democracy nor civil society is possible without a civilized state. Against portrayals of Islam as inherently antipluralist and undemocratic, he shows that Indonesia's Islamic reform movement repudiated the goal of an Islamic state, mobilized religiously ecumenical support, promoted women's rights, and championed democratic ideals. This broadly interdisciplinary and timely work heightens our awareness of democracy's necessary pluralism, and places Indonesia at the center of our efforts to understand what makes democracy work.

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