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Islamic theocracy is now firmly established in fundamentalist Iran, and waves of fundamentalism are sweeping the entire Islamic world, and its diaspora.
Table of contents

Chapter 2: Religion and Politics

These varied political experiences have had a profound impact on political Islam's flexibility and capacity for political action, and on its philosophy, too. Islamic institutions were suppressed. Islamic activists were imprisoned, tortured and killed. Such experiences gave rise to a profound bitterness. Given the history, it is only natural that we should hear overzealous slogans or intolerant threats from some activists. Some of those now at the forefront of election campaigns were only recently released from prison.

It would not be fair to expect them to use the voice of professional diplomats.

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Despite this, the Islamic political discourse has generally been balanced. The Tunisian Islamic movement has set a good example. Although Ennahda suffered under Ben Ali's regime, its leaders developed a tolerant discourse and managed to open up to moderate secular and leftist political groups. The movement's leaders have reassured Tunisian citizens that it will not interfere in their personal lives and that it will respect their right to choose.

The movement also presented a progressive model of women's participation, with 42 female Ennahda members in the constitutional assembly.


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The Islamic movement's approach to the west has also been balanced, despite the fact that western countries supported despotic Arab regimes. Islamists know the importance of international communication in an economically and politically interconnected world. Now there is a unique opportunity for the west: to demonstrate that it will no longer support despotic regimes by supporting instead the democratic process in the Arab world, by refusing to intervene in favour of one party against another and by accepting the results of the democratic process, even when it is not the result they would have chosen.

Democracy is the only option for bringing stability, security and tolerance to the region, and it is the dearest thing to the hearts of Arabs, who will not forgive any attempts to derail it.

Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World - PDF Free Download

The region has suffered a lot as a result of attempts to exclude Islamists and deny them a role in the public sphere. Undoubtedly, Islamists' participation in governance will give rise to a number of challenges, both within the Islamic ranks and with regard to relations with other local and international forces. Islamists should be careful not to fall into the trap of feeling overconfident: they must accommodate other trends, even if it means making painful concessions.

Dale F. These four volumes, which examine political Islam in multiple contexts across the Middle East, represent important contributions to an emerging trend that emphasized the idea that manifestations of political Islam—even those arising from similar ideological roots—can different considerably from setting to setting due to variations in social, political, and economic context.


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All four merit ongoing consultation. Quintan Wiktorowicz ed.

Political Islam, Liberalism, and Consensus in the Middle East

One trend detectable from the early s was an effort to bring greater theoretical rigor to the study of political Islam. More specifically, and as part of an effort to counteract an emerging sense of Islamic exceptionalism, several scholars produced work showing that Islamist movements and political parties are amenable to analysis using frameworks and theoretical tools for studying social mobilization and political behavior more broadly. Richard C. Martin and Abbas Barzegar eds. The Arab Uprisings of and the subsequent political success of Islamist parties in several countries occasioned a renewed consideration of the status and evolution of Islamist political strategy.

Among the noteworthy works to emerge here:. Two leading scholars of the Muslim Brotherhood also produced new studies of that movement noteworthy for their astute analysis of generational differences within the movement and detailed fieldwork:.

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Rethinking political Islam

Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume 6. Rashid Naim. Atlanta, GA.