Islam Vs. Islamism

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Overview

Islam vs. Islamism introduces the Islamic world's diversity, conflicts, and dilemmas—its origins, extraordinary creativity, and current crisis, the result of its unhappy encounter with Western modernity. Particular attention is given to Islamism, IslaM&Apos;s radically antimodern and often violent revision that is causing turmoil in the Middle East and beyond.

Islam vs. Islamism introduces the reader to the Islamic world, to its diversity and conflicts, and to possible solutions to those conflicts. Steering clear of either Islamophilia or Muslim-bashing, yet avoiding blandness, Demant explains the origins of Islam, its history, and its position in today's world. After a period of extraordinary expansion and creativity, and a long sequel of decline, the Islamic world is now in deep crisis, caused by IslaM&Apos;s unhappy encounter with the West and its modernity. Islamic societies have tried a variety of approaches to escape from their predicament, but the result has only been to deepen Muslim powerlessness and Muslims' feelings of frustration.

Then came Islamism (Islamic fundamentalism) with its revolutionary but antimodern proposal to refashion Muslim society after the Prophet's original model. Islamism has had unsettling results, first in IslaM&Apos;s heartlands, then along its multiple frontiers, and finally in confrontation with the West itself. Among the outcomes has been an ascending wave of terrorism. But violence is not the whole story. Extremism represents no more than a minority within Islam. Although co-existence with violent fundamentalists is a hopeless task, the questions Islamists raise are serious and evoke echoes in the hearts of many more Muslims. To prevent a war of civilizations, dialogue with the moderate majority of Muslims is more urgent than ever. This book is one step on that long road.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[D]emant has contributed another book to the growing library of information on Islam. Divided into three sections-Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow-his text covers the history, current events, and future of Islam. Well researched and full of historical background and insight, it is definitely not meant for the casual reader. Instead, it provides a fascinating explanation for anyone truly interested in the historical reasons for the current conflict in the Middle East and in how these reasons influenced the development of radical Islam (Islamism). With a foreword by Ashgar Ali Engineer (director, Inst. for Islamic Studies, India) and extensive notes; suitable for academic settings."

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Library Journal

"Demant, a specialist in Middle Eastern and Islamic affairs, carefully distinguishes between the religion of Islam and the political ideology of Islamism, placing each within its own context. He describes the origins and historical trajectory of Islam from the classical to the era of western influence, and then examines how IslaM&Apos;s expansion relates to issues of diaspora. He relates the past to the three waves of Islamism from the Sunni jihad of the late 1960s to the early 1980s, the Shiite interlude of the 1980s, and the later Seven Marks, analyzes Islamism as an ideology, a movement, and an element of tribalism, and evaluates the tangled relationship of Islam and the west that will define coming years. He closes with observations about homogeneity, modernity, democracy, the challenge from western Islam and the possibility of an Islamist superpower or an Islamist revolution in a western state."

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Reference & Research Book News

"Demant's book is both a survey of IslaM&Apos;s history and status worldwide and an analysis of Islamism and its position within the Muslim world. Demant argues that Islamism is IslaM&Apos;s greatest dilemma today, and that the outcome will determine IslaM&Apos;s future. He sees Islamism, especially its violent, anti-modern version, as itself a modern movement, born of and yet at war with modernity. While Islamists use modern weapons and information technology and seek to impose a modern-type universal and culture-free vision, they deny the bases of modernity--human reason and human sovereignty--and claim to be bulwarking the ummah against its perils. Demant argues convincingly that the real clash of civilizations is not the Judeo-Christian West against Islam, but a universalized modernity that could make room for a reformed and tolerant version of Islam against a radically anti-modern strain of political Islam that turns the tools and weapons of modernity against itself….[t]he analytical sections are relevant, innovative, and convincing, making the book a valuable resource. Recommended. Graduate students and professionals."

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Choice

Library Journal
A specialist in Middle Eastern and Islamic affairs, Demant (history, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil) has contributed another book to the growing library of information on Islam. Divided into three sections—"Yesterday," "Today," and "Tomorrow"—his text covers the history, current events, and future of Islam. Well researched and full of historical background and insight, it is definitely not meant for the casual reader. Instead, it provides a fascinating explanation for anyone truly interested in the historical reasons for the current conflict in the Middle East and in how these reasons influenced the development of radical Islam (Islamism). With a foreword by Ashgar Ali Engineer (director, Inst. for Islamic Studies, India) and extensive notes; suitable for academic settings.
—Jennifer Kuncken
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275990787
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/30/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER R. DEMANT is Professor of History at Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he lectures in international relations and contemporary Asian history. From 1991 to 1999 he lived in Jerusalem, where he was senior research associate at the Harry S Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a specialist in Middle Eastern and Islamic affairs.

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