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The past thirty years have witnessed the rise of political parties and other formal groups in the Middle East and elsewhere with Islamic agendas, a phenomenon that has both surprised and frightened many in the West. Events from the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 to the attacks of September 11, 2001, have led some to conclude that the United States is on a collision course with Islam, the religion of one-fifth of the world's population. The sourcebook aims to enhance our understanding of the Islamist phenomenon by presenting some forty documents, written by Islamists themselves, which shed light on the origins, goals, and practices of Islamic-focused groups and movements throughout the Muslim world. Each document is identified and analyzed as to its significance. The documentary section of the work is followed by an extensive bibliography and reference guide of relevant print and electronic resources.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up -Among the key writers represented in Calvert's valuable work are Sayyid Qutb, Ayatollah Khomeini, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Usama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Abu Mu'sab al-Zarqawi. Nine chapters organize the 41 (mostly excerpted) documents by subjects such as "Islamist Movements and Thinkers"; "Islamism, Democracy, and the Limits of Freedom"; "Women and Family in Islamist Discourses"; and "Global Jihad." For each chapter there is a substantive introduction, and each document's date, place of publication, and significance are noted. Most importantly, each document is followed by "Context and Analysis" and, usually, further-reading citations. The essays offer scholarly, dispassionate accounts of such topics as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Mahdi, Wahhabism, and influential ideologues. Sidebars providing another 27 brief extracts add a couple of women to the author list. A useful introduction defines Islamism, traces its history, and outlines Islam's origins and doctrines. The index is surprisingly inadequate (the prophet Muhammad has only one entry, for example, and Arab nationalism has none). Since typographic markers (like boldface) are also absent, data is sometimes buried. When two documents cite TheProtocols of the Elders of Zion , nothing informs readers that that text is spurious. These sources convincingly counter the idea of a monolithic Islamism and demonstrate that all Islamism is "extreme," but not all is militant. This mine of information may be challenging for secondary readers but its objective analysis is essential to an understanding of one of the world's most influential movements.-Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313338564
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Series: Documentary and Reference Guides
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

JOHN CALVERT is Associate Professor of History at Creighton University. He is the translator and editor of an English translation of Sayyid Qutb, A Child from the Village, the editor of a special issue of Historical Reflections on "Islam and Modernity" and the translator of several entries in Terrorism: A Documentary and Reference Guide(Greenwood, 2005), among other works.

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