Political Islam, World Politics, and Europe: Democratic Peace and Euro-Islam Versus Global Jihad

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Is political Islam compatible with democracy?

The rise of political Islam, as a force in world politics, has prompted questions and theories concerning its nature and compatibility with democratic values. Not least have been discussions and conflicts within Islamic communities, particularly in Europe where choices of identity and allegiance are growing acute.

Bassam Tibi provides a broad ranging assessment of political Islam in the world, in all its various manifestations. In particular he focuses on Europe which is also home to a significant Islamic minority. Whilst rejecting the Clash of Civilizations theory the author clearly demonstrates the growing conflict and incompatibility between Islamist movements and European democracy. A practicing Muslim himself, Bassam Tibi, makes clear the vital importance of developing a Euro Islam that will peacefully accommodate religious beliefs within an inclusive democratic European culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This book makes a profound contribution. Bassam Tibi’s analysis is both wide-ranging and incisive, covering the rise of contemporary political Islamism and its relationship with Islam, as well as explaining how its key concepts are to be understood in the appropriate historical, cultural and theological context. Based on over three decades of research, Tibi provides a critical, often fearless, assessment of political Islam which defies conventional wisdom and ignores political correctness without losing any of its intellectual rigour. Yet, Tibi not only evaluates and critiques, he puts forward an inspiringly positive vision of how Islam and democracy in Europe can prosper and enrich each other. In doing so, he addresses perhaps the most important political challenge in Europe today, making this book indispensable reading for anyone with an interest in how to overcome the threat from cultural division and religious conflict.' - Peter R. Neumann, Director, Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College London

'A deeply honest and courageous account, written by a European Muslim scholar, of the challenges posed by political Islam to European values and institutions. Equally committed to democracy and pluralism as well as to his Islamic heritage, Tibi combines erudite scholarship with sharp political analysis, and calls for a transformational reform within Islam which would enable civilizational co-existence both globally as well as within Europe. A must for all who are worried by recent outbreaks of religious fundamentalism but nonetheless hope to avoid a clash of civilizations.' - Shlomo Avineri, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

'This courageous book identifies Europe as the central location of the 21st century struggle for world cultural and political hegemony. Tibi deepens his well-known historical, cultural, political, and religious arguments for cross-cultural accommodation between Muslims and non-Muslims. For him, the solution is a European civil society that is both democratic and respectful of cultural and religious differences. He argues that this accommodation must be political, cultural, and religious because the conflicts are not caused by mere misunderstandings; they are about fundamental conflicts in worldview and political strategy and must be mediated authentically. Tibi’s personal style is combined with a strong analytical framework that links him as a Muslim believer and a social scientist in precisely the way he argues one must link religion and politics to create "Euro-Islam". For Tibi, the alternative to Euro-Islam is to descend farther in to violent conflicts over attempts to "islamicize" Europe.'- Davydd Greenwood, Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology, Director, Institute for European Studies at Cornell University and Corresponding Member, Spanish Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences

'Bassam Tibi is a twenty-first century Martin Luther of Islam. His plea for a return to the open, tolerant, creative Islam that served as a beacon of progress for humankind a millennium ago offers the only real alternative to a jihadism that not only threatens world peace but also reinforces the root cause of jihadism—humiliation, as the Islamic world falls further behind the West, East Asia, and now India.' - Lawrence E. Harrison, Director, Cultural Change Institute, The Fletcher School Tufts University, USA. He is the author, most recently, of The Central Liberal Truth: How Politics Can Change a Culture and save It from Itself.

'Tibi has given us a courageous book, rich in new concepts and fascinating detail derived from his widespread research and contact with significant policy makers' - Daphne Burdman, US Army, Jewish Political Studies Review, FAll 2008

'Political Islam, World Politics and Europe provides an insightful perspective on the emergence of Islamism and serves as an alternative vision to the ideology of jihadism, namely, Islam as Euro-Islam' -Shafiq Shamel, TELOS

'Tibi, a leading figure in the debate over the future of Islam in Europe, is a Muslim believer born in Syria and professor in international relations at Goettingen University, Germany. His challenging volume presents an exceptionally broad and detailed survey of main topics that will likely become a standard reference work on Islamist ideology in Europe.' - Stephen Schwartz, Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2010

This is a valuable book that European decision-makers and civil society activists would do well to read. - Ana Beln Soage, University of Granada, Spain

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415437813
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/8/2007
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Bassam Tibi has been Professor of International Relations at the University of Goettingen since 1973 and is a non-resident A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, USA. Professor Tibi has taught and lectured at thirty universities in five continents including tenures at Harvard, Princeton, UC Berkeley, IRIC/Yaoundé, Cameroon, Khartoum/Sudan, St.Gallen/Switzerland, The Islamic University of Jakarta/Indonesia and at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. His work has been translated into 16 languages. Among his six books in English are in new editions: The challenge of Fundamentalism (2002) and Islam between Culture and Politics (2005). The president of Germany Roman Hetzog decorated him in 1995 with the highest Medal/State Decoration for his "bridging between Islam and the West".

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Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: The Conflict within Islamic Civilization between Jihad and Democracy and its Pertinence to World Politics and to the Islam-Diaspora in Europe 1. From Classical Jihad to Global Jihadism in an Invention of Tradition for Mapping the World into Dar Al-Islam 2. Polity and Rule Part 2: Political Islam in World Politics 3. The World-Political Sunni-Fallacy 4. The Shi’i Option Part 3: Europe as a Battlefield for the Competing Options: Islamization/Europeanization 5. Political Islam and Europe in the 21st Century 6. The European Diaspora of Muslim Migrants and the Idea of Europe

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