The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder / Edition 1

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Long before the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Islamic fundamentalism was exerting a significant influence in nearly every corner of the world. Bassam Tibi, a widely recognized expert on Islam and Arab culture, offers an important and disquieting analysis of this particular synthesis of religion and politics. A Muslim and descendant of a famous Damascene Islamic scholar family, Tibi sees Islamic fundamentalism as the result of Islam's confrontation with modernity and not only—as it is widely believed—economic adversity. The movement is unprecedented in Islamic history and parallels the inability of Islamic nation-states to integrate into the new world secular order.

For this updated edition, Tibi has written a new preface and lengthy introduction addressing Islamic fundamentalism in light of and since September 11.

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Editorial Reviews

Charles Tripp
Tibi is arguing for greater understanding and communication between cultures, as well as for an Islamic enlightenment.
Times Literary Supplement
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the global fragmentation that has emerged from the end of the Cold War, Islamic fundamentalism threatens to provoke a "new world disorder," Tibi argues. A professor of international relations at the University of Gottingen, Germany, Tibi take great pains to point out the differences between Islamic spiritual faith, which he maintains poses no threat, and Islamic fundamentalism, which he views as a primarily political response to Western dominance. The fundamentalist revolt, he explains, targets not just Western political power but Western culture and value as well. Tibi makes a strong and urgent argument that this rejection of the West contributes to a global balkanization that must be addressed as we enter the 21st century. Islamic fundamentalism challenges the Western-based notion of a world order of nation-states because Islam rejects such boundaries and claims its own place as the legitimate organizing force of the world. Tibi contends that the prevailing approach in international relations of dismissing Islamic rhetoric because it poses no real military threat to the West misses the point that fundamentalist activists exacerbate cultural divisions that seriously threaten peace everywhere. No less than a clarion call to address what Tibi argues are deteriorating world relations before it's too late, this book urges political and religious leaders to foster cultural and religious tolerance among the world's religions. June
Library Journal
Fundamentalism is generally viewed as a reemergent traditional religion expressing itself in the wider society through rigid politics. Tibi, a professor of international relations at the University of G ttingen and the author of several books on modern Arab history and politic, sees Islamic fundamentalism as a modern totalitarian political movement that makes selective use of popular religious devotion. Explaining that all major religions can be used for such tight social control, Tibi argues that Islamic fundamentalism, inherently violent and repressive, creates social disorder and is a sort of communism in ecclesiastical garb. This highly informed and technical work, aimed at historians and political scientists, rewards careful study. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with substantial collections in religion or modern politics.--James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520236905
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Series: Comparative Studies in Religion and Society Series
  • Edition description: First Edition, Updated Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 293
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Bassam Tibi was born in Damascus and is currently Professor of
International Relations at the University of Göttingen, Germany. He is the author of several books in English, including Islam between Culture and Politics (2001), Arab Nationalism (third edition, 1996), Conflict and War in the Middle East, 1967-1981 (new edition, 1997), and The Crisis of Modern Islam (1988).

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From the Book:

Author Biography: Bassam Tibi was born in Damascus and is currently Professor of International Relations at the University of Göttingen, Germany. He is the author of several books in English, including Islam between Culture and Politics (2001), Arab Nationalism (third edition, 1996), Conflict and War in the Middle East, 1967-1981 (new edition, 1997), and The Crisis of Modern Islam (1988).

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Table of Contents

Preface to the updated edition
Introduction to the updated edition
1 The Context: Globalization, Fragmentation, and Disorder 1
Islamic Fundamentalism, the West, and World Order 2
Fundamentalism: A Response to the Problems of Globalization and Fragmentation 5
The Secular Nation-State: Prime Target of Fundamentalism 6
After the Cold War: Further Fragmentation 8
The "Islamic Resurgence": Two Views 10
Political Islam as a Variety of Fundamentalism 12
The Clash of Two Universalisms: A "Clash of Civilizations"? 15
2 The Study of Islamic Fundamentalism and the Scope of the Inquiry 20
Religion, Fundamentalism, and Civilizations 20
Cultural Modernity in Reverse: Back to Collectivities 24
Antagonizing Democracy and Creating Disorder 25
Inventing Tradition: The Legacy of Islamic Reformism and Traditionalism 29
The Structure of This Inquiry 32
3 World Order and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein 36
The Legacy of the Gulf War 37
The Search for a New World Order 42
The Concept of Order between Cultural Relativism and Neo-Absolutism 46
The Regionalization of World Politics and the Politicization of Middle Eastern Islam 50
The Fundamentalist World Revolution: Jihad between Peace and Militancy 54
An Islamic World Order? 60
4 The Sociocultural Background and the Exposure to Cultural Modernity 64
Culture in World Politics: Globalized Structures and Cultural Fragmentation 65
Islamic Fundamentalism as a Semi-Modern, Backward-Oriented Utopia Contesting Cultural Modernity 68
Between Private Religiosity and the Politicization of Religious Beliefs 75
5 Cultural Fragmentation, the Decline in Consensus, and the Diffusion of Power in World Politics 82
Cultural Fragmentation and the International Diffusion of Power 85
Islamic Fundamentalism as the Expression of a Revolt against the West 89
The Political Claims of Religious Options in a Secular World Order 93
The Islamic State as the Nucleus of an Islamic World Order 99
The Islamist Challenge: A Divine Global Order as an Alternative to Global Secularization? 104
The Cultural Basis of World Politics in an Age of Intercivilizational Conflict 107
6 The Crisis of the Nation-State: Islamic, Pan-Arab, Ethnic, and Sectarian Identities in Conflict 114
Understanding the Resort to Politicized Religion 115
Is Political Islam the Solution? 116
Between the Government of the People and the Government of God 119
The Nation-State: Between Ethnicity and Fundamentalism 124
Ethnicity, Regionalism, and the Search for Identity 128
The Institutionally Fragile Nominal Nation-State 132
7 The Fundamentalist Ideology: Context and the Textual Sources 138
The Repoliticization of Islam in Pursuit of a New Order 140
The Regional and Global Context of the Fundamentalist Writings 144
The Caliphate, the Fetwa, and the Distortion of History and Scripture 149
8 The Idea of an Islamic State and the Call for the Implementation of the Shari'a/Divine Law 158
Din wa dawla/Unity of Religion and State: But What Else? 159
Is the Shari'a an Islamic Constitution for an Islamic State? 165
Islamic Critics and the Islamic State: Is It True that the Shari'a Rules? 169
Is Shura an Islamic Substitute for Democracy? 173
9 Democracy and Democratization in Islam: An Alternative to Fundamentalism 179
Democracy and International Morality 180
Islamic Civilization, the West, and Democracy 183
The Accommodation of Democracy without a Rethinking of Islam 188
The Requirements for Democracy: Political Culture and Democratic Institutions 190
The Cases of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia 193
10 Human Rights in Islam and the West: Cross-Cultural Foundations of Shared Values 199
Islam and the West: From Dissent to International Morality 200
What Are "Human Rights"? Why Do They Matter for Muslims? 204
A Need for "Rethinking Islam": The Cultural Accommodation of Human Rights 207
Local Cultures, Regional Civilizations, and Their Exposure to Globalization 209
Notes 215
Names index 253
Subject index 257
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