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Book: Islamism and Islam by Bassam Tibi

In this important and illuminating book, Bassam Tibi, a senior scholar of Islamic politics, explores the true nature of contemporary Islamism and the essential ways in which it differs from the religious faith of Islam.

Despite the intense media focus on Muslims and their religion since the tragedy of 9/11, few Western scholars or policymakers today have a clear idea of the distinctions between Islam and the politically based fundamentalist movement known as Islamism. In this important and illuminating book, Bassam Tibi, a senior scholar of Islamic politics, provides a corrective to this dangerous gap in our understanding. He explores the true nature of contemporary Islamism and the essential ways in which it differs from the religious faith of Islam.

Drawing on research in twenty Islamic countries over three decades, Tibi describes Islamism as a political ideology based on a reinvented version of Islamic law. In separate chapters devoted to the major features of Islamism, he discusses the Islamist vision of state order, the centrality of antisemitism in Islamist ideology, Islamism’s incompatibility with democracy, the reinvention of jihadism as terrorism, the invented tradition of shari’a law as constitutional order, and the Islamists’ confusion of the concepts of authenticity and cultural purity. Tibi’s concluding chapter applies elements of Hannah Arendt’s theory to identify Islamism as a totalitarian ideology.

About the Author

Bassam Tibi is Professor Emeritus of International Relations, University of Göttingen and former A. D. White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University. In 2010, he was the Resnick Scholar for the Study of Antisemitism at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is the author of three dozen previous books, including most recently Islam’s Predicament with Modernity. He lives in Göttingen, Germany.

Table of Contents

  • Why Islamism is not Islam
  • Islamism and the political order
  • Islamism and anti-Semitism
  • Islamism and Democracy
  • Islamism and Violence: the new world disorder
  • Islamism and law: Shari’atization as an invention of tradition
  • Islamism, purity and authenticity
  • Islamism and Totalitarianism
  • Civil Islam as an alternative to Islamism

Bibliographic Information

Title: Islamism and Islam

Author: Bassam Tibi

Publisher: Yale University Press

Language: English

Length: 368 pages

ISBN: 9780300159981

Pub. Date: May 22, 2012

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