Political Islam from Muhammad to Ahmadinejad: Defenders, Detractors, and Definitions

Joseph Morrison Skelly, Editor
Foreword by Bernard Lewis

In April of 2008, the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) hosted its inaugural conference to much acclaim. Entitled, The Evolution of Islamic Politics, Philosophy and Culture in the Middle East and Africa: From Traditional Limits to Modern Extremes, the conference featured scholarly presentations on the profound Islamic influence in these two regions by a diverse array of academics and policy analysts.

Selections from the ASMEA inaugural conference are available from Praeger Security International (an imprint of ABC-CLIO) entitled Political Islam from Muhammad to Ahmadinejad: Defenders, Detractors, and Definitions. Edited by ASMEA’s Treasurer, Joseph Morrison Skelly, this collected volume features a Foreword by ASMEA’s Chairman, Bernard Lewis, and brings together a team of experts to create a compelling, scholarly investigation of the interrelationship of Islam and politics.

Divided into several topical sections—including the origins of Islamism; new interpretive frameworks; jihad in Africa; case studies in Iran, Iraq, and the Palestinian Authority; and proposals for reform—Political Islam from Muhammad to Ahmadinejad: Defenders, Detractors, and Definitions is an in-depth exploration of various dimensions of this ideology. The book assesses political Islam across a wide chronological timeframe and within regional perspectives from Africa and the Middle East. The volume tackles controversial issues head on while providing an intellectual platform for advancing an enlightened Islam into new stages of economic development, intellectual renewal, and accommodation with constitutional democracy and human rights—thus making this collection ideal reading for the international community, the Islamic world, and scholars who seek a deeper understanding of this subject.

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Table of Contents


Foreword by Bernard Lewis

I. Introduction

1. Political Islam from Muhammad to Ahmadinejad – Joseph Morrison Skelly

II. The Origins of Political Islam

2. Balanced Opposition: The Tribal Foundations of Arab Middle Eastern Islamic Culture – Philip Carl Salzman

3. Why Did Mohammad Attack the Byzantines? A Re-examination of Quran Sura 30:1-2 – David Cook

4. Challenging the Islamist Politicization of Islam: The Non-Islamic Origins of Muslim Political Concepts – Sherko Kirmanj

III. Interpreting Political Islam

5. War and Peace: Negotiating Meaning in Islam – Robert P. Barnidge, Jr.

6. The Quranic Concept of War – Joseph C. Myers

IV. Jihad in Africa: Past and Present

7. Mad Mullahs and the Pax Britannica: Islam as a Factor in Somali Resistance to British Colonial Rule – George L. Simpson, Jr.

8. Jihadists and Jurisprudents: The “Revisions” Literature of Sayyid Imam and Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyya – Daniel J. Lav

9. Takfir as a Tool for Instigating Jihad Among Muslims: The Ghanaian Example –Mohammad Hafiz

V. Political Islam in Iran, Iraq and Palestine

10. Reading Tehran in Washington: The Problems of Defining the Fundamentalist Regime in Iran and Assessing the Prospects for Political Change – Ofira Seliktar

11. The Modern Impact of Mahdism and the Case of Iraq – Timothy Furnish

12. Palestinian Precedents: The Origins of Al-Qaeda’s Use of Suicide Terrorism andIstishhad – Benjamin T. Acosta

VI. Economic Reform and Reforming Islam

13. Economic Justice in the Middle East: A Bad Idea, Badly Done – Patrick Clawson

14. “For Truth Does Not Oppose Truth”: The Agreement of Divine Law and Philosophy in Averroës’ The Book of the Decisive Treatise (Kitab Fasl al-Maqal) – Terence J. Kleven

15. Hermeneutics and Human Rights: Liberal Democracy, Catholicism, and Islam –Edward T. Barrett

About the Contributors


ISBN: 0-313-37223-3 / 978-0-313-37223-0

List Price: $49.95 Pages: 276

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