Islam vs. Islamism: The Dilemma of the Muslim World by Peter R. Demant

By Peter R. Demant

Islam vs. Islamism introduces the Islamic world's variety, conflicts, and dilemmas—its origins, striking creativity, and present hindrance, the results of its unsatisfied come upon with Western modernity. specific realization is given to Islamism, Islam's considerably antimodern and infrequently violent revision that's inflicting turmoil within the heart East and beyond.

Islam vs. Islamism introduces the reader to the Islamic global, to its range and conflicts, and to attainable ideas to these conflicts. steerage away from both Islamophilia or Muslim-bashing, but averting blandness, Demant explains the origins of Islam, its background, and its place in brand new international. After a interval of striking enlargement and creativity, and an extended sequel of decline, the Islamic global is now in deep hindrance, as a result of Islam's unsatisfied come across with the West and its modernity. Islamic societies have attempted numerous methods to flee from their main issue, however the consequence has purely been to deepen Muslim powerlessness and Muslims' emotions of frustration.

Then got here Islamism (Islamic fundamentalism) with its progressive yet antimodern thought to refashion Muslim society after the Prophet's unique version. Islamism has had unsettling effects, first in Islam's heartlands, then alongside its a number of frontiers, and eventually in disagreement with the West itself. one of the results has been an ascending wave of terrorism. yet violence isn't the entire tale. Extremism represents not more than a minority inside of Islam. even though co-existence with violent fundamentalists is a hopeless activity, the questions Islamists elevate are severe and evoke echoes within the hearts of many extra Muslims. to avoid a battle of civilizations, discussion with the reasonable majority of Muslims is extra pressing than ever. This e-book is one step on that lengthy road.

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The Turkish Empire replaced the Abbasids and ruled most of the Arab world. Turks imposed Sunni supremacy and competed against the Safavids, who turned Persia Shiite. As a result of their long rivalry, Iran is now Shiite, whereas the rest of the Middle East is—except for a few redoubts—solidly Sunni. Ottoman military success was to no small degree due to the janissaries, a levy of Christian boys, educated as Muslim soldiers and fiercely loyal to the sultan alone—a system that functioned well so long as janissaries did not turn corrupt.

Once an asset, the Ottoman Empire’s geopolitical position now became a liability: the Ottomans survived thanks only to jealousy among its enemies. Internal weaknesses compounded the Turkish giant’s ineffectiveness. Its economy was unable to resist penetration of French and British capitalist manufactures. 6 French and other foreign merchants enjoyed juridical immunities (“capitulations”) and gradually took control of Ottoman trade, while the Ottoman elite of a`yan (provincial feudal vassals) became an unproductive stratum of profiteers.

Three periods may be distinguished: (1) in the 1920s, the French and British, now rivals, consolidated their control over the region; (2) in the 1930s through 1945, competing German and Italian fascist imperialisms entered the fray; and (3) from the 1940s through the early 1970s, France and Britain fought rearguard battles to keep their colonies while the United States and the Soviets, although Cold War rivals, both supported Arab nationalism. 4 World War I and the postwar settlement 27 28 YESTERDAY Initially the Middle East’s importance remained primarily strategic— it was the route to India for Britain, and represented proximity to the metropolis for France.

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