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By Kai Hafez

During the last decade, political Islam has been denounced within the Western media and within the surrounding literature as a terrorist or fascist circulation that's completely at odds with Western democratic ideology. Kai Hafez's e-book overturns those arguments, contending that, regardless of its excesses, as a thorough type of political competition the circulation performs a critical function within the methods of democratization and modernization, and that those techniques have direct parallels within the historical past and politics of the West. through reading the evolution of Christian democratization in the course of the upheavals of the Reformation, colonisation, fascism, and totalitarianism, the publication exhibits how radicalism and violence have been consistent accompaniments to political switch, and that those parts - regardless of assertions on the contrary - are nonetheless a part of Western political tradition to at the present time. during this means, the ebook attracts hopeful conclusions concerning the capability for political, non secular, and cultural transformation within the Islamic international, that is already exemplified by means of the instances of Turkey, Indonesia, and lots of components of South Asia. The ebook marks an immense improvement within the examine of radical pursuits and their contribution to political swap.

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Extra info for Radicalism and Political Reform in the Islamic and Western Worlds

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Yet they undoubtedly seek modes of transition to, and elements compatible with, Western technological, socioeconomic and political modernity. It is tempting to compare liberal and conservative reformist Islam with Catholicism and Protestantism. At first glance, the conservatives seem to have much in common with Catholicism and the liberals with Protestantism. While the liberals aim to break radically with the idea of the supreme validity of Islamic law, which has held canonical status since the thirteenth century, the conservatives tread very cautiously here, taking a step-by-step approach.

Decisions about traditions and modernity should be made within a democratic and constitutional framework; decisions which are by no means, as Anthony Giddens thinks (Giddens 1994), restricted to founding a ‘post-traditional society’, but which may also leave space for traditions as long as these are compatible with the democratic consensus. If we disregard for the moment the fascist and some other extremist derailments of the twentieth century, there seems at present to be no ­fundamental questioning of the democratic consensus about Western modernity, at least in the West.

The history of the Islamic world may be told quite differently. Not only was it mostly ruled by worldly dynasties and other forces, but the full-fledged secularization of the legal system began as early as the ­nineteenth century. ). The ­policy of reform (tanzimat), influenced in part by Europe, kicked off a similar separation of religion and state as had taken hold in Europe, stimulated by the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 and the retreat of the Inquisition. The roots of the modern-day politics of states, such as Morocco, Egypt or Kuwait, in which Islam is the state religion but Islamic law has been almost entirely replaced by a secular legal system, lie in these early attempts to secularize the state.

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