Mohammed Ayoob. the Many Faces of Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Muslim World

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Mohammed Ayoob. The Many Faces of Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Muslim World. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 2008. 213 Pages. Paper $22.95.

The interaction between religion and politics in Islam must not be oversimplified. Analysts and "specialists" from across the American political spectrum describe Islamic fundemantalism as one of the greatest threats to modern, Western-style democracy, but do not provide an accurate definition of political Islam. The author takes it upon himself to dispel many of the misconceptions and stereotypes about political Islam. In doing so, Ayoob fills a major gap in the literature).

Political Islam is complex, multifaceted and contextual. Monolithic image and inherently violent it is not. The overwhelming majority of Islamist political formations abjure violence and factions that engage in violent activity often do so in response to state repression or foreign occupation. The multiplicity of Muslim voices is ignored in the face of the credibility that the clash of civilization argument acquired in the West even before September 11.

The Muslim world is too diverse and too divided along national, jurisprudential, and ideological lines. What we have today is a cacophony of different views in the Muslim world. …