Academic journal article Arab Studies Quarterly

Modern Islamist Movements: History, Religion, and Politics

Academic journal article Arab Studies Quarterly

Modern Islamist Movements: History, Religion, and Politics

Article excerpt

Jon Armajani. Modern Islamist Movements: History, Religion, and Politics Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Paperback $39.95

In his introduction, Jon Armajani defines Islamists (which he also calls Islamic fundamentalists and Islamic revivalists) as those who "assert that the literal truth of the Quran, Islam's most sacred text, together with its legal and ritual injunctions based on Islamic law (Sharia), must be applied to all Muslims and to religious minorities living in majority-Muslim countries" ( 1 ). He then expands on other Islamist beliefs in detail. He "examines the histories, worldviews, structures, and religiously-based rationales for violence within Islamist groups" (2). Examining various Islamist groups and their histories, he also sheds light on their grievances against the West.

In his introduction he provides what he terms "An Islamic Lexicon," a brief and easy-to-read introduction to Islam. It could serve as a useful resource for readers with little orno knowledge of Islam. He also distinguishes between four categories of Muslims: Islamists, Muslim liberals, secularists, and "the floating middlers" (4). The author traces some of the grievances that Muslims have against the West, focusing on the origins of what he terms "anti-Western narratives," origins that go back as far as the eleventh century and the first wave of the Crusades. He then discusses European colonization of the vast territories of the Islamic world which culminated in the establishment of the state of Israel as a result of the Western support of such creation, especially the British and American roles. In addition, the author discusses other contemporary events such as the role of the US in Iran since the 1950s, and their role in the first and second Gulf wars. …

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