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Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam
Editor Ibrahim Abu-Rabi'
Contemporary Islamism is a complex notion, encompassing a constellation of social, political, religious and ideological ideas that have evolved over the past two hundred years. These ideas have dramatically shaped modern and contemporary Arab societies, but they are little understood in the West. The Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam corrects this at a stroke. It brings together the writings of highly influential figures in the field of Islamism in the contemporary Arab world, many of whose writings have never been available before in English. Addressing the key issues such as Shari'ah, human rights, civil society, secularism, globalization and ummah, and the impact of the West on the modern Arab world, this is the perfect starting point for students and academics looking to understand "Political Islam" in contemporary Arab and Muslim societies. The contributors include such important Islamist thinkers and activists as Abdullah Azzam, central to the spread of Islamism in Afghanistan, Sayyid Muhammad Hussain Fadlallah, a major Shiite figure in contemporary Lebanon and Ahmad Bin Yousuf, a political advisor to Akram Haniyya in Gaza.
Copublished with Pluto Press.

Format:  Trade Paperback
ISBN:  978-0-88864-557-9
Price:  CND$ 34.95, USD$ 34.95, £ 16.99
Discount:  Trade
Subject:  Islamism/Political Science
Publication Date:  October 2010
Reviews
An engaging and accessible read, "A Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam”
succeeds in presenting Islamism as a movement made up of actual people -- divergent in views but united in good intentions -- and serves as an excellent starting point towards deeper understanding. Benjamin Freeland, Work of Arts, Spring 2011
Political Islam or Islamism has been central to the mainstream discussion of Islam and Muslims. Most of the noise has been filtered through language barriers, historical mistrust and political rivalry. But coming to grips with any polarized social, religious or political issue requires examining facts unfiltered, viewing issues as they are viewed by their proponents and engaging in direct dialogue. Edmonton-based academic Ibrahim Abu-Rabi' recognizes this problem. In his new academic collection, The Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam, he presents the Islamic viewpoints straight up, or at least as unwatered down as they can be translated into English. Abu-Rabi', who is Palestinian born, has selected the pieces from the writings of leading ideologues and activists of Islamism.... Abu Rabi' provides insightful introductory notes. He observes that ‘Islamism, far from being a passing phenomenon, occupies centre stage in intellectual debates.’ He emphasizes that Islamism, despite its common ideological underpinning, is not monolithic; it is rather a complex diverse spectrum of schools and trends.... Abu-Rabi' decries the simplistic generalization about Islamism common in the media and notes that ‘Islamism as a political discourse embraces far more than the dogmatic fundamentalism and terrorist violence that dominates Western press.’”
Ismael Mukhtar, Winnipeg Free Press, February 19, 2011
At this time of political transformation in the Middle East, Canada has at least three significant voices helping the world understand what is really going on among the world's 1.2 billion Muslims. They include a Muslim journalist in Ontario, a Muslim scholar in Alberta and a non-Muslim landed immigrant…. A Muslim professor at the University of Alberta offers a broader perspective than [Canadian Muslim journalist Tarek] Fatah on Muslim political developments in his new book, The Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam. Tired of non-Muslims creating the framework of debate, Ibrahim Abu-Rabi has brought together dozens of political Muslim thinkers to explain what is really underway in the oil-rich Middle East. In the West, political Islam, known as Islamism, ‘has replaced communism as public-enemy No. 1,’ Abu-Rabi writes in a valuable introduction to his collection.”
Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, February 12, 2011
"And for the British prime minister himself, as an advanced programme of citizenship lessons, I highly recommend ... The Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam edited by Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi' from the University of Alberta... The book contains translations of various contributions by Arab Islamist thinkers from the Middle East and North Africa, covering the whole spectrum from government appointed scholars to jihadist theologians. It demonstrates that far from Islam being monolithic, there is a lively political debate going on in the Muslim world, below the radar of the Western media and political establishment who, as Abu-Rabi' observes, write about the Islamic movement whilst failing 'to even consult original Islamist sources', and sets out as the aim of the 312-page publication to come to grips "with the conceptual framework of the 'many varieties of Islamism'.”
Dr. Sahib Mustaqim Bleher, flyingimam.blogspot.com, February 6, 2011 [Full article at http://tinyurl.com/4lyt872]
"This timely book makes a very valuable contribution to ongoing debates on Œpolitical Islam¹/Islamism. It consists of translations of articles by almost three dozen leading contemporary Arab Islamist activists, ideologues and spokesmen, most of which have been published in English for the first time. The articles cover a wide range of themes of contemporary interest central to the subject of Islamism. The first section of the book deals with the theory of Islamism in the contemporary Arab world.... The second part of the book consists of essays on Islamism and jihad.... The third section of the book contains three essays on the Palestine issue, which is central to the ideology and politics of Islamism not just in the Arab region but, rather, globally.... Part Four of the book discusses the need for Islamists to engage in self-critique and introspection.... The book¹s fifth section consists of six essays on Islamism and the West.... The final section of the book consists of country-specific case studies that look at the emergence and development of Islamist parties in several parts of the Arab world‹Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Syria, the Gulf and Iraq.... Bringing together a diverse range of influential Arab Islamist voices on a wide spectrum of issues, this book is a very valuable contribution to studies of forms of contemporary Islamic expression, and cannot afford to be missed by anyone interested in the phenomenon.”
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam Foundation [Full review at http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3577]

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