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By John M. Owen

Political Islam has frequently been in comparison to ideological hobbies of the earlier comparable to fascism or Christian theocracy. yet are such analogies legitimate? How may still the Western global at the present time reply to the demanding situations of political Islam? Taking an unique method of resolution this question, Confronting Political Islam compares Islamism's fight with secularism to different lengthy ideological clashes in Western historical past. via interpreting the prior conflicts that experience torn Europe and the Americas--and how they've been supported by means of underground networks, fomented radicalism and revolution, and prompted international interventions and overseas conflicts--John Owen attracts six significant classes to illustrate that a lot of what we predict approximately political Islam is incorrect.

Owen specializes in the origins and dynamics of twentieth-century struggles between Communism, Fascism, and liberal democracy; the overdue eighteenth- and nineteenth-century contests among monarchism and republicanism; and the 16th- and seventeenth-century wars of faith among Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and others. Owen then applies rules realized from the successes and error of governments in the course of those conflicts to the modern debates embroiling the center East. He concludes that ideological struggles last more than most folks presume; ideologies aren't monolithic; international interventions are the norm; a nation could be either rational and ideological; an ideology wins while states that exemplify it outperform different states throughout a number measures; and the ideology that wins could be a surprise.

Looking on the heritage of the Western international itself and the fraught questions over how societies can be ordered, Confronting Political Islam upends many of the traditional knowledge concerning the present upheavals within the Muslim world.

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May we play the traditional Roman online game of divide et impera (divide and rule), utilizing a few Islamists—say, average ones, or democratic ones, or pro-Western ones—against others? a few commentators demand a monolithic method. Daniel Pipes’s writings clarify that he regards Islamism, the ideology no longer the faith, as a monolith. “Islamism is a scourge,” he writes, “a international disease whose sufferers contain peoples of all religions, [but] Muslims are the most casualties. ”1 In wide contract is the neoconservative éminence grise Norman Podhoretz, who coined the time period “Islamofascists”: “Like the Nazis and the Communists sooner than them, they're devoted to the destruction of the freedoms we cherish and for which the US stands. ”2 The view of Podhoretz and Pipes is usual between analysts: the matter is the ideology, no longer the faith, however the ideology is a monolith that has to be hostile anywhere it truly is came upon. (Logically, it truly is attainable to determine Islamism as monolithic but assistance lodging, but it sounds as if few if any “monolithists” are accommodationists. ) nevertheless, lots of analysts take the opposing view that Islamism is polylithic. those insist that Islamists are available in a variety of varieties, and never all are harmful. Charles Kurzman, a sociologist, notes that only a few Islamists are militant—even so much of these who profess admiration for Osama bin encumbered by no means perform violent jihad—and in truth reasonable Islamists are siphoning away strength militants from teams resembling al-Qaeda. three even if Islamism is monolithic or polylithic issues for American international coverage. Youssef Aboul-Enein, a U. S. military officer, distinguishes Muslims, Islamists, and Militant Islamists. Militant Islamists use violent ability to accomplish Sharia, while traditional Islamists more often than not use peaceable, constitutional skill, and infrequently view the militants as enemies. Aboul-Enein counsels operating with the 1st opposed to the 3rd. four In comparable model, journalist Brendan O’Reilly writes, “The motivations for Iraqi and Afghan insurgents are essentially own and nationalistic. To conflate those disparate teams with the terrorists of al-Qaeda isn't just unfair, it's a foundation for self-defeating coverage. ”5 in reality, the us and plenty of different non-Muslim nations already do make or realize differences between Islamists. Washington has had shut kinfolk with the Saudi dynasty—whose Wahhabi Islamism is without doubt one of the strictest in today’s world—since the Forties, and with different, milder Islamist Gulf monarchies besides. yet a few critics, reminiscent of Pipes and Robert Baer, demand a rethinking of the Saudi-U. S. dating. 6 So: to regard Islamism as a monolith, or a polylith? To lump Islamists jointly, or cut up them? 7 it's a so much tough query to reply to, simply because our predispositions are so strong. a few everyone is at risk of see similarities at any place they give the impression of being, others to determine adjustments. the traditional Greek poet Archilochus wrote that “the fox is aware many stuff; the hedgehog, one significant factor. ” The political theorist Isaiah Berlin argued that writers might be labeled both as hedgehogs, who relate all occasions, statements, and items to a unmarried grasp precept; or as foxes, who carry many rules, a few contradictory to others.

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