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International Dialogue

International Dialogue

Article Title

Islamism and Islam

Authors

Dale Stover

Abstract

This book offers a concerted effort to provide a comprehensive and unmistakable definition for Islamism, whereas the other term in the title, Islam, is simply what is traditional or classical or taken for granted since little attention is given to defining it. The author lays out six features he considers to be characteristic elements of those contemporary Muslim movements associated with extremist beliefs and behaviors. A separate chapter is devoted to each of these six features of Islamism. They are described by the author in the preface as “its deeply reactionary vision of the world political order, its embrace of genocidal antisemitism, its predicament with democracy, its use of violence, the shari’atization of law, and its search for authenticity within an Islamic tradition it has largely reinvented out of an obsessive desire for purity” (xiii). However, as the author lays out his case for the six descriptors of what he labels “Islamism,” it becomes evident that all of the six features have definitional boundaries that are problematic.

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