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The Challenge of Political Islam: Non-Muslims and the Egyptian Stateby Rachel M. Scott
Synopses & Reviews
The rise of political Islam has provoked considerable debate about the compatibility of democracy, tolerance, and pluralism with the Islamist position. As The Challenge of Political Islam reveals, Egyptian Islamists today are more integrated into the political arena than ever, and are voicing a broad spectrum of positions, including a vision of Islamic citizenship more inclusive of non-Muslims.
Based on Islamist writings, political tracts, and interviews with Islamists—including members of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and other important contemporary thinkers—this book looks closely at how modern, politically-oriented Egyptian Islamists perceive non-Muslims in an Islamic state and how non-Muslims respond. Clarifying the movement's aims, this work uncovers how Islamists have responded to the pressures of modernity, the degree to which the movement has been influenced by both a historical Islamic framework and Western modes of political thinking, and the necessity to reconsider the notion that secularism is a precondition for toleration.
Book News Annotation:
Scott (Islamic studies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State U.) explores the political and religious attitudes of Egyptian Islamists, a group with growing influence in the Egyptian polity, concerning the rights, roles, and status of non-Muslims, in particular the large Coptic Christian minority in Egypt, as well as non-Muslim responses to those attitudes. She avoids an essentializing framing of the discussion by avoiding asking whether Islam is compatible with tolerance, pluralism, and citizenship and instead focusing on how Egyptian Islamist and Coptic intellectuals, activists, authors, politicians, and others are actually articulating, responding to, and interpreting concepts of tolerance, pluralism, and citizenship and how these views are constantly undergoing processes of modification and reinterpretation in response to the demands of modernity. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Based on Islamist writings, political tracts, and interviews with Islamists, this book examines Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt from the perspective of Islamic conceptions of citizenship, and provides non-Muslim responses to those views.
About the Author
Rachel Scott is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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