Synopses & Reviews
A lucid and compelling case for a new American stance toward the Islamic world.
What comes after jihad? Outside the headlines, believing Muslims are increasingly calling for democratic politics in their undemocratic countries. But can Islam and democracy successfully be combined? Surveying the intellectual and geopolitical terrain of the contemporary Muslim world, Noah Feldman proposes that Islamic democracy is indeed viable and desirable, and that the West, particularly the United States, should work to bring it about, not suppress it.
Encouraging democracy among Muslims threatens America's autocratic Muslim allies, and raises the specter of a new security threat to the West if fundamentalists are elected. But in the long term, the greater threat lies in continuing to support repressive regimes that have lost the confidence of their citizens. By siding with Islamic democrats rather than the regimes that repress them, the United States can bind them to the democratic principles they say they support, reducing anti-Americanism and promoting a durable peace in the Middle East.
After Jihad gives the context for understanding how the many Muslims who reject religious violence see the world after the globalization of democracy. It is also an argument about how American self-interest can be understood to include a foreign policy consistent with the deeply held democratic values that make America what it is. At a time when the encounter with Islam has become the dominant issue of U.S. foreign policy, After Jihad provides a road map for making democracy work in a region where the need for it is especially urgent.
"[T]he strength of Feldman's work lies in his consistent and simple reminder that the emergence of democracy in some countries will not necessarily bring about Islamist rule, and that suppressing it would itself be downright undemocratic." Publishers Weekly
"A sincere plea for the US not to let a Burqa Curtain descend on more Islamic countries, undercut by stolid academese and unduly rosy speculation." Kirkus Reviews
Proposing that Islamic democracy is viable and desirable, a scholar of Islamic thought offers a lucid and compelling case for a new American stance toward the Islamic world.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -251) and index.
A brave and timely examination of America's great dilemma in the Muslim world
Published just as the United States went to war in Iraq, After Jihad put Noah Feldman "into the center of an unruly brawl now raging in policy circles over what to do with the Arab world" (The New York Times Book Review).
A year later, the questions Feldman raises-and answers-are at the center of every serious discussion about America's role in the world. How can Islam and democracy be reconciled? How can the United States sponsor emerging Islamic democrats without appeasing radicals and terrorists? Can we responsibly remain allies with stable but repressive Arab regimes, chaotic emerging democracies, and Israel as well?
After Jihad made Feldman, in a stroke, the leading Western authority on emerging Islamic democracy--and the most prominent adviser to the Iraqis drafting a constitution for their newly freed nation. This paperback edition--which includes a new preface taking account of recent events--is the best single book on the nature of Islam today and on the forms Islam is likely to take in the coming years.
About the Author
, born in 1970, teaches law at New York University. He was senior adviser for constitutional law for the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in the months after the U.S. war in Iraq.
Table of Contents
Revolution that wasn't -- Islam and democracy in contact -- Part I : Idea of Islamic democracy -- Islamic democracy, not Islamist democracy ; Islam, the West, and the question of opposition ; Islam and democracy as mobile ideas ; Resilience of Islam ; God's rule and the people's rule ; Islamic equality ; Islamic liberty ; Universality of mobile ideas -- Part II : Varieties of Islamic democracy -- Democratization and Muslim reality : an overview ; Iran : Islamic democracy in the balance ; Turkey : the outlier ; Islam and democracy in South and Southeast Asia : mobility and possibility ; Pakistan : the Islamic state and the struggle for stability ; Diversity of the Arabs ; Monarchies with oil : the Rentier state in action ; Kings without oil ; Dictators and the Islamists : the puzzle of Egypt ; Regime change and its consequences : dictators with oil ; Big picture : Islam, democracy, and the contact of mobile ideas -- Part III : Necessity of Islamic democracy -- Why democracy? The pragmatic argument ; Neutralizing anti-Americanism by refuting it ; Doing the right thing ; How to do it ; Democracy's Muslim allies ; Imagining an Islamic democracy ; After Jihad.