By John M. Owen

Political Islam has frequently been in comparison to ideological hobbies of the previous corresponding to fascism or Christian theocracy. yet are such analogies legitimate? How may still the Western global this day reply to the demanding situations of political Islam? Taking an unique method of solution this question, Confronting Political Islam compares Islamism's fight with secularism to different lengthy ideological clashes in Western historical past. through analyzing 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 brought on overseas interventions and overseas conflicts--John Owen attracts six significant classes to illustrate that a lot of what we expect approximately political Islam is inaccurate.

Owen makes a speciality of 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 blunders 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 are usually not monolithic; overseas interventions are the norm; a kingdom might be either rational and ideological; an ideology wins while states that exemplify it outperform different states throughout a number of 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 could be ordered, Confronting Political Islam upends the various traditional knowledge concerning the present upheavals within the Muslim world.

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It is vitally that Westerners, time and time back, have underestimated their reputation and gear. As center East professional Shadi Hamid notes, “Analysts regularly appear to be discovering indicators of Islamist decline,” but actual decline isn't really obtrusive. Take the March 2010 parliamentary elections in Iraq, good earlier than the Arab Spring all started. A coalition of events headed via Ayad Allawi gained, and Western pundits hailed this victory for secularism within the new Iraq. yet in reality, Allawi’s coalition integrated an openly Islamist celebration. including all of the seats that different Islamist events gained yields 159, simply shy of the 163 had to shape a central authority. 6 Underreporting of this type usually occurs whilst a Muslim nation holds elections: analysts word that Islamists are divided, ignoring the final power of Muslim sentiment that “Islam is the answer. ” “In short,” concludes Hamid, “it will be a mistake to imagine that after Islamist events lose, that this displays a broader shift clear of spiritual politics or from faith, and in the direction of ‘secularism’—the type of factor we adore to think is going on within the heart East yet, for either higher and worse, infrequently does and probably won’t. ”7 Analyses and predictions that short-sell Islamism divulge a deep conviction, widespread between many Western observers, that political Islam can't final, that it really is easily an unsustainable, impractical set of principles within the glossy global. We Westerners come by means of this conviction in truth. for a minimum of 200 years, now we have tended to think in historic growth. a lot of our discourse and how we predict approximately social and technical difficulties recommend that we think that the human race is relocating towards rationality and morality (as we outline these things). heritage, we think, is a narrative no longer of decline, nor of stagnation, nor of cycles of development and regress; it's a tale of ahead or upward circulate. certainly, it kind of feels self-evident to us that society has progressively better over the last numerous centuries. eight Our unparalleled and growing to be strength over nature, because of the marvelous successes of contemporary technological know-how, is likely one of the most crucial resource of that trust. yet we are also much less violent and superstitious, and extra tolerant, reasonable, and effective, than the forebears we examine on Wikipedia or see in video clips. nine Even our mom and dad and grandparents, who likewise believed in growth, have been backward, we agree—greedy, violent, sexually repressed, missing environmental consciousness—and we congratulate ourselves for being extra enlightened. therefore the significantly acclaimed tv convey Mad males depicts the United States within the early Sixties as experiencing a type of collective psychological ailment. might be humans again then dressed higher than we do, yet they smoked, drank an excessive amount of, littered, repressed their emotions, and have been sexist. we don't recognize what the United States should be like in 2060, yet we will be able to be rather convinced that americans will ponder us backward, unique, morally suspect, and embarrassing. This Western narrative of growth is previous and doubtless invincible.

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