The Receding Shadow of the Prophet: The Rise and Fall of Radical Political Islam

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004 - Religion - 186 pages

The tragic events of September 11, 2001, in the United States renewed fears of an Islamist wave destabilizing the countries of the Muslim world. Yet the alarm raised over a previous wave of Islamism in the early 1990s, which threatened to overwhelm Egypt and Algeria and spill into the Balkans and Central Asia, proved to be unfounded. Takeyh and Gvosdev assert that while Islamism has been successful as an oppositional ideology of wrath, it has failed to provide Islamic societies with any feasible alternative to undertaking fundamental political and economic reforms. By detailing the defeat of Islamist movements in the Middle East, the Balkans, and Central Asia over the last decade, this book encourages us not to overestimate the Islamist threat in the current climate and the years to come.

Radical Islamists have been successful in mobilizing opposition to corrupt regimes, yet they have failed to translate their utopian vision into reality. Furthermore, their emphasis on violence alienates and frightens the middle class and other potential allies. Iran's revolution failed to create a model Islamic republic, and its government is increasingly losing legitimacy to demands for genuine democracy. Islamist governments in Afghanistan and Sudan relied upon violence to remain in power and ultimately collapsed. Islamist movements proved unable to dislodge the existing regimes in Egypt and Algeria. In the Balkans and Central Asia, Islamism has had little attraction for Western-oriented populations. Indeed, throughout the entire Islamic world, former radicals are seeking a new accommodation between Islamic values and liberal democracy. Takeyh and Gvosdev succinctly and accessibly explore the rise of radical Islam, as well as its ultimate demise in various nations.

 

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Contents

The Islamist Challenge
1
Islamism versus Muslim Politics
2
The Islamist Outlook
8
Attractions and Pitfalls of Islamism
14
Iran The Islamist State and the Reformist Agenda
23
Revolution and Reform
24
Reforms Real Track Record
29
A Civil War in the Right
32
A General Overview
78
Muslims Islam and the War in Bosnia 19902002
84
Albanians Islam and Kosovo 19741999
94
Did the Balkans Become and Islamist Beachhead? Concluding Thoughts
96
From the Red Star to the Green Crescent? Islamism in the Former Soviet Union
105
The Shadow of the Crescent? Assumptions about Islam in the Soviet Union
106
Islam Gorbachev and the Breakup of the USSR
114
General Observations
119

The New Iran?
36
Islamism in Algeria A History of Hope and Agony
39
The Evolution of Political Islam in Algeria
42
The Rise and Fall of the Islamic Salvation Front FIS
44
Whither Algeria?
51
Egypt The Struggle for a Nations Soul
59
Nasser and the Muslim Brotherhood
60
Killing Pharaoh
61
The Egyptian Stalemate
68
Islamism and Moderation in Egypt
71
Islamism in the Former Yugoslavia
77
State Islam and the Eurasian Consensus
122
Islamists Ascendant? The Case of Tajikistan
126
Islamists Ascendant? The Case of Chechnya
131
A Realistic Assessment
135
Some Thoughts on Islamist Failures in Sudan and Afghanistan
147
Trajectory of Failure
148
An Islamist Cambodia?
152
Conclusion
157
Selected Bibliography
169
Index
183
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Page 173 - Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, New York: Grove Press, 1968.

About the author (2004)

RAY TAKEYH is Professor and Director of studies at the Near East and South Asia Center of the National Defense University and author of The Origins of the Eisenhower Doctrine: The U.S., Britain, and Nasser's Eqypt, 1953-57.

NIKOLAS K. GVOSDEV is Executive Editor of The National Interest and a senior fellow for strategic studies at the Nixon Center. His most recent work is Civil Society and the Search for Justice in Russia.

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