A review of "Islam and Politics", 4th ed, by John L. Esposito (Syracuse University Press, 1984, 1998), Xv, 393. Review by Dr. Paul-Thomas Ferguson. In this review, Dr. Ferguson summarizes the books content and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the author's arguments.
"February 1979, the Islamic storm broke with full fury." With these words, John L. Esposito begins his analysis of politics in the Islamic world. According to the author, the "Islamic resurgence" forced the world's attention to focus specifically on events, and therefore institutions, in the Islamic world, specifically Iran. Prior to the Iranian Revolution, Esposito reminds us, many observers thought that Islam would die eventually out, that it was not well-equipped to handle the modern world. In light of the events of 1979 and 1980, outsiders have had to reassess their opinions of the Muslim world. The Middle East is in the midst of a resurgence, both in religious fervor and in world significance. Westerners now find themselves avidly studying, though with some apprehension, places which in many ways exist counter to accepted American traditions.
As Esposito tells us, in the Muslim world there is no separation of church and state, there is no secular nationalism, and Westerners have long charged Islam with being an impediment to progress. These perceptions and misconceptions make it difficult for Westerners, particularly Americans, to come to terms with the realities of the Islamic world. To a large extent, this is the goal of Esposito's "Islam and Politics". To this end, the author goes back to the beginning, ...
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