Understanding Global Issues

Briefings and books about the big issues of our time

The Rise of Political Islam

Islam has always been a 'political' religion, in the sense that, to a far greater extent than Judaism or Christianity, it prescribes rules for personal conduct that put the community before the individual - the concept of martyrdom being the most extreme example. But 'political Islam' has come to mean something more than that. In Iraq and Lebanon Sunni and Shia versions of Islam have been brought into political opposition to each other. In Lebanon and Palestine Islam has been mobilised politically against other religions. And in many Islamic countries Islam is promoted as a better alternative to discredited secular socialism.

In this briefing we look at the history of 'Political Islam', what it means in these different contexts, and some of the issues it raises in the specific context of the United Kingdom's pluricultural society.

Published: January 2007 ISBN: 0852335164

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