In this small study, Tilman Seidensticker, Professor of Islamic Studies at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, deals with Islamism, a phenomenon increasingly dominating the perception of Islam in the West. Yet, as Seidensticker argues, Islamism is “merely one facet of Islam,” and neither does it determine the “religious life of most of the people” (p. 7). In contrast to popular scientific studies, all too content with overhasty explanations, Seidensticker’s intention is to integrate Islamist movements, occurring in very different forms, into their historical context. Thus the first chapter, “What Is Islamism?” (pp. 9-14), defines terms, because “in the mass media, in books authored by non-scientists, and in different academic disciplines” the notion of “Islamism” is defined differently, depending on concerns and necessities (p. 9). In addition, the definition of “Islamism” is complicated by the fact that changes and distinctions emerged which opposed a specification since the phenomenon in principle appeared. In light of these difficulties, Seidensticker’s definition is rather general: “Islamism concerns intentions to reform society, culture, state, or politics, on the basis of values considered as Islamic” (ibid.). Seidensticker presents further characteristics of Islamism, which are to be stated empirically. He names a “dissociation from (different sized) parts of the religious and political
Die Welt des Islams – Brill
Published: Jun 23, 2017
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