Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World

Fatema Mernissi, Author, Mary J. Lakeland, Translator
Fatema Mernissi, Author, Mary J. Lakeland, Translator Addison Wesley Publishing Company $24.9 (195p) ISBN 978-0-201-60883-0
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-201-62483-0
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-7382-0745-2
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In this deeply textured philosophical analysis, Mernissi ( The Veil and the Male Elite ), a sociologist in Morocco, argues cogently that Islam has been perverted by Arab leaders who want to deny their people democracy. Mixing personal experience, Arab history, Koranic analysis and cultural references, Mernissi explores Arab fear of the West, the rise of the ``media imam,'' the process by which the concept of freedom ``has been tainted with sin'' and the loopholes that allow Arab states to be seated in the United Nations without adhering to all its principles. Arab masses sided with Saddam Hussein, she states, mostly due to their anger against the wealthy leaders of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. She argues that the Gulf war, as well as the growth of Arab feminism, will spark demilitarization and democracy. However, Mernissi, a self-described ``incurable optimist,'' offers little hard political analysis and does not examine what precisely the masses mean when they call for democracy. (Nov.)
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