n Journal for Islamic Studies - Islamism and Democracy in India : The Transformation of Jamaat-e-Islami, Irfan Ahmad : book review




This is an excellent ethnography of an Islamic trend that has remained prominent in the public eye. Ahmad's study of Islamism in India, particularly represented by Jamaat-e-Islami (est. 1941), traces its history and its transformation within a political context that differed significantly from its original foundation in colonial India. The book gives a human face to a movement that has been associated with a vast range of political movements in recent times; from the radical movement of al-Qaeda led by Osama Ben Laden, to the democratic tendencies among Islamists in Turkey, Morocco, Indonesia and Malaysia. Ahmad shows that Indian Islamists were internally divided and embraced the extremes of both radicalism and democratization. More importantly, he showed that the purist Islamist ideology enumerated by its founder Maulana Maududi was open to transformation.


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