Amidst daft rhetoric and media hysteria, the relationship between contemporary politics and the religion of Islam is hotly debated. Political Islam and the Invention of Tradition provides timely, unique and informed insight into the phenomenon of "political Islam" by tracing its historical development in the context of the modern world historical theme of the asymmetric development and modernization of different societies.
The author demonstrates how many of the leading intellectuals associated with the movement of Political Islam have made innovative and dynamic contributions to the relationship between Islam and democracy. He demonstrates that Political Islam is not some sort of religious project aimed at returning Muslim society to a barbaric past; rather, it is a creative and positive approach to dealing with the failure of Western-style secular governments in many Muslim states. The epitome of Islamist contributions to the democratic discourse in Muslim societies is the invented tradition of an "Islamic state." This is a state founded upon an indigenously Islamic notion of a social contract between rulers and ruled.
Political Islam and the Invention of Tradition encourages fresh, dynamic thinking on the role religious activism has played in the politics of democratization in the Middle East, and makes the case that it will play an important and very much needed role in the future.