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The Failure of Political Islam

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  135 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
For many Westerners, the 1990s may seem the era of Islamic fundamentalism with radical Muslims everywhere on the march, remaking societies and altering the landscape of contemporary politics. Offering a corrective to such a view, the French political philosopher Olivier Roy depicts an entirely different spectacle - political Islam is a failure. Save for Iran, it has not wo ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Harvard University Press (first published 1992)
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Lumumba Shakur
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The one review of this book on this site does not do it justice. Hence, this is my take: This book is perhaps the best statement and explanation on why Islamism as a political tool has failed miserably. Far from being rooted in the Islamic scholarly tradition, political Islam is a reactionary movement whose ideological philosophy is rooted in Marxism and the violent revolutionary program that gave so much expression to the Independence Movements during the 50s, 60s and 70s. Though I do not agree ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: islam
Why cannot be Islam accepted like Christianity in the West? Is it because Islam and politics don't mix or is Islam actually a culture in itself?

West has used two methods to deal with Muslim minority, multiculturalism and assimilation. Multiculturalism assumes that the culture remains the same, generation after generation while assimilation means that culture disappears in the mainstream.

The book has probably the best description of Islam-ism and new-fundamentalism I have read thus far.

Check thi
Nov 10, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Seeing Islam from another point of view (orientalist that is)is what we get by reading this book. This book shows us why the Islam political movement (this term is different with Islamic politic) always faces it's obstacle (if failure being to harsh) in the attempt to realize the idealistic Islam 'khilafah'. Case example were showed from the event happened in Algeria, Iran, and other countries. The content is debatable and most Muslims will surely disagree the author's argument, but what more im ...more
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Roy offers a very good sociological study of Political Islam in the 20th Century with special attention as to why it failed as a political movement. The book does a good job of covering the sources, background, and ideology of the movement. It also distinguishes between Fundamentalism, Islamism (Political Islam), and Neo-Fundamentalism, explaining the often porous boundaries--something badly needed to understand much of the conflict taking place in the world today. Although written in the mid-90 ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Roy is an expert in examining subtleties within Islam and this book holds up remarkably well. Islamists have gained power after the Arab Spring, but they did not cause it and Roy provides a partial explanation as to why. Moreover, his discussion of Islamic economics is spot-on.
Muhammad M. Alaraby
The coming to power of movements such as FIS will only make more apparent the emptiness of the phantasm of "Islamic state" #Roy
Nicholas Chan
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thesis
Roy's The Failure of Political Islam is an interesting prelude to his later work, Globalised Islam. The former raises many important concepts, such as neofundamentalism and how political 'Islam' fails that will be further expanded in the latter. Roy's important contribution is his not taking anything for granted approach in dissecting the phenomenon of political Islam. Using a wide range of resources from history to sociology to agents and discourse, Roy provides a compelling (and necessarily di ...more
Baraa Qudah
تحليل و دراسة للاسلام السياسي المعاصر و تشكيله و طبيعته

للباحث اوليفيه روا نفس طويل في تقسي التفاصيل و التغيرات

كتاب مفيد لفهم جزء ولو بسيط عن زماننا الحالي
Boring AbinZ
Mar 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
ندمت على كل دقيقة وأنا أقرأ هذه الترهات !
مع كل صفحة كنت أقول يمكن يتحسن الكتاب في الصفحات القادمة ،يمكن يكتب معلومات موثوقة ، يمكن أرى تحليلات رصينة
خيب الظن ..أسوأ كتاب قرأته هذا العام
Priyo Jatmiko
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it

While the book contains many good data, insighful questions and discussion, it fails to argue on his primary thesis on the failure of political islam, simply because he fails to define what is and in what terms is he referring about "political islam". Without this definition and clear distinction on semantic conceptual, he falls on fallacy that all of the phenomenon he received as the supporting proof of his hypothesis, which is unfair: look at these examples:

- when the Al Azhar prominent issuin
Yaser Maadat
أي هراء استشراقي هذا؟!
سطحية في التحليل و ضعف في الرؤية و محاولة استنطاق واقع متخيل،كل هذا و أكثر يدفعني لاسقاط هذا الكتاب من كونه مرجع لنقد فعلي لتجربة الاسلام السياسي ،التي يراها الكاتب فاشلة بناء على معطيات واقعها السياسي و الاجتماعي و الاقتصادي حتى عام 1991 موعد صدور الكتاب،الواقع المتخيل الذي ينطلق منه الكاتب المستشرق اوليفييه روا و الذي مكث فترة لا بأس بها في افغانستان،جعله يستشرق مستقبلا متواضعا للسلفية الصاعدة التي نفى عنها أي امكانية لتحول ثوري،و هو ما حدث عكسه تماما كما نشاهد اليوم من ت
David Elizardi
Jan 24, 2016 marked it as to-read
French author. the perversion of Muslim faith into utopian political mvmt ... unable to remain in power very long - 1992

Also wrote Holy Ignorance - when religion and culture part
Ararat Kostanian
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Although I don't agree that political islam failed, but I would say this author is one of the top specialist in the field. his argument makes sense. I must read.
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A professor at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy); he was previously a research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a lecturer for both the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) and the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (IEP).

From 1984 to 2008, he has acted as a consultant to the French Foreign Ministry.

In 1988, Ro
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