Understanding Muslim Identity, Rethinking Fundamentalism


I am pleased to inform my friends and readers that my latest book Understanding Muslim Identity Rethinking Fundamentalism, is finally on the bookshelf of (more or less virtual) book shops.

Another book on Islamic fundamentalism?’ I can hear the question echoing among friends, colleagues and readers. Since 2001, more than 100 books and 5,600 articles have been published on Islamic fundamentalism. Broadening the research to agnate labels – such as Islamism (about 200 books and 243 articles), political Islam (345 books and 4,670 articles) and Islamic extremism (only 16 books and 1610 articles) – we can appreciate the amount of scholarly publication pressed into the past seven years.

So, why write another book? I have tried to explain the reasons in the Introduction, which you can read for free. The book provides a very different analysis of what has been labeled ‘Islamic fundamentalism’, and what I prefer to call ‘emotional Islam’.

By rejecting culturalist and essentialist reductionist approaches to it, I have suggested that we need to understand ‘fundamentalism’ not as a ‘thing’ (i.e. cultural object) but as a ‘process’, and start from the individual before looking at the group. Of course, it is only the reader whom can decide whether a book may be interesting or not, but I am sure that Understanding Muslim Identity Rethinking Fundamentalism provides something new to the scholarly debate on radicalism and religious violence. Indeed, although I focus on Muslims, the argument presented in this book is not limited to them, and the theory on which it is based may be tested on other forms of ‘emotional religions’ or even ‘emotional secularism’.

Unfortunately the book is not free (I do not get very much from royalties and free academic books remain my dream!) and today more and more academic books published by serious academic publishers tend to be in hardback – my  book is not cheap (but among the cheapest in hardback!) .

Nonetheless,  I hope that, if the sale ranks are good, the publisher may decide to reprint the book in paperback. So, if you cannot buy the book, ask your library to buy it. I will be very happy to discuss the topic, chapters and ideas of the book with you.

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11 thoughts on “Understanding Muslim Identity, Rethinking Fundamentalism

  1. Recently I read on some site some imam’s statement that the concept of dar al harb is bida, an innovation introduced centuries ago that has been grossly damaging.

    Glad to see some useful ideas might be coming from your amazing murderous ghastly clergy.

    • Dear Eliza,
      Sorry to point this out, and forgive me for doing so, but Muslims do not have a clergy (in a certain sense, although still in a very different way, Shi’a Islam may have).

      So, Muslim imams’ and scholars’ opinions, and they are many and often they contradict each others, are just that: opinions! Of course, among all the people providing opinions there are some which like murderous ghastly one.

      Yet this is very much the same for any aspect of life (especially politics) and any religion: have you read the recent comments coming from the Vatican clergy?
      Hence my argument: stop looking to the finger (culture) pointing to the moon (human beings) and just look directly at the moon (how human beings are, how they are the products of their emotions, feelings and nuerocognitive aspects).

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  3. It has no clergy it just has men in distinctive dress, with titles such as mullah, imam, etc. who are running things to an amazing extent in some places.

    So religion does not exist, clergy does not exist… it’s starting to sound like an old Spanish literary conceit here, la vida es sueño…zzzzzzzzz.

    Oops, I mentioned Spain. Now you will come forth with stories about Saladin and the invention of kerosene and whatnot…zzzzzzzzz.

  4. According to Amazon UK they only have one copy left of your book – but more are due. It must a be a hit! lol Well done in getting your book out – but I am guessing you wont have a lovely t-shirt to advertise this one ;-)

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