Introduction: Islam between Culture and Politics — the Scope and Implications

  • Bassam Tibi


Islam is a world religion, and it also forms the basis of a world civilisation which was once very powerful. Due to its spread across the world Islamic civilisation is composed of a great variety of diverse local cultures. The combination of civilisational unity and cultural diversity is thus a hallmark of Islam. It is unfortunate that in our age Islam is mostly addressed in political terms. The risk involved is to confuse Islam with political Islam. In the name of religious tolerance some scholars, like Voll and Esposito, justify Islamism, while others perceive Islam as a ‘threat’. In this book, I argue that Islam is a cultural system, however it is prone to politicisation. This is happening at the present time and the result of this process is the ideology of Islamism. In my view the politicisation of Islam takes place to the detriment of this religion and of its people. It is not Islam, but its politicisation that results in creating ‘faultlines’ between the people of Islam and those of other civilisations.


Modern Science Cultural Modernity Muslim Brotherhood Islamic State Islamic Civilisation 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bassam Tibi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of GöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Cornell UniversityUSA

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