Modern Waves of Political Islam, Geopolitics & Liberalism

An overview of modern waves of political Islam and their diverse ideological influences including a review of the ideologies of key Islamist thinker and movement, and highlighting internal tensions within them.

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


  • Political Islam and Liberalism - From Clash of Civilizations to Post Islamism: The key debate and discussion about political Islam and liberalism would be reviewed here. It will discuss Bernard Lewis’s Islam and the West, Samuel P Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations thesis, Paul Berman’s Terror and Liberalism. They argue Islam and political Islam is a fascist idea denotes terror and want to destroy liberal democracies. The lecture will discuss their critics including John Esposito, Amartya Sen, Edward Said and Asef Bayat who argue not all Islamists movements are anti-democratic, some are pro-democratic too. It will discuss examples of actual movements in Egypt, Tunisia, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Pakistan and so forth.
  • Geopolitics, Pan Islamism (Ummah) and Political Islam: In this week, an intrinsic link between key geopolitical events and their tie with the evolution of pan Islamist idea of Ummah or global brotherhood will be examined. In this process, we will briefly discuss Jamal-al din al-Afghani (1839–1897), Shah Wali Allah (1702–1763), and Ibn-Abdul Wahhab (1703–1792) and how they initiated what many sympathisers call “ an Islamic awakening, or renaissance, known as ‘al-Nahda’, a cultural and intellectual revival in the Muslim world.” Their ideas later influenced key Islamist movements in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Asia and the West. Modern day terrorists too use some of these theories to justify their fascist projects. Finally, the lecture will argue that evolution of these movements and their multifaceted expressions are tied with key geopolitical events during colonial and post-colonial time. Those events include colonization of the Muslim lands, First World War, rise of communism in Muslims societies, Six-day Arab-Israel War, West’s war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, End of the Cold War, 9/11 terrorist attack in the US, 7/7 bombing in London and the rise of the IS.
  • Biographies of Key Islamist theorists and Influencers: This week will discuss biographies of four key Islamist theorists and influencers. They are: (a) Sayyid Qutb who represented and influenced radical stream within Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and said to influence modern day terrorism, (b) Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American Yemeni Imam who remained extremely influential among modern day radical and extremist ideologues, (c) Syed Abdul A’la Maududi, a former Indian journalist who initiated the Jamaat e Islami movement in South Asia and influenced Iranian revolutionaries and (d) Rached Ghannouchi, key ideologue of the Tunisian En Nehda party who argued secularism and Islam are compatible.
  • Muslim Autocrats and Islamists: With reference to the so-called Arab spring, this lecture will review the contested relationship between Muslim autocrats and Islamists. It will review two case studies: Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s short-lived tenure and the fates of top Islamists leaders of Jamaat e Islami in Bangladesh who were hanged to death after being convicted for committing war crime during 1971.
  • Islamophobia, Muslim think tanks, lobby groups and the liberals in the West: This lecture will offer some emerging patterns where key Muslim think tanks were formed by former sympathisers of political Islam who are apparently no more critical of Western democracies as many of them live within such systems. It will demonstrate how debates about Islamophobia in the West and suppression of Islamist movements in Muslim countries are tied with networks of Western Institutes including: conservative think tanks, conservative parties, media, commentators, lobbyists and consultants. In response it will discuss how Muslims are forming a competing network between Muslim think tanks, Muslim lobbyists liberal media and progressive politicians of the West.
  • Globalization of Political Islam: Interpretation, Identity and Politics: This lecture will offer lecturer’s original work. It will discuss how against the backdrop of globalization; Islam is interpreted diversely at individual level and how that interpretation influences diverse politics (including violent acts) in many countries including Western societies. It will highlight how the idea of seeking “authentic Islam” may make people violent and diminish the significance of the concept of the nation state. It will end with the note that, why it is important to understand such diversity within Muslim societies not only along the line of sects ( Shia-Sunni ) but also within apparently homogenous sects, i.e-Sunni.
$192 Limited / $173

<p>An overview of modern waves of political Islam and their diverse ideological influences including a review of the ideologies of key Islamist thinker and movement, and highlighting internal tensions

03 May

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