Emerging trends in Islamist political thought: Implications for Islam-West Relations
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Over the past several decades, the study of international relations has taken a keen interest in developments in the Muslim world and their implications for Islam-West relations. Much of the focus has been on the resurgence of Islam as a social and political force in the Muslim world and particularly the rise of Islamic political parties. Infused with ideas about Islam as the solution to the social, economic and political problems of Muslim countries, the first generation of Islamist political parties were able to capitalise on a wave of public frustration with the existing political order and a longing for stability, justice and prosperity envisioned through the implementation of shariah and the establishment of an Islamic state. However, not only did the first generation of Islamist political parties fail to deliver on good governance and socio-economic advancement in accordance with the expectations of the masses but their approach, rhetoric and policies attracted distrust and opposition from a range of constituencies including secularists, moderate Muslims, and non-Muslim minorities as well as Western governments. In response to internal and external forces, a second generation of Islamist political parties has emerged that base their approach and policies on the maqasid. These parties are Islamic in orientation and identity but base their political programs on universal principles of democracy, social justice, rule of law, human rights, pluralism, and government accountability, rather than crude appeals to implementing punitive aspects of shariah law or creating an Islamic state in the conventional, modern sense. Also, unlike most of their first generation counterparts, second generation Islamist parties advocate positive relations with the West. Through their advocacy of the maqasid, they are not only redefining the concept of Islamic democracy and political Islam but also the fate of Islam itself in the socio-political context.
Australian Political Science Association Conference 2010 (APSA)
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