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Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform (Library of Modern Middle East Studies) [Paperback]

Ziba Mir-Hosseini , Richard Tapper

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Book Description

26 May 2006 Library of Modern Middle East Studies (Book 54)
In today's world all eyes are on Iran, which has grappled with an experiment that has had a massive global impact. For some, the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 was the triumph of a modern, political Islam, heralding Muslim justice and economic prosperity. Others, including many of the original revolutionaries, saw religious fanatics attempting to roll back time by creating a despotic theocracy. Either way, the Iranian Revolution changed the Muslim world. It not only inspired the Muslim masses but also reinvigorated intellectual debates on the nature and possibilities of an Islamic state. The new 'Islamic Republic of Iran' combined not just religion and the state, but theocracy and democracy. Yet the revolution's heirs were soon engaged in a protracted struggle over its legacy. Dissident thinkers, from within an Islamic framework, sought a rights-based political order that could accept dissent, tolerance, pluralism, women's rights and civil liberties. Their ideas led directly to the presidency of Mohammad Khatami and, despite their political failure, they did leave a permanent legacy by demystifying Iranian religious politics, and condemning the use of the Shariah to justify autocratic rule. This book tells the story of the reformist movement through the world of Hasan Yousefi Eshkevari. An active supporter of the revolution who became one of the most outspoken critics of theocracy, Eshkevari developed ideas of 'Islamic democratic government', which have attracted considerable attention in Iran and elsewhere. In presenting a selection of Eshkevari's writings, this book reveals the intellectual and political trajectory of a Muslim thinker and his attempts to reconcile Islam with reform and democracy. As such it makes a highly original contribution to our understanding of the difficult social and political issues confronting the Islamic world today.

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'Hasan Yousefi Eshkevari is among the increasing number of progressive clerics pushing for reform in the Islamic system.' -Le Monde 'A scholarly contribution of outstanding merit.' -Professor Ann Elizabeth Mayer, University of Pennsylvania 'The publication of this book is very important and timely.' -Professor Dr. Nasr Abu Zayd, Leiden University 'If one has time to read only one book on how to interpret the language of contemporary religious politics in Iran, this is it.' -Professor Dale F. Eickelman, Dartmouth CollegeASIAN AFFAIRSAnyone interested in post-revolutionary Iran will find this an absorbing book. Christopher Rundle

About the Author

Ziba Mir-Hosseini is a social anthropologist and specialist in Islamic law. She is the author of Islam and Gender: The Religious Debate in Contemporary Iran and Marriage on Trial: A Study of Islamic Family Law. RICHARD TAPPER is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and author of numerous books on Iran and the Middle East.

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First Sentence
In December 2000, Hasan Yousefi Eshkevari, a mid-ranking Iranian cleric, was condemned to death for 'apostasy' and 'war against Islam'. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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