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What Every Political Leader in America and the West should Know about the Arab-Islamic World

Hichem Karoui

Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS-Doha Institute)

February 2, 2008

While America is preparing again for an important shift in policy-making, how would its Leaders read the map in the Arab-Islamic world? That's our concern here...

The dramatic global resurgence of religious, often fundamentalist, movements over the last decades has caught many people by surprise. However, the point that seemed more enticing is that the social scientists in their attempts to cope with their own cognitive dissonance have been as interesting as this surprising return of religion. Focusing on the resurgence of religion outside the modern West allowed some authors to pretend that these revivals of religion are still part of a modernizing process. And, not surprisingly, many have taken pains to detect a Puritan spirit or an inner-worldly asceticism in such movements, revealing their problematic reading of Max Weber's Protestant Ethic as a general theory of modernization.

Other authors, particularly the sociologist Steven Warner, emphasized American exceptionalism in contrast to the European trend towards secularization. Warner maintains that there is a new paradigm in the making for the study of religion in America which rejects an older paradigm based on the European experience of secularization.

Besides, at least concerning the American view, the Bush administration expressed what sounded as a new paradigm concerning world policy. The Europeans did not feel obliged to have the same analysis.

However, with the new American presidential elections looming at the horizon, the need for handling regional and international issues differently, may be very appealing for Republican and Democrat runners. A new pattern of thought may be already acting behind the scene and pulling the strings. People in the Middle-East region are still concerned with issues like: how much the U.S. presidential candidates are concerned with our problems and to which extent are they different from the predecessor?

Number of Pages in PDF File: 24

Keywords: American exceptionalism, Anti-Americanism, Politics of identity, Islam and the West, romantic nationalism, Reason and individuality, Arab secularism, Muslim secularizers

JEL Classification: D7, D8, O00, B3, B30, B31

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Date posted: February 6, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Karoui, Hichem, What Every Political Leader in America and the West should Know about the Arab-Islamic World (February 2, 2008). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1089809 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1089809

Contact Information

Hichem Karoui (Contact Author)
Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS-Doha Institute) ( email )
HOME PAGE: http://english.dohainstitute.org/
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