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In a sequel to his earlier Moderate and Radical Islamic Fundamentalism: The Quest for Modernity, Legitimacy, and the Islamic State, Moussalli makes a claim to highlight and, where possible, construct the important ideological and religious arguments on democracy, pluralism, and human rights, as these principles continue to be developed by modern Islamic political discourses. He maintains that by linking classical and medieval Islamic thought with pre- sent political and religious debates, Islamic discourses, at least in their socalled moderate versions, have both absorbed and Islamized western values. They have come, therefore, to "constitute a theology ofliberation and an epistemological break with the past."
The basic argument that Moussalli attempts to present is both simple and grand. Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy, and theology protect individual and communal rights and legitimize political, social, economic, intellectual, and religious differences, while providing the grounds for viewing the people as the ultimate source of political sovereignty. While the history of the highest Islamic political institution - the caliphate - is mostly one of authoritarianism, classical and medieval Islamic political thought, in contrast, incorporated the seeds of such notions as democracy, pluralism, and human rights together with comparable doctrines of equality, freedom, and justice. Hence, Moussalli's purpose is to emphasize the distinction between Islam as a religious belief system and the Islamic state as a human construct. Such a distinction, he alleges, would provide for limitless possibilities of interpretation and reinterpretation, construction as well as decon struction. It would further al low for "humanizing the divine" as a means of establishing hannony and cooperation with the West.
Each of the first three chapters begin with a short introduction and analysis to the relevant classical and medieval notions of Muslim political thought. This is followed, respectively, by a review of modem moderate and radical .lslamist discourses, as developed from and beyond earlier theoretical and nonnative Muslim thought, about the perceived compatible western notions. Chapter 1 examines the various concepts of shura (counsel), ikhtiyar (choice), bay>ah ( oath of allegiance), and !}ma> ( consensus of the Muslim community), which are presented as being the theoretical methods that should govern in political rule ...