25 February 2010

Book: The Islamic Shield: Arab Resistance to Democratic and Religious Reforms

Elie Elhadj, "The Islamic Shield: Arab Resistance to Democratic and Religious Reforms" (Brown Walker Press, 2006; revised edition 2007):


From the publisher's description: "Washington's 'War on Terrorism' has used democratization of the Arab World as a justification and a weapon. The Islamic Shield contends that genuine religious and political reforms in the Arab World are sheer fantasy: they are not expected for a very long time, if ever. The Islamic Shield argues that democratic ideology cannot defeat Islamic theology. A culture of blind obedience to autocratic authority at home, school, mosque, and work place has been turned into a form of piety by the ulama clerics. [...]

"The Islamic Shield examines why democratic institutions are a mirage in two profoundly different countries, Saudi Arabia, an Islamist monarchy, and Syria, a quasi-secular republic. Although the two countries differ in types of governance, ideologies, agendas, and resources, they share in common non-representative, non-participatory dictatorial regimes. The two countries approximate socio-political models found in other Arab monarchies and republics. The Islamic Shield examines such questions as: [...] Why do non-Arab Islamic countries elect women as prime ministers and presidents while Arab ulama and most Arab rulers treat women as lesser beings and condemn democracy as un-Islamic? Is benevolent dictatorship a viable alternative to Arab democracy?"

The book is fully searchable on Google Book Search (including table of contents):


Syrian-born Elie Elhadj, a retired international banker, holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.

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