Al Jazeera Centre for Studies digitally released a new book on Monday, 21 September 2020, entitled The Perception of Islamist Movements of the Modern State: Morocco and Tunisia as Models by Fouzia Talha.
Through observation, analysis and comparison, the book delves into the perception of the modern state in the literature of the Movement for Unity and Reform in Morocco and Ennahda Movement in Tunisia before and after their participation in government.
The book poses a number of questions, such as: how do the thinkers and leaders of Islamist movements perceive the modern state? How has this perception changed now that they have engaged in political action and participated in government? To what extent have their discourses been applied after they contended with the complexities and challenges of the modern state?
The author chose the Movement for Unity and Reform, with its Justice and Development Party, and Ennahda Movement as case studies because of the moderate centre approach they represent especially after their intellectual reassessment of and reconciliation with the modern state and their belief in reform from within state institutions.
The political experience of the Movement for Unity and Reform and Ennahda Movement, according to the author, was a real test of their discourses regarding and representations of the state, particularly after their post-Arab revolutions opportunity to participate in government in which they tested the nature of the modern state closely and grasped that its reality requires adaptation to its principles and institutions.
The author also contends that participating in government has faced the two movements challenged their ability to introduce their Islamist vision to politics and public life in the state on modernist bases, and their ability to succeed in running state institutions given the dominance of moral and religious discourse in their literature and the uniqueness of the ruling systems in their respective countries.
For this reason, the author concludes that Islamists’ experience in government lures one into researching and exploring the movements’ literature to understand the features of the mental image their thinkers and theorists have of the modern state, and deliberate its strengths and weaknesses and the possibility of attaining their perception and visions on the ground as well as observe the development of the movements’ discourse toward reconciliation with the modern state and assess the extent of the movements’ harmony and compatibility with the modern state whether in theory or practice.
The author, Fouzia Talha, is Moroccan professor and researcher specialised in Islamic political thought. She holds a PhD in philosophy and Islamic thought from the University of Hassan II in Casablanca. She has also published various educational and political studies and stories and participated in international and national events.
The book can be viewed and downloaded here: https://studies.aljazeera.net/ar/ebooks/book-1310