In This Review

Islam, Democracy, and the State in North Africa
Islam, Democracy, and the State in North Africa
Edited by John P. Entelis
Indiana University Press, 1997, 228 pp.

Fielding a veteran team of American Maghribi specialists, this book discusses Islam and politics, human rights, aspects of political economy, and the international dimension of prospects for democratization in Islamic North African states. The Islam chapters, for all their different orientations, fit into the following formula: Islam is misunderstood and often demonized in the West, the role of governments in the area in confronting Islamism has been ham-fisted at best, and there are numbers of Islamist moderates with whom these Maghribi governments and the West could work. The political economy chapters paint a bleak picture of high unemployment, statist regimes uncomfortable with privatization, and rentier governments receiving just enough outside support to avoid the tough choices required to accommodate their domestic constituencies. All chapters advance useful arguments based on solid research. Mark Tessler's richly documented thesis that support for Islamist movements is closely correlated to lack of economic opportunity is particularly noteworthy.