Islam Without Fear: Egypt and the New Islamists

In This Review

Islam Without Fear: Egypt and the New Islamists

By Raymond William Baker
Harvard University Press, 2003
320 pp. $29.95
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In a sympathetic study that verges on hagiography, Baker presents a school of liberal Islamist thinkers: two clerics, two lawyers, a judge and historian, and a journalist. Islam, these thinkers maintain, can embrace representative government, accept equal rights for women and non-Muslims, and call for justice and development in this world -- all while eschewing the violence of radical Islamists and oppressive governments. Theirs is an Islam of moderation: wasatiyya, the middle way, as embodied by the new Wasat Party that emerged in the mid-1990s. Still, in foreign policy, these "new Islamists" support a defensive jihad against U.S. actions in Afghanistan and Iraq and take a strong line on the rights of Palestinians.