Secularizing Islamists? provides an indepth analysis of two Islamist parties in Pakistan, the highly influential Jama'at-e-Islami and the more militant Jama'at-ud-Da'wa, widely blamed for the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. Basing her findings on thirteen months of ethgraphic work with the two parties in Lahore, Humeira Iqtidar proposes that these Islamists are involuntarily facilitating secularization within Muslim societies, even as they vehemently oppose secularism. This book offers a fine-grained account of the workings of both parties that challenges received ideas about the relationship between the ideology of secularism and the processes of secularization. Iqtidar illuminates the impact of women on Pakistani Islamism, while arguing that these Islamist groups are inadvertently supporting secularization by forcing a critical engagement with the place of religion in public and private life. She highlights the role that competition among Islamists and the focus on the state as the center of their activity plays in assisting secularization. The result is a significant contribution to our understanding of emerging trends in Muslim politics.
Humeira Iqtidar is a lecturer in politics in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London.