In this book, Azzam Tamimi introduces the thought of Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi, the renowned Islamist political activist who heads Tunisia's most important - albeit banned - Islamist political opposition to the current authoritarian regime of Zine Abidine Ben Ali. Ghannouchi is the leader of a school in modern Islamic political thought that advocates democracy and pluralism. He believes democracy to be a set of mechanisms for guaranteeing the sovereignty of the people and for supplying safety valves against corruption and the hegemonic monopoly of power. While insisting on the compatibility of democracy with Islam, he believes that because of their secular foundations contemporary forms of liberal democracy may not suit Muslim societies. He insists, however, that Islam is compatible with Western thought in matters concerning the system of government, human rights, and civil liberties.

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