The USC Center for Islamic Thought, Culture and Practice


Initiative to Stop the Violence

Initiative to Stop the Violence

Formerly one of the largest and most militant Islamic organizations in the Middle East, Egypt’s al-Gamā‘ah al-Islāmīyah is believed to have played an instrumental role in numerous acts of global terrorism, including the assassination of President Anwar Sadat and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In later years, however, the organization issued a surprising renunciation of violence, repudi- ating its former ideology and replacing it with a sharī‘ah-based understanding and assessment of the purpose and proper application of jihad.

This key manifesto of modern Islamist thought is now available to an English-speaking audience in
an eminently readable translation by noted Islamic scholar Sherman A. Jackson. Unlike other Western and Muslim critiques of violent extremism, this important work emerges from within the movement of Middle Eastern Islamic activism, both challenging and enriching prevailing notions about the role of Islamists in fighting the scourge of extremist politics, blind anti-Westernism, and, alas, wayward jihad.

Al-Gamā’ah Al-Islāmīyah is one of the oldest and largest Islamist organizations in Egypt. In 1997 the group renounced violence as a means of advancing its goals. In 2011 they formed a political party, the Building and Development Party, which held thirteen seats in the Egyptian Parliament in 2012.

Sherman A. Jackson holds the King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and is professor of religion and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Available from Yale University Press.