Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
In his introduction, the editor notes that the book treats 'themes in peace studies as they intersect with Islam and Muslim history'. He points to what he calls 'the relentless focus on the intersection of Islam and violence' while little attention has been given to what Muslim thinkers have contributed to the nature of peace or peace movements within Islam. He makes the important observation that 'Religions do not have essences. They are sets of practices, traditions, ideas, and experiences, and are as diverse as their adherents'. This edited volume includes articles dealing with theological issues like jihad, doing good to enemies and 'internal peace versus being in society: Sufi dilemmas'. Other articles deal with historical issues like Islamic pacifism in West Africa, the struggle of a Muslim journalist/historian/theologian against the decisions of the colonial powers after World War I, an Indian Muslim partner of Mahatma Gandhi and peace contributions by Muslim fundamentalists. Finally, it includes articles and interviews with women behind peace initiatives in Bosnia and Muslim responses to Trumpist anti-Muslim policies in the US. This collection of essays is a needed book. It mirrors the richness of what goes on in the Muslim world: groundbreaking theological work with clear political implications and peace practices and humanitarian work which are not new and not unknown in the history of Islam. The articles dealing with history, in particular, demonstrate how persons of Muslim faith have made important contributions towards peace – although, like so many others, they have not always succeeded.