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The fear and anxiety aroused by Islamism is not a myth, nor is it simply a consequence of terrorism or fundamentalism. Writing in 1997, before 9/11 and before the austerity that has bred a new generation of far right groups across Europe and the US, S. Sayyid warned of a spectre haunting Western civilization. This groundbreaking book, banned by the Malaysian government, is both an analysis of the conditions that have made ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ possible and a provocative account of the ways in which Muslim identities have come to play an increasingly political role throughout the world. This is a pioneering, provocative and intricately crafted study, which shows the challenge of Islamism is not only geopolitical or even cultural but also epistemological.