Tamimi, Azzam (Azzam Sultan Tamimi)

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Tamimi, Azzam (Azzam Sultan Tamimi)


Born in Palestine.


Home—London, England.


Academic. Markfield Institute of Higher Education, Leicestershire, England, senior lecturer, 2000-04; Institute of Islamic Political Thought, London, England, director. Visiting professor at Kyoto University, 2004, and Nagoya University, 2005-06.


Mushārakat Al-Islāmīyīn Fī Al-sulṭah, al-Ḥurrīyah lil-'Ālam al-Islāmī (Landan, Afghanistan), 1994.

Al-Sharīyah Al-siyāsīyah Fī Al-Islām: Maṣādiruhā Wa-ḍawābiṭuhā, Lībirtī lil-Difā' 'an al-Ḥurrīyāt fī al-'Ālam al-Islāmī (Landan, Afghanistan), 1997.

(Editor, with John L. Esposito) Islam and Secularism in the Middle East, New York University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Rachid Ghannouchi: A Democrat within Islamism, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Hamas: A History from Within, Hurst (London, England), 2006, Olive Branch Press (Northampton, MA), 2007.

Contributor to the London Guardian.


Azzam Tamimi is an academic. Born in Palestine, he later moved to England to pursue a career in education. He served as a senior lecturer at Leicestershire's Markfield Institute of Higher Education from 2000 to 2004. He then became the director of London's Institute of Islamic Political Thought. He published his first two books in Arabic in the 1990s.

Tamimi edited Islam and Secularism in the Middle East in 2000 with John L. Esposito. The following year he published Rachid Ghannouchi: A Democrat within Islamism. The book covers the fundamentalist Tunisian leader Rachid Ghannouchi and analyzes his views on the idea of reconciling Islam with democracy.

Clement M. Henry, writing in the Middle East Journal, mentioned that "this book is a serious contribution to the literature on liberal (and illiberal) trends in contemporary political Islam, and will be a useful reference. Unfortunately, however, the print is too small for any but the most assiduous reader, and the text is marred by little lapses in Rachid Ghannouchi's memory that Tamimi did not check out."

Tamimi published Hamas: A History from Within in London in 2006, and the following year in the United States. The account attempts to correct popular Western and Israeli sentiment that Hamas is an extremist group whose only agenda is the destruction of Israel by covering the history of the grassroots organization and the close association it has with Palestine's majority.

Mohamad Nasrin Nasir, reviewing the book in the Palestine Internationalist, found that "this book is one of a kind…. Often in the rush to justify existing power structures that tend to confine a particular group as terrorist etc, the media does not analyze the reasons for the movement to exist in the first place and most important of all its main aim. This is where Tamimi's book differs from the rest of the literature on Hamas currently available on the shelves of bookshops." Nasir concluded that the "appendices give us Hamas's position on a number of crucial issues such as does Hamas believe in the two-state solution? When will the fighting stop? What is Hamas's future plan for Palestine? These are the issues which often go unanswered in the media but here the reader will find the answer to these pressing questions. Hamas … is recommended reading for anyone wanting to understand what Hamas stands for and other issues connected to this Islamic movement." A contributor to Publishers Weekly observed that the account was "mostly dispassionate" but a "sympathetic analysis." The same contributor concluded, however, that the book "will be a key resource in English for any serious assessment of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."

A contributor to Reference & Research Book News noticed that Tamimi's approach to the topic "is well rounded and allows for a more nuanced and objective understanding of Hamas," particularly for an American audience. A contributor to the Middle East relayed that the book "is not a fawning sycophantic review, as it also reveals the internal struggles within Hamas between the various people and political institutions involved in its history and development, and further reveals the precarious hold it had on survival." The same contributor concluded that "for those in the west who truly want to understand Hamas, Hamas should be required reading," appending that "it is clearly written, presents well structured arguments and while it is a history, it is much more than dates, names, and events, but a running discussion of the changes in ideas and organizational structures within Hamas." The reviewer continued: "Although the Israelis and Americans use their own ‘terrorist theology’ to denounce Hamas the reality as seen by the Palestinians is one of colonial occupation and subjugation with the intent, ultimately, of Israeli hegemony over the Palestinian territories as well as the greater Middle East, supported in full by American commercial/military interests. Azzam Tamimi has presented a highly informative work, one that provides a significant new perspective for the west on what is occurring in Palestine and the Middle East."



Asian Affairs, February 1, 2002, Sarah Ansari, review of Islam and Secularism in the Middle East, p. 135.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, January 1, 2008, S. Ayubi, review of Hamas: A History from Within, p. 894.

International Journal of Middle East Studies, August 1, 2004, I. William Zartman, review of Rachid Ghannouchi: A Democrat within Islamism, p. 518.

Journal of Peace Research, November 1, 2007, Are Hovdenak, review of Hamas, p. 760.

Middle East, November 1, 2000, Fred Rhodes, review of Islam and Secularism in the Middle East, p. 43; September 4, 2007, review of Hamas; September 5, 2007, review of Hamas.

Middle East Journal, June 22, 2001, Henry Munson, review of Islam and Secularism in the Middle East, p. 520; June 22, 2002, Clement M. Henry, review of Rachid Ghannouchi, p. 534.

Middle East Policy, June 22, 2006, Roger Gaess, author interview, p. 23.

Middle East Quarterly, September 22, 2002, Martin Kramer, review of Rachid Ghannouchi, p. 77; September 22, 2002, review of Rachid Ghannouchi, p. 77.

Palestine Internationalist, May 14, 2008, Mohamad Nasrin Nasir, review of Hamas.

Publishers Weekly, September 24, 2007, review of Hamas, p. 58.

Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2007, review of Hamas.

Survival, December 22, 2007, Khaled Hroub, review of Hamas, p. 164.


Danielpipes.org,http://www.danielpipes.org/ (November 2, 2004), Tim Sebastian, author interview.

Institute of Islamic Political Thought Web site,http://www.ii-pt.com/ (May 14, 2008), author profile.

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (May 14, 2008), author profile.