March Books 2) Radical Islam’s Rules, edited by Paul Marshall

A collection of analytical essays about, as the book’s subtitle puts it, “the worldwide spread of extreme shari’a law”, sent me by one of the contributors shortly after its publication in 2005. The eight chapters cover Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia and Afghanistan. They vary in quality (the Nigerian chapter, by the book’s editor, being remarkably poor) and also in approach; and I missed any real synthesis, which might have looked at Bangladesh, Egypt, Algeria, etc, and might also have looked at the comparative strengths of more liberal strands within contemporary Islamic thinking. I suppose such a synthesis would also have had to point out what still cannot be pointed out to the Washington funders (the book was published by Freedom House and has a foreword by James Woolsey), that the war in Iraq probably exacerbated the threat from radical Islamists.

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1 Response to March Books 2) Radical Islam’s Rules, edited by Paul Marshall

  1. nwhyte says:

    One obvious problem with such a system is that different assembly constituencies will elect different numbers of members,

    Why is that a problem? Local government electoral districts in Northern Ireland currently vary between 5, 6 and 7 councillors per area,

    with a corresponding effect on chances of election. When all seats have the same number there is a nominally level playing field, but introduce such variation and it becomes more pot luck as to what level the quota is.

    On the contrary, at present, because each parliamentary seat has six members regardless of electorate, the quota can vary from 4015 (in North Down) to 6858 (Fermanagh and South Tyrone). Differential turnout plays a role here of course, but the fact that there is no link between constituency size and number of representatives is crucial.

    Odd numbers in STV tend to favour the dominant strand of local opinion, even numbers tend towards a more levelled affair.

    Only if the numbers are really very close indeed. In a number of NI constituencies the numbers are more like 60/40, so five-seaters end up 3/2 but six-seaters end up 4/2, which is not exactly “more levelled”.

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