David Suurland studied international law and philosophy of law at Maastricht University. His research topic -Secular Totalitarian and Islamist Legal- and Political Philosophies- compares the historical origins and the legal-political philosophical contents of Nazism, Stalinism and Islamism. Islamism, which can trace its roots back to the canonical sources of Islam, did not become a more or less defined political ideology until the 14th century. Often suppressed by leaders with worldly interests, it would have to wait until the mid of the 20th century before it could begin to assert its potential. The legitimacy these ideas enjoy by virtue of their foundations in classical Islamic law (shari’ah) and jurisprudence (fiqh) can today be seen in the successes of the various Islamist movements following the ill-named ‘Arab Spring’. By drawing attention to the parallels in the formation and evolution of secular forms of totalitarianism, David Suurland aims to issue a stern warning to law and policymakers in both the Islamic and non-Islamic world.
- A genealogy of radical Islamic theory and practice (2011)
- Totalitarian and radical islamic ideologies (2009)