In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world. Today, when we invoke the harsh punishments prescribed by Shariah for a handful of offenses, we rarely acknowledge the high standards of proof necessary for their implementation. Before an adultery conviction can typically be obtained, for example, the accused must confess four times or four adult male witnesses […]
A religious intellectual is more concerned with religious truths than with religion as an identity. The Islam of religious intellectuals is the Islam of truths and the question of an identity is peripheral to this. A religious intellectual must, first and foremost, concern himself with faith, religious experience, differing religious readings and creating […].
As the summer heat rises, it seems, to cause the human folly to follow suit. The guns of August are again at work in many spots in the heart of the so-called Arab world. And the war planners are busy in tweaking its goings and toolings. As it moves from “shock and awe” to more insidious but hopefully -for its planners-moreeffective approach, the so-called […].
Regional and international developments after September 11, 2001, have helped consolidate liberal trends in the Islamist spectrum, both because the movements themselves are not immune to the new discourse about democracy permeating the Arab world and because most authoritarian governments in the region have felt pressure to introduce a modicum of reforms, […].
In discussions with skeptical liberals probing their commitment to democracy and human rights, mainstream Islamist movements often assert that the differences between their ideas and those of their interlocutors are minor, hinging at most on a few points. But these few points, the gray zones where the thinking of Islamists is ambiguous, are crucial ; depen […].
During the last decade, Islamist movements have established themselves as major political players in the Middle East. Together with the governments, Islamist movements, moderate as well as radical, will determine how the politics of the region unfold in the foreseeable future. They have shown the ability not only to craft messages with widespread popular a […].
Unlike Catholicism with the Vatican and the pope, Islam has no central authority. And the recent furor over Muslim cartoons in Europe has exposed this void even more clearly. Richard Bulliet, author of “The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization,” explains that this void in authority in Islam is only increasing as Muslims reach out to various people and in […].
The contrasts between different varieties of Islam, and Islamism, are not trivial—either in their teachings or the behaviour they inspire. The western world needs to know about them, if only to know which outcomes and shifts of policy are conceivable, and which are not. But woe betide any western strategist who thinks the problems of the Muslim world can b […].
There is a tension in the Islamic world between the desire for democracy and a respect for liberty. (It is a tension that once raged in the West and still exists in pockets today.) This is most apparent in the ongoing fury over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a small Danish newspaper. The cartoons were offensive and needlessly provoc […].
Before any significant political reform can take place in the Arab world, the United States and Europe need to begin engaging moderate Islamists, an action less thorny than it might seem because Islamists have embraced democratic procedures and have shown a strong commitment to the rule of law. For a long time Arab regimes have frightened the United States […].
Islam is portrayed sometimes as if it were a monolithic or uni-dimensional entity. Islam is undoubtedly the faith of transcendental monotheism , the belief in Allah (the one and only God), who transcends both man and nature. But monotheism does not lead to monism (the metaphysical doctrine that existence is a whole and one); on the contrary, it leads to pl […].
An interview with Abdulkarim Soroush* by Ali Asghar Seyyedabadi Q. Let’s start the discussion with the [June 2005] presidential elections if you don’t mind. The outcome can be linked on two counts to issues of interest to you: one is the question of justice, since some people believe that the government that emerged from the elections is a product of the […].
Who am I? Where do I come from? In two sentences, I am a South African Muslim male from an impoverished working class background who was reared in a gang-infested area by a single parent. Many of our neighbours were Christians and the debt collectors – of which there were always many – were invariably Jewish. Who am I? Where do I come from? In two senten […].
Abstract: Islam can be seen as a counter discourse to globalization, to the expansion of economic space and the fulfillment of the dreams of the social darwinists. However, even as Islam attempts to create new possibilities for globalism, national politics doom it to a politics of reaction, of reducing diversity and innovation. This is especially perilou […].
In a rare display of solidarity, Islamist and secular nationalist opposition leaders have joined forces with governments officials to denounce the U.S. democracy initiative as a blatant case of foreign intervention into the affairs of sovereign Arab states. […].
Muslims, like other immigrants, have come to the West in search of better economic opportunities. But are they bound to clash with their Western counterparts ? In this Globalist Interview, Olivier Roy — author of “Globalized Islam : The Search For a New Ummah” — explains that, due to globalization, these two groups actually have much more in common today t […].
Non-Western world, especially the Muslim world, has yet to come to grips with the notion of globalization. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the Muslim world faces many challenges, but none more formidable than the issue of how to strike a balance between maintaining cultural integrity and religious identity on the one hand, and absorbing changes as […].
Le monde musulman, exposé plus que jamais à des changements sociaux intensifiés par le processus de mondialisation, est devenu un terrain d’observation et d’analyse privilégié. Les chercheurs se penchent plus particulièrement sur les rapports entre tradition et modernité politique, entre islam et démocratie ; tandis que pour les acteurs locaux, la situatio […].