Khaled Abou El Fadl, a prominent critic of Islamic puritanism, leads off this lively debate by arguing that Islam is a deeply tolerant religion. Injunctions to violence against nonbelievers stem from misreadings of the Qur'an, he claims, and even jihad, or so-called holy war, has no basis in Qur'anic text or Muslim theology but instead grew out of social and political conflict.
Many of Abou El Fadl's respondents think differently. Some contend that his brand of Islam will only appeal to Westerners and students in "liberal divinity schools" and that serious religious dialogue in the Muslim world requires dramatic political reforms. Other respondents argue that theological debates are irrelevant and that our focus should be on Western sabotage of such reforms. Still others argue that calls for Islamic "tolerance" betray the Qur'anic injunction for Muslims to struggle against their oppressors.
The debate underscores an enduring challenge posed by religious morality in a pluralistic age: how can we preserve deep religious conviction while participating in what Abou El Fadl calls "a collective enterprise of goodness" that cuts across confessional differences?
With contributions from Tariq Ali, Milton Viorst, and John Esposito, and others.
The Post-9/11 Book Everyone Should Read
By W. Rashed - January 2, 2003
Is Islam a religion of peace and tolerance or an evil intolerant religion? Are Muslims the oppressors or the oppressed? Does Osama bin Laden and his likes represent a minority or a majority of Muslims? Who created Osama bin Laden and who is really responsible for terrorism: Qura'nic verses, Saudi Wahabbi teachings, the impoverishment of the Islamic educational system and the growing religious illiteracy of the Muslim masses, American politics, Western double standards, the economic and political failure of corrupt regimens ruling the Muslim countries and relying on their military forces to stay in power, the Arab -Israeli conflict, or what? What can be done to avoid further terror? Is Bush's"War on terror" the solution? Who needs to change their ways, America or the Arab Muslim world or both? What kind of reform is needed, theological, political, economic or social?This post-9/11 book is a feast for the mind. In a mostly unbiased approach 12 authors freely and constructively debate... read more
The one sad thing about this book...
By Kevin Bold "I must be doing something right, ... - August 25, 2005
More popular books on Islam like to prattle on and copy each other about the _lack_ of tolerance in Islam, but that's like focusing on the most intolerant Christian sect and using incidents of their intolerance as proof that Christianity is uniformly intolerant.
This book was written, in part, to counteract books such as _Islam Unveiled_, _The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam_, and _The Sword and the Prophet_. These screeds are as misleading as they are popular. The sad fact about this book is that the people who need to read it the most never will -- at least not with an open mind.
El Fadl's essay and the responses are most helpful
By C. Notess - November 10, 2004
This book includes a well thoughtout statement, by El Fadl, about Islamic responses to impacts of colonial and neocolonial exploits in the Middle East and South Asia. Responses to El Fadl's statement provide a dialogue that helps clarify the range of perspectives from puritanical responses on the one hand and to reinterpreting Islamic sacred writings in the context of today's world, on the other hand. The major economic, political and religious forces involved in this struggle are discussed. I would like to have seen a discussion of how the systems of honor and shame relate to the scale of systems of justice that range from tribal and patriarchal scales to global scales. The cultural system of honor contributes to energizing the conflict, as personal identities and group identities are affected in these struggles. I discuss this latter point in my E-Book - Depolarizing a Hostile World.
This work, being an exposition of the higher principles and purposes of the Shari'ah, is intended to address opposing Islamic political parties. The author analyzes instances of judicial disagreement ...
Delving into the understanding that young children have of stories, this book demonstrates how narrative competence develops in the first eight years of life and how this can be reflected in practice ...
This book, the first full account of Japan's financial history and the Japanese gold standard in the pivotal years before World War II, provides a new perspective on the global political dynamics of ...
The author of Fist Stick Knife Gun brings powerful new insight to the lives of boys in America today: "More and more I have become concerned with what boys think they should be, and what they believe ...
An analysis of modernisation informed by the place of language in education, health, the economy and governance in the African context. This book covers Africa in its different facets, and shows how ...