Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies

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9780195321241: Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies
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Islam's relationship to liberal-democratic politics has emerged as one of the most pressing and contentious issues in international affairs. In Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy, Nader Hashemi challenges the widely held belief among social scientists that religious politics and liberal-democratic development are structurally incompatible. This book argues for a rethinking of democratic theory so that it incorporates the variable of religion in the development of liberal democracy. In the process, it proves that an indigenous theory of Muslim secularism is not only possible, but is a necessary requirement for the advancement of liberal democracy in Muslim societies.

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About the Author:


Nader Hashemi is the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and an Assistant Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

Review:


"Theoretically informed and clearly argued, this is a timely and insightful contribution to a debate of great consequence for the Muslim world and the West."
-Vali Nasr, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University


"Commentators like Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington have argued that there is something inherently hostile to democracy in Islam. In his serious and deeply researched book, Nader Hashemi draws both on historical political thought and modern comparative social science to show that such arguments are both ahistorical and oblivious to the ways in which secularism is actually socially constructed and 'earned' in Western societies. With examples from Turkey, Indonesia and elsewhere, he demonstrates that Islam can accommodate democracy with no greater (or lesser) difficulty than Christianity has done. This is an important book that challenges too narrowly Western conceptions of democracy and too historically opaque views of Islam, thereby helping to heal the unnecessary schism that has too often defined the relationship between Islam and democracy."
--Benjamin R. Barber, author of Jihad vs. McWorld


"This probing study shows how empty are the essentialist clich 's that cast Islam as an obstacle to democracy. It offers a rich reflection on the proper definition of secularism for our time; and an insightful discussion of Islamic responses to secularism, both negative and positive. This book is a contribution to the global debate. It should be read from Vancouver to Vladivostock, from Djakarta to Rabat."
--Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, McGill University and author of A Secular Age


"A thoughtful and erudite examination by a young scholar of some of the most difficult questions of our times: how to reconcile the project of liberal democracy with a non-secular but tolerant and open Islam? Is this conceivable? Deploying political theory and comparative politics, Hashemii

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