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Islam and the West

The Limits of Freedom of Religion


Hana Sadik El-Gallal

Religious Intolerance is on the rise. Debating religious freedom often means debating «West» versus «Islam». This book challenges crucial stereotypes around this issue. It explores the scope of the right to freedom of religion in the International Treaties and Declarations and investigates why this right creates misunderstandings and misconceptions that often lead to intolerance and discrimination in countries of various political, social, and cultural backgrounds.
Islam and the West attempts to find reasons for the rise of religious intolerance. The author looks at the limitation of the religious symbols law in France and the anti-terrorism measures in the USA; she discusses also Religious minorities and Apostasy in Saudia Arabia and Egypt. Furthermore, she calls for extending the scope, asking questions such as: How do societies deal with different religions and beliefs? How could and do they find ways of reconciling their conflicting demands while protecting human worth? How can universal values be found and established?
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3. Conclusion


Muslims from all backgrounds refuses to be related to extremism or dictorial regimes, they believe that there is a third way; the way of reform and democracy, one that is designed within an Islamic framework, one that is desired by millions.

In this third way, reformists call for:1

1– “A new intellectual Islamic context, characterized by clarity and unity of perception, that seeks to take into account all the changes and transformations that took place in the social life of the various countries of the Muslim world.”

2– “Implementing a radical revision of the Islamic heritage that involves all Islamic scholarship relating to Islamic Jurisprudence and the Sunna, the Traditions of the Prophet – all of which were founded during the first three centuries of Islam, and calling for reliance on the Qur’anic text as the sole authentic source to be utilized for reviewing the entire Islamic heritage.”

3– “Confronting all institutions – whether composed of clerics or lay persons – that claim a monopoly over religion and the proper interpretation of its holy text. Instead, a new spirit should seek to establish the right of ijtihad for all, under the banner of an Islamic reformation relevant to in the current century.”

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