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Thinking Between Islam and the West

The Thoughts of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Bassam Tibi and Tariq Ramadan


Chi-Chung (Andy) Yu

In this book, the author assesses the social vision of three western Muslim intellectuals, Seyyed H. Nasr, Bassam Tibi and Tariq Ramadan. He finds that the thoughts of Nasr and his students promote a kind of tradition-based society, which is in harmony with the Divine Law in Islam and a hierarchical structure of society. The thoughts of Tibi advocate the concept of Euro-Islam, which tries to rationalize Islam and renders it a personal religion in the private domain. Finally, the thoughts of Ramadan emphasize a communicative society, in which dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims on public affairs is crucial. The author tries to understand how these three social orders can complement each other. He compares and contrasts their ideas in order to show that modern Islamic thought is not monolithic but pluralistic, and that they present different social visions for Islam in the West. However, Muslims are often labelled as a minority group and so implicitly excluded from being part of the West: the thoughts of Muslim writers help reflect this problem. The author maintains that these Muslim intellectuals in the West should be fully recognized as western intellectuals.


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Chapter 6: Making a Small Change for a Better Future for Islam in the West


Chapter 6 Making a Small Change for a Better Future for Islam in the West Since 9/11, feelings of fear and anxiety between Muslims and non-Muslims have hovered over the West. Events like the film Innocence of Muslims (2012), the burning of the Qur’an by some US pastors (2010), a ban on constructing minarets in Switzerland (2009), the ‘problematic’ speech of Pope Benedict XVI on Islam (2006), the Danish cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad (2005), the ban on wearing Islamic headscarves in French public schools (2004) and the Rushdie affair (The Satanic Verses) (1989) suggest that similar events will occur again and again in the future. Islamophobia has now becomes a common term in the media, as if there were no other appro- priate word to describe the fear some non-Muslims in the West have of Muslims. What is the future of Islam in the West in these ‘Dark Ages’? In Chapter 5, I discussed the past situation of Muslims in the West and some possible reasons why feelings of hatred were aroused between Muslims and non-Muslims (in relation to the competition for employment and welfare and the fear of Islam after 9/11). In Chapters 2, 3 and 4, I introduced the thought of Nasr, Tibi and Ramadan in order to investigate whether there might be possible ways of thinking open to Muslims living in the West as positive as those available to their fellow non-Muslim citizens, and whether non-Muslims can also live without fear with their fellow Muslim citizens....

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