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Thinking Between Islam and the West

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

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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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Introduction

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Thinking Western Muslims as Westerners

Phrases such as ‘American Muslim’, ‘European Muslim’ or ‘Islam in the West’ bring to mind two questions. One is the relationship between Islam and modernism, and the other is the current situation of Muslim communities in the West, especially Western Europe and North America.1 These two questions also inspire us to ponder whether we can consider Muslims in the West as Westerners; and also, under what conditions can we call them Western Muslims. Modernism itself is an idea which has been discussed repeatedly. For some scholars, the spreading of modernism promotes a progressive, rational and free society. However, not every Western intellectual thinks in this way. Religion and tradition are not always seen as inferior or backward, nor as obstacles to progress, rationality and freedom in the modern world. The relationship between religion and modernism is, in fact, multiple and complicated. There is a sizeable Muslim population which has settled permanently in the West, and we recognize that its relationship with Western modernism stimulates questions which force us to rethink modernism in a new way: What is the social vision of Muslims in the West? How do Muslims and non-Muslims live together without fear and anxiety? What is the (Western) Muslim intellectual response to modernism? This book addresses these questions. ← 1 | 2 →

Aims, Purpose and Nature of the Study

The aims of this study are twofold. First, it scrutinizes the intellectual approaches or conceptual frameworks adopted in...

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