By Joseph A. Massad
Within the renowned mind's eye, Islam is frequently linked to phrases like oppression, totalitarianism, intolerance, cruelty, misogyny, and homophobia, whereas its presumed antonyms are Christianity, the West, liberalism, individualism, freedom, citizenship, and democracy. within the such a lot alarmist perspectives, the West’s so much adored values—freedom, equality, and tolerance—are acknowledged to be endangered through Islam worldwide.
Joseph Massad’s Islam in Liberalism explores what Islam has develop into in today’s international, with complete consciousness to the multiplication of its meanings and interpretations. He seeks to appreciate how anxieties approximately tyranny, intolerance, misogyny, and homophobia, noticeable within the politics of the center East, are projected onto Islam itself. Massad exhibits that via this projection, Europe emerges as democratic and tolerant, feminist, and pro-LGBT rights—or, in brief, Islam-free. Massad records the Christian and liberal concept that we should always missionize democracy, women’s rights, sexual rights, tolerance, equality, or even cures to medication Muslims in their un-European, un-Christian, and intolerant methods. alongside the way in which he sheds gentle on various debatable themes, together with the meanings of democracy—and the ideological assumption that Islam isn't appropriate with it whereas Christianity is—women in Islam, sexuality and sexual freedom, and the belief of Abrahamic religions valorizing an interfaith schedule. Islam in Liberalism is an unflinching critique of Western assumptions and of the liberalism that Europe and Euro-America blindly current as a kind of salvation to an assumingly unenlightened Islam.
Paul Gilroy | King's university London
“This quintessential compendium of wealthy, serious insights and readings is as realized because it is now invaluable. Joseph Massad has recreated the scholarly and political context during which figuring out of the relationships among Liberalism and Islam might be conducted.”
Tomoko Masuzawa | collage of Michigan
"In fresh years now we have come to take heavily the concept that yes othering options similar to 'the Orient' and 'Islam' have performed an essential position in giving fact to 'the West.' the intense price of Joseph Massad’s new e-book is that he has proven, via a sustained research of a wide selection of ancient and modern discourses, that 'Islam' has been greater than a periphery-defining suggestion applied purely to lend fact and solidity to the Christian West. way more importantly, 'Islam' has been at paintings as a strong agonistic imaginary critical for the self-definition of the West’s personal polity as essentiallyfree. it is a deeply thought of paintings that's greater than timely."
Talal Asad | Graduate middle, urban college of latest York
"This is a powerfully--often passionately--written textual content. . . . the one publication that i will be able to examine compared is Edward Said's masking Islam--but Massad’s publication is way richer either when it comes to the literature lined (much of which used to be in fact now not but on hand whilst stated wrote his publication) and the variety of questions engaged.”
Leila Ahmed | writer of A Quiet Revolution: the Veil's Resurgence, from the center East to the USA
“A daring and insightful examine of the old and modern makes use of and misuses of rhetorics of democracy, women’s rights and sexualities of their deployments on the subject of Islam—a wealthy vital contribution to a growing to be physique of such serious literature.”
Anne Norton | college of Pennsylvania
“Massad is a vital highbrow voice. He instructions awareness the world over. He bargains special, compelling, and infrequently superb reviews of positions that many regard as sacrosanct: such a lot significantly the human rights regime, NGOS, and overseas improvement companies, and doesn't spare the healing agencies of psychoanalysis and transcultural tolerance.”
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Extra resources for Islam in Liberalism
All religions look with awe upon some thing, event, or pattern. They differ in their varieties of response, in allocating that awe and seeking to preserve and transmit it without loss. The worshiper rocks to and fro, as one midrash puts it, drawn to the warmth and light of the flame but scorched if drawn too close. Secularity poses special problems for monotheists. They press the idea that religious awe belongs only to the highest. 3 The central monotheist theme is this: that being, goodness, life, insight, and inspiration—all things of real worth—stem from God, although no mere thing exhausts divine perfection.
Historically, it has often been suppressed. But over the centuries its spirit has inspired marvels of art and literature, philosophy and law. It has been a leaven to institutions that have allowed and encouraged human beings and their communities to flourish. This other Islam is not purist and xenophobic. Like any civilizational phenomenon, it has been nourished in part by practices and ideas that sprang up elsewhere and that took on new and creative forms in their interactions with the ancient and familiar.
Still, creaturely goods are not gods. If only God is Absolute, no mere intent or aspiration holds absolute worth or merit. The idea of human rights may be anchored or smashed and wrecked upon that rock. 32 ISLAMIC HUMANISM By denying the absolute value of natural objects, experiences, and desires, monotheism constantly risks emptying them of all value. Zen, by contrast, the most secular and aesthetic of religious traditions, finds a kind of absolute in the idea of emptiness. It builds an ethic and an ethos on the discipline of emptying the mind to house its daily lodgers while curbing attachment to any of them.
Islam in Liberalism by Joseph A. Massad