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Islam & Europe

Crises are Challenges

Marie-Claire Foblets, Jean-Yves Carlier (eds)

Publication Year: 2010

Within the framework of the Forum A. & A Leysen, several experts from in and outside the Muslim world contributed to this book. In Islam and Europe: Crises Are Challenges they discuss how dialogues between Islam and the West, with a focus on Europe, can be achieved. The various authors (legal scholars, political theorists, social scientists, and psychologists) explore in these collected essays such interrelated questions as: How much diversity is permissible within a liberal pluralistic democratic society? How strong are the implications of citizenship? What are equitable accommodations of contested practices? They argue for an adequate understanding of how Western Muslim communities in Europe experience their minority position and what needs to be done to improve their participation in European society. The second part of this volume is a collection of papers written around the work of Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, who also makes his own contribution to the book. The Catholic University of Leuven awarded An-Na'im an honorary doctorate in 2009 on the theme of multiculturalism, intercultural relations and diversity. An-Na'im is recognized the world over as a leading expert in the area of religion and law, and as a human rights activist. Islam and Europe: Crises Are Challenges reinforces our sense that a better knowledge and awareness of the growing diversity of our society, and striving for harmonious relations between Islam and the West, are among the most important challenges of our time. With contributions by: Ahmed Aboutaleb, Durre S. Ahmed, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, Shaheen Sardar Ali, Mohamed Benzakour, Jean-Yves Carlier, Marie-Claire Foblets, Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Fouad Laroui, Bettina Leysen, Rashida Manjoo, Bhikhu Parekh, Mathias Rohe, Cedric Ryngaert, Prakash Shah. Other publication: Islam and Europe, Challenges and Opportunities

Published by: Leuven University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4

Table of Contents

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pp. 5-6

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Foreword and Acknowledgements: Islam and the Requirements of Liberal Democratic Principles

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pp. 7-12

...We were privileged and pleased to have been given the opportunity, within the framework of the A. & A. Leysen Forum, to invite an illustrious roster of scholars of Islam whose essays are collected here, to Leuven, in 2008 and 2009. From the outset, we, therefore, wish to express our deepest thanks to them and special appreciation for their sustaining support that made...

Part I. The Islamic Challenge: Faith, Gender and Politics

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Introductionary Speech

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pp. 15-24

...It is an honour and a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with you for nearly a whole evening on matters that are close to my heart as a Dutch politician. I would like once again to thank you for this invitation. The organisers have asked me to address the question of what integration means in (Dutch) society - with the word ‘Dutch’ in parentheses. Therefore I may speak of Belgian society as well. But if you don’t mind, I will limit myself to my own, with an occasional brief excursus across the border...

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Islam and Politics: Towards Post-Islamism?

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pp. 25-38

...Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, died in 632. We do not know whether he left his followers any instructions. According to the Shiis, he designated his nephew Ali, but this is contradicted by other currents within Islam. Be that as it may, his father-in-law, Abu Bakr, was chosen by the first believers to ‘succeed’ Muhammad...

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Human Rights and Islam

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pp. 39-52

...Most Muslim societies lack a well established regime of human rights, and the more religious they are, the weaker is that regime. This needs to be explained. The explanation is to be found at various levels, such as the history of these societies, their level of economic development, their inequalities and injustices, their colonial history, contemporary international context, and the critical resources of Islam...

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Penetrations: A Psycho–Cultural View of Modernity, Fundamentalisms and Islam

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pp. 53-70

...Despite billions of dollars spent on (defunct) ‘Soviet Studies’, academia was unable to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. The emphasis was on ‘hard’ data, security, economics, geopolitics, not on ‘soft’ concerns of culture. A similar blindness is occurring in the west’s study of Islam. Drawing from feminism and (post)Jungian psychology, the blindness is traced to the Cartesianist–Christianist world view dominating modernity...

Part II. The Islamic Challenge: Islam and the Secular State

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pp. 73-74

...I must confess that when Prof. Marie-Claire Foblets revealed to me that she had succeeded to have you nominated for the honorary doctor title at the catholic university of Leuven, I had never heard of you before. She told me that your thesis was that the sharia has to be adapted on a voluntary basis by Muslims. Having inherited my father’s pragmatic attitude, my spontaneous reaction was: this sounds very interesting, but are his ideas practical and applicable...

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An-Na`im and His Work Toward AnIslamic Reformation: A Short Introduction

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pp. 75-84

...His works as a whole attest to the vitality of innovative thought within Islam. This also represents a major (scholarly) contribution to both intercultural dialogue and integration of Islamic law into international development of law; in particular, international human rights law. Rigorously scientific, a man of dialogue, committed to the defence of fundamental rights, an audacious reformer of Islam, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na`im deserves...

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‘European Islam or Islamic Europe’:The Secular State for Negotiating Pluralism

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pp. 85-108

...Since the book is not available at the time of this writing, I am not presuming in the least to pre-empt or evaluate Professor Bowen’s argument and analysis. Rather, I wish to offer my own personal reflections on the underlying issues and questions, without attempting to respond to Bowen’s analysis or to any of the chapters of the present volume, edited by Marie-Claire Foblets and Jean-Yves Carlier. In particular, I propose to reflect on the appropriate role of the state in the constant negotiation...

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The ‘Secularization’ of Shari‘a in Iran

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pp. 109-116

...I would like to begin by thanking the organizers of the conference and in particular Professor Foblets for inviting me to be here. It is a great privilege to participate in a conference in honour of Professor An-Na`im, whose scholarship and advocacy for justice and human rights have been the source of great inspiration for many, including myself. He has stated that his latest book...

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Resurrecting Siyar Through Fatwas?(Re)constructing ‘Islamic International Law’in a Post–(Iraq) Invasion World*

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pp. 117-152

...This article seeks to explore the impact of the Iraq war on siyar or ‘Islamic international law’ from a range of Muslim perspectives by raising some critical questions and addressing these through the lens of a selection of fatwas solicited by Muslims from a range of countries and continents, on the Iraq war and its implications for popular understandings of...

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The Indian Dimension of An-Na`im’sIslam and the Secular State

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pp. 153-166

...As a London LLM student in the early 1990s I recall An-Na`im’s writing (An-Na`im 1990a) as one of the few then available discussions of human rights not only within the Islamic world, but also more widely in non-Western contexts. At the time, the voice of non-Western jurisprudence, particularly in light of the universal claims of essentially Western concepts of human rights, was hardly heard and, even in the post-cold war period...

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European Foreign Policy and the Universality of Human Rights

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pp. 167-200

...In some Muslim quarters, there is a lingering, and even increasing skepticism over the universal validity of human rights. Those quarters may consider human rights as vehicles of Western arrogance and supremacy that run roughshod over deeply held cultural and religious convictions. Such skepticism demonstrates that human rights are still in what An Na’im has termed ‘a process of universalization...

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Compromising of Gender Equality Rights –Through the Recognition of Muslim Marriages in South Africa

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pp. 201-214

...South Africa’s history of colonisation and apartheid included discriminatory laws, policies and practices based on factors including race, sex, gender, culture and religion. The goal was to create a system of legal, social and economic separation of the people of the country. Since 1994, post-apartheid South Africa is a country where many diverse people co-exist in harmony, despite differences based on culture, race, religion etc. The Constitution of South Africa Act...

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Islam and the Democratic State underthe Rule of Law – And Never theTwain Shall Meet?

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pp. 215-236

...It goes without saying that neither secular democratic states nor Islam as a religion could be perceived to be homogeneous and immutable in time and space. This paper will firstly focus on misunderstandings relating to secularity and democracy: Contrary to the widespread understanding of secularity among Muslims, secular states open broad space not only for the private exercise of religion...

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Toward the Triumph of Reason

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pp. 237-242

...These days I tend to see my friends in terms of their attitude toward the downtrodden. If they concede but a millimetre to honouring the circus heroes of global capital, under the guise of an – at best two-faced – proclamation of ‘western’ achievements such as freedom and democracy, then I stop considering them as friends; it seems that the mask of culture behind which they used to hide was nothing but a thin veneer. People can debate whether Berlusconi, Bush, Blair, Sarkozy...

List of contributors

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pp. 243-248

E-ISBN-13: 9789461660039
Print-ISBN-13: 9789058677396

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Islam -- Europe.
  • Muslims -- Europe.
  • Islam and state -- Europe.
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