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Islamic Perspectives on the New Millennium

Virginia Hooker and Amin Saikal

Publication Year: 2004

The early years of the twenty-first century have been characterized by a sense of widespread anxiety and fear because of the violent activities of groups of terrorists who claim they act in the name of Islam. Their acts of terrorism, viewed by a majority in the Muslim world as crimes which must be subject to the law, are in tragic contrast to the efforts of many Muslim intellectuals who have been working for the past several decades to find common ground between people of all faiths based on the universality of humankind. This book aims to bring to the attention of non-Muslims, in particular, the range of views which Muslims in the Middle East and in South and Southeast Asia hold on six topics of importance to life in the twenty-first century. The topics have been addressed from the internal Muslim point of view to provide readers with a sense of the main debates within Islam on each of the issues. The topics addressed are: the new world order; globalization and modernity; banking and finance; the nation-state; the position of women; and law and knowledge. The chapters have been written by Muslims and non-Muslims, each of whom is an expert on the area about which they write. The chapters are presented in pairs which offer Middle Eastern (and in one case South Asian) points of view which are matched by Southeast Asian perspectives on each of the six topics. While the media is quick to report on the more violent expressions of Islam, including terrorism, the vigorous debates, which now characterize the intellectual discourse in Muslim communities, are rarely if ever reported. This book not only describes and analyses those debates but also reflects the views of many Muslims across the world, emphasizing the connections and contrasts between the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Table of Contents

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pp. 6-7

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pp. vii-viii

The assembling of a collection of essays requires patience from each contributor as well as from the publisher and, as editors, we have been most grateful for the collegial support they have generously given. Many of the contributors came together for preliminary discussions about...


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pp. ix-xi

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1. Islamic Perpectives on the New Millennium

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pp. 1-16

The suicide bombings in the United States of America on 11 September 2001, executed by terrorists claiming they acted in the name of Islam, set in train events whose repercussions will influence world politics for the foreseeable future. Although the perpetrators were denounced by Muslim leaders around...

The New World Order

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pp. 17-30

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2. Islam and the West: Challenges and Opportunities

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pp. 19-31

Whilst relations between the West and the world of Islam are today complex and multi-dimensional, with elements of both conflict and co-operation, in general they are very tense. This tension has its roots not so much in religious but in political and politically motivated perceptual differences, the intensity...

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3. Indonesian Responses

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pp. 32-40

This chapter describes Indonesian Muslim responses to, and perspectives of, “the new world order”, and shows how they are shaped by a set of historical, economic, and political conditions, including the recent reformasi (reform) movement. The perspectives and responses are not necessarily consistent over...

The New Age

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pp. 41-54

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4. Islam and Globalization: Arab World Perspectives

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pp. 43-73

There is no doubt that globalization, with all of the ambiguities and disconnections that it involves, has become the new grand narrative of our times, particularly in the social sciences and in the media. In attempting to appraise “Islamic perspectives” within the regional context of the Middle East...

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5. Indonesian Muslims Enter a New Age

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pp. 74-88

An understanding of cultural aspects has the effect of widening one’s horizons and freeing oneself from dogmatism and normativism. We are in great need of historical awareness, without becoming “historified” in the sense of making absolute what existed in the past, but rather seeing it as an actual...

The Economy

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pp. 89-102

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6. Financial Activism among Indonesian Muslims

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pp. 91-112

This chapter describes the dynamics of the Islamic perspective on the economy within the context of Indonesia. It argues that in modern times, particularly during the New Order period and the reformation afterwards, a significant number of Muslim intellectuals have been developing ideas on an...

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7. Islamic Banking and Finance: In Search of a Pragmatic Model

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pp. 113-129

During the twentieth century, with the emergence and intensification of a global Islamic revivalist movement, calls were made to transform the existing political, legal, social, and economic institutions of Muslim societies into institutions that were more in line with Islamic norms and principles...

The Nation-State

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pp. 131-144

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8. Political Islam in Post-Soeharto Indonesia

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pp. 133-149

The dawn of the new millennium has brought not only euphoria to citizens of the world, but also hopes of better political and economic lives for Muslims. By the same token, the new millennium brings increasing anxiety among Muslims as tendencies, which have gained momentum over the last decade...

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9. The Experience of the Islamic Republic of Iran

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pp. 150-158

At the conceptual level, the universality of Islam and the plurality of nations seem irreconcilable. However, in practice one can find different ways and means to build bridges between the two. The main concern of this chapter is the compatibility of Islam and the nation-state, with particular attention...

Muslim Women

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pp. 159-172

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10. Muslim Women and Human Rights in the Middle East and South Asia: Occupying Different Spaces

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pp. 161-182

Social movements are not new phenomena. Human beings have long organized themselves into non-hierarchical groups that bypass political structures to bring about desired change. In the early nineteenth century, a number of religious, feminist, nationalist, and class movements attempted...

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11. Islam, Gender, and Politics in Indonesia

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pp. 183-196

An analysis of this debate demands a broader context: to what extent has public debate in Indonesia about women’s participation in public life rested on Islamic textual interpretation? To what extent has Islamic doctrine determined the limits and possibilities of women’s political participation, in...

Law and Knowledge

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pp. 197-210

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12. Perspectives on Shari'a and the State: The Indonesian Debates

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pp. 199-220

Before coming to the debates which form the subject of this chapter it is necessary to list in short form the institutional structures through which the state dominates and determines Islam. These have been discussed elsewhere but I give the appropriate references for those who are unfamiliar with the...

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13. The Role of Muslims in the New Millennium

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pp. 221-227

We have just emerged from an American century, whatever that means. It could have been a German century had the Allied forces lost the Second World War, or a Japanese century had Hiroshima and Nagasaki been spared the atomic bomb. What happened, of course, happened by the...


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pp. 229-242

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14. Developing Islamic Arguments for Change through "Liberal Islam"

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pp. 231-251

The last decade of the twentieth century saw the publication of many writings by Muslims who argued that extremists were causing violence not only to people but also to the basic precepts of Islam. In 1997 for example, Bassam Tibi, well-known analyst of contemporary Islam, concluded the Preface to...


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pp. 253-257

Index of Names

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pp. 259-261

Index of Subjects

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pp. 262-266

E-ISBN-13: 9789812305367
Print-ISBN-13: 9789812302410

Page Count: 266
Publication Year: 2004

Edition: 1