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Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France
Nearly five million Muslims call France home, the vast majority from former French colonies in North Africa. While France has successfully integrated waves of immigrants in the past, this new influx poses a new variety of challenges much as it does in neighboring European countries. Alarmists view the growing role of Muslims in French society as a form of "reverse colonization"; they believe Muslim political and religious networks seek to undermine European rule of law or that fundamentalists are creating a society entirely separate from the mainstream. Integrating Islam portrays the more complex reality of integration's successes and failures in French politics and society. From intermarriage rates to economic indicators, the authors paint a comprehensive portrait of Muslims in France. Using original research, they devote special attention to the policies developed by successive French governments to encourage integration and discourage extremism. Because of the size of its Muslim population and its universalistic definition of citizenship, France is an especially good test case for the encounter of Islam and the West. Despite serious and sometimes spectacular problems, the authors see a "French Islam" slowly replacing "Islam in France"in other words, the emergence of a religion and a culture that feels at home in, and is largely at peace with, its host society. Integrating Islam provides readers with a comprehensive view of the state of Muslim integration into French society that cannot be found anywhere else. It is essential reading for students of French politics and those studying the interaction of Islam and the West, as well as the general public.
Medieval Islam and Bible Criticism
Exploring the lively polemics among Jews, Christians, and Muslims during the Middle Ages, Hava Lazarus-Yafeh analyzes Muslim critical attitudes toward the Bible, some of which share common features with both pre-Islamic and early modern European Bible criticism. Unlike Jews and Christians, Muslims did not accept the text of the Bible as divine word, believing that it had been tampered with or falsified. This belief, she maintains, led to a critical approach to the Bible, which scrutinized its text as well as its ways of transmission. In their approach Muslim authors drew on pre-Islamic pagan, Gnostic, and other sectarian writings as well as on Rabbinic and Christian sources. Elements of this criticism may have later influenced Western thinkers and helped shape early modern Bible scholarship. Nevertheless, Muslims also took the Bible to predict the coming of Muhammad and the rise of Islam. They seem to have used mainly oral Arabic translations of the Hebrew Bible and recorded some lost Jewish interpretations. In tracing the connections between pagan, Islamic, and modern Bible criticism, Lazarus-Yafeh demonstrates the importance of Muslim mediation between the ancient world and Europe in a hitherto unknown field.
Originally published in 1992.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Muslim-Jewish relations in the United States, Israel, and Europe are tenuous. Jews and Muslims struggle to understand one another and know little about each other's traditions and beliefs. Firestone explains the remarkable similarities and profound differences between Judaism and Islam, the complex history of Jihad, the legal and religious positions of Jews in the world of Islam, how various expressions of Islam (Sunni, Shi`a, Sufi, Salafi, etc.) regard Jews, the range of Muslim views about Israel, and much more. He addresses these issues and others with candor and integrity, and he writes with language, symbols, and ideas that make sense to Jews. Exploring these subjects in today's vexed political climate is a delicate undertaking. Firestone draws on the research and writings of generations of Muslim, Jewish, and other scholars, as well as his own considerable expertise in this field. The book's tone is neither disparaging, apologetic, nor triumphal. Firestone provides many original sources in translation, as well as an appendix of additional key sources in context. Most importantly, this book is readable and reasoned, presenting to readers for the first time the complexity of Islam and its relationship toward Jews and Judaism.
Its History, Teaching, and Practices
This compact introduction to Islam describes the essential aspects of Islam as a living religion and social force. The book is organized around seven topics: the life of Muhammad; Islamic political development and territorial expansion; the important groupings of Islamic believers (Sunni, Shi'ite, and Sufi); the Qur'an (the Holy Book of Islam); Sunnah, Hadith (the record of the Prophet's actions and sayings), and Shari'ah (the compilation of Islamic law); the five Articles of Faith and the so-called Five Pillars of Islam that govern faith and action; and other binding religious observances and festivals. The presentation of these seven aspects of Islam strikes a balance between fact, tradition, current interpretation, and commentary.
S. A. Nigosian underscores two fundamental points: that to understand Islam properly, it is necessary to see it as a major faith tradition, with Muhammad as the last of a series of messengers sent by God; and that to grasp the spirit of Islam, one must recognize its emphasis on an uncompromising monotheism, with strict adherence to certain social, political, and religious practices, as taught by the Prophet and elaborated by tradition.
A Way of Life
A Guide for Jews and Christians
The Quran is a sacred book with profound, and familiar, Old and New Testament resonances. And the message it promulgated, Islam, came of age during an extraordinarily rich era of interaction among monotheists. Jews, Christians, and Muslims not only worshipped the same God, but shared aspirations, operated in the same social and economic environment, and sometimes lived side by side, indistinguishable by language, costume, or manners. Today, of course, little of this commonality is apparent, and Islam is poorly understood by most non-Muslims. Entering Islam through the same biblical door Muhammad did, this book introduces readers with Christian or Jewish backgrounds to one of the world's largest, most active, and--in the West--least understood religions.
Frank Peters, one of the world's leading authorities on the monotheistic religions, starts with the central feature of Muslim faith and life: the Quran. Across its pages move Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. The Quran contains remarkably familiar accounts of Genesis, the Flood, Exodus, the Virgin Birth, and other biblical events. But Peters also highlights Muhammad's very different use of Scripture and explains those elements of the Quran most alien to Western readers, from its didactic passages to its remarkable poetry.
Peters goes on to cogently explain Islam's defining features--including the significance of Mecca, the manner of Muhammad's revelations, and the creation of the unique community of Muslims, all in relation to the Judeo-Christian tradition. He compares Jesus and Muhammad, describes Islamic commandments and rituals, details the structures of Sunni and Shi'ite communities, and lays out central Islamic beliefs on war, women, mysticism, and martyrdom.
The result is a crucial and extremely accomplished book that offers Western readers a professional yet highly accessible understanding of Islam, and at a time when we need it most.
Between Divine Message and History
Why this book? What can it add to the many works that have already explored Islam as a history, a doctrine, a law, and a code of ethics? The bulk of Islamic thought nowadays is either a repetition of and rumination about what the ancients have already said, or the tackling of partial issues that falls short of a comprehensive view and a theoretical framework. All too often ideology replaces real knowledge. This work attempts to introduce the characteristics of the Mohammedan Mission, with the aspiration to be faithful to its essential purposes and to historical truth at the same time. The author thus illustrates the different ways in which people have understood the Mission and the reasons that led them to those various interpretations. The book presents several alternative interpretations that actually existed but did not enjoy widespread acceptance and popularity.
Challenges and Opportunities
Dedicated to increasing our knowledge and awareness of the ever-growing diversity and pluralism of global society, Forum A. & A. Leysen has initiated an annual debate/lecture series, beginning with a focus on Islam in today's world and in Europe in particular. Seven well-known influential authorities - each an active participant in the public debate on the global role of Islam past, present and future - recently presented papers at the first Intercultural Relations Conference sponsored by Forum A.& A. Leysen. These important contributions, on the topic Islam and Europe: Challenges and Opportunities, are reprinted in this volume. Although each contributor speaks from his own distinctive point of view, a common message emerges from all seven texts: only dialogue - on the one hand between the West (countries that manifest themselves as Western Democratic constitutional states) and Islam, and on the other hand within and among societies historically identified with Islam- will overcome entrenched confrontation and negative animosity, engender new possibilities and understandings, and, by encouraging free and critical thinking, pave the way to social equity and the scientific innovation that, potentially, can lead to more prosperity. In the course of the conference all seven talks led to fascinating debates. This book includes the most important questions asked and the speakers' responses. Although the question of how to actually construct the dialogue remains unsettled, this ground-breaking book takes a giant step toward an answer.
Crises are Challenges
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
In the atmosphere of suspicion and anger that characterizes our time, it is a joy to hear the voice of Iqbal, both passionate and serene. It is the voice of a soul that is deeply anchored in the Quranic Revelation, and precisely for that reason, open to all the other voices, seeking in them the path of his own fidelity. It is the voice of a man who has left behind all identitarian rigidity, who has 'broken all the idols of tribe and caste' to address himself to all human beings. But an unhappy accident has meant that this voice was buried, both in the general forgetting of Islamic modernism and in the very country that he named before its existence, Pakistan, whose multiple rigidities ñ political, religious, military ñ constitute a continual refutation of the very essence of his thought. But we all need to hear him again, citizens of the West, Muslims, and those from his native India, where a form of Hindu chauvinism rages in our times, in a way that exceeds his worst fears. Souleymane Bachir Diagne has done all of us an immense favor in making this voice heard once again, clear and convincing. Charles Taylor, Professor, McGill University Quebec, Canada