In October, Harvard University Press will release “Islam and the Future of Tolerance” by Sam Harris (Project Reason) and Maajid Nawaz (Quilliam). The publisher’s description follows:
In this short book, Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz invite you to join an urgently needed conversation: Is Islam a religion of peace or war? Is it amenable to reform? Why do so many Muslims seem drawn to extremism? What do words like Islamism, jihadism, and fundamentalism mean in today’s world?
Remarkable for the breadth and depth of its analysis, this dialogue between a famous atheist and a former radical is all the more startling for its decorum. Harris and Nawaz have produced something genuinely new: they engage one of the most polarizing issues of our time—fearlessly and fully—and actually make progress.
In June, I.B.Tauris will release “Preaching Islamic Revival: Amr Khaled, Mass Media and Social Change in Egypt” by Susanne Olsson (Stockholm University, Sweden). The publisher’s description follows:
Amr Khaled is an Egyptian Muslim activist and television preacher based in Egypt who encourages both social commitment and individual self-fulfilment. Chosen by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people, his prominence in the Arabic-speaking world is unparalleled. During the Mubarak era, his message seemed for the most part apolitical, but after the events of January 2011, he started using more explicitly political language. Susanne Olsson examines the differences between Amr Khaled’s pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary messages and looking in-depth at how he deals with the concepts of Islam and modernity. By examining issues such as Amr Khaled’s use of mass media, his views on gender role and the nature of political and religious rule, Susanne Olsson offers a book which will appeal to those interested in the changes that Egypt has experienced over the last century.
This January, Oxford University Press released “Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam” by Carool Kersten (King’s College, London). The publisher’s description follows:
Dramatic political events involving Muslims across the world have put Islam under increased scrutiny. However, the focus of this attention is generally limited to the political realm and often even further confined by constrictive views of Islamism narrowed down to its most extremist exponents. Much less attention is paid to the parallel development of more liberal alternative Islamic discourses. The final decades of the twentieth-century has also seen the emergence of a Muslim intelligentsia exploring new and creative ways of engaging with the Islamic heritage. Drawing on advances made in the Western human sciences and understanding Islam in comprehensive terms as a civilisation rather than restricting it to religion in a conventional sense their ideas often cause controversy, even inviting accusations of heresy. Cosmopolitans and Heretics examines three of these new Muslim intellectuals who combine a solid grounding in the Islamic tradition with an equally intimate familiarity with the latest achievements of Western scholarship in religion. This cosmopolitan attitude challenges existing stereotypes and makes these thinkers difficult to categorise. Underscoring the global dimensions of new Muslim intellectualism, Kersten analyses contributions to contemporary Islamic thought of the late Nurcholish Madjid, Indonesia’s most prominent public intellectual of recent decades, Hasan Hanafi, one of the leading philosophers in Egypt, and the influential French-Algerian historian of Islam Mohammed Arkoun. Emphasising their importance for the rethinking of the study of Islam as a field of academic inquiry, this is the first book of its kind and a welcome addition to the intellectual history of the modern Muslim world.
I.B. Tauris Publishing has published Shi’i Islam and Identity: Religion, Politics and Change in the Global Muslim Community (2012) by Lloyd Ridgeon (University of Glasgow). The publisher’s description follows.
The contemporary world is increasingly regarded as a global community in which traditional patterns of social organisation, faith and practice are rapidly being transformed. These changes are evident in many religious traditions, and Shi’i Islam is no exception. This book seeks to investigate the nature of contemporary Shi’ism, focusing on the creation of identities – showing the diversity of thought within the Shi’i world, the transnational nature of Shi’i networks, and the forces of tradition and modernity influencing current developments in Shi’i identity. Increasing contacts between East and West have made the presence of Shi’ism more visible in the modern world, especially in Europe. Shi’i Islam and Identity shows that it is no longer sufficient to speak of a ‘Shi’i Crescent’; rather, Shi’i worlds range from Senegal, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, to Turkey, Albania and European capitals such as London and Berlin.