Review of Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies, by Nader Hashemi, Oxford University Press
3 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2010
Date Written: September 21, 2009
Nineteenth-century French thinker Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that the relationship between religion and democracy in the West was the “great problem of our time.” While arguably it may be less significant in the West now, it is altogether a different matter in the Muslim world.
Canadian political scientist Nader Hashemi’s book tackles the question in historical and comparative perspective, and proposes fresh ideas on reconciling the tensions among Islam, secularism and liberal democracy. His relatively short work – a revised doctoral dissertation – argues boldly for a fundamental rethinking of the relationship that de Tocqueville presciently identified as problematic.
The fresh ideas and possibilities for debate make this book a must read for anyone interested in global politics. Though at times they are highly theoretical, Hashemi makes his views accessible by setting out a road map of what he proposes to argue, then summarizing his arguments and conclusions at the end of each chapter.
Hashemi’s book is undoubtedly a weighty contribution on the question of Islam and democracy, one of the “great problems of our time.”
Keywords: Islam, Democracy, Secularism, Islamists, Muslim World, Hashemi, Constitutionalism, Islamic Constitutionalism, Islamic State, Liberal Democracy
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