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A Call for Heresy

A Call for Heresy: Why Dissent Is Vital to Islam and America

Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    A Call for Heresy
    Book Description:

    A Call for Heresy discovers unexpected common ground in the deepening conflict between the Islamic world and the United States. Anouar Majid argues that the Islamic world and the United States are both in precipitous states of decline because, in each, religious, political, and economic orthodoxies have silenced the voices of their most creative thinkers. The solution, Majid argues, is a long-overdue revival of dissent.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5404-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. introduction: Saints in Peril
    (pp. 1-20)

    This book is both an attempt to treat Islam over and beyond the confines of the familiar extremist/moderate dichotomy and an extension of my reflections on ways to divert Muslim and other cultures toward more progressive formulations. In the past I called for a progressive interpretation of Islam and its canons, urged both Muslims and Westerners to question their orthodoxies, and argued for a polycentric world of “neoprovincials” questioning dogmas at home, reaching out to progressive elements in other cultures, and forging global alliances in the building of a genuinely multicultural human civilization, one in which economies are integrated into...

  5. chapter 1 Death in Cancún
    (pp. 21-50)

    In more ways than one, the world has entered a phase of terror that seems to have no end under the prevailing economic conditions. The proliferating cult of the suicide bomber in the Middle East is part of a continuum of global violence that is a ff ecting every sphere of life and cannot be read except as the cultural expression of a failed global system and civilizational model. And it is merely one form of suicide. According to the World Health Organization, the global death toll of suicide in 2001 exceeded those of homicide and war combined, and now...

  6. chapter 2 Specters of Annihilation
    (pp. 51-80)

    Soon after he got out of prison in 1972, Mohammed Qutb, brother of the executed Sayyid Qutb (1906–1966), often described as the intellectual mastermind of Islamic extremism and terrorism in the world today, was welcomed into Saudi Arabia and given the means to publicize his brother’s theses while inspiring Saudi Arabia’ssahwa(religious awakening), a hybrid brand of Islamism that combines his brother’s philosophy and Wahhabi doctrines.¹ He also published what Sadik J. al-Azm called “a famous Islamist classic,” a sort of compendium of his brother’s summa theologica.² The book, a cri de coeur about Islam as the last...

  7. chapter 3 Islam and Its Discontents
    (pp. 81-112)

    In the summer of 2005, a hard-hitting Moroccan weekly,Le Journal Hebdomadaire,reported on the case of a Moroccan state functionary in his forties, raised in a pure Muslim household, who was so overtaken by anxiety attacks that he couldn’t go to work anymore and finally found his way to a psychiatrist’s office in Casablanca. What drove this hapless man to this state was his growing doubt about the Qur’an as the word of God. The notion of apostasy (ridda) must have surely frightened him, for to change one’s faith in a Muslim society (the number of Muslim-born converts to...

  8. chapter 4 Regime Change
    (pp. 113-146)

    Anyone interested in finding out about how Islam is, in some ways, the mirror image of the Calvinist American soul, the potential manifestation of the promises that could not be kept, the vows canceled by the republicanism of the Enlightenment, had only to pay attention to the unfolding news in the Middle East, the ancient, biblical lands that are the target of the earth-shattering efforts of the United States to promote freedom in the first decade of the twenty-first century. One almost got the impression that this was a strange new crusade, not to defeat Islam but to enshrine it...

  9. chapter 5 America and Its Discontents
    (pp. 147-182)

    Two years or so after the events of 9/11, and not long after the United States invaded Iraq to liberate its people and spread freedom around the Middle East, some of my friends and colleagues became so disenchanted with President George W. Bush’s policies that they seriously contemplated moving to Canada. Their sense of helplessness in not being able to stop the war in the Middle East and their fear of losing their civil liberties were part of such a generalized feeling among Americans with progressive and liberal views thatHarper’smagazine published a reader’s guide to expatriating if the...

  10. chapter 6 Vital Heresies
    (pp. 183-228)

    The furor over Danish cartoons satirizing the Prophet Mohammed, Iran’s undeterred quest for nuclear technology, the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections, President Bush’s State of the Union address, and the escalating budget for security and the military in the president’s proposed budget were, to take examples from the first few weeks of 2006, symptoms of the further deterioration of both Islamic and American societies, although both nations (in the broader sense of the term) were vigorously defending their traditions and trying to defend them against destructive alien influences. Even as he was proposing a military and security budget...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 229-262)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 263-290)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 291-291)