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Islam & Europe

Islam & Europe: Crises are Challenges

Marie-Claire FOBLETS
Durre S. AHMED
Abdullahi AHMED AN-NA`IM
Marie-Claire FOBLETS
Bettina LEYSEN
Rashida MANJOO
Mathias ROHE
Prakash SHAH
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Leuven University Press,
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Islam & Europe
    Book Description:

    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

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-003-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Foreword and Acknowledgements: Islam and the Requirements of Liberal Democratic Principles
    (pp. 7-12)

    We were privileged and pleased to have been given the opportunity, within the framework of the A. & A. Leysen Forum, to invite an illustrious roster of scholars of Islam whose essays are collected here, to Leuven, in 2008 and 2009. From the outset, we, therefore, wish to express our deepest thanks to them and special appreciation for their sustaining support that made the Forum and this work possible. this is the second book in the series of the Leysen Forum. Informed by their several contributions collected in the first book¹, this volume continues in the same vein and seeks...

  4. Part I The Islamic Challenge:: Faith, Gender and Politics

    • Introductionary Speech
      (pp. 15-24)
      Ahmed Aboutaleb

      Ladies and gentlemen,

      It is an honour and a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with you for nearly a whole evening on matters that are close to my heart as a Dutch politician.

      I would like once again to thank you for this invitation.

      the organisers have asked me to address the question of what integration means in (Dutch) society - with the word ‘Dutch’ in parentheses. therefore I may speak of belgian society as well. but if you don’t mind, I will limit myself to my own, with an occasional brief excursus across the border.

      Perhaps, in...

    • Islam and Politics: Towards Post–Islamism?
      (pp. 25-38)
      Fouad Laroui

      It is difficult to talk about a topic such as ‘Islam and Politics’ without first taking a look back through history. For the ideas, convictions and prejudices of today are the results of historical development.

      Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, died in 632. We do not know whether he left his followers any instructions. According to the Shiis, he designated his nephew Ali, but this is contradicted by other currents within Islam. be that as it may, his father-in-law, Abu bakr, was chosen by the first believers to ‘succeed’ Muhammad.

      but… in what capacity can one ‘succeed’ a Prophet? All...

    • Human Rights and Islam
      (pp. 39-52)
      Bhikhu Parekh

      Most Muslim societies lack a well established regime of human rights, and the more religious they are, the weaker is that regime. this needs to be explained. the explanation is to be found at various levels, such as the history of these societies, their level of economic development, their inequalities and injustices, their colonial history, contemporary international context, and the critical resources of Islam. In this essay, I critically examine the simple minded but widely held view that the problem lies within Islam itself in the sense that its theology and view of human life are inherently incompatible with human...

    • Penetrations: A Psycho–Cultural View of Modernity, Fundamentalisms and Islam
      (pp. 53-70)
      Durre S. Ahmed

      Religious fundamentalism today is not restricted to Islam but is a powerful presence in all religions across the globe. In the Judaeo–Christian world, its rank and file comprise well–educated individuals living in, what are in many ways, post modern societies. Reflecting what is today part of a growing critique pointing to a ‘cultural crisis’ in and about modernity, one way or another, fundamentalism, as Habermas says, is ‘an exclusively modern phenomenon’ (2001). As such, modernity can be linked to a certain ‘mind set’ about how we think about self, others and the world at large. The idea of the...

  5. Part II The Islamic Challenge:: Islam and the Secular State

    • Acknowledgments
      (pp. 73-74)
      Bettina Leysen
    • An-Na ‘im and His Work Toward An Islamic Reformation: A Short Introduction
      (pp. 75-84)
      Jean-Yves Carlier

      The works of Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na ‘im contributes greatly to intercultural dialogue and discussion of the place of Islamic law, especially in western societies. His first book,Toward an Islamic Reformation(1990), defends a modernist interpretation of Islam that combines respect for the foundations of Muslim identity and basic principles of democratic societies. his latest book,Islam and the Secular State(2008), lends broad support to the effectiveness of a neutral State from the standpoint of religion. His works as a whole attest to the vitality of innovative thought within Islam. This also represents a major (scholarly) contribution to both...

    • ‘European Islam or Islamic Europe’: The Secular State for Negotiating Pluralism
      (pp. 85-108)
      Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na `im

      The first part of my title is a play of words on the title of John Bowen’s book,Can Islam be French? Pluralism and Pragmatism in a Secularist State¹. Since the book is not available at the time of this writing, I am not presuming in the least to pre-empt or evaluate Professor Bowen’s argument and analysis. Rather, I wish to offer my own personal reflections on the underlying issues and questions, without attempting to respond to Bowen’s analysis or to any of the chapters of the present volume, edited by Marie-Claire Foblets and Jean-Yves Carlier. In particular, I propose...

    • The ‘Secularization’ of Shari‘a in Iran
      (pp. 109-116)
      Ziba Mir-Hosseini

      I would like to begin by thanking the organizers of the conference and in particular Professor Foblets for inviting me to be here. It is a great privilege to participate in a conference in honour of Professor Anna Na ‘im, whose scholarship and advocacy for justice and human rights have been the source of great inspiration for many, including myself. he has stated that his latest book –Islam and the Secular State, which has brought us here – is

      ‘the culmination of’ his life’s work and his ‘final statement on the issues’ he has been struggling with for nearly a half...

    • Resurrecting Siyar Through Fatwas? (Re)constructing ‘Islamic International Law’ ina Post–(Iraq) Invasion World
      (pp. 117-152)
      Shaheen Sardar Ali

      This article seeks to explore the impact of the Iraq war onsiyaror ‘Islamic international law’ from a range of Muslim perspectives by raising some critical questions and addressing these through the lens of a selection offatwassolicited by Muslims from a range of countries and continents, on the Iraq war and its implications for popular understandings ofsiyarandjihad. This article suggests that the Iraq war presents an opportunity to revisit and potentially revive historicalsiyarpronouncements of a dichotomous world,i.e., dar-al-harb and dar-al-Islam. I argue that in so doing, this discourse has invigorated the...

    • The Indian Dimension of An-Na ‘Im’s Islam and the Secular State
      (pp. 153-166)
      Prakash Shah

      As a London LLM student in the early 1990s I recall An-Na ‘im’s writing (An-Na ‘im 1990a) as one of the few then available discussions of human rights not only within the Islamic world, but also more widely in non-Western contexts. At the time, the voice of non-Western jurisprudence, particularly in light of the universal claims of essentially Western concepts of human rights, was hardly heard and, even in the post-cold war period, this field is still not exactly replete with deeper reflections about the significance and relevance of human rights concepts and ideas for non-Western peoples. An-Na ‘im’s contributions...

    • European Foreign Policy and the Universality of Human Rights
      (pp. 167-200)
      Cedric Ryngaert

      In some Muslim quarters, there is a lingering, and even increasing skepticism over the universal validity of human rights. those quarters may consider human rights as vehicles of Western arrogance and supremacy that run roughshod over deeply held cultural and religious convictions. Such skepticism demonstrates that human rights are still in what An Na’im has termed ‘a process of universalization’. Their full realization is an aim to which all States have committed themselves, and which is dependent on (1) domestic political willingness and strong institutions, (2) grassroots support, (3) international assistance, and (4) evenhandedness. In order to further universalize the...

    • Compromising of Gender Equality Rights – Through the Recognition of Muslim Marriages in South Africa
      (pp. 201-214)
      Rashida Manjoo

      South Africa’s history of colonisation and apartheid included discriminatory laws, policies and practices based on factors including race, sex, gender, culture and religion. the goal was to create a system of legal, social and economic separation of the people of the country. Since 1994, post-apartheid South Africa is a country where many diverse people coexist in harmony, despite differences based on culture, race, religion etc. the Constitution of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 (hereinafter the Constitution) is viewed by many as an ideal model for multicultural democratic contexts, wherein the right to equality exists with the right to culture,...

    • Islam and the Democratic State under the Rule of Law – And Never the Twain Shall Meet?
      (pp. 215-236)
      Mathias Rohe

      It goes without saying that neither secular democratic states nor Islam as a religion could be perceived to be homogeneous and immutable in time and space. this paper will firstly focus on misunderstandings relating to secularity and democracy: Contrary to the widespread understanding of secularity among Muslims, secular states open broad space not only for the private exercise of religion, but also for its public practice and appearance. As to democracy, Muslim traditionalists use to juxtapose its mechanisms to the ‘eternal provisions of God-given Sharia’. It will be briefly demonstrated that every norm, being derived from God or a human...

    • Toward the Triumph of Reason
      (pp. 237-242)
      Mohammed Benzakour

      These days I tend to see my friends in terms of their attitude toward the downtrodden. If they concede but a millimetre to honouring the circus heroes of global capital, under the guise of an – at best two-faced – proclamation of ‘western’ achievements such as freedom and democracy, then I stop considering them as friends; it seems that the mask of culture behind which they used to hide was nothing but a thin veneer. People can debate whether Berlusconi, Bush, Blair, Sarkozy, Merkel or Balkenende are clever politicians or good leaders, but to regard them even for a moment as defenders...

    • List of contributors
      (pp. 243-248)