Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary by Carl W. Ernst

By Carl W. Ernst

Warding off the traps of sensational political disclose and really good scholarly Orientalism, Carl Ernst introduces readers to the profound non secular assets of Islam whereas clarifying range and debate in the culture. Framing his argument by way of spiritual reviews, Ernst describes how Protestant definitions of faith and anti-Muslim prejudice have affected perspectives of Islam in Europe and the US. He additionally covers the modern value of Islam in either its conventional settings and its new destinations and offers a context for figuring out extremist pursuits like fundamentalism. He concludes with an summary of severe debates on very important modern matters resembling gender and veiling, kingdom politics, and technology and faith.

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M Anti-Islamic Attitudes from Medieval Times to the Present It is safe to say that no religion has such a negative image in Western eyes as Islam. Although it would be pointless to engage in competition between religious stereotypes, one can certainly see Gandhi and his advocacy of nonviolence as a positive image of Hinduism. Likewise, the Dalai Lama has an amazingly positive and widespread recognition as a representative of Buddhism. Europe and America have done a dramatic about-face with respect to Judaism over the course of the past century.

In statements that attribute political differences to fundamental religious positions, the implicit conclusion is that there is no possibility of negotiation, because religious positions are eternal and unrelated to passing events. This is convenient to both extremes in a violent struggle. On one hand, extremist movements in opposition to the state can describe their struggle as a religious quest mandated by God. Even if the extremists are few, by making such absolute claims they can justify any action, no matter how violent, because their struggle is based on truth and the fight against evil.

4 Ultimately, Huntington’s clash of civilizations should be seen as a reversion to colonial doctrines of European supremacy. It lacks the overt dependence on racial theory that was fashionable in the nineteenth century, but it shares the basic prejudice of reserving true civilization for Europe, which is opposed by barbarism everywhere else. The technical edge that gave Europe military superiority over the rest of the world is mistaken for cultural superiority. The 1910 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica summed up this attitude perfectly in its article on Asia written by a British colonial official: Asiatics stand on a higher level than the natives of Africa or America, but do not possess the special material civilization of western Europe.

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