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Liberal Islam?

Islam's reformers of the 19th century failed to reconcile their faith with modernity. Is there any more hope today for the emergence of political liberalism in Islamic states?

By Anshuman A Mondal   January 2003

The prospects for Islam’s accommodation with the liberal-democratic societies of Europe and North America is one of the most urgent questions of our times. Why, ask western commentators, does Islam appear to have a problem with democracy and liberalism? Why did Islamic societies not experience modernity in the same way as the west? Is there anything about Islam itself-as religion or culture-that precludes development along such lines?

From Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798, the Islamic world’s encounter with modernity shook it with such force that it was never to be the same again. All Muslims, from peasants to pashas,…

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