Latest Issue

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,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect