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Secularism Confronts Islam Paperback – 25 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (25 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231141033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231141031
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


A work of sustained deconstruction, [Roy] takes apart the myths, clich s and prejudices which characterise the current conversation about Islam. The Economist [A] brilliant little book. -- Philip H. Gordon Foreign Affairs A remarkable book: articulate, original, lucid, without a paragraph that fails to contain an interesting thought. -- Claire Belinski New York Sun [A] valuable little monograph. -- Martin Levin Globe & Mail Roy provides a useful corrective to the interpretation of Islamism. -- John Gray Harper's Superb... a welcome contribution to political science, sociology, religious studies--and statecraft. Choice [A] cogent work. Middle East Journal An insightful analysis. -- Talip K kcan Insight Turkey Rich in theoretical analysis. American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

About the Author

Olivier Roy is research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and lectures at the cole des Hautes tudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Institut d' tudes Politiques (IEP) in Paris. His books with Columbia University Press include The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East; Globalized Islam; and, with Amel Boubekeur, Whatever Happened to the Islamists? Salafis, Heavy Metal Muslims, and the Lure of Consumerist Islam.

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First Sentence
The question of laïcité in France has recently given rise to violent polemics going well beyond intellectual debate into the realm of personalities.1 Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By tariqmuda on 27 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
The book deals with the fundamental question of why Islam has not been able to cast itself as one of the religions in the Western secular space like Christianity. Two arguments are dealt in detail as possible answers, one posits that separation between religion and politics is foreign to Islam; and the other claims that Islam is more than a religion, it is a culture. As practising Muslims in the West tend to resemble born-again Christians and Haredi Jews and need a proper sociological study instead of any theological debates to be understood properly. No one, I repeat no one else understand Islam in the West as much as Olivier Roy. Get this, 'Islam is a mirror in which the West projects its own identity crisis.' Why, because multiculturalism is dead leaving only French style assimilation (Laicite) as the only other viable option. The book is a study of French Laicite policy with its minority Muslims. Is Islam such a threat, or has the French identity reached such a crises point that a few hundred veiled girls and bearded preachers can overwhelm it? As a Muslim myself it a pertinent question, because if the veils and beards have failed to win me over how is it supposed to take over the wider culture?

Why is Islam been considered different from Christian Catholics when it comes to enforcing Laicite in France? One big reason is lack of political engagement with Muslims in Europe. If there is no proper representation of Muslims than how will the necessary change evolve towards Laicite? For me Olivier has hit the nail on its head here, Laicite worked against Catholics because they very indigenous to Europe and thus had proper political representation which is not the case Muslims yet unfortunately.
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Charles Simmonds on 25 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a short book but at 115 pages long for the ideas and information it contains. I can think of no friends who would consider it to be interesting and informative. The main idea is that in France there really is an understanding of what can be done by religions on one hand and by the French State on the other hand. Quite absent is a review of what Muslims really think about existing in the modern world. Academic? Almost puerile? Almost existentialist? Do not bother with it.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Perspective on American culture 6 Jan. 2010
By Abuelo - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The center of Roy's story is Islam in France, but his evidence and commentary are wideranging and provide food for the American mind not only about Islam but about the relationship between government and religion.
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