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Western Muslims and the Future of Islam Hardcover – 27 Nov 2003

3.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (27 Nov. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019517111X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195171112
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 3 x 16 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,678,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


... nothing less than a comprehensive rethinking of the Islamic tradition to accommodate the realities facing European Muslims and their counterparts in the North American diaspora. Ramadan's approach is systematic and uncompromising. (Times Literary Supplement)

This timely book provides a refreshing contrast to much Islamist as well as Islamophobic writing on the question of Muslim minorities ... Although [Ramadan's] arguments are shaped by the particular context in which Western Muslims are located, they have a broader relevance for Muslim minorities in general. (The Muslim World Book Review)

This book is a very welcome contribution to the growing literature on the subject of Muslim minorities. It offers refreshingly new perspectives on a range of issues that are of relevance not only to Western Muslims but also to Muslim minorities elsewhere and, indeed, to Muslim majority groups as well, as they struggle to engage with the difficult demands of modernity. (The Muslim World Book Review)

Western Muslims and the Future of Islam is must reading for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. (John L. Esposito)

To westerners he offers an alternative Muslim to face the mad mullahs and gun-toting charismatic we read so much about today. (THES)

Thanks partly to Ramadan, Islam is on its way to becoming an integral part of Europe's religious landscape. (Time Magazine)

The work of Ramadan will take is place in the annals of Islamic thought. (Le Monde Diplomatique)

About the Author

Tariq Ramadan is Professor of Philosophy at the College of Geneva and Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He is the author of numerous books, including To Be a European Muslim. In 2000 he was named one of Time's 100 most important innovators for the 21st century.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In many ways this is potentially an important book. Ramadan's argument that western Muslims should seek deeper integration in their host societies, and their possibility of doing so in keeping with (as he argues), the Islamic scriptural and juridical traditions, will be something that both Muslims and westerners would have sympathy for. Ramadan rejects all reactionary dualisms (ones that divide the Islamic universe into abodes of Islam and war); he also presents an attractive vision of Islam in relation to human nature and the richness of its own sources. Much of this is again quite convincing.

There are problems though. Reading a work of this nature probably has to be done with an awareness of the controversies that Ramadan has himself aroused. Not all he says has been taken at face value. More importantly, the book is an almost impossibly difficult read. Books are meant to communicate ideas and much of Ramadan's book falls short here. There is no good reason (that I can see) for the book to be expressed so periphrastically, using very long sentences with the many parenthesis and sub-clauses. If what he is saying is important, it needs to be more accessible. Many people will give up with it.
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Format: Hardcover
He gives an excellent critique on Islam and the West. However, it is a heavy read so you have to stick with it. At times, did feel like I was reading a thesis.
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Format: Paperback
The author has been describe as a Muslim Martin Luther. That is an exaggeration as neither the secular nor the religious powers of the day are seeking his life as far as I know. But like Luther, Ramadan is a reformer who says that Muslims must adapt to be citizens in democratic countries in the West.

He divides Muslims into five groupings and he seems closest to liberal or rational Reformism. He wants Muslims to adapt and engage with Western culture and the political process. He does not believe in retreat to the ghetto nor in exclusively Muslim schools. Muslims can and should be good citizens in Western democracies. He rejects the traditional division of the world into abodes of Islam and of War. He says Muslims in the west are at liberty to practise and propagate their faith.

I found much of what he discussed to be relevant to Christians who see their faith as a way of life not mere religion. The way of spirituality and being distinctive from the surrounding culture are common concerns. I regret he did not develop the idea of co-belligerent action in his chapter on dialogue. My other regret is that he says little or nothing about the origins of the violent strands of Islam which threaten us today. But this book is a positive start to better relations with Muslims in the West.
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