History

Modernizing Islam: Religion in the Public Sphere in the Middle East and Europe

John L. Esposito and François Burgat, eds., Piscataway, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2003. 304 pages.

As the political climate between many western and Muslim nations continues to intensify, the rhetoric of a “clash of civilizations” has reemerged in our news media, governments, and academic institutions. Muslims and non-Muslims, with varying political agendas, insist that Islam is inherently incompatible with modernity, democracy, and the West. Yet the contributors to Modernizing Islam: Religion in the Public Sphere in the Middle East and Europe demonstrate otherwise as they examine the (re)Islamization of Europe and the Middle East and reveal the ways in which “Islamic political activism” (p. 3), or Islamism, promotes modernization.

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