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The New Voices of Islam

Rethinking Politics and Modernity—A Reader

Mehran Kamrava (Editor), Isabella Steer (Other)

Incl. US and Territ, Canada, Philippines

Paperback, 302 pages
ISBN: 9780520250994
February 2007
At a time in our post-9/11 world when fundamentalist forces appear to dominate Islam, a vibrant and consequential discourse has emerged from many prominent writers seeking to change the direction of Muslim thought. This timely volume, representing a broad cross-section of this reformist trend in countries ranging from Malaysia to Algeria and Morocco, brings together the writings of thirteen of the most renowned and influential Muslim thinkers alive today. Individually and collectively, they argue for reforms in Islamic theology and jurisprudence and for reinterpretations of popular notions of Islam that are consistent with and supportive of the tenets of modern life. Their essays include broad overviews of Islam, its core principles, and the complex relationship between Islam, democracy, and civil rights; three works by Muslim feminist intellectuals; and more. The volume also places the life, career, and arguments of each thinker in national and historical context.

Copub: I.B. Tauris
Dr. Mehran Kamrava is Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar and Professor of Political Science at California State University, Northridge. He received his PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge. His specialties include political development, comparative politics, and Middle Eastern Studies. In addition to a number of journal articles, he is the author of Revolution in Iran: The Roots of Turmoil (1990), The Political History of Modern Iran: From Tribalism to Theocracy (1992), Revolutionary Politics (1992), Politics and Society in the Third World (1993), Understanding Comparative Politics: A Framework for Analysis (1996), Democracy in the Balance: Culture and Society in the Middle East (1998), Cultural Politics in the Third World (1999), Politics and Society in the Developing World, 2nd ed. (2000), The Modern Middle East: A Political History since the First World War (2005), and Iran's Intellectual Revolution (2008). He has also edited The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking Politics and Modernity (2006) and is the co-editor of the two-volume work Iran Today: Life in the Islamic Republic.
“Mehran Kamrava has compiled a selection from some of the leading Muslim reformist thinkers whose voices have often been muted and marginalized. These essays introduce the reader to the nuances of the unfolding drama surrounding the issues of religion, politics and the public space across the Muslim World, revealing the richness as well as the limitations of these new attempts to synthesize Islam and modernity. This is a must-read for all those interested in hearing the new voices and seeing the other face of Islam.”—Manochehr Dorraj, Professor of Political Science, Texas Christian University

The New Voices of Islam is a fine collection that effectively answers the question: where are the reformist voices in Islam? Mehran Kamrava has done an excellent job of presenting the global diversity of Muslim thinking from North Africa to Southeast Asia, Europe to America.”—John L. Esposito, University Professor and Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University

“Western public concern about Islamic extremism is almost wholly uninformed by the views of the reforming intellectuals gathered together in Mehran Kamrava’s very important book The New Voices of Islam. These men and women, living both within the Islamic world and in Europe and America, have been struggling for a modern, pluralist, tolerant and democratic transformation of the Muslim world years before the crises of 9/11 and 7/7. Their collective message deserves the widest exposure, particularly within western political circles where it has, sadly, gone unheeded.”—David Waines, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies, Lancaster University

"This volume contains not the voices of Muslim governments and Islamist oppositions but the work of Muslim mavericks—refreshing in their originality, searing in their critiques, reassuring in their rationality. These voices deserve a wider audience in the West, and this book responds to that need. But also, and most especially, they deserve the attention of Muslims everywhere. Government repression and Islamist pressures unfortunately obstruct general access to such unconventional ideas in many Muslim states."—Robert D Lee, Professor of Political Science, Colorado College

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