Liberal Islam A Source Book by Charles Kurzman. Oxford University Press, 1998, 340 pp.

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M. A. Muqtedar Khan



Reviewing anthologies is not an easy task, for they typically include a large
number of articles by different authors, and in this case also on six different
themes. I shall therefore not even attempt to review or summarize the individual
contributions, but focus on the author's rationale and his justification for
considering this particular collection as representative of liberal Islam. The
issues raised by the authors in this anthology, which seek to challenge many
medieval and orthodox interpretations of Islam, will certainly be familiar to
most of the readers of AJISS.
In this interesting book, Kurzman presents a fascinating conundrum to
Muslim and orientalist scholars of Islam who seek to impose a monolithic and
ahistorical character on Islam, and choose to either ignore or marginalize the
continuity of difference in understanding and interpretation in the still developing
corpus of Islamic thought. Kurzman presents an anthology of writings
by a diverse group of contemporary Muslims that clearly demonstrate a concern
for democracy, rights of women, freedom of thought, rights of minorities ...

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