“Islam versus the West” and the Political Thought of AbdolKarim Soroush

Hassan Abbas in al-Nakhlah (The Fletcher School Online Journal for issues related to Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization):

Book20event20cspanInteraction between Islam and the West,at various levels and in different forms,is a centuries- old phenomenon.In the post-September 11 context, however,the discourse is increasingly framed in terms of “us versus them,” an “Islam versus the West ” issue.Terrorist attacks in Spain and United Kingdom in the last two years and the recent cartoon controversy have further exacerbated this confrontational discourse.Within the Muslim world today,the conservative elements largely understand interactions with the West as “Muslims versus Christians,” including an element of Jewish conspiracy as well.Most Muslims see America ’s military campaign in Afghanistan in October 2001; its so-called “preemptive attack ” on Iraq in early 2003 and its bloody aftermath;and media disclosures about U.S.police profiling of Muslims as reflective of an American war on Islam rather than as components of a war on terror.Many westerners also view ordinary Muslims as potential terrorists and as adherents of a religion that is orthodox in its approach and violent in its worldview,an excessively sweeping and profoundly incorrect assessment.Tragically,these perceptions have generated a gulf of estrangement between Islam and the West.

This paper represents an effort to understand these trends and shifts in perception and approach of both Muslims and the West (primarily the United States)in the light of how AbdolKarim Soroush,a leading and influential Muslim scholar from Iran,analyzes this matter.

More here.  [Thanks to Samad Khan.]