Islam versus liberal pluralism?

Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 24 (1):121-137 (2004)
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Abstract

The aims of liberalism—which is often confused with value pluralism—are routinely challenged by persons whose primary commitments lie elsewhere. In his weighing the pros and cons of liberal democratic states versus an Islamic state, Ahmad Yousif has offered an impressive challenge to liberals, but in doing so has confused the aims of liberalism with the pre-liberal nation-state ideal. In this article, I will challenge his conclusions by demonstrating the competing aims of liberals without conflating them with the liberal state. Yousif is right to draw attention to the inequities of Western liberal democracies, but I will contend that (a) wherever actually existing liberal democracies fail to show tolerance towards religious minorities, it is not the fault of liberalism, and that (b) Yousif’s counter ideal of an Islamic state is less than ideal.

Author's Profile

Michael Merry
University of Amsterdam

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