Philosophy and Social Criticism 36 (3-4):309-323 (2010)
In the past decade, Islam has come to be associated more than ever with images of extremism and violence. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are stock characters in this association, in the aftermath of 11 September and the ‘war on terror’. Lost in all this is a long record of Muslim experience of non-violent change and peace-making. Yet Islam hardly glorifies violence — and does quite explicitly glorify its opposite. History offers much evidence of Muslim tolerance and civil engagement with other faith and cultural traditions. Non-violent Islam could give fresh life to secularism in Muslim societies. It may help steer public space away from state-dominated as well as other forms of political Islam, with their foolish utopias. Realizing the ideals of non-violence is a perennial struggle for Islamic communities around the world - and is part of the struggle for democratic life
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