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Islam after Liberalism$
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Faisal Devji and Zaheer Kazmi

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190851279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190851279.001.0001

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Islamic Democracy by Numbers

Islamic Democracy by Numbers

(p.149) 7 Islamic Democracy by Numbers
Islam after Liberalism

Zaheer Kazmi

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the ideological uses of the concept of al wasatiyya, as a means of propagating moderation, by prominent contemporary Muslim scholars engaged in countering extremism. It focuses on the ways in which, through the idea of the “middle way”, a particular theology combines with a majoritarian narrative of Islamic history, politics and civilization to produce a potent synthetic ideology which often serves to exclude, anathematize or marginalize. While it has become a commonplace among liberals to debate the fluid interpretations of Islamic concepts which legitimize violence, less attention, if any, has been given to the equally unstable categories associated with antidotes to religious violence. By deploying the majoritarian dimensions of a concept like “the middle way”, leading scholars today expose the multivalent and volatile nature of theological categories associated with countering extremism. Perhaps, most significantly, it points to some of the limits encountered in searching for correspondence between Islam and the West by way of such categories.

Keywords:   Al wasatiyya, Moderation, Extremism, Middle way, Muslim scholars, Majoritarian, Theological categories, Countering extremism, Islam and the West, Ideology

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