Western civilization tends to view secularism as a positive
achievement. From this perspective, benefits of secularizing trends
include the separation of church and state, the rule of law, and
freedom from organized religion.
In the Arab Middle East, however, Islamist intellectuals
increasingly cite Western-inspired secularism as the source of the
region's social dislocation and political instability. While
secularism in the West led to the spread of democratic values, in
the Muslim world it has been associated with dictatorship, the
violation of human rights, and the abrogation of civil
Islam and Secularism in the Middle East examines the origins and
growth of the movement to abolish the secularizing reforms of the
past century by creating a political order guided by Shariah law.
Contributors explain the Islamic rejection of secularism as a
failed Western Christian ideal and also discuss how secularization
was pioneered by those who thought Muslims could only advance
politically by emulating Western practices, including the
renunciation of religion.
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