Islamology Comes to the Aid of Islamism

Diogenes 57 (2):120-127 (2010)
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Abstract

This paper discusses the idea of an incompatibility between Muslim beliefs and the demands of modernity. It claims that the idea of Islam as a religion that makes it difficult for Muslim societies to bring about the changes necessary for their entry into modernity is fostering the rise of radical Islamism. Islamology as an academic discipline seems grounded on the idea that the explanatory models of the social sciences are not applicable to Islam: interpreting the history of Muslim societies, both modern and classical, must of necessity involve a change in technique and method. Whereas chairs in Islamology are proliferating in universities, Arab world specialists, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, economists and demographers are almost abandoning the study of real living societies in favour of Islamic studies. Scholar are increasingly taken up with theology, religious history, interfaith conflicts, the relationship between dogma and modern values and ideas. The authors claims in favour of “getting rid” of this centrality of theological issues, in favour of a more secular analysis of the history and present state of Muslim societies

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