Debating Moderate Islam

The Geopolitics of Islam and the West

Utah Series in Middle East Studies

After 9/11, many Americans took the view that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were the leading edge of a new war: Islam versus the West. Yet the attacks were also part of the current struggle within Islam between fundamentalist and moderate approaches and were staged for maximum effect in the Muslim world.

This book is based on a special-topic issue of the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (Fall 2005), and brings together prominent Muslim voices from the policy and academic communities to debate the nature of moderate Islam and what moderation means in both a theological and a geopolitical sense. Participants reflect on the future of political Islam, its role in Muslim politics, western policies in the Muslim world, and the future of American-Muslim relations. This book and the debate it presents are vital to understanding these complex issues.

M. A. Muqtedar Khan is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware and a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom and Jihad for Jerusalem: Identity and Strategy in International Relations.

Table of Contents:

Part I. Introduction
Chapter 1. Debating Moderate Islam M. A. Muqtedar Khan
Part II. the Debate
Chapter 2. Power or Ideology: What Islamists Choose Will Determine Their future Ariel Cohen
Chapter 3. Moderate Muslims: a Mainstream of Modernists, Islamists, Conservatives, and traditionalists John L. Esposito
Chapter 4. freedom and security: necessary Conditions for Moderation Graham E. Fuller
Chapter 5. Moderate Islam: a product of American extremism Abid Ullah Jan
Chapter 6. Islamic Democracy and Moderate Muslims: The straight path runs through the Middle M. A. Muqtedar Khan
Part III. The Rebuttals
Chapter 7. Blaming the United States, Israel, or Capitalism Is Not the Solution Ariel Cohen
Chapter 8. The Clash of Ignorances: The War on Terror Must Not Compromise Muslim Rights John L. Esposito
Chapter 9. The Erdogan Experiment in Turkey is the Future Graham E. Fuller
Chapter 10. Though Muslims Exist Today, Islam Does Not Abid Ullah Jan
Chapter 11. Moderate Muslims Are the Key to the Future of Islam and American-Muslim Relations M. A. Muqtedar Khan
Part Iv. Commentaries and Reflections on the Debate
Chapter 12. In God We Trust: The Prospects for the Future of Islam and the West are Positive Feisal Abdul Rauf
Chapter 13. Liberal Islam Versus Moderate Islam: Elusive Moderates and the Siege Mentality Ali A. Mazrui
Chapter 14. Reflections on Ijtihad and Moderate Islam Louay Safi
Chapter 15. Culture Talk: Six Debates That Shape the Discourse on “Good” Muslims Mahmood Mamdani
Chapter 16. The Transformation of a Turkish Islamic Movement: From Identity Politics to Policy M. Hakan Yavuz
Chapter 17. Reflections on the Debate Taha Jabir al-Alwani
Part v. The Last Word
Chapter 18. Defining a Moderate Kamran A. Bokhari and Farid Senzai
Chapter 19. Accommodating “Moderation”: A Return to Authenticity or Recourse to Heresy? Asma Afsaruddin

Praise and Reviews:
"Since 9/11, we have frequently heard the question, 'Where are all the moderate Muslims?' This book goes a long way toward answering that question...with a rich and complex debate on what constitutes moderate Islam, the influences moderates wield in Muslim societies around the world, and how non-Muslims can best engage them in their joint effort to combat Islamic radicalism. It offers insight and reasoned commentary on a topic where we too often find apologetics on the one hand or reductionism on the other." —Sohail Hashmi, associate professor of international relations, Mount Holyoke College 

"The role Islam will play in the twenty-first century, the predicament of U.S.-Muslim world relations, the status and concerns of Muslim minorities in the West, the questions of Islam, Islamists, and democracy...are some of the most important and vexing political, social, and religious problems of our time. Muqtedar Khan is one of the brightest thinkers and most eloquent voices in the American Muslim community on these issues and he has assembled a veritable 'Who's Who' of scholars, thinkers, and leaders to wrestle these complex and important questions."
—Peter W. Singer, senior fellow and director, 21st Century Defense Initiative, The Brookings Institution 

 "This book is important and interesting. It showing the range of opinions among scholars, policy analysis, and practitioners of Islam."
—Karen I. Leonard, professor of anthropology, UC Irvine