Islam In Liberalism

Paperback | March 2, 2016

byJoseph A. Massad

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In the popular imagination, Islam is often associated with words like oppression, totalitarianism, intolerance, cruelty, misogyny, and homophobia, while its presumed antonyms are Christianity, the West, liberalism, individualism, freedom, citizenship, and democracy. In the most alarmist views, the West’s most cherished values—freedom, equality, and tolerance—are said to be endangered by Islam worldwide.  

Joseph Massad’s Islam in Liberalism explores what Islam has become in today’s world, with full attention to the multiplication of its meanings and interpretations. He seeks to understand how anxieties about tyranny, intolerance, misogyny, and homophobia, seen in the politics of the Middle East, are projected onto Islam itself. Massad shows that through this projection Europe emerges as democratic and tolerant, feminist, and pro-LGBT rights—or, in short, Islam-free. Massad documents the Christian and liberal idea that we should missionize democracy, women’s rights, sexual rights, tolerance, equality, and even therapies to cure Muslims of their un-European, un-Christian, and illiberal ways. Along the way he sheds light on a variety of controversial topics, including the meanings of democracy—and the ideological assumption that Islam is not compatible with it while Christianity is—women in Islam, sexuality and sexual freedom, and the idea of Abrahamic religions valorizing an interfaith agenda. Islam in Liberalism is an unflinching critique of Western assumptions and of the liberalism that Europe and Euro-America blindly present as a type of salvation to an assumingly unenlightened Islam.

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In the popular imagination, Islam is often associated with words like oppression, totalitarianism, intolerance, cruelty, misogyny, and homophobia, while its presumed antonyms are Christianity, the West, liberalism, individualism, freedom, citizenship, and democracy. In the most alarmist views, the West’s most cherished values—freedom, ...

Joseph A. Massad is professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. He has written many books, including Desiring Arabs, also published by the University of Chicago Press. 

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:404 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inPublished:March 2, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022637954X

ISBN - 13:9780226379548

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Choice of Liberalism
 
1  The Democracy Offensive and the Defenses of “Islam”
2  Women and/in “Islam”: The Rescue Mission of Western Liberal Feminism
3  Pre-Positional Conjunctions: Sexuality and/in “Islam”
4  Psychoanalysis, “Islam,” and the Other of Liberalism
5  Forget Semitism!

Works Cited
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Taking up Foucault’s notion of the tactical polyvalence of discourses, Massad demonstrates that Western liberal ‘democracy’, portrayed as foreign to ‘Islam’, necessarily serves an imperial project. His aim is not merely to reveal the US government’s hypocrisy in the name of realpolitik, as when, for instance, it established and supported anti-democratic Islamic regimes during the Cold War, but is rather to foreground what the West must disavow as it constructs itself as embodying a so-called ‘secular’ liberalism that is always hiding its Protestant roots. . . . Defining liberalism as a problem that cannot and should not be remedied by liberalism may be Massad’s most timely and controversial intervention.”