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Wrong TurningsHow the Left Got Lost$
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Geoffrey M. Hodgson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226505749

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226505916.001.0001

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Final Full Turn: The Left Condones Reactionary Religion

Final Full Turn: The Left Condones Reactionary Religion

(p.153) Chapter 9 Final Full Turn: The Left Condones Reactionary Religion
Wrong Turnings

Geoffrey M. Hodgson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter addresses religion, with a primary focus on Islam. Criticism of a religion is not racist. But the ill-defined charge of ‘Islamophobia’ has prevented critical discussion of the nature of Islam. The immense contribution of Islam to world art and culture is acknowledged. But Islam today differs from other major religions – including Christianity and Judaism – in important respects. It has not yet accomplished an adequate separation of religion from law. In Islam as still practiced in many communities, basic laws derive directly from religious texts and are regarded as the word of God. By contrast, legislation in the modern West is legitimated via the authority of representative democracy. Islam still devolves the implementation of several legal-religious rules onto the believers themselves, who under God’s instruction from the Qur’an, may take the law into their own hands, and mete out prescribed punishment to rule-breakers. These factors make the reconciliation of existing Islamic cultures with post-Enlightenment societies difficult. Some Muslims are trying to modernise Islam, but the blanket charge of Islamophobia dissuades critical discussion that may help reform efforts.

Keywords:   religion, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, legitimation of authority, Islamophobia, Muslim reformers

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