The Future of Islam

The Future of Islam

The Future of Islam

The Future of Islam


John L. Esposito is one of America's leading authorities on Islam. Now, in this brilliant portrait of Islam today-- and tomorrow-- he draws on a lifetime of thought and research to provide an accurate, richly nuanced, and revelatory account of the fastest growing religion in the world.

Here Esposito explores the major questions and issues that face Islam in the 21st century and that will deeply affect global politics: Is Islam compatible with modern notions of democracy, rule of law, gender equality, and human rights? How representative and widespread is Islamic fundamentalism and the threat of global terrorism? Can Muslim minority communities be loyal citizens in America and Europe? In the midst of these questions Esposito places an important emphasis on the issue of Islamophobia, the threat it poses, and its vast impact on politics and society in the US and Europe. He also turns the mirror on the US and Europe and paints a revealing portrait of how we appear to Muslims.

Recent decades have brought extraordinary changes in the Muslim world, and in addressing these issues, Esposito paints a complex picture of Islam in all its diversity--a picture of urgent importance as we face the challenges of the coming century.


The lives and expectations of many were shattered by the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Within hours a handful of terrorists had transformed the twenty-first century into a world dominated by an American-led war against global terrorism and strengthened the image of Islam and Muslims as a religion and a people to be feared and fought. Some spoke of a clash of civilizations. Others asked, “What went wrong?” or “Why do they hate us?”

America’s expansive war on terror, continued acts of violence and terrorism by Muslim extremists, widespread anti-Americanism across the Muslim world (and much of the non-Muslim world), and the spread of Islamophobia have raised many questions about the future of Islam and of Muslims. For many, the war on global terrorism has come to be seen as a war against Islam and the Muslim world. America is seen as engaged in a neocolonial attempt to redraw the map of the Middle East in light of American political and economic interests. The detention without trial and the abuse of Muslim prisoners, charges of the desecration of the Quran, the denigration of Islam and torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and the erosion of the civil liberties of Muslims through the use of secret evidence and the provisions of the Patriot Act undermined the claims of President George W. Bush’s administration to be promoting democracy and human rights.

The Future of Islam seeks to understand the struggle for reform in Islam, sometimes described as a struggle for the soul of Islam, to explore the religious, cultural, and political diversity of Muslims facing daunting challenges in Muslim countries and in the West, to clarify the debate and dynamics of Islamic reform, to examine the attempt to combat religious extremism and terrorism, and to look into the future of Muslim-West relations.

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