The liberal idea arose partly as a response to the religious wars of 17th-century Europe. Could something similar occur in the Islamic world today? Mustafa Akyol thinks so—and his new book Reopening Muslim Minds offers a fascinating and forthright case for reinterpreting Islamic history and revisiting Islamic law. Mustafa joined Shadi and Damir to talk about what inspired the book, starting with his arrest by Malaysia's "religion police." They go on to debate Islam's proper role in public life, how to interpret sharia in a modern context, the promise (and dangers) of "rationalism," and what makes Islam attractive in the first place.
Part two of the conversation with Mustafa is available here for subscribers. If the first hour catches your interest, join us as we wade deeper into various controversies. The discussion turns to whether Islam will follow a similar trajectory as Christianity, apostasy laws, the case of Turkey, whether democracy is a means or an end, and what all of this means for American foreign policy. Subscribe here.
Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance, by Mustafa Akyol (Amazon)
"Where Islam and Reason Meet," by Mustafa Akyol (The Wall Street Journal)
Sharia: Theory, Practice, Transformations, by Wael B. Hallaq (Amazon)