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The Thinking Muslim: Why Islam is Incompatible with Liberalism with Professor Joseph Kaminski

We live in a world crafted by the tenets of liberalism. Western societies, of all hues, broadly base their politics, laws and thinking around this very idea. Inevitably, Muslims have been impacted by liberalism, not least because after the fall of the Ottoman caliphate, the Muslim world became subject to a liberal intellectual inquisition. Today many of us cannot see the tradition except through a liberal lens, this is most pronounced with Muslims living in western societies.

Yet liberalism is also in the retreat the world over. Some of its basic dogmas are today being questions, not only by Muslims but also by Americans and Europeans. A successive series of crises has called to question capitalism, liberal democracy, equality and freedom. We at the Thinking Muslim over the coming episodes want to explore liberalism from a number of angles. We have lined up some very interesting guests, some who are ardent proponents of liberal ideals. I have interviewed the self-professed American Muslim liberal Shadi Hamid, we have a very interesting discussion between the New York Times journalist Mustafa Akyol and Dr Ovamir Anjum and other guests to unpack and understand how Muslims should navigate these ideas. As some of you may know, I have hosted a number of courses exploring Islam and liberalism, partly because I found many Muslim critics tend to skim the surface of these ideas or their criticism appeals to those that already subscribe to their world view. We at the Thinking Muslim want to move beyond our echo chambers and in the process our confidence in Islam should enable us to dissect and if necessary, critique with intelligence, ideas that look to remove Islam and its energy from our lives.

This week we have probably one of the most learned authorities on the subject. Professor Joseph Kaminski from the University of Sarajevo has recently published a really important academic work on the subject, titled Islam, Liberalism and Ontology (the link is available in the show notes). I spoke to him in April. He argues in his book that Islam is incompatible with many of the fundamental premises of liberalism, but Muslims must take an intelligent look at the subject. He also argues that Islam should not be coined in opposition to liberalism, such that we reduce Islamic values to be anti everything liberalism may stand for. Our faith may sometimes share some values of other ideas, but the Creator sets out clear parameters and limits. These ideas will be explored. His book is available here:…

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