Douglas Biow, Director MEZ 3.126, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-3470
Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty
Mon, November 4, 2013 • 3:00 PM • Julius Glickman Conference Center (CLA 1.302E)
A lecture by Mustafa Akyol
From furious reactions to the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad to the suppression of women, contemporary news from the Muslim world seems to beg the question: Is Islam compatible with freedom and democracy? With an eye sympathetic to both to Western liberalism and Islamic theology, Mustafa Akyol traced the ideological and historical roots of political Islam in his 2011 book Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.
Following the death of the Prophet Muhammad's in 632 AD, an intellectual "war of ideas" raged between rationalist, flexible schools of Islam and the more dogmatic, rigid interpretations. Although the traditionalist school won out, fostering perceptions of Islam as antithetical to modernity, Akyol suggests that a reexamination of the currents of Muslim thought reveal a flourishing of liberalism in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and the unique "Islam-liberal synthesis" of present-day Turkey. His analysis offers a desperately needed intellectual basis for the reconcilability of Islam and religious, political, economic, and social freedoms.
Mustafa Akyol is a columnist for two Turkish newspapers, Hürriyet Daily News and Star. His articles have also appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He studied political science and history at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, where he lives.