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Islam and the Liberal State: National Identity and the Future of Muslim Britain

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Islam has grown in prominence to become one of the central moral traditions in the U.K. But a popular view is that liberal and Islamic traditions are incompatible, and public debate about Islam and British nationhood remain polemical. So how do Western governments facilitate the incorporation of Muslim populations and institutions? And why is this important? This book addre Islam has grown in prominence to become one of the central moral traditions in the U.K. But a popular view is that liberal and Islamic traditions are incompatible, and public debate about Islam and British nationhood remain polemical. So how do Western governments facilitate the incorporation of Muslim populations and institutions? And why is this important? This book addresses the lack of understanding about the character of British Islam and its relationship to the liberal state. Focusing on Islamic law, education and government, the study is unique in being based on empirical research including interviews undertaken over a ten-year period with Muslims, and analysis of public events organized by Islamic institutions. Stephen Jones challenges claims about the isolation of British Islamic organizations and shows that they have decisively shaped themselves around British public and institutional norms. The book uses evidence to argue that the incorporation of Muslim minorities enables democratic renewal, with national identification having a positive impact on cultural minorities and political dissent. It also provides a detailed examination of the political theory of liberalism and makes recommendations for a specific type of social and political liberalism that is open to the expression of religious argument in its public settings, and to associations between religious groups and the state.


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Islam has grown in prominence to become one of the central moral traditions in the U.K. But a popular view is that liberal and Islamic traditions are incompatible, and public debate about Islam and British nationhood remain polemical. So how do Western governments facilitate the incorporation of Muslim populations and institutions? And why is this important? This book addre Islam has grown in prominence to become one of the central moral traditions in the U.K. But a popular view is that liberal and Islamic traditions are incompatible, and public debate about Islam and British nationhood remain polemical. So how do Western governments facilitate the incorporation of Muslim populations and institutions? And why is this important? This book addresses the lack of understanding about the character of British Islam and its relationship to the liberal state. Focusing on Islamic law, education and government, the study is unique in being based on empirical research including interviews undertaken over a ten-year period with Muslims, and analysis of public events organized by Islamic institutions. Stephen Jones challenges claims about the isolation of British Islamic organizations and shows that they have decisively shaped themselves around British public and institutional norms. The book uses evidence to argue that the incorporation of Muslim minorities enables democratic renewal, with national identification having a positive impact on cultural minorities and political dissent. It also provides a detailed examination of the political theory of liberalism and makes recommendations for a specific type of social and political liberalism that is open to the expression of religious argument in its public settings, and to associations between religious groups and the state.

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