ON-Lion Letter
"For too many Americans, the topic of 'Islam and pluralism' is approached exclusively as a study in contrasts," writes Dennis R. Hoover, editor of The Review of Faith & International Affairs in his introductory piece to its Winter 2008 issue.  "The assumption is that (1) Islam is a 'fundamentalist' religion, and (2) fundamentalist religion is the enemy of pluralism.  Therefore, to achieve a world in which Islam and pluralism fit happily together, one must first secularize Islam; it will only be Islam-lite that supports pluralism, not any recognizably orthodox version of Islam.

"The error in this popular logic is twofold," Hoover continues.  "First, Islam is no monolith; there is great diversity of religious and political opinion among Muslims worldwide, and considerable areas of common ground with liberal democratic values. ...  Second, the world 'pluralism' is sometimes used as a synonym for 'relativism', but there is no equivalence."

The issue features six articles on Islam and pluralism and a roundtable on "A Common Word Between Us and You," a letter of 138 Muslim scholars addressed to the leaders of Christian churches in search of dialogue.  Among the articles are ones by Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman on "Rule of Law and Balance of Power in Classical Islam," Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) vice president of research Daveed Gartenstein-Ross on "The Role of Consensus in the Contemporary Struggle for Islam," and University of Notre Dame professor of Arabic and Islamic studies Asma Afsaruddin on "Absolutism vs. Pluralism in Islam Today."

The Review of Faith & International Affairs is published by the Center on Faith and International Affairs, a research and education arm of the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) in Arlington, Va.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports IGE and The Review, along with FDD.
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