Elevate Difference

The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking Politics and Modernity

In The New Voices of Islam, Mehran Kamrava compiles a selection of writings from Muslim reformists whose voices have been silenced and marginalized for much too long. The reader introduces his audience to the intricate and complex concepts that revolve around religion, politics and public space in the Muslim world - revealing a rich yet limited ability to synchronize Islam and Modernity.

Through the compilation of works, the authors effectively answer the question on many post-9/11 minds: “Where are the reformist voices in Islam today?” From North Africa to Southeast Asia, Europe to America, The New Voices of Islam illustrates the gamut of sociopolitical thought brewing in our globally diverse world. The essays include a broad overviews of Islam's core principles; the complexities between Islam, democracy and civil rights; and three works by Muslim feminist intellectuals.

To much dismay, Westerners’ concern about Islamic fundamentalism is, for the most part, uninformed and remains uneducated about the Muslim intellectuals working toward positive change in the Middle East. This elite cohort lives both within the Islamic world and in Europe and America. Their struggle began before 9/11 and before The Constitutional Revolution in Iran (1907-1911). Due to many missed opportunities and marginalization, their collaboration has often gone unnoticed; their strength is in their message and endurance to continue the fight for democratic governance.

The words in Kamrava’s collection are not from Muslim governments or Islamist opposition. These are the dark horses, Muslim mavericks who are the voices that rise above the religious and political fray. Each of the authors in the reader is willing to critique, reassess and respond to the needs of their societies.

Written by: Mona Lisa Safai, May 16th 2007