A Call for Heresy: Why Dissent Is Vital to Islam and America

Anouar Majid, Author . Univ. of Minnesota $24.95 (290p) ISBN 978-0-8166-5127-6

Majid, a professor of English at the University of New England, argues that the practice of discussion and dissent, which he broadly dubs “heresy,” has died in Islamic cultures and in America, resulting in a dangerous stagnation of thought in both groups—a trait the two groups have in common despite their opposition to each other. Majid is tough on Muslims for reacting to the challenge of modernity by desperately clutching to their faith, even where he believes it's unwarranted as with the use of hijab (the veil). He says that Muslims, and some Americans, are incapable of engaging in critical self-examination, afraid to suspend their beliefs even briefly for analysis. He laments that his own native, once cosmopolitan Morocco is currently being overtaken by Wahhabism. Heresy, he believes, will revitalize both societies and rescue them from their current suffocation by right-wing conservatives on both sides. His assertion that the Qur'an is of mixed and possibly nondivine origin will certainly not win any Muslim readers to his view, and his assessment of American culture as too religious is not particularly surprising. Majid mainly and excessively quotes other scholars' works, whereas Majid's own original arguments are preferable but too infrequent. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-0-8166-5128-3
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-8166-5404-8
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