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Islamic Political ThoughtAn Introduction$
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Gerhard Bowering

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164823

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164823.001.0001

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Pluralism and Tolerance

Pluralism and Tolerance

(p.169) Pluralism and Tolerance
Islamic Political Thought

Gudrun Krämer

Princeton University Press

Pluralism and tolerance are considered constitutive elements of good governance, especially liberal democracy as it developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For this reason they are widely debated among modern Muslims, including Islamists of various persuasions. This chapter focuses largely on modern debates. Pluralism and tolerance are clearly related and both cover a broad semantic field. They concern relations within the Muslim community, as well as between Muslims and non-Muslims, and are closely tied to understandings of freedom, liberty, and citizenship. However, there is a difference of emphasis between the two: Pluralism is discussed mostly with regard to the Muslim community, or umma, especially concerning the plurality of political views and interests and their institutionalization within civil society and a multiparty system. Discussions of tolerance, on the other hand, tend to focus on relations between Muslims and non-Muslims—more specifically Christians and Jews as the prime representatives of the People of the Book (ahl al-kitāb)—within a Muslim polity, or within an Islamic state.

Keywords:   Islam, pluralism, tolerance, Muslims, Islamists, Islamic political thought, Muslim community, non-Muslims

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