Islam, Liberalism, and Ontology: A Critical Re-evaluation
Islam, Liberalism, and Ontology: A Critical Re-evaluation
Joseph J. Kaminski
Routledge, Oxfordshire 2021, xiii + 198 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-367-53411-0
Faizan Akbar
The book opens with an apt introduction which lays bare its raison d'être. Jospeh Kaminski begins by referencing a 2017 CATO roundtable conversation in which Mustafa Akyol and Shadi Hamid discussed the possibility of Islamic Liberalism. Kaminski agrees with Shadi Hamid’s pessimism “on the prospects of an enduring “Islamic Liberalism”” (p. 1). However, he points to the minimal or no elaboration regarding the higher-order incompatibilities between Islam and Liberalism on Hamid’s part. It is this lack of any “deeper reflective engagement with the fundamental ontological assumptions and claims of both Islam and Liberalism as discourses” which forms the author’s motivation for writing this book (p. 2). Against this backdrop, the book attempts to delve in a thorough investigation of both these paradigms and offer a comparative analysis of the concepts that form their respective ontologies. Hence, Kaminski mentions twofold aims of this work: i) To demonstrate that Islam and Liberalism (Enlightenment or Political) operate at “fundamentally different baseline assumptions” ii) to demonstrate the possibility of a positive interplay between Islam and Communitarianism.

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