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Islam's forgotten culture and the meaning of Sufism

What kind of change has happened to a culture that has fascinated explorers and free thinkers for centuries?

Islam is at one time a civilization, a religion and a political strategy. But today, the first two dimensions of violence, perpetrated by rebels who claim to act in the name of Islam, are overshadowed. However, as Tunisian-French idea historian Abdelwahab Meddeb (see below) demonstrates, it is easy to show that radical groups' revival of Islam as a belligerent religion manipulates concepts, rips them out of context, denies historical mutations that are precisely the result of existing ideas are influenced and transformed. Unfortunately, the behavior of radical Islamists reaffirms the widely held notion of Islam as inherently warlike, hegemonic and politically violent. It's a story selling tickets. But there is also no effort to trace among journalists, opinion makers, politicians and academics to delve into history, to spot the rich cultural and spiritual connections that actually exist between Islam and the West. 

From the early Middle Ages until almost the Enlightenment, Islam was a pluralistic religion with an open reading of biblical texts, an inclusion of Western philosophy and a strong artistic development in architecture, garden art, calligraphy,. . .

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Alexander Carnera
Carnera is a freelance writer living in Copenhagen.

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