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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

What's So Political about 'Political' Islam?

luncheon colloquium

american muslim woman

David DiPasquale
Boston College

Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Location: Boisi Center, 24 Quincy Road
Time: 12:00-1:15 pm

RSVP required. Click here to register.


Abstract:  Few things are as settled in the contemporary discourse today regarding Islamic terrorism as the view that true Islam is non-political and that the 'political' Islam practiced by the extremists is bad.  Popular use of neologisms like "Islamo-fascism" and "Islamism" serve merely to confirm such a bias.  But is the prevailing notion correct? Are the origins of such an understanding Islamic or non-Islamic? And what about the older approach, which stresses the comprehensive nature of the Divine Law? David DiPasquale will offer these and related questions, and ask whether the emergence of liberal reform throughout the Muslim world might depend in some manner on considering opportunities made possible by a renewed appreciation of the older view.

David DiPasquale

David DiPasquale studies the intersection between Islamic law and political thought in pre-modern and contemporary contexts; the transmission and recovery of Greek science by Arabic-speaking Muslims in the Middle Ages; and the political philosophy of Alfarabi, Avicenna and Averroes. In addition, he is interested in the relation between Islam and the West.  Under contract with Cambridge University Press is his book Alfarabi’s Book of Dialectic (Kitab al-Jadal): On the Starting Point of Islamic Philosophy, which includes the first English translation of the full Arabic text. He has taught many courses, including Introduction to Islamic Civilization; Islamic Political Philosophy; Islam and Liberal Democracy; and the Political Philosophy of Alfarabi.

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In the News

Check out this article in the Economist, which discusses the Muslim Brotherhood. Once a force for revolution and change during the Arab Spring, the group is now in hiding from the same autocratic governments it once hoped to overthrow. Is there a future for a political Islam? On September 12, David DiPasquale will discuss this question over lunch at the Boisi Center.