Why Reforming Islam to Fight Violent Extremism is a Bad Idea
The idea that reforming Islam is necessary to fight violent extremism not only misses the point about violent extremism and the nature of Islam itself but is in fact counterproductive to this very aim.
Following a resurgence of Islamist terrorism over the past five years, French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the reform of Islam in France. He wants to build an ‘Islam of Enlightenment’, a project which would include training for imams that combines knowledge about Islam with the values of the Enlightenment, as well as in-depth teaching of progressive Muslim thinkers such as Averroes and Ibn Khaldun from the 12th and 14th centuries. The French government’s plan also coincides with calls for reform of the Islamic tradition in Muslim societies such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Underpinning these calls is the argument that reforming Islam is necessary to fight violent extremism. What is problematic is that the idea of reforming Islam not only misses the point about violent extremism and the multivocal nature of Islam itself, but is counterproductive to this very aim.
Click here to continue reading the full version of this Expert Comment on the Chatham House website.
Latest News from
Design in an Age of Crisis launches15/01/2021 09:20:00
Design competition receives 500 submissions from over 50 countries across six continents.
Turing Scheme: Erasmus Holds Lessons for Global Britain13/01/2021 14:20:00
Failure to learn from the EU’s Erasmus+ programme risks designing a replacement that falls short of its potential.
How to Turn ‘Global Britain’ from a Slogan to Reality12/01/2021 13:33:00
If the UK wants worldwide influence, and to retain the same level of global influence it enjoyed as an EU member, it has to invest in diplomacy.
Democracies Must Band Together and Look Inwards12/01/2021 09:20:00
Creating a new coalition of democracies will not solve the world’s problems but can rebuild confidence and tackle vulnerabilities plaguing democratic societies.
Qatar Crisis: A Beginning to the End?11/01/2021 16:33:00
The 41st GCC Summit marks a turning point in the Qatar crisis. However, if not repaired, the issues that led to the crisis could easily resurface.
A China Strategy to Reunite America's Allies11/01/2021 14:20:00
The European Union’s decision to sign an investment accord makes it clear that China’s geopolitical heft and allure of trade and investment are tempting.
Africa’s Road to Recovery in 2021 is a Fresh Start07/01/2021 15:20:00
The continent now has a chance to reshape its relations with the global economy to create greater pan-African prosperity and resilience for future generations.
Mental Autonomy Must be Preserved as Tech Advances22/12/2020 13:10:00
The long-enshrined rights to freedom of thought and opinion should be protected in the design, use and regulation of technology and artificial intelligence.