Review of initial Thesis Draft:
In the years after September 11, 2001American political discourse has at points evinced not just concern about terrorism but also wariness of what is perceived by some to eb Islamic radicalism, the latter sometimes perhaps blurring into outright prejudice toward Muslims generally. This thesis explores both American attitudes about Islam and whether there is any basis for thinking that there is a deep divide between the Islamic world and the world of American liberal democratic politics. Her paper begins with a very brief discussion of what she perceives to be misconceptions that Americans have about Islam. She then goes on to argue, under three different headings, that they reality of Islam some not fit those misconceptions. First, she takes up the jihad doctrine. She argues that American have an over simplified view of this concept. Arguing from a reading from the Qur’an, as well as the interpretation of scholars of the Qur’an, she insists that jihad doctrine does not necessarily justify terrorism or the general conflict between radical Islam and the West today. Next, she takes up the question of the separation of church and state. Here she concedes that there are important differences between the world view of Islam and the political arrangement that is the norm in liberal democracies od the West. Here, she argues, American attitudes toward Muslims would improve if they understood the religious basis of the rejection of the separation of church and state in Islam. Finally, she takes up the general question of “liberal democracy in Islam”. Under this heading she provides and extensive discussion of sharia law, in a sense a continuation of the questions of the separation of church and state. This thesis addresses a number of related important topics central to the question of Islam and modern liberal democratic politics.