Focus Article: Islamic tradition and religious pluralism
by Maher Y. Abu-Munshar
There is a pervasive view in the media today that Islam does not support pluralism. Sadly, we often hear how difficult it is for non-Muslim minorities to live in peace and harmony in Muslim countries. Violent extremists who misuse Islamic theology to justify terrorist attacks have exacerbated prejudices against Muslims and today many people think that Muslims do not believe in pluralism and diversity.
By contrast, history reveals that Islam — as preached in the Qur’an and exemplified by the life of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions — actually accepts, celebrates and even encourages diversity.
It should be noted that the term “minority” has no place in Islamic law.
It has no place in sharia (a legal system based on Islamic principles) and jurists have never used the term. Rather, it emerged from Western societies, which use it to distinguish between ethnic groups.
According to Islamic principles, everyone who lives in a Muslim state is entitled to enjoy the same rights of citizenship, despite the differences they may have in their religion or population size. Read more…