Islam Without Extremes by Mustafa Akyol

A provocative manifesto for an interpretation of Islam that synthesizes liberal ideas and respect for the Islamic tradition.

From furious reactions to the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad to the suppression of women, news from the Muslim world begs the question: is Islam incompatible with freedom? With an eye sympathetic to Western liberalism and Islamic theology, Mustafa Akyol traces the ideological and historical roots of political Islam. The years following Muhammad’s passing in 632 AD saw an intellectual “war of ideas” rage between rationalist, flexible schools of Islam and the more dogmatic, rigid ones. The traditionalist school won out, fostering perceptions of Islam as antithetical to modernity. However, through his careful reexamination of the currents of Muslim thought, Akyol discovers a flourishing of liberalism in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and the unique “Islamo-liberal synthesis” of present-day Turkey. Only by accepting a secular state, he powerfully asserts, can Islamic societies thrive. Persuasive and inspiring, Islam without Extremes offers a desperately needed intellectual basis for the irreconcilability of Islam and religious, political, economic, and social freedoms.

Mustafa Akyol, an advocate of “Muslim liberalism,” is a columnist for two Turkish newspapers, Hürriyet Daily News and Star. His articles have also appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and International Herald Tribune. He studied political science and history at the Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, where he still lives.
You can visit his website at

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Mustafa Akyol – Islam Without Extremes

Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol gave at talk to Warwick Libertarians, a student society at the University of Warwick, on the subject of his book, “Islam Without Extremes”. He argues that Islam is an emancipatory religion, and that the common perception of Islam as inflexible and authoritarian is flawed.

The views expressed may not be those of Warwick Libertarians.

TED: Mustafa Akyol – Faith versus tradition in Islam

2012 – Master Class – Mr. Mustafa Akyol

Published on Jun 29, 2012

The fourth Israeli Presidential Conference, FAcing Tomorrow, 2012.
Master Class: Mr. Mustafa Akyol, Turkey.
Islam and Democracy: Myths and Facts.

An interview with Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol, Israeli Presidential Conference 2012

Erielle Reshef interviews journalist Mustafa Akyol of the “Hurriyet Daily” at the Israeli Presidential Conference 2012


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