In 2009, the Moroccan-born Anouar Majid, a professor of English at the University of New England in Maine, capped off his earlier pleas for a critical rethinking of the rhetorical use of religion and the political exploitation of national and civilisational heritages with A Call to Heresy: Why Dissent is Vital to Islam and America. A highly personal meditation building on his earlier writings on the place of Muslims in a postcolonial and polycentric world, the book’s intentionally provocative title does not imply a rejection of Islam. On the contrary, it is meant to give Muslims a morale boost to face the challenge of modernity without fear. Majid contends that Muslims have the emotional and intellectual maturity to ‘confront their own contradictions’. They should display a confidence that ‘is robust enough to allow for troubling questions to be raised’.

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