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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Reopening Muslim Minds

Reopening Muslim Minds

A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance

Mustafa Akyol

St. Martin's Essentials

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A fascinating journey into Islam's diverse history of ideas, making an argument for an "Islamic Enlightenment" today

In Reopening Muslim Minds, Mustafa Akyol, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and opinion writer for The New York Times, both diagnoses “the crisis of Islam” in the modern world, and offers a way forward. Diving deeply into Islamic theology, and also sharing lessons from his own life story, he reveals how Muslims lost the universalism that made them a great civilization in their earlier centuries. He especially demonstrates how values often associated with Western Enlightenment — freedom, reason, tolerance, and an appreciation of science — had Islamic counterparts, which sadly were cast aside in favor of more dogmatic views, often for political ends.

Elucidating complex ideas with engaging prose and storytelling, Reopening Muslim Minds borrows lost visions from medieval Muslim thinkers such as Ibn Rushd (aka Averroes), to offer a new Muslim worldview on a range of sensitive issues: human rights, equality for women, freedom of religion, or freedom from religion. While frankly acknowledging the problems in the world of Islam today, Akyol offers a clear and hopeful vision for its future.

Praise for Reopening Muslim Minds

"Mustafa Akyol has written a page-turning intellectual adventure-story that will rivet the attention of his fellow Muslims, and raise the hopes of us non-Muslims all around the world.”
—Jack Miles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography and God in the Qur’an

"Mustafa Akyol passionately engages in controversial and timely issues, builds upon a wide range of contemporary scholarship on Islam and expands his well thought arguments by supportive examples and interesting stories. This is a brilliant book."
— Mariam Al-Attar, Lecturer of Arabic heritage and Islamic philosophy at the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

"For Mustafa Akyol, the Islamic heritage is not to be approached as a sterile museum, but a lively garden which can always and at any time be cultivated anew. He gives pivotal value to the classical knowledge, or ilm, while not shy away from crucial questions of our modernity. He helps his readers to realise how fruitful is the conjoining of horizons of knowledge, culture and philosophy which belong to past and present..“
—Enes Karic, Professor of Qur’anic studies at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Sarajevo

"In this lucid and captivating book Akyol gives us a most compelling and penetrating plea for reform in Islamic thought. A fervent believer in the universality of reason and freedom, he masterfully links the most debated issues in contemporary Muslim societies to their roots in the past. But for A… More…

"Mustafa Akyol has written a page-turning intellectual adventure-story that will rivet the attention of his fellow Muslims, and raise the hopes of us non-Muslims all around the world.”
—Jack Miles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography and God in the Qur’an

"Mustafa Akyol passionately engages in controversial and timely issues, builds upon a wide range of contemporary scholarship on Islam and expands his well thought arguments by supportive examples and interesting stories. This is a brilliant book."
— Mariam Al-Attar, Lecturer of Arabic heritage and Islamic philosophy at the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

"For Mustafa Akyol, the Islamic heritage is not to be approached as a sterile museum, but a lively garden which can always and at any time be cultivated anew. He gives pivotal value to the classical knowledge, or ilm, while not shy away from crucial questions of our modernity. He helps his readers to realise how fruitful is the conjoining of horizons of knowledge, culture and philosophy which belong to past and present..“
—Enes Karic, Professor of Qur’anic studies at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Sarajevo

"In this lucid and captivating book Akyol gives us a most compelling and penetrating plea for reform in Islamic thought. A fervent believer in the universality of reason and freedom, he masterfully links the most debated issues in contemporary Muslim societies to their roots in the past. But for Akyol history is not an exercise in itself, it is here to teach a lesson. And the lesson is that there will be no lasting political reform in the Muslim world without a much-awaited theological renewal."
—Martino Diez, associate professor of Arabic, Catholic University of Milan

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Mustafa Akyol

MUSTAFA AKYOL is a regular contributing opinion writer for The New York Times since 2013, covering matters of Islam in the modern world. His earlier books, Islam without Extremes (2011) and The Islamic Jesus (2017), have been reviewed and praised by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and the Economist. Islam without Extremes was long-listed for the 2012 Lionel Gelber Prize literary prize, while being banned in Malaysia for challenging the “religion police.”

image of Mustafa Akyolo
Murat Sariaslan

Read Articles by the Author at The New York Times