Islamic Culture and Western Civilization: The Prospects of Coexistence in the Thought of Alija Izetbegović
Alija Ali Izetbegović (1925-2003) is one of the outstanding Muslim thinkers in recent history who have re-conceptualized the Islamic worldview and ethos in the context of the contemporary world on the one hand and critically reflected upon the modern Western civilization, on the other. Izetbegović conceives Islam as a system representing a middle path between Christian spiritualism and materialism of modern civilization. However, like any profound philosophical system, his thought requires exposition and interpretation, which the present paper ventures to undertake. Specifically, the paper inquires whether and how far his vision of Islam facilitates coexistence between Muslims and the others, especially regarding the Muslims living in Western societies. The query is crucial because some writers have accused Izetbegović of being a fundamentalist who pursued an agenda of monolithic Islamic culture with little room for meaningful participation of non-Muslims. The paper concludes that contrary to such negative renderings of his thought, Izetbegović was a thinker with a vast intellectual spectrum and an open outlook. Some of his peculiar notions can be conducive to the coexistence between Muslims and other European communities as well as Islamic culture and Western civilization.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.