ARDA Guiding Papers Series

Rethinking Islam and Secularism

by John L. Esposito

This essay will look at what many Muslims today have to say about the relationship of Islam to secularism, pluralism and democracy. It will present a brief overview of: the political context of state formation and the relationship of Islam and state; the movement from an initial trajectory of state formation along a more secular path and then the more recent retreat from the secular path. The heart of this study will be an examination of what many Muslims say and want.

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Please use the following when citing this paper:

Esposito, John L. 2010. Rethinking Islam and Secularism (ARDA Guiding Paper Series). State College, PA: The Association of Religion Data Archives at The Pennsylvania State University, from

Related Links

  • Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
  • Oxford Islamic Studies Online

  • John Louis Esposito is a professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is also the director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal center for Muslim-Christian understanding at Georgetown University. and co-authored Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.