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The Children of Rifaa

Guy Sorman (Author) Asha Puri (Translator)
Synopsis In 1826, Rifaa of Tahtawi, a theologian in Cairo, arrived in Paris. His mission was to discover the secret of the scientific prowess of the West and find out if it was possible to reconcile the tenets of Islam with a modern and progressive outlook. By the time he returned to Egypt in 1831, after a thorough study of Western science, military power and jurisprudence, he had come to the conclusion that nothing in the Koran opposed the modernization of the Muslim world. His enlightened analysis led to what is known as the ‘Arab Renaissance’, a discernible shift towards modernity and democracy in the Muslim world, which lasted till the 1950s. Over the last fifty years, this spirit of reform has more or less given way to a more fundamentalist and less tolerant approach. While Muslims themselves have largely given the moderate tradition a go-by, the West too has pandered to convenient stereotypes. Bin Laden, 9/11, Afghanistan and ‘jehad’ have become the symbols of modern-day Islam, so much so that Muslims as a whole have been branded as fanatics and even worse as ‘terrorists’. Guy sorman’s scholarly study takes a look at Islam in the contemporary world, and assets that contrary to popular perceptions there are still thinkers in the Muslim world who subscribe to a moderate and liberal view of Islam. These progressive Muslims, who call themselves ‘the children of Rifaa’, seek to reconcile globalization and modernity with the need to preserve the integrity of Islam. Calling upon both the West and the Islamic world to unambiguously express their solidarity with these free-thinking Muslims, the author emphasizes that this is a responsibility we can ignore only at our own peril.
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About the authors

Guy Sorman

Guy Sorman was born in France in 1944 and studied at the University of Paris. At twenty-five, he started teaching economics in this same university and as a visiting professor abroad, mainly in the USA and Latin America. Over the last forty years he has written numerous columns for French and other newspapers around the world, attended a large number of conferences, and has published eighteen books in French, which have been translated in more than a dozen different languages. He is currently a member of the French National Commission for Human Rights, a member of the Indo-French forum, and the founder and honorary president of Action against Hunger. He lives in Paris with his wife and four daughters.

Asha Puri

Asha Puri lives in Delhi. She has taught French at the Alliance Francaise, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, and Jamia Millia Islamia. she is also a well-known translator.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Children of Rifaa
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0143031279
length vi+288p., Notes; Bibliography; Index; 20cm.