Islam in a Post-Secular Society

Religion, Secularity and the Antagonism of Recalcitrant Faith


Islam in the Post-Secular Society: Religion, Secularity and the Antagonism of Recalcitrant Faith critically examines the unique challenges facing Muslims in Europe and North America. From the philosophical perspective of the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory, this book attempts not only to diagnose the current problems stemming from a marginalization of Islam in the secular West, but also to offer a proposal for a Habermasian discourse between the religious and the secular. By highlighting historical examples of Islamic and western rapprochement, and rejecting the ‘clash of civilization’ thesis, the author attempts to find a ‘common language’ between the religious and the secular, which can serve as a vehicle for a future reconciliation.
Open Access


Open Access

Biographical Note

Dustin J. Byrd, Ph.D. (2016), Michigan State University, is an Assistant Professor of Humanities at Olivet College in Michigan. He has published monographs, edited volumes and many articles on both Islam and the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory. His latest book, Malcolm X: From Political Eschatology to Religious Revolutionary, was co-edited with Seyed Javad Miri (Brill, 2016).

Table of contents

Preface Acknowledgements 1. Professing Islam in a Post-Secular Society Introduction On the Contemporary Possibility of Witnessing and Professing The Post-Secular Society What does it mean to Profess Islam? Witnessing In Islam: on the Tradition of Radical Praxis New Religion as Return of the Old Witnessing in the Time of War ‘Perfected Religion’: A Problematic Conception Fear of Philosophical Blaspheme 2. Adversity in Post-Secular Europe The Dialectics of Martyrdom: Death as Witnessing and Professing Witnessing Against Islam: The Case of Theo van Gogh Je ne suis pas Charlie et je ne suis pas avec les terrorists 3. Finding a Common Language 13th Century Witnessing: Saint Francis of Assisi and Sultan Malik al-Kamil Different Francis, Same Mission: Witnessing with and for Muslims Translation Proviso: Can We Witness and Confess in the Same Language? Cognitive-Instrumental Reason, Moral-Practical Reason and Aesthetic-Expressive Reason in Religion Translation Dangers Secular Entrenchment 4. Witnessing and Confessing in Prophetic and Positive Religions Affirmation and Negativity: Marx Affirmation and Negativity: Lenin Affirmation and Negativity: Horkheimer and Adorno Confronting the Post-Secular Condition Prophetic and Priestly Religion 5. After Auschwitz: Islam in Europe Violence and the Post-Secular Violence and the State Freud’s Unbehagen mit Marx Witnessing and Professing in a Nietzschian Age of Nihilism Witnessing and Professing After Auschwitz: Theodor Adorno’s Poetics History and Metaphysics after Auschwitz Ethics after Auschwitz Witnessing the Messianic: The Case of the Martyr Walter Benjamin A Place for Theology Messiah, Messianic and the Historian Benjamin’s Critique of Progress: Witnessing History as Barbarity 6. Post-Secularity and its Discontents: The Barbaric Revolt against Barbarism Absolutivity Authoritarian Absolutes, Heteronomy, and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria Humanistic Absolutes ISIS: Same Problem, Different Manifestations American and Euro-Jihādis Hegel, War and Individualism ISIS and Western Alienation Internationalism Seeking Heaven at the Barrel of a Gun Material Poverty or Poverty of Being? Genealogy of Terror Symbolic Message Reign of Terror: Bourgeois and Muslim The Perverse Dialectic of Apology Hypocritical Apologetics and the Recovery of the Prophetic 7. The Globalized Post-Secular Society and the Future of Islam From the West to the Rest Theocracy as a Response to the Globalized Post-Secular Society Post-Secular Solidarity: A Proposal for an Intra-religious Constitutionalism Ecumenisms and Inter-Religious Constitution Building: Modern Slavery Conclusion References Index


This book is geared to all interested in Islam in the West, secularization theory, and the Frankfurt School’s critical theory of religion. It would be of interest to libraries, advanced undergraduate students in religion and philosophy, graduate students in religion and philosophy, as well as scholars in the same fields.