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Islam and liberty: Contradictory or complementary?

In his classic On Liberty, John Stuart Mill observes: “Wherever the (religious) sentiment of the majority is still genuine and intense, it is found to have abated little of its claim to be obeyed.”* More than 150 years later, Mill’s dictum holds true. In irreligious Europe, as in the great coastal metropolitan centers of the USA, there is little legal or social pressure to obey religious dictates; whereas in the Islamic world, and parts of the American heartland, where deeply religious majorities exist, religious opinion demands obeisance on important matters. Is religion, then, an impediment to liberty? Can liberty flower…

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