Islam, Peace and Social Justice: A Christian Perspective

By A. Christian van Gorder

An account of Islam’s engagement with issues of social justice, dispelling views that stand in the way of genuine interfaith collaboration against injustice.

ISBN: 9780227174227


Islam, Peace and Social Justice examines the ways in which Islamic cultures have dealt with issues of social justice historically and culturally. With unwavering fairness, the author helps readers of any faith to gain a nuanced and accurate understanding of the challenges that we face in contemporary multifaith engagements.

Dr van Gorder offers a comprehensive and sympathetic Christian insight into Islam. The contentious issues of social justice that are encountered in this broad, yet intricate, study include the concept of Jihad, poverty, political oppression, human rights, genocide, racism, sexual injustice, homophobia, and environmental degradation. The challenges are real and the problems are vast; partnerships and solutions must be found – people of faith, Muslim, Jewish and Christian, must find ways to work together to address these shared challenges. This work exposes misrepresentations and stereotypes about Islamic views of social justice that abound in Europe and North America. The author encourages a deeper appreciation of how themes of social justice resound through Islamic texts and have been expressed both in the contemporary and historical life of various and diverse Islamic communities worldwide.

This important book dissects modern ideas about Islam and Islamic culture, and emphasises the real goal of partnership in a pluralistic world. Islam, Peace and Social Justice will broaden the understanding of students and lecturers of religious studies, history and social sciences, as well as the general reader.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 292

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Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Dr A. Christian van Gorder is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Muslim-Christian Relations at Baylor University. He gained his Doctorate of Philosophy from the Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is the author of many books, including Violence in God’s Name: Christian and Muslim Relations in Nigeria (2012) and No God but God: A Path to Muslim-Christian Discussions about the Nature of God (2003).


Acknowledgments and Dedication
Foreword by David Shenk

1. Islam’s Divine Mandate for Ethical Action against Social Injustice
2. Islamic Jihad and the Path of Peace
3. Islamic Responses to Poverty and Economic Oppression
4. Islamic Responses to Political Oppression
5. Islamic Civil Rights and Individual Human Rights
6. Genocide and Atrocity among Muslims
7. Islamic Social Equality in Response to Racism and Slavery
8. Sexual Injustice, Sexism, and Homophobia among Muslims
9. Islamic Stewardship and Responses to Environmental Degradation
10. Creating Multifaith Social Justice Partnerships


Selected Bibliography


Endorsements and Reviews

Van Gorder tackles the darker sides of the Islamic tradition head on but shows nonetheless that social justice lies at the heart of Islam and calls on Jews, Christians, and Muslims to join hands to make our world a better place. This is a work of immense passion and erudition that deserves wide attention.
Jon Hoover, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Nottingham

Dr van Gorder’s broad and masterful understanding of Islam means that this work can serve as a helpful counterweight to the view expressed by the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus (famously quoted by Pope Benedict XVI): ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached’. Dr van Gorder is able to enunciate and defend the positive contributions of Islamic thinking on peace and social justice, and demonstrate how these can help foster interfaith dialogue and, ultimately, a more peaceful world.
Jonathan Warner, Tutor in Economics, Quest University, Canada

This work would be useful for many courses on contemporary Islam, since each chapter provides a useful tour d’horizon of these contentious issues, with helpful bibliography. There is much of value in this exhaustively researched study.
Dr Philip Lewis, in Church Times, April 2015

Islam, Peace and Social Justice takes on the ambitious and important task of promoting better relations among the major monotheistic traditions by providing a deeper understanding of shared social justice goals … he demonstrates a rich knowledge of the Islamic holy texts, providing myriad arguments for how Islam’s teachings and practice are in accord with social justice … Van Gorder clearly knows a great deal about the topic, tackles it with enthusiasm, and offers a truly impressive scope.
Andrew Bramsen, in Journal of Church and State, Vol 57(2)

Islam, Peace and Social Justice is a timely reminder of the rich historical heritage and deep intellectual tradition of social justice and the quest for peace that has ever been part and parcel of the Muslim life of faith. … He is accurate, sympathetic, realistic and clear. Punches are not pulled; neither are they recklessly thrown.
Douglas Pratt, in Theology, Vol 118, No 5