"Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment"
Summary: Many Muslim-majority countries face problems of authoritarianism and underdevelopment. Ahmet Kuru will examine these problems by referring to his award-winning book Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Kuru will criticize the explanations that point to Islam as the source of problems by explaining how Muslims achieved a golden age of philosophy and economy between the eighth and eleventh centuries. He will also emphasize that simply blaming Western colonialism for the problems in the Muslim world is misleading. Instead, Kuru will explain how the alliance between religious and political authorities, or the ulema-state alliance, has hindered democracy and development in the Muslim world for a long time. His lecture will also provide some recommendations for solving these problems.
Ahmet T. Kuru is the director of Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies and a professor of Political Science at San Diego State University. He is the author of Secularism and State Policies toward Religion: The United States, France, and Turkey (Cambridge, 2009). His recent book, Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison (Cambridge 2019) won several awards and was translated into about a dozen languages.