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Islam: The Religion and the People by Buntzie Ellis Churchill, Bernard Lewis

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Preface

More than three hundred years ago, in 1689, the great English philosopher John Locke published A Letter Concerning Toleration, in which he argued that “neither Pagan, nor Mahometan, nor Jew, ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth because of religion.” In this, he gave a classical formulation of an idea which helped to inspire both the French and American revolutions, and has become an essential guiding principle of the free world. This idea, sometimes called secularism, means that religion is a private and personal matter, outside the realm of government; that membership of the political community, and the rights that go with it, belong to all citizens, of any religion or of none.

Religion remains, however, an ...

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