Islamism and Economics:
Policy Implications for a Free Society

Timur Kuran

The spread of Islamic economics has alarmed both Muslim and non-Muslim promoters of secularization, modernization, and economic development. This paper reviews the various concerns, agreeing that the doctrine and practice of Islamic economics serve political and cultural missions that may interfere with individual liberties. It then goes on to offer three policy prescriptions. The first is to identify and disseminate the flaws of the Islamist economic agenda and the second to show that Islamist leaders overstate their popular support. The last prescription, to which many secularists will object, is that policy makers should pay close attention to Islamist views on social problems. Many Islamist complaints about modernity stem from genuine policy failures.

In Islam and Public Policy, ed. Sohrab Behdad and Farhad Nomani, [International Review of Comparative Public Policy, vol. 9] (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1997): 72-102.