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
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.