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The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age
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The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  15 reviews
What impulse prompted some newspapers to attribute the murder of 77 Norwegians to Islamic extremists, until it became evident that a right-wing Norwegian terrorist was the perpetrator? Why did Switzerland, a country of four minarets, vote to ban those structures? How did a proposed Muslim cultural center in lower Manhattan ignite a fevered political debate across the Unite ...more
Hardcover, 285 pages
Published April 2012 by Belknap Press
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Ayman Fadel
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How can the industrialized, formally democratic societies of Europe and North America increase religious pluralism? European nations "have understood the root of nationhood to lie first and foremost in characteristics that are difficult if not impossible for new immigrants to share. Strongly influenced by romanticism, these nations have seen blood, soil, ethnolinguistic peoplehood, and religion as necessary or at least central ele
Carlos Burga
Martha Nussbaum has just become my favorite philosopher of all time, not only can she wield the argument-dissection scalpel of philosophy as well as the best of them but what is better is that she can write with a clarity that is rare in philosophy. In this book she uses such events as the French ban on burqas, the Swiss ban on minarets and the US “ground zero mosque” as examples of what she calls the new religious intolerance and to show why they are misguided she discusses with great clarity a ...more
Nussbaum is always worth attention. This book, not surprisingly, is strongest in detailing the philosophical aspects of religious and cultural freedom.
She argues for good principles bolstered by education and use of the literary imagination. The latter encourages perspectival thinking…i.e. what is it like to see things from another person’s perspective?
The views of Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, were particularly interesting as were George Washington’s response to religious minorities
This book is definitely thought provoking. While I felt at times the author overstates her case for how tolerant people should ideally be, she does raise questions about how we relate to each other in the world. The challenge is that it is quite difficult to see beyond radicalism when it comes to fairly judging any group of people. Even the author admits to the struggle of acceptance of those who do things that are not like her. Her short forays into describing other, more religious aspects of J ...more
Miroku Nemeth
Sep 17, 2012 Miroku Nemeth marked it as to-read
The description interested me, and I was struck by the insight on the narcissism of fear.

Fear, Nussbaum writes, is “more narcissistic than other emotions.” Legitimate anxieties become distorted and displaced, driving laws and policies biased against those different from us. Overcoming intolerance requires consistent application of universal principles of respect for conscience. Just as important, it requires greater understanding. Nussbaum challenges us to embrace freedom of religious observanc
Interesting book to read and to trigger your way of thinking, but even more important: acting (practizing). Nussbaum describes very well to understand better your neighbour and to understand what is driving him/ her. From this understanding she tries to find a connection instead of a separation. The only thing she could shorten is the reasons why you should accept burka bearing. She describes in five sections five reasons why you should refrain from discrimatory actions against the burka. This c ...more
Liana Giorgi
May 22, 2012 Liana Giorgi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Students of Political Theory and Constitutional Law
How far can or should one go in terms of accommodating religious difference in liberal secular democratic societies? This is the question that Martha Nussbaum’s latest book The New Religious Intolerance sets out to answer. Since 9/11, and against the background of mounting Islamophobia, the question has gained in salience. Among other things, this is shown by the debate concerning Park51, the construction project for an Islamic community center in the vicinity of Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, ...more
Bill Washburn
I was expecting so much more from this author, this topic, this human value. Yet it wasn't there. She's the philosopher, I'm not. It felt cursory, superficial, glancing, desultory, rushed almost.

Maybe the fact that I'd just read Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty [] had whetted my appetite for real depth and substance within the context of the 21st century.
Rik Reusen
I keep thinking the gist of the argument in all its nuances could have been written in ten pages. The descriptions and side remarks make the book less strong in my opinion. Style is not its strong point either. This said, I did gain a few new insights and I guess that's the point of the author so I am a content reader. A reader that will undoubtfully misuse reference to this book in daily conversations. Which makes me a more then content person. General conclusion: very glad I read the book.
Not sure if it's an exhaustive review on the subject of religious intolerance and it's manifestation in American and European politics - but it is a good, well-reasoned book nonetheless. Even though I was mostly aware of the overall thesis of the book, I wasn't always sure what slant she was to using - philosophy, semantics, psychology, law, politics or just a random hodgepodge of it all. Again - by no means a comprehensive book, but a good one.
Kevin Hoag
The author provides perspectives based on law and the Constitution regarding religious liberties and protections. She points out some of the pitfalls of majority opinions and their impacts on minority populations. The Islamic Center proposed near ground zero in New York City provides an excellent example in the closing chapter, bringing many of the arguments of the book together.
I found this book to be very interesting, and the topic is really important in our society today. Sometimes I felt as if some things were too simplified, but with that said, it was a pretty good book.
Very well developed philosophical argument about a concerning problem.
Jul 21, 2012 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
As seen in Labyrinth Books in Princeton, which made me miss the Seminary Co-Op.
Atul Kumar
An absolute must read in this age of intolerance.
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Jun 30, 2015
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Jun 22, 2015
Kaja Schmidt
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  • Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic
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  • Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights
Professor Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, appointed in the Philosophy Department, Law School, and Divinity School. She is an Associate in the Classics Department and the Political Science Department, a Member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and a Board Member of the Human Rights Program. She is the founder and ...more
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