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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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  177 Ratings  ·  27 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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Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Analysis of contemporary Islamophobia through Aristotlean virtue ethics: focuses on the 'narcissism' of fear, the necessity of empathy, downplaying one's own bias, and understanding others. Though I have to say I marvel at how remote these examples seem: were the Utøya attacks and the furor over the 'Ground Zero mosque' only five years ago? And as much as fear motivates certain aspects of Islamophobia, more of the contemporary electorate is about Rage.
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a child of an interfaith marriage in which my father is a Moroccan Muslim and my mother a French Roman Catholic, I have intimately experienced the divisiveness of religious intolerance. Growing up, my family dynamics were a microcosm of a diverse society with opposing opinions on how to establish a dominant identity. My grandfather asked my mother: “you’re marrying, a what!?” The furtive baptism attempts were disallowed, but of course I was allowed to have a lamb slaughtered at my circumcisio ...more
Ayman Fadel
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Full review available at:

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
Karen Mcnair
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The beginning is a bit dense, unless you love philosophy then knock yourself out. Her arguments are strong and compelling. It's a must given the current state of Xenophobia in this country. It will definitely help you think critically about current events. You should also keep in mind that this book came out in 2012, so it doesn't, at times, reflect our current state of affairs.
Noé Ajo caamaño
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vivimos sumidos en la ignorancia más vergonzosa. La heurística del miedo y el prejuicio más burdo nacido de la desinformación y la mera imaginación reinan. En un mundo donde la cultura monolítica ya no es una opción pragmáticamente posible, una situación semejante es deplorable y peligrosa. Martha, con su mirada cultivada y bien sopesada nos muestra un modo virtuoso de pensar las libertades religiosas, bajo la premisa de que, sencillamente es necesario que las buenas personas aprendan, si no a q ...more
Otto Lehto
Feb 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Martha Nussbaum is a genteel gentlewoman, a rational preacher of religious tolerance, a punctilious student of the passions (emotions), and obviously one of the most influential moral philosophers of our era. Her style, while never naive, has a saintly honesty about it.

This book exhibits all of her virtues, most notably her commitment to liberal toleration and (beyond that "coldly" rational virtue) to a passionate, poetic and experiential openness to the lives of others. An engagement with publi
Wouter Van veen
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Easy and clear read with an important message; be curious about the people around you and try to imagine how their lives are. The book may be focussed on the fear against Islam which is apperent throughout our society, but provides a more universal thought about how we can better understand each other.

Although I really liked the book I cannot understand the negative attitude against Europe completly. The examples which are given are true (I think), but taking the US as a role model for the way
Stephan Zeijlemaker
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Nussbaum is a very subtle and thorough thinker and she's makes it very clear what freedom and equality are and how they are treated differently in the US and Europa. She adds the importance of knowledge and understanding. But. We are often not a very rational creature and the fear and anger in this world are very powerful and a lot less subtle.She's writes this book to counter the ugly effects of fear and anger but ratio is not an answer for most I fear.
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
Second Read:

The author explicitly defines morality, culture, and legal ethos in a sigal term dedicated wholly to religion, and basically says that just is what religions is: Dignity.

This definition offends me. I'm not a member of any religion, and that definition of the source of all law continues to proscribe non-believers a different class of law, one in which their personal morality is irrelevant to their actions as lit by the laws and natural activities as they exist. WE should bend over ba
Ivo Moyersoen
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nussbaum hoeft geen introductie. Zij is top in de filosofie. Prof in Chicago en een groot publicist. Dit is boek is van 2012 maar meer dan actueel en bijzonder goed gedocumenteerd tot en met over de situatie in België o.a. In verband met het hoofddoekenverbod. Nusbaum is klaar en duidelijk. Na 9/11 is er een nieuwe religieuze intolerantie aan het groeien en niet het minst tegen de moslims maar niet exclusief. Zij neemt stelling op grond van een zeer grondige studie. Het eerste deel van het boek ...more
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
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
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book a lot. It was so fair and intelligent and well written and informed.

Each section is rooted in real world situations, several sides are weighed and examined and balanced and thought through, there isn't an ounce of polarization to be found anywhere.

Martha Mussbaum really reminds us how important the American intellectual tradition is here. Of our need to be well read in politics and literature and philosophy and law, and how this intellect should prevent us from jumping
Miroku Nemeth
Sep 17, 2012 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
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Bill Washburn
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history-of-ideas
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.
Reinier Markus
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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
Nov 29, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Rik Reusen
Sep 26, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Kevin Hoag
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
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.
Feb 24, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Martha Nussbaum ist Juristin und Ethikerin, eine vorteilhafte Kombination, die man ihren Büchern anmerkt. Klar strukturiert und wohl überlegt geht sie den Themen auf den Grund und bleibt dabei stets hoch aktuell.
Oct 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Very well developed philosophical argument about a concerning problem.
Jul 21, 2012 marked it as to-read
As seen in Labyrinth Books in Princeton, which made me miss the Seminary Co-Op.
Atul Kumar
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must read in this age of intolerance.
rated it really liked it
Jan 25, 2017
rated it it was ok
Jul 16, 2017
rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2015
Jazzy J Morris
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May 14, 2017
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Mar 29, 2015
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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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