Les valeurs de l'Islam sont-elles réellement différentes ?

Dans l'année qui a suivi les attaques terroristes du 11 septembre, les questions sur l'Islam (sa nature, son identité distinctive, la menace potentielle qu'il représente pour l'Ouest) ont occupé le devant de la scène dans les débats intellectuels et politiques. Tandis que les conflits majeurs du 20e siècle (le fascisme, le communisme et autres termes en " isme ") étaient avant tout idéologiques, le terrorisme du 11 septembre a renouvelé le spectre des " guerres de culture " et des " conflits entre civilisations ".

On prétend souvent dans le monde islamique qu'étant donné que l'un des cinq devoirs essentiels d'un Musulman est le Zakat (la charité envers les pauvres), la société islamique est moins atomiste, ce qui limite les inégalités et l'exclusion sociale. Pourtant, les observateurs occidentaux voient souvent dans l'Islam une croyance qui dédaigne la liberté personnelle, particulièrement pour les femmes. Oriana Fallaci a publié un long brûlot dans ce sens peu de temps après les attaques.

Des faits basés sur des preuves semblent étayer ces perceptions. Les pays musulmans tendent à être caractérisés par des niveaux moindres d'inégalités et de crime (un mandataire idéal pour l'exclusion sociale) par rapport aux autres pays à des stades similaires de développement économique, comme ceux existant en Amérique Latine catholique. Mais des statistiques impersonnelles sur les revenus moyens peuvent-elles réellement nous apprendre quelque chose de significatif ?

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