Some of the terminology regarding Muslim-Western relations has been widely misused or misunderstood, confusing key issues and clouding constructive opportunities. In an attempt to improve ongoing communication, we have developed the following Terminology in Muslim-Western Relations guide. A downloadable PDF version is also available.
Generally refers to a democratic system of governance whereby rights are
protected by a constitution and include the right to vote; often characterized by
tolerance and pluralism
Why a Problem:
It is often unclear whether the term, "liberal" refers to political values or
Western social values or, in fact, whether the two can be separated as such;
often understood outside of the West as synonymous with "Western values"
Many Muslims view this as an attempt to impose Western social values on their
societies; promotes an adversarial attitude as it leads to many Muslims fearing
the imposition of a Western model of democracy in lieu of allowing a home-grown one to develop