In their preoccupation with Islamic “militancy,” “extremism,” “fundamentalism,” “jihadism,” and so on, Western pundits, political scientists, and policy makers have until recently paid scant attention to a truly astounding variety of (re)interpretations of Islam over the past few decades. 1 The preoccupation of Western experts with the “violent and irrational” aspects of modern-day Islamic/ Islamist ideology, especially with its forceful rejection of Western political, cultural, and economic values and institutions, is understandable. 2 It is determined by the high visibility of extremist versions of Islamic theory and practice that captivates the imagination of the Western public at large anxious to know “why they hate us.” 3 Hence, the consistent academic and media foregrounding, in Western societies, 4 of the extremist, militant aspects of contemporary movements acting on behalf and in the name of Islam. 5 A major downside of this Western fixation on “Islamic militancy” is that the richness and diversity of the Muslim intellectual life in the recent decades have been all but ignored. Hence the widespread Western perception of Islam as being uniformly and irrevocably hostile to Western values, institutions, and lifestyles-a religion allegedly impervious to change, “stuck” in the Middle Ages, and incompatible with, or unwilling to embrace, modernity, change, and progress. 6 The dramatic and tragic events of the past four decades, especially several wars in the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the confrontation between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, and acts of terrorism in the name of Islam the world over, have done little to change this deeply ingrained Western perception of Islam and the Muslims. If anything, these events have reinforced it. At the same time, they have prompted many Western politicians and experts employed by various Western think tanks to initiate a pragmatic quest for a “good Islam,” namely one that is friendly to the West, shares its values, appreciates its freedoms and institutions, and thus can be used to offset the influence of “radical” (“militant,” “fundamentalist,” “jihadist,” etc.) teachings on the Muslims both at home and abroad. 7 This quest is, of course, a purely utilitarian, political exercise that we should leave to those better trained to pursue. Our goal here is to dispassionately examine the latest trends in the interpretation of Islamic legacy by Muslim intellectuals residing both in the East and in the West. Our examination will focus on the question whether one is justified to speak about “liberal” (“progressive,” “moderate”) Islam, and, if yes, how compatible or otherwise it is with Western values and theories of social and cultural development. We have to be very selective in our choice of evidence due to the constraints of space, while at the same time making rather broad generalizations on this relatively slim factual basis. This caveat is important to keep in mind.