Robert R. Reilly

Robert R. Reilly is the Senior Fellow for Strategic Communication at the American Foreign Policy Council. He is the author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis (ISI Books, 2010) and The Prospects and Perils of Catholic-Muslim Dialogue (Isaac Publishing, 2013) .

Instead, We Played Music


Reflecting on waning American influence in his country as shown by a recent poll, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble sarcastically said: “Perhaps now more of those in power in the United States will ask themselves: Why is America’s soft power, even though it is the indispensable nation, not so great as to be understood by the dumb Germans?” Actually, Americans in and out of power have for some time been asking themselves this question, as it applies to the entire world. It seems to puzzle us. Why have we lost our influence? Can’t the great communicators communicate anymore? Or is there…

Read More

The Formidable Philosophical Obstacles to Islamic Constitutionalism

Sohail Hashmi makes what seems to be a very reasonable case for the compatibility of Islam and constitutional government, and for the role of a reformed sharia as the foundation for the development of constitutionalism today.  However, his case founders upon his not having given sufficient weight to the obstacles to this development, though his prescription for its achievement is essentially correct. Hashmi contends that "there is no obvious or inherent incompatibility between [constitutionalism] (or, for that matter, democracy) and Islamic political theory," though he leaves unmentioned the Islamic teaching of dīn wa-dawla (religion and state inseparably combined).   He then more…

Read More

In response to: Islam and Constitutionalism

More Responses

Muslim States and the Protection of Fundamental Rights

In his essay, “Islam and Constitutionalism,” Sohail H. Hashmi boldly confronts a difficult question: Are Islam and constitutionalism compatible? On his account, a functioning constitutional system has three essential features: (1) limited and accountable government; (2) adherence to the rule of law; and (3) protection of fundamental rights. While virtually all majority-Muslim states have embraced…

Read More

Islamic Constitutionalism and Human Flourishing

I’m deeply grateful for Professor Hashmi’s lead essay and would recommend it to anyone interested in the intellectual history of Islam or curious about the distinctions between a modern Islamic view of the relationship between government and religion and the modern, dominant view of the Christian and post-Christian West.  It is not, in fact, my…

Read More