Reza Aslan’s No god but God

My review of Reza Aslan’s excellent No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam appeared in the Sunday Oregonian. Here is an excerpt:

Debates [between traditionalists and reformers], Aslan concludes, show that Islam is as ordinary in its development as Christianity or Judaism: It is going through the same tensions between traditionalists and reformers that its monotheistic predecessors have. At this moment in its history, Aslan says, the Ulama, or clerics, still wield an enormous amount of power over the interpretation of faith in most Muslim countries, as well as a large amount of control over matters of the state in places such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Afghanistan. But that is changing, with reformers in Iran, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and the United States speaking up and demanding changes.

In much of “No god but God,” Aslan castigates the Ulama for the powers they have retained. But Aslan himself is an alim of sorts. While he might claim to be a mere scholar of the Islamic Reformation, he is also one of its most articulate advocates.

Read it in full here.