Britons and Muslims in the early modern period: From prejudice to (a theory of) toleration

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Matar examines the representation of Muslims in English writings in the early modern period, roughly from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. There were two views of Muslims: the first was generated by literary and theological writers whose depictions were predominantly negative and stereotypical. The second was generated by diplomats and traders who had interacted with Muslims, both in the Mediterranean and during ambassadorial visits in London. These latter writers furnished a less hostile image than the playwrights and preachers, and influenced John Locke who became the first European philosopher to argue for the toleration and the endenization of Muslims, qua Muslims, in Britain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-231
Number of pages19
JournalPatterns of Prejudice
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Britain
  • Christianity
  • Early modern period
  • Islam
  • John Locke
  • Muslims
  • Orientalism
  • Ottoman empire
  • Prejudice
  • Toleration

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