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Fundamentalist

Reader comment on item: [Moderate] Voices of Islam

Submitted by George E. Rittenhouse (United States), Sep 25, 2003 at 10:50

Dear Mr. Pipes,

I have read several of your articles in my attempts to understand Islam, and I have always been edified. Thank you very much for your scholarship and your understanding. I am hardly in a position to take issue with you, having been so far unable even to complete my reading of the Koran, nevertheless...

As a Christian fundamentalist in the modern, perjorative sense of the the word, ie one who takes the Bible on its own terms, I contend that Islam is in the midst of what Christianity went through in the sixteenth century. We are witnessing the Islamic reformation. Just as the Christian Reformation went "back to the Bible," so the Wahabbis and their ilk are going "back to the Koran." To them Irshad Manji is an apostate, and they are correct.

Just as Martin Luther sought the rock bottom truths of Christianity, so are the Wahabbis. The difference lies in the content of the revelation. The content of the Christian revelation is good. The more I become like Christ, the less of a danger I am to anyone. The more a Moslem becomes like that which is revealed in the Koran, the more he is a danger to everyone else.

Moderate Islam cannot live. It will always be vulnerable to the charge of apostasy, just as liberal Christianity or legalistic Christianity or any of the other departures from orthodox Christianity. Moderate Islam IS apostate. The more support moderate Islam receives from outside of Islam the clearer the validity of the charge.

Despite the record of church history, the Biblical Christian response to apostasy does not include killing. Excommunication is the limit of our discipline. The Koran demands the death of the unrepentant apostate.

I can't see any way out of this besides some sort of dramatic upheaval which makes it possible for Moslems to convert to other religions, live secular lives in peace, or hold to their apostasy without fear.

Yours,

George E. Rittenhouse
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