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Reader comment on item: Study the Koran?

Submitted by roger wilkinson (Costa Rica), Jan 20, 2004 at 12:43

Forgive me, please; this is not a comment but a question. On your web-site and in some other places I encounter the terms 'militant Islam/Islamism' and 'moderate Islam'. As I read around I had originally formed the view that Islam itself is intrinsically violent, a religion that regards the use of force to attain its own ends as entlrely acceptable, a religion that has at its roots a desire to 'take over', which today would translate into supplant, overthrow. I therefore saw militant Islam/Islamism as pregnant within non-overtly violent Islam. I am therefore looking for this 'moderate Islam'. In my reading travels I have now encountered a web-site which claims to speak for salafi Islam (which it says is the correct name for wahhabism); I have corresponded with these people, and they present at least a moderate face, stating that terrorism is wrong and presenting jihad as primarily personal, stressing the need for scholarship and a return to the Koran. The site draws a strong distinction between salafism and what it terms Qutbism, after the Egyption author Qutb, whose writings appear to present a strong justification for violence. The views presented to me by the website in question were certainly more moderate/pacific than I had previously encountered, if unsatisfactory on important practical issues. Your web-site's references to wahabbism, however, would not seem to endorse this 'moderate' idea as pertinent to discussions of the subject! My question then, simply, where is 'moderate Islam' to be found? I have used your bibliography as a reference point for some of my reading; would you point me in this new direction?
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