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Reader comment on item: Stealth Islamist: Khaled Abou El Fadl

Submitted by John W. McGinley (United States), May 31, 2004 at 15:50

Doubtlessly there are wolves in sheep's clothing among the "moderate" voices in Islam today. The work you do in this regard is needed and much appreciated. Still, it seems to me that you miss certain subtleties. Islamic "Shari'a" is the functional equivalent of "Halakhah" in Judaism. The guiding spirit of Halakhah is the phenomenal set of documents produced by the Rabbis from about 7O CE to about 500 CE.

Because of this work, there is no Jewish authority who would ever say that the command from Exodus: "an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth" is to be taken literally.

The Muslim underestanding of Quran and "Shari`a" is unequal across the spectrum of Islam. There was a frightening and terrible literalness about these things in the practice and preaching of the Taliban. But this does not represent the whole spectrum of Islam. I myself look forward to the day when the Islamic self-undersatnding of itself will, through "Shar`a", come to count Anti-Semitism in any form as an insult to Allah. You also pass over the fact that in the Extreme of Jewish Orthodoxy there are embarrassing instantiations of the meaning of Jewish Law. Shortly before the assassination of Rabin in '95 there had been several halakhic rulings promulgated which could be read as justifying such an action. Still, we must keep our guard up. The pathological branch of Islam which promotes hatred and terrorism is indeed allied with wolves in sheep's clothing. JWMcG
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