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Perspective

Reader comment on item: Once considered anti-Islam, senior scholar says he's now in the middle

Submitted by James S. Oppenheim (United States), Aug 18, 2010 at 21:15

While looking over the Islamic Small Wars and their drivers, one may do well to consider the character of both the attraction to and quest for power of religious institutions and their leaders. This nugget comes from Raphael Patai's _The Jews of Hungary_, and in it, the "Ishmaelites" referred to Muslims:

As for the Christians who carry on commerce with Jews who walk without this badge, remain in familial or friendly relations with Jews, or only live in one courtyard or house with them, they are prohibited from entering a church. Whatever has been decided concerning the Jews, we order it also concerning the Saracens, Ishmaelites, and all kinds of infidels, except that where the Jews wear a red circle as a badge, the others mentioned above must year a yellow badge.

The persistence of the medieval in the contemporary Islamic clerical mission forms the conflict of popular interest, but the same need not determine the emerging character of Islam in the United States or elsewhere. In fact, American Islam has its modern proponents. I'll name two worth a web search and stop: Dr. Qanta A. Ahmed and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser.

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