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Perhaps not the best inquiries

Reader comment on item: [Finding Moderate Muslims:] Do you believe in modernity?

Submitted by Rob James (United States), Dec 30, 2004 at 16:45

While I agree with the questions pertaining to the direct condemnation of terrorist groups, I feel that some of these questions go into theological realms which may have nothing to do with what we consider to be extremism.

Some of the inquiries as to what defines someone as "Islamist" are somewhat unfair, from a Evangelical Protestant perspective. No faith, for example, should be forced to accept another sect or denomination's interpretations if they find them to be incompatible with their particular standard of orthodoxy. Nor should any faith be happy about non-constructive inquiry into their faith. Not to say that I don't believe in the right to do so, but as a Christian, I feel somewhat annoyed by self-proclaimed bible-scholars who make millions from producing sloppy research. Here I can understand a negative reaction from Muslims.

I am more than sure that plenty of people here, including Mr. Pipes; who are familiar with Koranic and Hadithic passages which legislate unequal rights for Jews, Christians, and Women - Jihad and death to infidels; sectarians; and apostates, as well as strict governing principles for theocratic governments. By asking them to condemn these, you are essencially asking them to deny the orthodoxy of their faith. In some cases, as much as I hate to admit it - we are forced to ask them just not to act out on their beliefs. No Christian or Jew would ever be forced to reinterpret God's decree to annihilate the Canaanites; or the harsh punishment for sin given in Mosaic legislation - other than the fact that they are believed to be contextual, non-universal attributes of the faith.

This places Muslims in a strange peril, since theocratic law is a completely historical novum in the context of the bible, while it is an ever-present reality within Islam. Muslims are forced to either make a theological mockery of their religion by allegorizing half of their holy texts, or concede to western criticism reguarding their religion.

I believe, per matter of fairness and consistancy; that we should restrict our policies and questions regarding Islam to the realm of incitement of violence.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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