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A religion is only as moderate as its fundamentalist version

Reader comment on item: What Antidote to Radical Islam?

Submitted by Eric MacDonald (Canada), Mar 13, 2015 at 12:26

The idea that there is a moderate Islam is misleading. Of course, there are moderate Muslims, but their existence does not, in itself, make for a moderate Islam. Put it in the context of Christianity. There is certainly a liberal, even a radically liberal, Christianity, which has been in existence for a century or more. But the fundamentalist version of Christianity is not only a permanent possibility; it is the one to which those who dissent from more liberal versions of Christianity will turn to in order to fulfil their religious obligations, au pied de la lettre. And there will always be those who are questing for a reliable guide as to what their God requires

So, even if there could be a moderate form of Islam, the existence of radical Islamist readings of Islam will be a permanent possibility for those who are seeking a form of true faithfulness. The result is that moderate Islam cannot be a solution to Islamism, for the simple reason that at least some religious believers will always be drawn towards the most literal meaning of their religious texts and traditions, and the religious texts and traditions of Islam are literally Islamist, no matter how they may be interpreted by their more moderate fellow believers (who will, of course, consider their moderateness a vice, and tantamount to apostacy). Islamism is, therefore, a permanent possibility, and it is reasonable to argue that the permanent possibility of a religion will find its representatives in every generation.

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