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Reforming Islam? Mission impossible

Reader comment on item: Foreword: Why Islam's Reformers are Vitally Important

Submitted by Carl Goldberg (United States), Jul 18, 2017 at 17:41

With all due respect, this review is, at best, muddled. First of all, before any discussion of Islam can take place, we must distinguish between Islam and Muslims. Islam is the Koran plus the Sunnah, and these sacred sources do not come in different versions. As Turkish President Erdogan said: "Islam cannot be classified as moderate or not..." "These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that's it."

Therefore, while there are moderate Moslems, like the ones interviewed for this new book, there is no such thing as "moderate Islam". Nor can there be.

When Pipes refers to the "anti-Islamic Right", he is just name-calling without substance. The basic question here is whether Islam can be made moderate, whether Islam can be reformed. If it can't, then the moderate Moslems who claim to be reformers are, indeed, "outliers, fabulists and frauds" for making unsuspecting and ignorant non-Moslems think that Islam can be reformed.

Because of the harsh reality of the logic of Islam, the high hopes for reform are nothing more than empty wishful thinking. The fundamental premise of Islam is that the Koran is Allah's literal word — perfect, complete, unchangeable and valid for all of eternity. Everything about Islam follows from that premise, and, if that premise is ever abandoned, then the whole theological and ideological edifice of Islam collapses like a house of cards.

You write that "Shireen Qudosi challenges the near-worship of Muhammad and wrestles with problematic Koranic passages." O.K., let's have some examples of her wrestling match with Allah's literal word! How, exactly, is she challenging Muhammad? What, exactly, is her plan to "re-interpret the Koran and other problematic Islamic texts" when those texts are considered by the entire Islamic religious establishment to be sacred and untouchable ?

In his review of the book, Robert Spencer rightly cites Koran 5:3: "This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed my favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion." There are many other passages from the Koran and the Sunnah which prevent, not only rejection, but also any thought of rejection of any portion of the sacred texts. Even the notion of historical contextualization collides with the logic of Islam's premise, namely, that Allah's words are prescriptive and valid for all of eternity. The very notion that the Koran is perfect (because it is Allah's literal word) means that it is logically absurd even to consider reforming it. No one can escape that logic. Either the Koran is Allah's literal word, or it is not. If it is, then no human being dare change it; and, if it is not, then none of it is sacred anymore.
You finish by saying that Williams' book puts "contemporary modernizers on the map as never before, thereby boosting their cause." Is this good?

If these "reformers" had the courage of their convictions, they would open a "reform" Mosque like the one which was recently opened in Berlin by a Turkish-German woman who has come under enormous criticism and threat from the Islamic community. What is stopping our "moderate Moslems" from opening a "reform" mosque if they believe that their ideas are viable? Which parts of the Koran and the Sunnah would they reject in their moderate reform mosque?

Why should we boost their cause??? The so-called reformers have zero influence on the Islamic religious establishment and on religious Moslems. They are roundly rejected by the Islamic community. Therefore, they are an irrelevant distraction. Because the notion of reforming Islam is nothing more than wishful thinking, we must not allow the so-called reformers to divert our attention from formulating our proper defense to the harsh reality of Islam as it is and as it has been for 1400 years.

The preservation of our civilization depends on defeating Islam, not wasting our time and resources on these "moderates" who are claiming, in vain, to reform it.


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".

Submitting....

Daniel Pipes replies:

Ah, I see the anti-Islam brigade straps on its boots for another campaign of essentialism, ahistoricism, and futility.

Just to take a single point: The last sentence refers to "defeating Islam." What does that mean? It sounds like converting, quarantining, or murdering every Muslim, not exactly a feasible or desirable goal. In contrast, I speak of "defeating Islamism," which is comparable to defeating fascism or communism - a totalitarian ideology that can be discredited.

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Reader comments (45) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Muhammad was/is Islam and the Quran ... how do you erase his terrible history? [71 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
KirbyAug 5, 2017 20:36240375
Scriptures are not malleable ... [219 words]KirbyAug 6, 2017 13:14240375
2Response to Daniel Pipes [189 words]AnonAug 7, 2017 21:45240375
Scriptures are not malleable ... [153 words]KirbyAug 9, 2017 21:12240375
Too late [98 words]CaraxJul 31, 2017 05:10240301
1How does this sort of thing read in... [66 words]Peter HerzJul 28, 2017 19:23240277
Nonie Darwish [29 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
GWKJul 21, 2017 13:34240143
Next time an ignoramous on the Right or Left tells you about all Muslims [240 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
PezDispenserJul 21, 2017 09:01240138
1All religions, ideologies, etc. sport the odd dissidents, but have little effect on the mainstream ... [158 words]KirbyAug 10, 2017 01:07240138
Semantics, Reform, Apostasy [360 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
David GJul 20, 2017 11:50240122
5Reforming Islam? Mission impossible [667 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Carl GoldbergJul 18, 2017 17:41240094
1Islamism vs. Islam [14 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Steve KirbyJul 20, 2017 12:32240094
2Islamism versus Islam [159 words]Carl GoldbergJul 20, 2017 12:50240094
Essentialism [83 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
ECAWJul 21, 2017 00:40240094
1defeating Islam .. [84 words]Anne JulienneJul 23, 2017 06:45240094
I agree one hundred percent with Carl Goldberg [90 words]marlanJul 24, 2017 06:19240094
Erdogan and Surah 5:3 [278 words]DavidJul 31, 2017 19:02240094
Answer to David (Russia) [420 words]Carl GoldbergAug 2, 2017 01:03240094
Modern Islam - ? Ain't gonna fly. [175 words]KirbyAug 5, 2017 21:11240094
There is only one Islam [59 words]dhimmi no moreAug 6, 2017 07:34240094
1Who is the real Muslim? [161 words]dhimmi no moreAug 6, 2017 08:34240094
A modern Islam [188 words]PrashantAug 6, 2017 22:57240094
1The onus of identifying Islamists must fall on no one else but Muslims. [246 words]PrashantAug 6, 2017 23:27240094
1Muhammad is the Quran and Islam negating possibilty of change ... [123 words]KirbyAug 9, 2017 21:23240094
... the standard; Crusaders not "Christian" ... [134 words]KirbyAug 9, 2017 21:41240094
2Two considerations [312 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
David GJul 18, 2017 12:35240091
Should they give up? [39 words]Carl GoldbergJul 20, 2017 12:31240091
1The answer? [56 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Jeffrey SheffJul 18, 2017 10:29240090
An alternative version of Islam??? [18 words]Carl GoldbergJul 20, 2017 12:41240090
1why islam needs to be reform? [18 words]yigal gurevitchJul 18, 2017 09:57240089
2Islamists hypocrisy [75 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Abdel Rahman JamilJul 18, 2017 09:28240088
Metal detectors on the Temple Mount and in Mecca [72 words]Carl GoldbergJul 20, 2017 12:38240088
Islam can be reformed [314 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
dhimmi no moreJul 18, 2017 07:41240086
Why Islams reformers are vitally important [290 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
MustaphaJul 18, 2017 05:37240083
Not quite fair! [125 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Barry BoyerJul 18, 2017 04:16240080
1Ironically speaking... [196 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
ECAWJul 18, 2017 01:48240077
2Reply to Daniel Pipes [343 words]ECAWJul 20, 2017 09:47240077
1Moderate Muslims are inconsequential [92 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Glen SpicerJul 18, 2017 00:58240076
an omission .. [26 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Anne JulienneJul 18, 2017 00:55240075
2In Reality, the Muslim Reform Movement is Irrelevant [37 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Stephen KirbyJul 17, 2017 12:35240061
1Deprecating, insulting and ignoring the Moslem reformers [66 words]Carl GoldbergJul 20, 2017 12:28240061
3Muslim "reformers" struggling [125 words]Steve KirbyJul 20, 2017 12:42240061
Consider [51 words]DavidJul 31, 2017 18:45240061
Muslim Modernizers [7 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Gary SackJul 17, 2017 12:24240060
Modernizing Imans ? [11 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Jeff CarlsonJul 17, 2017 00:39240007

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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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