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Wahhabism Is The Problem

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: "A tale of two halves"

Submitted by Hamilton (United States), Oct 10, 2006 at 15:27

Lactantius Jr: thank you for the thoughtful comments. There can be no doubt that that the Qu'ran prescribes a variety of nasty, brutish and thuggish things with respect to Jews, and Christians, and "Infidels" generally. Since Islam, and in general, religion today, are often thrust in our faces, it seems to me only appropriate to start interpreting religions in a way that suits our ends in an effort to reform what we find objectionable about the particular practices and contemporary interpretations of, in this case, Islam. And this seems only fair. If other's believe that their religion should tell me how to live, then I must explain to those other's that they are interpreting their religion incorrectly.

Before turning to what you've written, I'd note at the outset that the Old Testament has some pretty violent stuff in there with regard to unbelievers. See e.g. Joshua and Judges (and the story of Gideon). In addition, many Christians often, incorrectly in my view, describe the God of the Old Testament as a vengeful and wrathful God, as opposed to the God of the New Testament, who is love. (Of course, when Jesus talks about love, he happens to be parroting Rabbi Hillel.)

That being said, I'm curious why you think Sura 2 was written at the beginning of Mohammed's "ministry." The Catholic Encyclopedia (a source I've chosen for its obvious Christianness) suggests otherwise. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08692a.htm

It cites to Sir William Muir's chronological arrangement, which groups the Suras into 6 periods. In the last period (the suras revealed at Medina), Sura 2 was revealed. And the final revelation appears to be, as you note, Sura 9. So both ordinally and chronologically Sura 9 comes after Sura 2. And I did quote from Sura 2 extensively.

I do not, nor cannot deny, that the most prevalent and common interpretation of the Qu'ran seems to require death of non-Muslims or their conversion. On the other hand, we know from our own experience that the Bible was often used to justify a variety of practices that we find morally abhorrent today. My prime example is naturally slavery in the U.S. If you look at the debates surrounding it, you'll find the pro-slavery side often couched its arguments with Biblical references. But interpretations change. And thank God they do!

Now it may be the case that the West has no choice but to wage its own liberal (with a small "l") jihad against Islam. Indeed, I see no signs at the present that we can do anything but this. But if we can also help Muslims find an interpretation of Islam that is consistent with pluralism, we will be all the better for it.

What really needs to happen is that Wahhabism, which has extreme sway due to Saudi Arabia's wealth, and more importantly by its control of access to Mecca, needs to be revealed for the flawed and unGodly interpretation of the Qu'ran that it is. For an excellent discussion of this, see Khaled Abou El Fadl's, "The Great Theft."
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