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It is up to Muslims to define Islam

Reader comment on item: Islam's Future [Can Be Modern]

Submitted by Ethan Corey (United States), Aug 13, 2002 at 11:47

Actually, Islam does not have to adopt to modern mores. The Wahhabi form of Islam, as refined in the 20th century to become an anti-Western and anti-Semitic code of conduct, can continue on ad infinitum, as long as it remains inward looking.

However, Islam will have to adopt to modern mores the instant that the Islamic world feels like engaging the non-Islamic world. Alternatively, it can fight to impose Wahhabi mores upon the non-Islamic world. Hence, September 11th. Hence, the latest intifada in Israel. Hence, the attacks on Hindus in India. Hence, the attacks on Christians on Indonesia. Hence, the attack on the ancient synagogue in Tunisia, and the anti-Semitic violence engulfing Europe.

While Westerners can assume the "white man's burden," and attempt to bring civilization to "the savages," ultimately, the future of Islam depends upon whether Western civilization offers a more attractive alternative to Muslims than Wahhabism. That, in turn, will depend upon whether the West has the ability to present its civilization as an alternative.

Missionary activity is not an answer. Rather, what we need to do is bombard the Islamic world with messages that promote Western values, which alert Muslims to the fact that a vibrant democracy exists within their midst, and which present alternatives to Wahhabism. What we must not continue to do is to turn a blind eye to authoritarianism and persecution in the Arab world.
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