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The Jihad's the thing

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

Submitted by Rich Leonardi (United States), Aug 13, 2002 at 16:59

Daniel,

I wish I could be confident in Islam's capacity to reform itself. And, no, I'm not a pessimist; the Arab world's prospects for embracing some form of consensual government in a post-Saddam Middle East are quite good. But there is no denying that the embrace of violence in Jihad is central to Islam and accounts for much of its chauvinism and xenophobia.

Take Christianity. It isn't pacifist, but it isn't militant either. It was therefore much easier to circumscribe violence by developing concepts like the Just War to set its limits. Yes, there are limits to the proper invocation of Jihad, but the concept itself embraces violence. There is no parallel in the New Testament (or, I believe, the Old.)It would seem to me to be a far more daunting task for Muslims to modernize on this point vis a vis other faiths.

Regards,

Rich Leonardi
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