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The Intolerant Shell

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

Submitted by Karl Ericson (United States), Aug 13, 2002 at 19:48

Islam in its core texts is intolerant of the non-believer. The few tolerant passages regarding there not being compulsion in religion are soon followed by statements that the non-believers will be punished by Allah. Non-believers can only live as lower class heavily taxed Dhimmis. That said, Islam is not the only religion that in its core texts are intolerant of the non-believer. It is the nature of many religions and cults to create doctrines against the non-believer. This may stem in part from the fact that by portraying non-believers as evil, religous leaders can discourage them from leaving the faith. Fortunately there is a layer of interpretation that forms around the core books of a religion that often moderates religious doctrines of intolerance toward the non-believer. Unfortunately the layer of interpretation that has formed around Islam in most of the world does not moderate it. Perhaps this is partly due to Saudi money extending the extremist Wahabi interpretations throughout the world. Perhaps it is because of the strength of Islamic fundamentalism which does not allow for rejection of intolerant parts of the Koran.

As long as intolerant core texts of any religion are held sacrosanct, there is always the threat of that intolerance gaining ascendancy in a religion. Israel and the Jews have been victims throughout history of intolerance stemming from fundamentalist Islam and Christianity. Christians throughout the world are currently victims of Islamic intolerance. I think the issue is not whether or not Islam is evil, but rather whether it can evolve into a moderate tolerant religion that instead of trying to conquer the world for Allah and destroy the non-believer, becomes a contributer to the well being of everyone, believer and non-believer alike.

I am pessimistic that any layer of interpretation, no matter how thick, can bring this about in Islam because I fear there is too much intolerance preached in the Koran and the Hadiths.
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