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Challenging Islam

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

Submitted by James Russel (United Kingdom), Aug 15, 2002 at 09:31

Russ Parker's criticism of Islam that:

"Those who reject God's truth have nothing left but darkness and lies. And what we are witnessing today in the ranks of those who have rejected the truth and embraced Islam, is the inevitable consequence of them having done so."

sounds worrying similar to the Islamic fundamentalism he is presumably criticising, and worrying similar to arguments by Muslims that September 11 was a result of Americans not following the "one true God" (i.e. Islam). Surely the whole point is that it is exactly this way of thinking that is the problem.

Islam can surely only be successfully challenged or reformed from a secular rather than religious perspective. A religious challenge to Islam may even do more harm than good, as it hides the main problem with Islam - not that Muslims aren't Christians, but that a large number of Muslims have declared an open hostility and incompatability to the modern world and its values.

The changes that the Muslim world needs to bring about are the separation of church and state, the removal of religion to the private sphere, the granting of rights and tolerance towards minorities and women, and a move towards a more critical, rather than literal, interpretation of the the Koran.

Like the modern world, these changes are ultimately based on the principles of secularism and humanism. Although religion certainly has a role in modern life, the danger is where it is imposed on others with a certainty of being right.
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