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Ibrahim's viewpoint is more compelling.

Reader comment on item: The Middle East Forum Debates Moderate Islam

Submitted by Rich McMahon (United States), Mar 30, 2014 at 13:36

While each viewpoint offers valuable insights, I believe Ibrahim's argument is more compelling.

Pipes' attempted analogy to Christianity and Judaism overcoming the Leviticus 20:13 proscription against homosexuality misses the mark. First, other than the Ten Commandments how recently (if ever) were elements of the Old Testament used as a comparable blueprint for conduct of daily life by mainstay Christians, i.e., as the Koran & Hadith are used by Muslims? And when was the last Christian or Jewish condoned human execution resulting from the sin of a homosexual act? Islamic sanctioned executions resulting from adultery, homosexuality and other proscribed behavior are commonplace, even today. Old habits are hard to break.

Beyond this, Pipes' view ignores the powerful socio-political element reinforcing the strict doctrine and Draconian penalties contained in both the Koran & Hadith. Clearly, religion has been used for centuries by those in power to control the masses. Islam, a much younger religion than Judaism or Christianity, tends to wield this control absolutely and the entrenched power structure in most Islamic countries will naturally resist religious moderation, precisely because of this threat. We observe even in relatively secular Islamic countries such as Egypt, the rush to fill the power vacuum by the authoritarian Muslim Brotherhood.

Muslims inclined toward moderation find themselves in a difficult position, in many instances confronting direct contradiction of sacred scripture, and thus appearing to peers as 'bad' Muslims, or possibly as heretics. While Pipes is right in the sense that consistent with other religious models this stigma too, will correct over time, there are insufficient driving forces existent today to accelerate this progress. I believe a realistic timeframe to achieve mainstay Muslim 'moderation' comparable to today's Judaism or Christianity, is likely multiple generations or one hundred years at minimum.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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