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The problem of Islam

Reader comment on item: Radical Islam creates terrorism

Submitted by Gary Rose (Canada), Mar 24, 2016 at 22:24

The problem of Islam is not so straight forward as looking at "forms" of Islam. In Judaism we speak of reform Jews, conservative Jews, and orthodox Jews, putting the ownership of how the religion is observed on the people doing the observing. Conservatives and reform Jews outright reject unacceptable and irrational theology and choose to look at Judaism through a lens that takes into consideration acquired knowledge from science, philosophy, and secular thinking. The word of the bible is not so unquestioning holy as to be the defining point of reference for these Jews to live their lives.

Right now Islam has sects and divisions but none that define themselves as "liberal" or "conservative" in the same way. To complicate Islam further, religious Islam has always been tied to tribal political rule (at least since the very day Mohamed died), a rule that has been by the sword based on religious interpretation (not all instances but overall).

Those Muslims I have read who want reform give theological arguments based on interpretation of the Koran- arguments to reform Islam based on the original intent and the teachings of Mohamed, as a universal non-political movement with no consequences for being an apostate or non-Muslim. This for me does not go far enough. Until Muslim reformers distance themselves from the bad theology within Islam, point to the bad theology,and say it has no place in today's world, and completely end the tribal political tradition of Islam (whether it started with Mohamed or on his deathbed is irrelevant), nothing will change for Islam.

Radical Islam is not a new movement, and not even so radical. There is no difference between the Islam that began the day Mohamed died and so-called modern radical Islam. There is no difference between radical Islam and the Islam of the caliphs who ruled after Mohamed. There is no difference between the Islam of Saudi Arabia and ISIS. Was this the Islam of Mohamed? Some argue no, but Mohamed also used the sword to spread Islam. Was this not also "radical"?

For Islam is to become at least acceptable, there needs to be a new reformed Islam to replace the existing that allows Islam to be dissected, questioned, and revised- without consequence. But as long as tribal political Islam exists, as it always has since the beginning, this is not going to happen. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, would need to crumble, and this is not going to happen anytime soon. ISIS is just following thousands of years of political Islamic tradition, but ISIS is not the problem; it is only a symptom of the problem.

The problem is the failure of the Muslim people within Islam to reform themselves. Until a unified non-tribal, non-political, modern, movement arises - with no consequences to those who wish to debate, question Islam or even leave Islam - a movement that refuses in large numbers to acknowledge the sole legitimacy of the existing Islamic rule of tribal political Islam, nothing will change.

Radical Islam rules because the majority of Muslims allow it to. And though there are good Muslims in this world, unless the good Muslims demand reform and reject political Islam in great numbers, they are complicit by their complacency. It is a terrible position to be in, to be good but quiet, hoping the non-Islamic world will take out their bad guys so they can go on living quiet Islamic lives. But that is all they are doing, asking for help, asylum, and a place to go to get away from the thugs that are as Islamic as they. It's as simple as that, but not good enough for anything to change.

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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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