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Semantics, Reform, Apostasy

Reader comment on item: Foreword: Why Islam's Reformers are Vitally Important

Submitted by David G (United States), Jul 20, 2017 at 11:50

Daniel Pipes, you say: "Nothing prevents reformists from succeeding if they provide an appealing enough message." Letting the circularity of that statement go, IMO there is something, there are some things preventing their success. Not the least is fear -- fear of physical, mental, social retribution on earth, but even more, spending eternity in the hell whose torments are so exquisitely detailed by Mohammed.

There is a fine semantic line between "reform Islam" and "Not-Islam". Fundamentalist Muslims regard the reformers as apostates, heretics. Why are these listed reformers not openly going apostate? There are some (very brave!) apostates -- do they also have your support? Whether the reformers "are" or "are not" Islamic is not true/false, but a semantic exercise.

Perhaps the reformers believe enough of the malevolent mumbo-jumbo to fear everlasting torment -- their spine ripped out in hell and replaced only to be ripped out again and again, molten lead poured into their ears, et al. -- to have convinced themselves that by placing an adjective in front of "Islam" that they can fool God and corral his believers. In the same way that Mohammed's original formulation can be described as a heresy upon the Catholicism of the time, a simplification of Catholicism, hence NotCatholicism, so can "Reform" or "Moderate" Islam be described as a heresy upon Islam, hence NotIslam. The reformers wish to create a new product but also to preserve the old name -- and so keep their heads on earth and their spines and flowing wine in the afterlife.

Would it not be worth something to exert your influence upon these reformers to rename their project, keep the parts they want and jettison the rest, as Mohammed did? Which brings up, as another commenter commented, just what parts of Islam do they want to remain intact, what parts jettisoned, what parts modified? They will have to publish a NewKoran and SuperSahih Hadiths at least. And that brings up another question -- can these reformers work together? Do their visions of NewIslam coincide? None of them have significant followings, but do they have each other? And last, are the reformers and apostates hurting each others' cause?


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Daniel Pipes replies:

You lost me right at the top, with the description of "Nothing prevents reformists from succeeding if they provide an appealing enough message" as circularity.

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