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Reader comment on item: Foreword: Why Islam's Reformers are Vitally Important
in response to reader comment: Reforming Islam? Mission impossible

Submitted by ECAW (United Kingdom), Jul 21, 2017 at 00:40

I wish Dr Pipes would expand on his views on essentialism since all I have seen is a one line reference to the "essentialist trap" and this response.

I think I can understand the idea of an essentialist trap in which meanings are too rigidly fixed but on the other hand I see the non-essentialist wasteland where anything can mean anything. Should we not be explicit about which ideas (in the context of Islam, doctrines) we think are negotiable and which are non-negotiable?


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Daniel Pipes replies:

By essentialism, I mean the mistake that we change but others do not. To take a small example: Women's fashion in the West constantly changes but elsewhere is immutable.

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