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I also disagree with #6 (and an experiment with Bible and Quran)

Reader comment on item: Foreword
in response to reader comment: Disagree with #6

Submitted by Prashant, Aug 24, 2018 at 23:03

Dear Dr Pipes, Like your reader Anon I also disagree with the 6th point that you added to Anne Marie Water's doctrine about Islam. Your 6th point was: marginalize Islamism and help strengthen moderate Islam. Most of the people who have principled objections to various doctrines of Islam will indeed love it if a moderate version of Islam can be created. But what will a moderate Islam look like? At the very least, moderate Islam will have to admit that those who do not agree with Quranic description of God may be worthy people who do not need to be punished and who do not have to burn in hell's fire. Unfortunately, Quran wants both Allah and his believers to punish such people. The command to punish the (so called) unbelievers occurs so frequently in Quran that almost every page of Quran will have to be edited to make it kind toward non-believers. Are Muslims ready to edit every page of Quran?

I recently did an experiment. I started with a random verse of Quran (7-23). I wanted to see, starting from a random verse, how soon the conversation in Quran turns violent toward non-believers. I was pleasantly surprised that till 7-35 everything was more or less kosher. But Allah (or Muhammad) could not resist Himself at 7-36. 7-36 talked about fire and hell and punishment and stated that whoever denies 'our verses' will be a companion of fire eternally. After 7-36, Allah's tirade against those who challenge Him continued till at least 7-44. 7-44 also promised Allah's curse for people like me. In this experiment I did not go beyond 7-44.

This was just one experiment but I have seen this pattern repeated umpteen number of times.

I am not a Christian and not a reader of Bible much. But I repeated the same experiment with the Bible. Completely randomly I stumbled upon proverb 3-7. What I found at 3-7 and many many subsequent verses was completely refreshing. 3-7 and at least 20 verses after that talked about humility, mercifulness, wisdom, love, understanding and other such stuff.

I can say with all humility and objectivity that Bible passed my little test but Quran failed.

A moderate Islam will have to adopt democracy. It will have to make apostasy a non-crime. It will have to forgive those who are polytheists and/or atheists. It will have to admit what Salman Rushdie said (there can be no freedom of speech without the freedom to offend). Quran 7-40 is 180-degree opposite to Rushdie's good thought. Moderate Islam will also have to admit that at least 20 to 30% of the Quran needs to be edited and probably expunged. I wish it can be done but how will Muslims do it?


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