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Re: The Pope and the Koran

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran

Submitted by Gloria Stewart (United States), Jan 19, 2006 at 20:01

It is evident that Pope Benedict XVI was issuing a cautionary guideline to the participants of the seminar so that they would not travel down the tempting and, I believe, utterly fruitless road, of contemplating an Islamic reformation as a solution to the Islamic problem. Of course he had to depart from his usual timing and speak up immediately.

With all due respect to Dr. Pipes, the Pope is essentially correct. While Christianity is a religion of faith and not law, Islam is a creed (it is too all encompassing to be called merely a religion) of law. Muslims believe that the Koran is the actual and literal word of Allah. To suggest a reinterpretation on anything more than the most trivial scale is blasphemy. Islamic thinkers may argue at length whether it is halal to scratch one's head during Hajj, but whatever change which might occur because of that decision will have no external impact. The West has to offer man's law; Islam has God's Law. The West may offer prosperity, but Islam considers that prosperity decadent and of no significance compared with achieving an afterlife in Paradise.

There is no doubt that many Islamic thinkers have attempted change, and some have no doubt even survived their attempts. There have been some isolated successes. One thinks today of the Canadian Islamic feminist Ershad Manji, But a reformation takes more than a few thinkers. Those who would call for a reformation do not exist in sufficient number, nor is there sufficient time, nor would they have a sufficient audience to succeed.

Dr. Pipes has often named Muslim moderates. But how many of them are a sermon away from being radicalized?

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