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To Jameel

Reader comment on item: The Clash to End All Clashes?
in response to reader comment: Moderate Muslim - An Oxymoron

Submitted by Sidda (United States), Feb 9, 2006 at 11:11

Jameel, yes you are correct that Islamic fundamentalists would consider you an apostate. I wonder if the "moderate" Muslims realize that they are in just as much danger, maybe even more, as us "infidels" if the extremists manage to acquire WMD's by which they can intimidate and blackmail the world.

Nobody has (or should have) a problem of a Muslim praying in the mosque, making a pilgrimmage to Mecca, not eating pork or drinking alcohol, having a personal relationship with God, etc. Other religions do as much with no problems. What is the problem is Muslims' belief in dividing the world into Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb with the belief that Islam must be dominant over all other beliefs and any method even violence can be used to convert. People in the 21st century will not accept forced conversion, or living in second class "dhimmi" status. That might have worked in the 7th century or Middle Ages, but not now.

The concept of one group feeling that they have the market cornered on the "one, true faith" is not limited to Islam. Catholics were taught for years this doctine; however, Vatican II opened the way for a new respect and understanding of other faiths, a spirit of ecumenism in the modern world. They adapted to the changing times (without altering their core doctrinal beliefs). Some fundamentalist Christians don't even consider Catholics to be true Christians. They believe you must be "born again" to enter heaven. But their beliefs pose no real threat to me. The most they will do is pray for me. That's ok--I could probably use some prayers!! They have their beliefs and I have mine. Same for the other faiths, but not Islam.

We in the West manage to live together in relative peace because we have separation of religion from government which Islam does not. There is also no serious penalty for apostacy in Christianity. The WORST that can happen is to be excommunicated. Nobody loses their lives or lives in fear because he decides to convert to another faith or rejects religion altogether. It is also allowed to criticize and question your faith without fear of reprisal. In Islam, as we see with this cartoon debacle, no criticism of Islam or the prophet is allowed. How can there be reformation?

There is a Muslim woman named Irshad Manji who speaks out in favor of the reform of Islam. She talks about ijtihad. She is very brave to do this and she has received many death threats because of it; however, she says she receives e mails from many, especially younger Muslims, who praise what she is doing but they are also afraid to speak in favor of reform for fear of retaliation.

For the reasons articulated by the previous poster, there is doubt whether ijtihad can work as a way to reform Islam. But I at least give her credit for trying.

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