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The Pope Got it Right

Reader comment on item: The Vatican Confronts Islam

Submitted by Susan Walker (United States), Jul 8, 2006 at 12:22

Daniel Pipes wrote: Second, I must register my respectful disagreement. The Koran indeed can be interpreted. Indeed, Muslims interpret the Koran no less than Jews and Christians interpret the Bible, and those interpretations have changed no less over time. The Koran, like the Bible, has a history.

I must respectfully disagree with your respectful disagreement. Theoretically, the Koran might be subject to interpretation, but throughout history, Muslim theologians who have tried to moderate or ameliorate the literal message of the prophet have been at best rejected; at worst killed. Robert Spencer, in his book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades, demonstrates this. Even if he did not, the record of history reveals Islam to be a retrograde religio-political system, as so many great Western thinkers have observed.

I think the Pope got it right. The Koran, because it portrays Allah as having not only the final word (The Bible also gives God that prerogative.), but the all inclusive word, really is not subject to interpretation on any large scale. It is "stuck" in an ancient moment of time, and rather than try to convince its followers that they are delusional, we simply and imperatively must not allow them to implement Sha'ria law in the Western world. When they come to public officials with their requirements for pig free children's school books, burka covered photos on women's driver's licenses, and any other idiotic requests that prevent them from assimilating with modernity, we need to "Just say No!" If they hate the West, they should return to the East.

I do agree that Pope Benedict's opinion can carry tremendous weight, even outside the Catholic Church. I just hope he continues to focus on this vital issue and not get side-tracked with intrachurch politics.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

You write that "Theoretically, the Koran might be subject to interpretation, but throughout history, Muslim theologians who have tried to moderate or ameliorate the literal message of the prophet have been at best rejected; at worst killed."

I agree that more liberal interpretations have been suppressed in the past, but disagree that this means the same will necessarily happen in the future. It is a great mistake to assume that because something has not happened it cannot happen.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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