Monday, September 12, 2005

The Other Islam

Richard Holbrooke, former ambassador to the U.N. under a previous President, believes we need to understand the enemy. He says, “Unless people know whom we are fighting, it will be virtually impossible to win the war of ideas that is such a key part of this struggle.” It is more than a war on terror, he notes. But what does he suggest? Sit down for this one:
How about making it simple and specific: something like "the war against Osama bin laden and his followers"? And then create an all-out, no-holds-barred campaign to expose, ridicule, and destroy everything he and his ilk stand for - murder, horror, intolerance, disrespect for human life, and a false view of Islam.
The false view? In the same issue of the New York Sun, Mark Steyn remarks:
Only a tiny minority of Muslims want to be suicide bombers and only a slightly larger minority want actively to provide support networks for suicide bombers, but big majorities of Muslims support almost all the terrorists, strategic goals: for example, according to a recent poll, over 60% of British Muslims want to live under sharia in the United Kingdom. That's a "moderate" westernized Muslim: he wants stoning for adultery to be introduced in Liverpool, but he's a "moderate" because it's not such a priority that he's prepared to fly a plane into a skyscraper. [italics mine]
It appears that most Muslims share this false view, at least in such isolated backwater places like … England! Perhaps someone might give us a hint about the “true view” of Islam so that we may tell the Muslims who are clearly confused.

We, of course, should be open to an accurate description of the doctrinal differences between different types of Islam. More sophisticated commentators will describe the Islam of bin Laden as part of the Salafi tradition of Islam. Salafi basically means original Islam. Often, this is described as the Islam of Muhammad and the first four Rightly Guided Caliphs. The logical question that arises is that if Salafi Islam is the Islam of Muhammad what is the other Islam?

No doubt, the implication is that Salafi is only a literal following of the Koran and Hadith ... similar to that found in Londonistan (hat tip Gandalf.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert Spencer has a wonderful phrase 'those misunderstanders of Islam'. Thus the terrorists, those who want Sharia law and so forth do not represent the real Islam, which is peaceful and tolerant.

Well in that case one of the first misunderstanders and hijackers of this peaceful, tolerant religion was no other than Mohammed himself. As he waged war on the infidels, someone should have reminded him of the truly peaceful nature of the religion that he was hijacking.

9/13/05, 7:27 AM  
Blogger gandalf said...

This is the true islam


by Paula Stern
Monday September 12, 2005
from The ‘blogosphere’

Today, as I knew they would, crazed Palestinian mobs are desecrating 25 synagogues in Gaza, setting them on fire and destroying what it took years to build. I have visited almost all of these synagogues, prayed in many of them. I cannot even begin to put into words the pain I feel today, the anger, and the sadness.
The world, as I expected, is silent. The UN’s Kofi Annan was asked to protect the remaining synagogues, but we hear nothing. Empty buildings, they will protest quietly, and what did you expect? Unspoken is the silent message that while the Christian world and the Jewish world would respect places of worship, the Moslem world cannot be held to the same level of accountability. Did you expect any different? No, I did not, though it would be a mistake to assume that knowing they would destroy these holy places in any way lessens the pain.

this is too big to post as a comment, it has to be read, you can feel the pain.

full account is here-

9/13/05, 12:22 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

That’s an excellent point, “Old Peculiar,” Mohammad was the first to hijack Islam if we judge from his behavior. I’d like to see the first Muslim step forward and publicly say: Mohammad had some inspiring words in his early days in Mecca but when he ruled in Medina power corrupted him absolutely – he became the antithesis of everything Islam stands for. Actually, I shutter to think what would happen.

Thanks, Gandalf, for the link to your website for that story and more. And thanks to both OP & Gandalf for reports from London on this thread and others.

9/13/05, 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks. In fact, when musing about the potential of Islam to reform, I've sometimes thought about viewing the Meccan verses of the Koran, which are lyrical, comtemplative and peaceful as the way forward, and making a deliberate contrast with the Medina verses. The latter should be an object lesson for Muslims on how not to live, on how politics corrupts religion.

Christians look at powerful figures in the Old Testament not as role models but as object lessons. So why not with Islam? But it would take a brave Muslim to suggest this!

9/13/05, 7:50 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Old Peculier,
You make an excellent point about the OT heroes as object lessons. Such was the approach of the church in which I grew up, but I had forgotten that aspect.

The organization of the Koran (by length of chapter as opposed to by chronology) makes it difficult for Westerners to discern the Meccan from the Medinan verses. We tend to reach the first chapter, then the last chapter to get an overall picture of a book's contents. That method doesn't work with the Koran, of course.

"[A]n object lesson for Muslims on how not to live, on how politics corrupts religion" is an excellent idea, but Arabic doesn't have a past tense as we know it. Because of the way that Arabs view the continuum of time, they might not get the connection you mention. Also, politics is so entwined with Islam that I don't see how the two concepts can ever be separated. Then, there is the matter of the ahaidth.

Now--to contradict myself--Westernized Muslims may well understand the proposal you've mentioned. Irshad Manji is a case in point.

9/13/05, 8:52 PM  

<< Home