Monday, 28 April 2008

The truth is, there are many Islams

Islam, like Christianity, is a religion beset with internal conflicts. Just as there are many interpretations of Christianity with emphasis on different parts of a shared history and a history of conflict, denunciation, accusations of heresy, reformations and counter-reformations, so too with Islam. Accusations of shirk and massacres of co-religionists are, sadly, not confined to just Wahhabists. There are those that see the current rise in terrorism carried out by Muslims are a sign, not of conflict between East and West but a war within Islam between absolutists and those who seek, respect and wish to save a pluralist religious community.

Ed Hussein, author of The Islamist, shines some light on this:

Islam is not a monolithic entity. Inherent within Muslim tradition is a plurality of thought, practice and reasoning that can help create a genuine Muslim renaissance or tajdid in Arabic. Just as scriptural references to stoning and flogging are cited by countries such as Saudi Arabia as justification for their horrid practices, in these same texts, we find that the Prophet Muhammad reprimanded his followers for stoning a person who attempted to flee. He also condemned those who killed innocent people. By drawing on these lessons, mainstream Muslims must illustrate that compassion, humanity and sense should override scriptural rigidity understood with anger and revenge.

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