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More on Islam

7.14.2005

A week after 7/7 and it seems that everyone is coming out of the woodowork with opinions on Islam and its relation to terror and violence.
Firstly over at gavin's blog, we are directed to Ronan Mullen in todays Examiner. To be honest, i reckon Gavin is right to call him up on this one, what little of benefit it offers to the debate about how we could and should relate to moderates in the muslim community, is overshadowed by the incompetence of his argument regarding the developed attitudes of Christianity.
Bearing in mind that many peope still die at the hands of fundamental Christian beliefs, for diverse reasons around the world, one would think the sensible contribution is to call for a greater progress across religions in terms of tolerance and Human Rights. There is little special about christianity and certianly very little to crow about.
The "clash of civilisations" take is no longer acceptable in this time of danger to all communities. We are going to have to hang together or all hang seperately. There is only one way that a clash of civilisations is inevitable and that is only in the manner of self-fulfilling prophecy. We can only manufacture such a clash and as such can manufacture a solution. It is not about wealth or reason solely, it is an argument about the universality of peace and human rights. Irrelevant of religion.
This point is taken up over at slugger where they are discussing the contribution of ex-nun Karen Armstrong to today's Guardian. In the aritcle, a very knowledgable piece actually (particularly for those who read yesterdays piece on Egyptian Elections regarding Qutb), Armstrong is arguing for a more tolerant read of Islam to be taken and that terrorists not be immediately identified with the greater Muslim majority. She is correct to point out that al-Qa'ida provides a world-view like marxism or anarchism, the problem for us is that international actors are reenforcing arguments for the al-Qa'ida worldview and moderates are accpeting the subsequent extremist commentary. Again this becomes a distinctive and detailed argumetn which probably alienates a lot of peoples interest and stretches their good will.
The main factor I think is worth noting is that from Mullen's piece Christianity is not perfect and certainly not the prime example of perfect religion, this model is to be applies further to Islam which has difficulties of its own. However as we are somewhat qualified to make judgements on our own religious culture we are deeply unqualified to judge other examples yet. The learning process takes time. We must begin to engage and discuss for sure but dagerous ethno-centric characterisations help little in a debate that must sweep not just the west but the world.
RR

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