Imams Making Sense

Mark just posted another example of non-radical Islam. I do not know the context of the interview shown in this video, but it appears to be some kind of Arabic news program. The host is interviewing a cleric about why the Islamic world is the way it is.

I'm assuming the subtitles are an accurate translation. The cleric talks about the need for Muslims to get their own house in order, to stop inciting violence, to pray and meditate, and to learn to read. He talks about how 70 million adults in the Islamic world are illiterate and teaching them to read would make a huge difference. He extols the benefits of music - apparently in some places Muslims are not supposed to listen to music? I didn't know this.

I have no idea who this person is - he may be considered a total whacko wherever he comes from, for all I know. Nonetheless, the fact that he was able to go on an apparently mainstream TV program and say these things is encouraging.

Meanwhile, Carl Olson links to an interview with Dinesh D'Souza in Crisis magazine. The subject is "liberal" Muslims vs "radical" Muslims. Here is the key point:

The Muslim world is divided between the radical Muslims and the traditional Muslims. Both groups are religiously and socially conservative. The main difference between the two is that the radicals support violence as a way of striking out against America, while traditional Muslims do not. However, the radicals have been very successful over the past decade in recruiting traditional Muslims into their ranks. So no long-term victory in the war on terrorism can work unless it finds a way to put a wedge between traditional Islam and radical Islam...

If you dismiss Islam as being inherently violent or say the Prophet Mohammed is the founder of terrorism, then you’re pushing the traditional Muslims into the radical camp. This is a foolish thing to do, even if what you’re saying is true. Now, I would maintain that this is not true. Islam has been around for roughly 1,300 years, and radical Islam and Islamic terrorism have only been around for a few decades. So we can’t blame Islam itself or Mohammed. There must be something going on in Islam today to make it an incubator for violent fanaticism. MORE

D'Souza has a new book out in which he argues that it is the secular left in the West that has enraged Muslims into terrorist acts (I have not yet read the book so I hope I am getting this right). Essentially, he says that by aggressively spreading our decadent way of life around the world - particularly our sexual depravities - we have almost invited Muslims to fight back in order to preserve their culture.

I'm not prepared to accept this thesis until I can read the book. On the surface it makes sense, though. In many ways, serious Christians have more in common with traditionalist Muslims than we do with the radical secular wing of our own culture. This may be a bit of shared belief that can be built on.

Now does this mean that we ignore important points of faith and theology in order to start a dialog? No, of course not. That debate will come in due course. For now, we just need to reach a point where significant numbers of Christians and Muslims can talk to each other and co-exist peacefully. It will be hard to do this until we get our own culture straightened out.

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