Category Archives: Islam

The Islamic Dilemma

Mr. Douthat has interesting and good info here. I agree that lots of folks are wrestling with how exactly Islam is supposed to “fit into” western culture.
NYT- 12/12/2015

UNLIKE Donald Trump, or at least the demagogue he’s playing, most Americans probably don’t want to seal our borders against Muslims. From Our Advertisers But most Americans do look at Islam and see a problem. It isn’t just Trump supporters or Republicans. In a poll the Public Religion Research Institute conducted before the Paris attacks, 56 percent of Americans agreed that “the values of Islam are at odds with American values.” In a more recent YouGov poll, 58 percent of Americans viewed Islam unfavorably, just 17 percent viewed it favorably.
But what should devout Muslims see when they look at America, or at the wider West?

This is the issue lurking behind a lot of Western anxiety about Islam. On the one hand, Westerners want Islam to adapt and assimilate, to “moderate” in some sense, to leave behind the lure of conquest, the pull of violent jihad.

But for several reasons — because we don’t understand Islam from the inside, but also because we’re divided about what our civilization stands for and where religious faith fits in — we have a hard time articulating what a “moderate” Muslim would actually believe, or what we expect a modernized Islam to become.

And to any Muslim who takes the teachings of his faith seriously, it must seem that many Western ideas about how Islam ought to change just promise its eventual extinction.

This is clearly true of the idea, held by certain prominent atheists and some of my fellow conservatives and Christians, that the heart of Islam is necessarily illiberal — that because the faith was born in conquest and theocracy, it simply can’t accommodate itself to pluralism without a massive rupture, an apostasy in fact if not in name.

But it’s also true of the ideas of many secular liberal Westerners, who take a more benign view of Islam mostly because they assume that all religious ideas are arbitrary, that it doesn’t matter what Muhammad said or did because tomorrow’s Muslims can just reinterpret the Prophet’s life story and read the appropriate liberal values in.

The first idea basically offers a counsel of despair: Muslims simply cannot be at home in the liberal democratic West without becoming something else entirely: atheists, Christians, or at least post-Islamic.

The first idea basically offers a counsel of despair: Muslims simply cannot be at home in the liberal democratic West without becoming something else entirely: atheists, Christians, or at least post-Islamic.

The second idea seems kinder, but it arrives at a similar destination. Instead of a life-changing, obedience-demanding revelation of the Absolute, its modernized Islam would be Unitarianism with prayer rugs and Middle Eastern kitsch – one more sigil in the COEXIST bumper sticker, one more office in the multicultural student center, one more client group in the left-wing coalition.

The first idea assumes theology’s immutability; the second assumes its irrelevance. And both play into the hands of ISIS and Al Qaeda: The first by confirming their own clash-of-civilizations narrative, the second by making assimilation seem indistinguishable from the arid secularism that’s helped turn Europe into a prime jihadist recruiting ground.

The good news is that there is space between these two ideas. The bad news is that we in the West can’t seem to agree on what that space should be, or how Christianity and Judaism, let alone Islam, should fit into it.

Devout Muslims watching current Western debates, for instance, might notice that some of the same cosmopolitan liberals who think of themselves as Benevolent Foes of Islamophobia are also convinced that many conservative Christians are dangerous crypto-theocrats whose institutions and liberties must give way whenever they conflict with liberalism’s vision of enlightenment.

They also might notice that many of the same conservative Christians who fear that Islam is incompatible with democracy are wrestling with whether their own faith is compatible with the direction of modern liberalism, or whether Christianity needs to enter a kind of internal exile in the West.

And they might notice, finally, that all of the models for reconciling ancient faith to modern life tend to lurch between separatism and dissolution. The ghettoized “fortress Catholicism” of the 1940s gave way to the hemorrhaging “modernizing Catholicism” of the 1970s. The Americanized Judaism of midcentury is now polarized between a booming Orthodoxy and a waning liberal wing. The liberal Protestant churches have emptied, while Protestant fundamentalism remains a potent force.

In this landscape of options, the clearest model for Islam’s transition to modernity might lie in American evangelicalism — like Islam a missionary faith, like Islam decentralized and intensely scripture-oriented, and like Islam a tradition that often assumes an organic link between the theological and political.

Of course American evangelicals are often particularly hostile to Islam — as they are to Mormonism, which also offers an interesting model for modernizing Muslims.

But this is less an irony than a form of recognition: An Islam that set aside the sword without abandoning its fervor would be working in the same mission territory, Western and global, where evangelicals and Mormons presently compete and clash.

But it has to set aside the sword.

Source: The Islamic Dilemma – The New York Times


John Adams on Islam

What we’re talking about is not new…  I am continually amazed the number of Americans so don’t seem to “get it”.

Dec. 8, 2015 6:41 p.m.  WSJ

From a March 28, 1786, letter written by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were American diplomats at the time, to U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay reporting on their conversation in London with the ambassador from Tripoli regarding piracy by the Barbary States:

We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.

The [Islamic] Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet; that it was written in their Koran; that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority [USA] were sinners; that it was their [Muslims’] right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Mussulman [Muslim] who was slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.


Frank Discussion on Muslim Immigration

At least someone is willing to talk plainly about an important issue.

Many in America feel that they cannot tell the truth when comes to the Muslim situation. They feel as though they are being mean or hard if they say what they feel. They are scared to have a large population of Muslims in their community. It is not that they think that all Muslims are evil or mean. It is not that they think that they will become militant and seek to take over the country. The problem is that there is always problems that come with Muslims. And the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban has been brave enough to speak the truth.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said that his country does not want to take in large numbers of Muslims, in defence of Hungary’s response to the surge in refugees trying to enter the country.

“I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country,” Orban told journalists outside the EU headquarters at Brussels.

“We do not like the consequences,” he said, referring to the country’s 150-year history of Ottoman rule during the 16th and 17th centuries.

They do not like the consequences. What consequences? They want to take over the country. Not at first. At first they seem content to struggle for an equal say in what happens in their community. Next they want a majority say in what happens. Then they begin to cause strife because Sharia is not followed. Then before you know it, they are ruling over you.

This comes from a country who has lived under Muslim control.

“Please don’t come… It’s risky to come. We can’t guarantee that you will be accepted,” Orban said in Brussels, adding that it would not be humane or morally right to “falsify” people’s dreams.

“We Hungarians are full of fear, people in Europe are full of fear because they see that the European leaders, among them the prime ministers, are not able to control the situation,” Orban said.

They understand that the crisis in Europe may be the feather that brakes the back of Europe’s camel. With the growing Muslim culture and the declining birth rate of Europeans, the math is overwhelming. In one generation, there may not be a European Europe. Besides that, there is every indication that the transition may not be a smooth one. This is causing Hungary to consider a drastic measure.

A fence on the border with Serbia is one of several measures under way to make it more difficult for refugees to enter and stay in Hungary. The government is also tightening asylum laws, introducing penalties for illegal border-crossing, and planning to close permanent refugee camps.

But, I guess that would mean that these Hungarians have realized the failure of their Liberal ideals. Will this mean their exclusion from the EU, or is it the Clarian call to all of Europe to wake up?