On the Reformation of Islam

Since 9/11, our world outlook has been significantly challenged. But 9/11 was only the largest in a series of terrorist attacks stretching back before and after (the World Trade Towers were hit by a truck bomb in 1993, fortunately without major damage). As we hear about the disruptions “Islamists” have been engaged in, all around the world now, we wonder: when is this going to stop, so we all can lead normal civilized lives again?

Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, raised that precise question in January, 2015, at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, before a major assembly of Muslim scholars:

Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants – that is 7 billion – so that they themselves may live? Impossible! Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now. . . .I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. . . .The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move.

The Obama administration – and many who think like it – keeps telling us that these horrific acts have “nothing to do with Islam.” No reform necessary. Just prevent a few “junior varsity” fundamentalists from “hijacking” a great religion.

After the Charlie Hebdo massacre on January 7 last year, the White House press secretary went to great lengths to distinguish between “the violent extremist messaging that ISIL and other extremist organizations are using, trying to radicalize individuals around the globe,” and a “peaceful religion.”

But even Muslims sense extreme naiveté in this wholesale exoneration of Islamic religious tenets. Hearing Obama’s claim that the Islamic State was “not Islamic,” a young Morrocan recently responded on YouTube:

Mr. President, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL. You said ISIL speaks for no religion. I am a former Muslim. My dad is an imam. I have spent more than 20 years studying Islam. . . .I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam. . . .ISIL’s 10,000 members are all Muslims. . . .They come from different countries and have one common denominator: Islam. They are following Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in every detail. . . .call things by their names. ISIL, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab in Somalia, the Taliban, and their sister brand names, are all made in Islam. Unless the Muslim world deals with Islam and separates religion from state, we will never end this cycle.

That last sentence identifies a major obstacle: Islam is not just a religion but an intrinsically political entity.

Alexis de Tocqueville, commending separation of church and state, contrasted the American constitution with Islam, a religion that “has most completely confounded and intermixed the two powers. . .so that all the acts of civil and political life are regulated more or less by religious law.”

Therefore, as in most armies, desertion (“apostasy”) is a crime deserving of execution. This is an essential aspect of the religion, enforced in countries where Islamists rule.

Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a prominent leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, has said of the apostasy death-sentence: “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment Islam would not exist today. Islam would have ended with the death of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Opposing apostasy is what kept Islam to this day.”

Many of today’s Sunni and Shiite militants believe they are participating in battles foretold in seventh-century prophecies from the Muslim hadiths that refer to the ultimate confrontation of two massive armies in Syria.

Some differences concerning this apocalypse exist, however, between the majority (Sunnis) and the minority (Shiites). Whereas Shiite doctrine looks forward to the return of the Twelfth Imam and the global triumph of Islam, Sunni zealots are more likely to aspire to the forcible creation of a new caliphate.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Such aspirations seem fanciful and even comical to most modern people, especially those with no knowledge of the Islam’s history. But these beliefs have given rise to the “Islamic State,” terror in Iraq and Syria, and confusion among world powers.

There are no more Crusades, and the United Nations is not about to get involved in what amounts to a religious war. Some people are mistakenly confident that military action by the United States, Russia, France and other nations will solve the problem.

But Aayan Hirsi Ali, in Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now has no such confidence. She sees ISIS as just the “tip of the iceberg,” destined to be reincarnated in other forms even if this version is destroyed; she has no confidence in military solutions.

Hirsi Ali lived as an observant Muslim in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, until in her early twenties she was brokered into an arranged marriage in Canada by her father. On the way to Canada, she decided to flee to Holland, where she was accepted as a refugee, then began to work, acquire an education, and even participate in politics, while her religious roots weakened. The 9/11 attack precipitated her abandonment of Islam and eventual turn to atheism. Her critiques of Islamic discrimination against women, and her participation in Theo van Gogh’s movie, Submission, resulted in van Gogh’s assassination and death threats against Hirsi. In the aftermath, she emigrated to the United States.

In an earlier book, Nomad, she held no hope for a possible “reformation” of Islam. But in Heretic she offers proposals worthy of consideration.

First, she rejects categorizing Muslims as “moderate” and “fundamentalist,” and offers what she considers a more accurate analysis. There are: 1) a small minority of Dissenters, such as herself; 2) a larger minority of Medina Muslims, whose inspiration derives from the later chapters of the Qur’an dictated in Medina and threatening hellfire for unbelievers; and 3) Mecca Muslims, inspired by the earlier chapters dictated in Mecca, when a more tolerant Muhammad sought acceptance as a prophet.

Her reform proposals are geared to tame the threatening behavior of the Medina Muslims and allow Mecca Muslims to make the often-difficult adaptation to Western civilization and modernity:

  • Use the principle of “abrogation,” which has been widely accepted by Muslim scholars to prioritize the numerous later (Medinan) “Verses of the Sword” in the Qur’an, which demand conversion or death (or taxes and subservience from compliant Christians and Jews). But reverse the “abrogation” and emphasize the more moderate and often inspiring Meccan verses.
  • Save the children. Don’t dress up kindergartners as suicide bombers, as in Gaza; or extol “the love of martyrdom,” as on Egyptian television; or castigate Jews and Christians as “enemies of the believers,” or as Apes and Swine, as textbooks in Saudi Arabia instruct sixth-graders and eighth-graders.
  • Renounce sharia law, which prescribes death for apostasy (Qur’an 4:89) and the possibility of death for blasphemy (9:47, 6:93); beheadings and crucifixions for unbelievers (47:4; 5:33); amputations for stealing (5:38); as well as the killing of homosexuals, and the stoning of adulterers (recommended in the hadiths).
  • Overcome the endemic inequality of women in Islam, which has led to male guardianship, marital rape, child marriage, legal disinheritance, the near impossibility of proving rape, or divorcing and gaining custody of children.
  • Abolish Islamic “apartheid,” whereby “people are targeted not for their skin color, but for gender, sexual orientation, religion, or, among Muslims, the form of their personal faith.”
  • Use contemporary print and electronic media to turn people away from “Medina” Islam. “Imagine a platform for Muslim dissidents that communicated their message through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Imagine ten reformist magazines for every one issue of ISIS’s Dibaq or Al-Qaeda’s Inspire.

Personally, I am doubtful that these efforts would succeed: Rejection of sharia? Hirsi Ali herself quotes statistics showing that the vast majority of Muslims in Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nigeria support imposition of sharia law. Separation of mosque and state, so that Muslims everywhere would have freedom to change their religion? Hardly conceivable. “Abrogation” of the Medinan ‘Verses of the Sword’ in the Qur’an? How, when Muslims believe these are literally the final words of Allah, dictated to Muhammad?

Two of her proposals hold promise, however, and may even lead to major change during the next few decades – namely, 1) to spread justified outrage against the inequality of women in Islam (where are the feminists when you need them?), and 2) to utilize the massive educational potentials of new electronic and print media.

Since half of Muslims are women, and “closed societies” are now almost impossible to keep closed, it may be that Muslim women (see Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s website) can be the catalyst for the “revolution” Egyptian President Sisi called for so passionately.

You may purchase Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Heretic through The Catholic Thing Store at Amazon.

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz, Emeritus Professor at Marquette University, is the author of twenty-five books on German philosophy, ethics, political philosophy, and religion, and over a hundred articles in scholarly journals, print magazines, online magazines, and op-eds. He was a recipient of an NEH fellowship for 1977-8, and Fulbright fellowships in Germany for 1980-1 and 1987-8. His website is at Marquette University.

  • James S.

    Very nice essay, Howard. I’ll second your skepticism about some of Hirsi Ali’s recommendations. My own view is that the resolution of the crisis going on within Islam today is probably taking place under our eyes and we don’t really notice it. We probably don’t even have a word for it yet. Basically, there are two contending blocs: the political-military establishment, personified, as you note, in Egypt’s el-Sisi, in confrontation against religious-intellectual forces, as in your example of Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the fundamentalist spokesman. One side wants to put the other under its heel. If history’s a guide, they will fight to a draw. Meanwhile, in the middle there are millions of ordinary Muslims, including some extraordinary ones, like Hirsi Ali herself, who are trying to get on with everyday life. They want out of the ideological and military battles. They relish neither one side nor the other. They want to carve out a safe zone for themselves. They acknowledge that each of the two blocs has its interests, but they want the span of their reach curtailed. They yearn to find emotional satisfaction in building up small communities of like-minded believers. They just want to get with life. I would look in that wide zone between the two warring blocs for shards of evidence pointing to the future of Islam.

    • Harry

      Hello, James S.,

      There are indeed Muslims who are good people and are no threat at all to everyone else.

      But we have to look at history. What has been the fruit of Islam? We have it on good authority that we can judge things by their fruit. It is not like there is no case to be made for Islam being primarily an ideology of conquest the religious side of which is only there to justify and impose that ideology on those who unfortunately become its adherents.

      We have to look at what happened to hundreds of thousands of Christians when, with the fall of Saddam Hussein, that ideology of conquest was unleashed. Saddam had maintained something like the Pax Romana, which was based on the masses being terrified of horrific punishment, like crucifixion or, in Saddam’s case, being run through a wood chipper. It is rarely mentioned, but JP II has been completely vindicated in his opposition to the war in Iraq. And some of the most ancient Christian communities have been obliterated.

      Unlike the early days of Islamic conquest, the modern world has made weapons of mass destruction available to these people. And yes, there are many good Muslims, but it only takes a handful of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world to obtain and use WMDs. If only 1 percent of them would do that, that is still 16 million people who would rejoice in killing infidels by the millions, and at the same time sincerely believe that is what Allah wanted.

  • maxmarley

    That so many infidels from the west know more about Islam and can confidently contradict the opinions of the Islamic faithful on what is Islam and not Islam is always a source of wonder.
    What profound insights these infidels have.
    Their “deep” insights on Christianity however never seem to get beyond the crusades, the inquisition, flying spaghetti whatever, etc etc .
    Theirs is truly the wisdom of Solomon

    • Therese

      One has to read the Qu’ran in order to know what Islam teaches. One of those teachings is that it must be read in the original arabic-not translated. Therefore the vast majority of muslims in the world have not read the Qu’ran and are unaware of most of the teachings.

      • Not just the Quran, either: masses of compulsory law is found in the Hadith

        • Rick

          Exactly! You can throw out the koran or at least the Meccan suras. The key to Islam is Mohammed. The Hadith tells us what kind of man Mohammed was. All you need to do is ask and then answer this one question,

          “What date is year one in the Muslim calendar?

          Something important must have happened. Be a seeker, not an ostrich.

  • Francis Miller

    Thanks Mr. Kainz for an excellent essay. The failure of our elite and government to call a spade a spade has only fueled our enemy and has left fleeing the that same enemy as the only recourse for their victims. Who believes that Isis and their ilk are minority run operations? Sharia Law, I think is misunderstood. It is so desired in Muslim countries because those countries are not run by the protection equal rule of law. Mistakenly, they think Sharia will give that to them. Sharia was not the result of Christian values and political aspirations as our Constitution but dictates from a privileged few. But the word law its implications at being holy trumps the governments of rogues and dictators that flourish in those countries.

  • ForChristAlone

    The reason why secularists in the West and most especially Obama and his ilk cannot see Islam as a religio/political terrorist entity is that it (they) have rejected the Judeo-Christian heritage that was the foundation of European and American democracies. Islamists see that very clearly; it’s a pity that the West does not see it also.

  • Elijah fan

    I love the last paragraph and that their women may be key to progress but I also think Muslims with exceptions have a low self worth from non religious parts of their lives. Their economic structure is a cause for self suspicion. Millions of them know that they produce nothing that anyone wants to buy and that their economies are often supported by something they sit on…oil. The world wants to buy cars and cameras from Germany and Japan; medical technology and cars and tablets and phones from the US. Muslims suspect rightly that they make nothing that the world wants to buy and if oil becomes unnecessary, their infrastructure will crumble. ISIS had to steal US armaments from fleeing Iraqi soldiers. ISIS knows they don’t even make their own weapons. Everything has been invented by and stolen from the non muslim. If they are nothing in the materialistic world, they will be something through murdering the creative world.
    There is a non religious source of their delusionary militant pride…they have few natural reasons to be proud on a materialistic basis so they become over important to God in compensation for their self suspicion of having little creative worth. That doesn’t bother a similar non creative poor Catholic in Portugal or Bolivia because he believes rightly in non materialism and in a spiritual goal. The muslim goal in the next world is carnal multiplied by ten….or 72 as it were. The muslim is enmeshed in materialism before and after death…how many wives did Muhammed have and his favorite was how old? The poor Christian is promised the Trinity. The poor muslim is promised the carnality he can’t afford right now but that makes him hate the West which seems to have that carnality now. Where are they streaming to? Germany not Serbia. Fortunately the US has an 18 month vetting process….which itself is not working perfectly as recent arrests and suicide by cop has proved.

  • I know far more Mecca Muslims than Medina Muslims. I know a small but growing number of dissenters.

    But I fear between the Caliphate and the downright strange Wahabbi Doctorine of Sole Jihad where a fence dispute with a neighbor can turn into a pressure cooker bomb on the front lawn, more moderate Mecca Muslims, though superior in number, are deficient in might.

    Better to work to convert everybody to a more mature religion that does not require sharia law and does not require every insult be revenge with a suicide bomber.

  • grump

    Let’s sum it up: Religion poisons everything. (Hitchens said it first). Oxymoron: Moderate Muslim. They are ALL extremists if the follow the Koran literally, which is to “kill all infidels.” Trump is right. We let them in at our own peril.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      “They are ALL extremists if the follow the Koran literally…”

      In 1926 some Islamic scholars in Turkey justified the abolition of sharia law and its replacement with the Swiss Civil Code, the German Commercial Code and the Italian Penal Code on the grounds that the Quran is “a record of spiritual experience and not a source of juridical norms.” Very much what Reform rabbis were saying of the Torah.

      Ot take the great Persian mystic, Bayazid Bastami (804-874), known as “one of the six
      bright stars in the firmament of the Messenger,” whose shrine in Chittagong is still an important place of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Moslems

      “How,“ he was asked, “does Islam view other religions?”

      “All are vehicles and a path to God’s Divine Presence,” he replied.

      As a Sufi, he taught the unity of God (“there is no God but God”) means that He alone is being and that the self and the created world are illusions. This he regarded as the root of all religions, so all provide a path to enlightenment – Not a fundamentalist, you

      • Howard Kainz

        Sufis are considered heretics by most mainstream Muslims.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          In India, there are numerous shrines where Sufi saints, yogis, and Bhakti Brahmans are venerated together, as those who have attained Enlightenment

          In the West, the best-known form of Sufism is, perhaps, the “whirling devishes” of the Mevlevi Order, with their famous prayer, “Oh, Allah, how long this ‘you’ and ‘I’ remains between You and I. Take this ‘I’ from me so all that remains is ‘You.’” They believe enlightenment comes in the trance-like state induced by the dance.

    • Augustine Hourigan

      Please demonstrate how the words of Jesus Christ poisons everything! Please read chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Saint Matthews Gospel, is there any word contained therein “which poisons everything?”

      • grump

        To clarify I would add the modifier, “false” to religion and leave open the possibility that there is one true religion, which, I might concede is Christianity. Is it better to have ANY religion than NO religion? I think law-biding and moral atheists and agnostics have a much better claim to the high ground than Islam, a religion that preaches death to all non-believers and one whose founder was a pederast.

  • Harry

    The Obama administration – and many who think like it – keeps telling us that these horrific acts have “nothing to do with Islam.” No reform necessary. Just prevent a few “junior varsity” fundamentalists from “hijacking” a great religion.

    After the Charlie Hebdo massacre on January 7 last year, the White House press secretary went to great lengths to distinguish between “the violent extremist messaging that ISIL and other extremist organizations are using, trying to radicalize individuals around the globe,” and a “peaceful religion.”

    But even Muslims sense extreme naiveté in this wholesale exoneration of Islamic religious tenets.

    How does one become so blind to reality? Could it be that the reigning regime knows quite well the reality of the Islamic threat but uses language like that cited above as part of some secret strategy? Or are they actually that oblivious to the peril in which contemporary Islam places the rest of the world? It could be the latter.

    There really is such a thing a spiritual blindness. It is a phenomenon that the ruling classes of modern, radically secularized states, for which atheism has become the de facto state religion, cannot, of course, detect in themselves. That doesn’t make that blindness any less real.

    A thousand years before the arrival of the One Who said “I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark,” King David wrote “Yahweh, you yourself are my lamp, my God lights up my darkness” (Ps 18:28). It sometimes doesn’t make any difference to everybody else that “the way of the wicked is as dark as night, they cannot tell what it is they stumble over” (Prov 4:19), but when the ruling class is dominated by such people it does make a difference to everybody else.

    “Intellectually they are in the dark, and they are estranged from the life of God, without knowledge because they have shut their hearts to it” (Eph 4:18). “They knew God and yet refused to honour him as God or to thank him; instead, they made nonsense out of logic and their empty minds were darkened” (Rom 1:21). “If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!” (Mt 6:23) The atheistic ruling classes are leading civilization over a cliff because they just don’t, and won’t, “get it.” We have it on good authority that when blind men lead blind men, it does not end well. (Mt 15;14)

    So, are they leading blind men? Are we blind, too? “It is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and the Powers who originate the darkness in this world, the spiritual army of evil” (Eph 6:12). What else could convince otherwise rational people that the ongoing bloody massacre of countless children, many of whom are as old, or older and more viable, than patients routinely cared for in modern newborn intensive care units, is somehow a good thing and our “right”?

    “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who substitute darkness for light” (Is 5:20). And woe to those who allow them to do so. We will continue to be led by the blind to certain disaster until we become the children of the light we are supposed to be.

    “See to it then that the light inside you is not darkness” (Lk 11:35). “Your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven” (Mt 5:16). Becoming the children of the light we are supposed to be will require action more than words.

  • Bro_Ed

    I’m glad that these points are being discussed publicly and not deep-sixed under cries of “Intolerance” and the like from the Politically Correct. Unfortunately, it sounds too much like the old parable of the mice who wanted to put a bell around the cat’s neck. They all agreed it should be done, but nobody volunteered to do it.

    • Yes, I was beginning to get the impression “The Catholic Thing” was joining in with the appeasement of Islam.

      • Rick

        V2 has already done that.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    In Europe, many Muslims, and especially Muslim women, are manifesting their confidence in the Republic and proclaiming their adherence to its values.

    The president of the Muslim women’s movement, « Ni Putes Ni Soumises » [Neither Sluts nor Door-mats] Sihem Habchi, in a forceful attack on “multiculturalism” has demanded “No more justifications of our oppression in the name of the right to be different and of respect toward
    those men who force us to bow our heads”

    Rachida Dati, herself a Muslim and former French Minister of Justice (garde des Sceaux) told
    the National Assembly that “The Republic is alone capable of uniting men and women of different origins, colours and religions around the principles of tolerance, liberty, solidarity and laïcité making the Republic truly one and indivisible” Likewise, Fadela Amara, another Muslim and former Secretary of State for Urban Policies has declared that “For this generation, the crucial issues are laïcité, gender equality and gender desegregation, based upon living together in harmony throughout the world, and not only in France”

    All three favoured the banning of the hijab in state schools and they are loud in their support of the principle of the Jules Ferry Laws that public education should be compulsory, free, and lay [obligatoire, gratuit et laïque] As Rachida Dati explained, “the laïcité of state schools is not restricted, in the case of pupils, to respect for their freedom of conscience: it imposes a duty of restraint on pupils in their behaviour, since they find themselves in a place pertaining to the public sphere. Pupils’ freedom of conscience, which is an internal freedom, in no way gives them ‘the right to express and manifest their religious beliefs’ in educational institutions, for that involves external acts which improperly introduce religion into the public domain of the school.”

    • ForChristAlone

      The problem faced by most in Western countries is not so much religion imposing itself on a society that insists on secularism but the State imposing itself upon and interfering with the freedom to practice one’s religion. If a Muslim woman elects to wear a burkha as an expression of her religion, the State has no business forcing her to do otherwise. If a baker does not want to make a “wedding” cake for two homosexuals because it interferes with the practice of his/her religion, the State ought not interfere.

      • Margaret O

        Trouble is Muslim women have no say about wearing that burqa

        • ForChristAlone

          So no Muslim woman ever wears a burqa of her own volition?

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        The laws banning the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols in public schools or the burqa in public cannot possibly amount to an interference with religious freedom.

        The Conseil d’Etat rejected such a challenge to the headscarf ban in a single sentence: “Considering the law of 15 March 2004 is concerned with actions, not opinions, for this reason [par ce motif] rejects…”

        • Dave Fladlien

          Are you serious, or am I misunderstanding what you are saying? I think you’re saying that freedom of religious expression is not an integral part of religious freedom. That can’t possibly be true.

          Freedom of expression is at the heart of *every* freedom.

    • Dave Fladlien

      With respect to the concept that Mr. Paterson-Seymour quotes, “Pupils’ freedom of conscience, which is an internal freedom, in no way gives them ‘the right to express and manifest their religious beliefs’ in educational institutions, for that involves external acts which improperly introduce religion into the public domain of the school”: I don’t think any Nazi or Communist could have better stated the secular totalitarianism position. Generally I am not in favor of anathemas, but I think one properly applies to this kind of thinking, which is diametrically opposed to freedom in any sense of the word (and is fundamentally both anti-God and anti-American).

      The kind of thinking expressed in the above quote doesn’t have to apply to Islam, to Christianity, or to any other religion. It is of itself a direct violation of human dignity, and worse: it is a direct attack on God Himself.

      This kind of thinking is “1984” in action.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        They show that Rachida Dati – a prominent Muslim woman and politician – is hardly someone anxious to impose sharia law on society, but fully accepts the Law of 9 December 1905 on the separation of Church and State – “The Republic does not recognise, salary or subsidise any cult.”

  • Fred

    Trump was almost right.
    We should stop importing Muslims until Islam figures out what is going on and fixes it.

    • That’s probably the one place I agree with Trump.

  • Robert A Rowland

    Read The Great Heresies by Hilaire Belloc.

  • Alicia

    ” Thus, in the end, it seems clear that the ” true ” Islam is indeed a
    ” peaceful ” religion only when it has attained political and religious control of the Law that governs our thought, actions, and polities. ”
    The above is the closing parragraph of an excellent, long, well-researched article by Fr. James V. Schall, SJ on the Catholic World Report.
    Dr. Kainz’s essay is interesting, but this change brought about by Muslim women might take 100 years. After all, they do have Muslim husbands and brothers whose mentality, beliefs, and culture need to be changed.
    By then, it might be too late for the West if it doesn’t wake up soon.

    • Rick

      Satan never brings peace. He lies.

  • I’m with you Mr. Kainz. I don’t see how it’s possible to reform Islam. The Koran says what it says; the Hadith says what it says; the life of Mohammed was lived with violence and subjugation. You might convince a generation that it is all metaphor, but that won’t last forever. At some point muslims will read what it says and act on it, just as they have acted on it in the past 1500 years. Islam cannot be permanently reformed.

  • Tom Brennan

    On this topic, very different view: “Think the Muslim world needs to ‘reform?’ Think again” by Connor Wood over on Patheos.
    A very interesting meta-view of religious reformation, with quite a lot of consideration of how the Protestant reformation illustrates the common principles (leading to the thesis of the title).
    The meta-view has stuck with me for a few days now; I’m thinking about how it applies to Vatican II…

  • Michael DeLorme

    Probably the most straightforward presentation of Islam, so far. One prays that Ms. Hirsi Ali completes her journey out of Islam, through atheism and into Christian faith.

    I too am skeptical that–barring the miraculous, which I don’t rule out—change is anywhere on the near horizon. The question for Westerners, especially for us as Catholics, is what should our posture be towards Muslims, in the meantime?

    Despite the very real chaos being caused by “refugees” throughout Europe, I’m still willing to believe that most Muslims are probably “Mecca Muslims;” but how does one recognize them? One aspect of Islam not mentioned in the above article is the Muslim practice of “taqqiya,” or deception.

    The following quotes from the website, “Middle East Forum,” dovetailing with the ISIS promise to embed extremist elements amidst the burgeoning outflow of “refugees,” should give one more than slight pause:

    “If you [Muslims] are under their [infidels’] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them, with your tongue, while harbouring inner animosity for them… Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels in place of believers – except when infidels are above them [in authority]. In such a scenario, let them act friendly towards them.”

    “Whoever at any time or place fears their [infidels’] evil, may protect himself through outward show.”

    Abu Darda said: “Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them.”Al-Hassan said: “Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the day of judgment in perpetuity.”

    A moratorium on immigration does not seem out of line.

  • Kurt 20008

    Our Holy Father has a different view and I’m inclined his way.

    • Howard Kainz

      How “different”? He doesn’t think Islam needs reform? Or he has a different approach to reform?

  • cestusdei

    She lives in fear of death threats. I don’t see Muslims rallying around her and saying she should not be killed.

  • DLink

    Having lived in a Muslim dominated area for a number of years, I can say that I see it unlikely that a single reform movement will take hold in Islam. The best that anyone can hope for, and that is probably not in the near future, is a fragmentation of the religion into branches, some of which will be moderate by our definition. There have been small steps in the past in that direction in post WW I Turkey, Jordan and Iraq but were rather short lived. I’m afraid we will be living with the present situation for some time.