The problem with Islamic fundamentalism, are the fundamentals of Islam. (Sam Harris)
It pays every once in awhile to take a stroll down memory lane, and reintroduce oneself to the material that was the catalyst in both, challenging oneself to long held ideas, and then eventually influential enough in changing my opinions. The piece in question was symposium published by FrontPageMag in which Muslim reformers debated those who deemed the chances of Islam every truly joining the modern world, as is, without major portions of it being removed to the dustbin of history.
I republish only the contribution by Bill Warner, not that Robert Spencer or Abul Kasem didn’t have excellent points, but because it’s Warner who was the one who jarred my thinking, cutting me adrift from the illusion of Islamic reformation. It’s a difficult concept for many to either grasp, or to dare to understand, because the ramifications are so great, but they have to be met head on nonetheless if we are to ever survive as a free people.
There is no Islamism, no moderate Islam nor hard-line Islam, there simply is Islam, and trying to believe or make it otherwise, no matter the good will intended, IMHO, is a fools errand. Some five years ago I came to that conclusion, that Islam can’t be moderated, tamed, or even scaled back, the only solution is to divest as much connection with it as possible while strengthening our own sense of pride in our values and tolerance and being.
Western culture (the Judaic-Christian heritage) for all its shortcomings, is heads and shoulders above that of Islamic culture, and that is to be celebrated and promoted, as well as enjoins others to participate in the experience as long as they jettison their backwards, intolerant ideologies that hold themselves and others back.
Symposium: A New Koran?
By: Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, April 18, 2008
Warner: Thank you Jamie for this opportunity to discuss the reform of Islam.
First, let me establish the basis for my logic with regards to Islam. To Mr. Massoud, I say: I have no interest in whether there is no god, one god or a million gods. I also have no interest in whether the texts of Islam—Koran, Sira and Hadith (the Islamic Trilogy)—are accurate or false. For over a billion Muslims, the Trilogy is the basis of the doctrine of their life, politics and civilization. They believe the Trilogy to be true and live their lives by it.
The Koran, the Sira and the Hadith are of one cloth. They form an integrated and complete ideology. The logical perfection of the Trilogy is the reason that it has lasted so long.
The other basis for my logic is that the reform be comprehensive and logical. We must have principles, not beautiful opinions.
One of those opinions was stated by Mr. Massoud, “God is a loving God.” I don’t know anything about Allah, but I do know what the Koran says. While there are over 300 references in the Koran to Allah and fear, there are 49 references to love. Of these love references, 39 are negative such as the 14 negative references to love of money, power, other gods and status.
Three verses command humanity to love Allah and 2 verses are about how Allah loves a believer. There are 25 verses about how Allah does not love kafirs.
This leaves 5 verses about love. Of these 5, 3 are about loving kin or a Muslim brother. One verse commands a Muslim to give for the love of Allah. This leaves only one quasi-universal verse about love: give what you love to charity and even this is contaminated by dualism since Muslim charity only goes to other Muslims.
So much for love. Fear is what Allah demands.
Mr. Haidon says, “…we need to strip this discourse down to its bare bones and ugliness.” I agree and the ugliest parts of Islam are the concepts of the kafir, political submission and duality.
My only concern is how Islam treats me and my people, the kafirs. How Islam views and deals with the kafir is political Islam. The Trilogy determines the political doctrine and practice of relating to the kafir. The Koran says that the kafir may be murdered, tortured, plotted against, enslaved, robbed, insulted, beheaded, demeaned, mocked and so forth. The Hadith and Sira agree. That’s ugly.
The Trilogy establishes the fundamental principles of Islam—political submission and duality–the basis of dualistic ethics. The Trilogy advances one set of ethics for the Muslims and another for the kafirs. A Muslim is not to lie to another Muslim; a Muslim may lie to a kafir, or not. A Muslim is not to kill another Muslim; a Muslim may kill a kafir, or not. And so forth.
The word “kafir” is pure dualism.
The Trilogy also establishes a dualistic logic. The early (Meccan) Koran and the later (Medinan) Koran frequently contradict each other, but since they are both the words of Allah, both sides of the contradiction are true. It is just that the later Koran is better and can “abrogate” the earlier Koran. Western logic says that if two things contradict, then one of them is false—a unitary logic. Dualism is the heart of the Trilogy’s logic.
Dualism explains the two types of Muslims and which one is the “real” Muslim. The “nice” Muslim and the Taliban-type Muslim both follow a dualistic Koran and are both “real” Muslims. Dualism gives the “nice” Muslim plausible deniability. They can say that those jihadists are not “real” Muslims.
There can be an infinite number of reforms, but the only reform that matters to the kafir is ethical reform. That removes the principles of political submission and duality. There is a very easy way to see the problem and its solution. Go back to how the Koran defines the kafir and what can be done to them. No one wants to be insulted, raped, robbed, killed, threatened or tortured. No one wants to be treated badly. No one wants to be rejected as the “other”, the kafir.
I propose a rational reform based upon how to treat the “other”–the Golden Rule: treat others as you wish to be treated.
The Golden Rule is centered on ethics, not god, and is universal to all cultures, except Islam. Indeed, the whole Islamic Trilogy denies the truth of the Golden Rule. Therefore, the Golden Rule reform has to be applied to the Koran, Sira and Hadith. Only then will the reform be comprehensive. Mr. Haidon says, “Muslims will never accept, on any level, removal of parts of the Koran.” To just reform the Sira and the Hadith is petty change. I want ALL of the ugliness towards the kafir removed. That means that the Koran must also be subject to analysis.
The Golden Rule removes the brutality, insults and prejudice directed at the kafir. The constant attacks would disappear. The Rule is very simple and logical to apply to the texts.
What is amazing is how much the Golden Rule removes from the Trilogy. About 61% of the Koran vanishes, 75% of the Sira and 20% of the Hadith also go away. As I said, I only care about Islam treats the kafir, but the Golden Rule also removes all of the dualistic rules about women. So the reductions will be even greater when the material about the treatment of women is removed.
The Golden Rule even changes Hell. Islamic Hell is primarily political. Hell is mentioned 146 times in the Koran. Only 9 references are for moral failings—greed, lack of charity, love of worldly success. The other 137 references to Hell involve eternal torture for not agreeing that Mohammed is right. That is a political charge, not a morals failure. Thus 94% of the references to Hell are as a political prison for dissenters. The Golden Rule would empty Islam’s political prison.
The Golden Rule annihilates the cruelty of dualistic ethics. Golden Rule Islam would be a reformed Islam that the kafirs would not fear and dread. We are tired of living in fear of political Islam. We have suffered enough and would welcome an Islam that did not argue, demand, pressure, dhimmize, threaten, deceive and destroy kafirs and their civilization.
However, all of Islam’s success has been based upon political submission and dualism. Mohammed preached the religion of Islam for 13 years in Mecca and converted 150 Arabs to Islam. When he went to Medina he became a politician and a warrior. In the last 9 years of his life he conquered all of Arabia. In those 9 years Mohammed was involved with a violent event on the average of every 7 weeks. The violence destroyed the native Arab culture of tolerance. Political submission and duality triumphed.
But even if this symposium group could change the ideology of political Islam by integrating the Golden Rule, who would follow Golden Rule Islam? Islam is like the Internet; it has no central ruling body. Islam is a distributed network with the Trilogy as the operating system. An upgrade is not possible. But if Muslims want to show me to be wrong, the only reform worth anything to a kafir is an ethical reform based upon the Golden Rule.
[A technical note: I use Ishaq for the Sira and Bukhari for the Hadith. Ibn Sa’d, al Tabari, Muslim and Dawud add little additional information. The percentages stated above are not based upon verses. Analyzing the Koran only by verses amounts to analysis by sentences. Who would analyze Plato or Kant by sentences? We want to measure ideas, topics and concepts; not just sentences. See the Epilogue in A Simple Koran for details.]