Because it’s a holiday and I have a drop-dead deadline tomorrow, blogging will have to wait. Meanwhile, I’d very, very, very much like to hear what you guys have to say about this article at the HuffPo. The gist of it is that Sharia is nothing more than Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (not that the author ever makes such a comparison), in that it’s just about love and kindness and human fellowship. I think the article is disingenuous, at best, dishonest at worst, but maybe my antennae are set to sensitively for this.
The reason I’m paying attention to this post is because, at my reading group, we had a huge debate about whether there is such a thing as “moderate Islam.” The final consensus was that Islam, as she is written (so to speak), is incapable of moderation. Everything comes from the Prophet, and he was extreme in all things.
What is written is neither history, like the Old Testament, which can be gently ignored, nor is it Christ’s mandates of kindness, which should never be ignored. Instead, in addition to nods to kindness and justice, sharia law is also comprised of harsh, warlike, misogynistic civil, not religious, dictates. Because there is no intellectual foundation arguing away its harshness, those who don’t comply with its dictates are not practicing moderate Islam; they are, instead, people who aren’t truly religious, but who have an Islamic affiliation, and engage in some minimal rituals.
I’m also paying attention because suddenly, with the Ground Zero Mosque, Islam’s spokesmen are making a big push to soften sharia law in the public eye. My problem is that I don’t see them making this push as to their fellow Muslims, which would be a genuine reformation, and high time too. Instead, I see them making this push to ill-informed Westerners, which strikes me as snake oil salesman-ship, preparatory to a deadly snake bite.
I’ll also leave you with this video, which makes the same point I’m making: