For centuries there has been only one way a nation could get along with Islam; convert to Islamic rule, pay tribute tax to an Islamic nation, or fight. Nations can talk and cut deals, but history had shown that when they become inconvenient or not beneficial to the Islamic nation; prepare to fight. Islam is a theocracy, both a religion and a government, that has spread since it’s inception by terrorism, military revolution and conquest. Not surprisingly most wars in the world today share a common theme; one side or the other is Islamic. There aren’t historical precedents for Muslim nations working and playing well with non-Muslim nations. But that may be changing.
I, and many others more learned than I, have said that the only way the world can live peacefully is if Islam goes through a reformation.
For the rest of humanity to get along peacefully with Islam, Muslims must enact reform from within. Unfortunately Islam has a built in guard against reformers; death sentences. By us being out there taking care of the worst while helping to maintain the peace, those who are trying to enact change within Islam, just might live long enough to turn things in a positive direction.
Our participation in the UN can help maintain temporary peace, but short of genocide against Muslims, no force will cure Islamophobia. Islamophobia is a real fear, not unreal or over reaction, but a real healthy fear that demands mitigation. How ever there is only one way to mitigate that fear and that is for Islam to change.
To bring an end to Islamophobia, we must employ a holistic approach that treats the core of the disease. It will not suffice to merely suppress the symptoms. It is imperative to adopt new Islamic teachings that do not allow killing apostates (Redda Law). Islamic authorities must provide mainstream Islamic books that forbid polygamy and beating women. Accepted Islamic doctrine should take a strong stand against slavery and the raping of female war prisoners, as happens in Darfur under the explicit canons of Shariah (“Ma Malakat Aimanikum”). Muslims should teach, everywhere and universally, that a woman’s testimony in court counts as much as a man’s, that women should not be punished if they marry whom they please or dress as they wish.
Islamophobia could end when masses of Muslims demonstrate in the streets against videos displaying innocent people being beheaded with the same vigor we employ against airlines, Israel and cartoons of Muhammad. It might cease when Muslims unambiguously and publicly insist that Shariah law should have no binding legal status in free, democratic societies.
Turkey has been an unstable mix of Muslims and a secular government, but that instability may be changing, and changing in the right way. The Turkish government is not cutting useless deals or converting the whole nation to Islamic law. They are the first nation I’ve ever heard of who is attacking the Islamic problem at it’s roots; at it’s doctrinal roots. The Turkish government is preparing to publish the first reinterpretation of Islam. They are attempting a revolutionary modernization of Islam.
According to Fadi Hakura, an expert on Turkey from Chatham House in London, Turkey is doing nothing less than recreating Islam – changing it from a religion whose rules must be obeyed, to one designed to serve the needs of people in a modern secular democracy. They have also taken an even bolder step – rejecting a long-established rule of Muslim scholars that later (and often more conservative) texts override earlier ones.
“You have to see them as a whole,” says Fadi Hakura. “You can’t say, for example, that the verses of violence override the verses of peace. This is used a lot in the Middle East, this kind of ideology.
I certainly pray that this will be the start of Islam turning the corner. I have a limited knowledge of Islam, but I have to agree that the Koran is a bit more spiritual, more forgiving and more peaceful than the Hadiths. Not entirely peaceful, but more peaceful than we live with today.
The argument is that Islamic tradition has been gradually hijacked by various – often conservative – cultures, seeking to use the religion for various forms of social control.
Leaders of the Hadith project say successive generations have embellished the text, attributing their political aims to the Prophet Muhammad himself.
An earlier BBC story suggested that Turkey’s reformation work was aimed at bolstering it’s citizen’s freedom of expression and allowing civilian control over their military so that Turkey might be accepted as an EU nation. I hope, like this India news article touches on, that this reformed Islam catches on in other Muslim nations around the world.
What in essence is believed to emerge is a reformed Islam relevant to the 21st century social, political and economic context. The 21st century Islam will be an amalgamation of modern European critical thoughts and traditional Muslim Ottoman beliefs. New Islam will be less orthodox and more liberal. In Turkey, the reformed Islam is paying dividends in the form of abolition of death penalty, campaign against honour killings, education of women and training and appointment of hundreds of women as Imams. Now what remains to be seen is whether this liberal democratic Islam finds acceptance in other Muslim countries of the world as well.
Even after the Protestant Reformation began, it was centuries before the power of the Catholic Church was significantly reduced. So even though Islam may be turning a corner, we may have to hang around for a few hundred years to reap the peace.
By the way, in a nation at war with radical Islam, it was sure tough to find any hint of this revolutionary news in US media. Imagine all the people, living life informed.