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How The West Will Conquer Islamofascism


Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I have been linking to coverage of the pro-secularism protests in Turkey. These protests are important because they represent one way in which the West will tame Islam: through people in Muslim countries deciding that they want to be "civilized, modern people" who enjoy the legacy of the European Enlightenment, and who do so largely by abandoning Islam as a religion.

The article linked to below implies another way, a repeat of the process by which Christianity was tamed in the West: reform from within by religious thinkers who incorporate secular Enlightenment ideas into the realm of theology, as was done to Christianity in the Renaissance and Enlightenment, to the point where even the pope thinks that secular Classical philosophy is an integral part of the religion.

Thus, the author below suggests that Muslims who have fled to the West to avoid the rise of religious fanaticism in their own countries will create an Islam reformed by ijtihad (independent thinking) and by "the spirit of intellectual rationalism."

Incidentally, I have no doubt that the West will ultimately tame Islam. Our culture is so much stronger, so much more vibrant, so much more rewarding for those who accept it, that I do not believe it can lose in the long run. The only question is how long the conquest of Islam will take, how complete that conquest will be, and how much damage we will suffer while we lumber awkwardly toward that goal.

"Islam's Coming Renaissance Will Rise in the West," Ameer Ali, The Australian, April 30 The Islamic resurgence of the post-1970s strengthened the hands of the religious orthodoxy and engendered the spectre of political Islam but failed to rekindle the spirit of intellectual rationalism that once pushed Islam to the frontiers of science and modernity. That failure was compounded and worsened by the rise of tyrannical regimes in the Muslim world. The absence of democracy and lack of popular support forced these regimes to look for legitimacy elsewhere.

By championing the cause of religious orthodoxy of the dominant variety in each context, these regimes masqueraded as champions of popular and populist Islam. Any intellectual pursuit that threatened this state-mullah alliance was aggressively curtailed. In Egypt, in Pakistan, in Syria, and in many other Muslim countries Muslim intellectuals who challenged populist Islam faced condemnation not only by the religious hardliners but also by the secular elite that governed these countries.

One happy outcome of this tragic situation was the voluntary exodus of Muslim intellectuals to the West. From an inhospitable environment of political tyranny and ideological oppression Muslim scholars migrated to find refuge in the West, where the mind enjoys more freedom to think, debate, and express. As a result, the migrant Muslim intellectuals are now producing a new genre of publications, many of which are questioning centuries-old interpretations of the primary texts in Islam. A new era of ijtihad (independent thinking) rooted in scientific, objective reasoning is spreading from the West and is beginning to make its mark in the Muslim mind-set….

There are too many of these scholars to enumerate and the number is increasing. All these cases underline the revolutionary thinking among Muslim intellectuals that is setting the pace for a new wave of Islamic rationalism radiating from the West….

The situation is changing fast. The internet and electronic communication technology have revolutionised the production and distribution of knowledge. Sources of information that were only remotely accessible to a selected few are readily available to many at the click of a mouse. Inquisitive Muslim minds do not have to wait for a cleric to arrive for consultation on theological issues. With the help of the internet any verse or chapter of the Koran and any sayings of the Prophet can be accessed from multiple sources and the reader has the luxury of choosing from among a variety of interpretations, meanings and elaborations.…

The hated West has become the surrogate mother of this wave of Islamic rationalism.




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