Thursday, October 11, 2007

Radical Islam and the West: No Common Ground

Islam and the West no common groundThere's news today that 138 prominent Muslim scholars have written an open letter of invitation to Christian leaders “to unite with Muslims over the most essential aspects of their respective faiths - the principles of love of one God and love of the neighbour.”

The letter from the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, a non-governmental organization based in Jordan, says in part, "It is hoped that the recognition of common ground will provide the followers of both faiths with a shared understanding that will serve to defuse tensions around the world."

Well, that will be difficult. We believe that you are lying through your teeth. We haven't come to this belief by listening to the propaganda of warmongers. We know you by your works, and we are appalled.

We have read the Koran verses that adjure Muslims to seek world domination by the sword. We have read your hadith.

We have heard your Imams call your faithful to jihad and violence. We have heard your fatwas.

We have seen your faithful worldwide take strength from your writings and proclamations and stone women to death, destroy religious shrines, murder skyscrapers and airplanes full of innocents, publicly behead helpless captives, murder filmmakers, issue death threats against apostates and intellectuals, and blow children to bloody tatters in the street. We've watched them dance in glee and celebrate these atrocities.

We also know many Muslims who don't approve of radical Islam. Some of them have been our countrymen and good neighbors for years. The problem is that they have been too quiet for too long. Here's what your grand muftis must do if you want your letter to be taken seriously:

Repudiate all teachings in the Koran and hadith- anywhere- that justify violence and barbarity. The era of conquest by the sword is over.

Renounce coercion in faith. Let seekers choose to come and go as they please. Your faith must survive in a global marketplace of ideas, or die a natural death. Your religion will be stronger for it.

Rebuke your most violent members. Call for an immediate end to all violence. Punish those who persist. Declare invalid all historical grievances.

Rein in your most disruptive imams. We know that Islam isn't uniform. We know that some mosques preach a far more radical brand of Islam than others. Strive for an orthodoxy that will wither noxious weeds before they take root.

Reform your religion. Christianity did. The world is a better place for it. Listen to your own faithful who seek reform, instead of killing them. Reformers are often the most devout, the most faithful of all.

Separate your religion and your politics. Conjoined temporal and spiritual power has never worked well. It's failing for you, and miserably.

Resign yourself to coexistence and the fact that Islam will never homogenize the world. You're welcome to your faith. We don't want it.

Until these things happen, we're simply heading in opposite directions. There is no common ground wide enough to stand upon. The best the West can do is return your letter, postage due.