February 26, 2008


Turkey in radical revision of Islamist texts (Amberin Zaman, 26/02/2008, Daily Telegraph)

Turkey is working on a revolutionary new interpretation of the Prophet Mohammed’s reputed sayings, known as the Hadith.

The project is aimed at allowing millions of Muslims to re-evaluate their religious obligations in the light of modern ways of living.

The sayings of the Hadith hold the key for Muslims worldwide to interpret the Koran. Sharia or Islamic law is also rooted in the Hadith.

Turkey, Nato’s sole Muslim member, is a crucial ally in the war against global terrorism. Critics charge that the project is part of a US inspired plan to combat radical strains of Islam.

One of the great ironies of 9-11 from a historical perspective will be that it made George W. Bush the Martin Luther of Islam.

Turkey strives for 21st century form of Islam (Ian Traynor, 2/27/08, The Guardian)

Turkey is engaged in a bold and profound attempt to rewrite the basis for Islamic sharia law while also officially reinterpreting the Qur'an for the modern age.

The exercise in reforming Islamic jurisprudence, sponsored by the modernising and mildly Islamic government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, is being seen as an iconoclastic campaign to establish a 21st century form of Islam, fusing Muslim beliefs and tradition with European and western philosophical methods and principles.

The result, say experts following the ambitious experiment, could be to diminish Muslim discrimination against women, banish some of the brutal penalties associated with Islamic law, such as stoning and amputation, and redefine Islam as a modern, dynamic force in the large country that pivots between east and west, leaning into the Middle East while aspiring to join the European Union.

A team of reformist Islamic scholars at Ankara University, acting under the auspices of the Diyanet or Directorate of Religious Affairs, the government body which oversees the country's 8,000 mosques and appoints imams, is said to be close to concluding a "reinterpretation" of parts of the Hadith, the collection of thousands of aphorisms and comments said to derive from the prophet Muhammad and which form the basis of Islamic jurisprudence or sharia law.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2008 6:05 PM

Except that Islam, on the basis of this article at least, would seem to be moving towards a more realistic understanding of its sacred texts.

Luther's sola scriptura on the other hand represented the worst sort of regression.

And of course Islam, at least its more fundamentalist version, has always had a fanatical, which is to say Protestant, understanding of scripture.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 26, 2008 6:58 PM

That Bush again. Hasn't he the brain to consider our standing in the world? The standing that Obama has to repair with the Syrians and the Iranians. What more damages would he foist upon us before he left office in Jan. next year? Consider the surge of OBL supporters and radical Islamists all over the Muslim world because of his ill considered invasion of two Muslim countries, I can't help but shudder, from laughing too hard at the wisdom of the realists.

Btw: what is OBL?

Posted by: ic at February 26, 2008 6:59 PM

The difference between Lutheranism/Calvinism and Catholicism is the difference between the Anglosphere/Northern Europe and Southern Europe, which is why Benedict is basically an American.

Posted by: oj at February 26, 2008 8:59 PM

The point about Pope Benedict is correct, although if we study Cathiolic social and economic thought over the years we may ask who has joined whom.

Sola Scriptura, however, was a theological con-job. The reformers knew better, but advanced the con as the only way of getting Los vom Rom. The thought was that the only way to get the Guineas to stop shaking the money tree was to de-legitimize the institutional church, which had pretty much sewed up the theology business. So the goombahs were told that they don't need teacheers and leaders, because all the answers are in one little book, paving the way for a power and money grab by lo Stato, the real winner of it all.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 27, 2008 5:07 AM

Except that the freest states are all Anglospheric/Lutheran/Calvinist.

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2008 7:35 AM