July 28, 2005


The roots of Islamic terrorism (Phillip Blond and Adrian Pabst, JULY 28, 2005, International Herald Tribune)

Regarding classical Islam, the oft-quoted remark that Islam is a religion of peace is false. It is historically illiterate to claim that war is foreign to Islam and it is theologically uninformed to argue that jihad is merely a personal inner struggle with no external military correlate.

On the contrary, Islam is linked from the beginning with the practice of divinely sanctioned warfare and lethal injunctions against apostates and unbelievers. Islam experienced no period of wandering and exclusion; from its inception, Islam formed a unitary state bent on military conquest.

The Prophet died a successful military leader who created a single Islamic polity that expanded - through warfare - all over the known world. The caliphate combined the double logic of a religious community and an imperial state.

Which is why Islam is having to be Reformed in our image.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 28, 2005 12:11 PM

It probably is not a matter of 'reform' but of revolution.

The problem it faces -- in terms of fitting religion to politics -- is much different from the problem that, say, Christianity faced in fitting its doctrine of infant damnation to developing opinion.

And Christianity had a terrible time with that.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at July 28, 2005 7:00 PM


No, it didn't. What effect did it have on anything?

Posted by: oj at July 28, 2005 7:06 PM

Caused millions of Americans to abandon their alleged moral principles for . . . well, don't ask me what they abandoned them for.

But you have to take the long view. It was over a hundred years ago that Mencken observed that you couldn't get a good witchhunt going over infant damnation any more.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at July 29, 2005 5:18 PM

I can't help feeling like charlie brown going after the football again, but wasn't infant damnation more of a medieval issue than an early 20th century thing ?

Posted by: cjm at July 29, 2005 6:36 PM

No one abendoned them--they just stopped talking about them.

Posted by: oj at July 29, 2005 8:13 PM