Jul 30, 2004
Any religion that wants to survive goes through change even if it means, as in the case of Christianity’s Reformation, a period of warfare and division. Once there was the Roman Church. Then there was the Roman and Eastern Church. Then, following the Reformation, there were numerous interpretations of Christianity spawning Protestantism’s diversity of churches.
Judaism, the rock on which both Christianity and Islam is built, is over 3.5 thousand years old. It has survived because its spiritual leaders found ways for it to adapt to changing times. In each generation, Jews turned to the wisest among them to ask what adaptations were acceptable and these were assimilated into their lives allowing them to live in many different cultures and nations.
Islam, however, leaves no room for real change. A modern Muslim must either cast a blind eye to its many strictures or must yield, willingly or not, to laws that are applicable to the seventh century, but which conflict with life in the twenty-first.
It has produced a conflict being violently played out in nations throughout the Middle East where Islam has failed to advance freedom, enlightenment, equality, human rights, and tolerance.
It is a conflict that has come to the homelands of America, of Spain, of Russia, and in nations where there are large Muslim populations. The conflict has manifested itself in the Philippines, Indonesia, and throughout Africa. The history of India is the history of this conflict, culminating in its independence in 1948 and the exodus of Muslims to Pakistan, though many remain in India. Ironically, but tellingly, the Jihad has come to Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam.
Recently I received a book published by ProgressiveMuslims.org. Titled “The Natural Republic: A Solution for Muslim Advancement into the 2lst Century”, I immediately thought that it would represent a reformation of sorts, an effort to interpret the Quran with fresh eyes so it might better serve modern Muslims. I looked for an address of the organization, an Internet community. There was none. To find the names of those involved one must go to its website.
I paused to read the title page. Its most prominent feature was a quote from Quran 3:110. “You were the best nation that emerged for the people, you ordered toward kindness and deterred from evil, and believed in God. If the people of the Scripture (i.e. Jews and Christians) believed it would have been better for them; from amongst them are believers, but most remain wicked.”
Wicked? Yes, there are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide, but are the other five billion people of the world “wicked” for their wish to believe in Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other forms of worship? The word “progressive” immediately came into question. The preface was still more illuminating. Asking if the reader was Muslim, it then asked if “you are content with the state of Muslims in the world today?”
“What has caused us to reach this state where we are failing at every turn, unable to stand for our rights, unable to defend our lands, unable to protect our children, and unable to look forward to the future?”
The preface takes a tour of “the Iranian experiment”, noting its failure to improve the lives of Iranians, having installed an Islamic republic. It addressed “the Afghan experiment”, i.e., the Taliban that “severely restricted people’s lives”. It noted the absolute authority of monarchies exercised in places like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and the “semi-monarchies” in Egypt, Syria and Libya. It lamented that “Communism, Capitalism, Socialism, Arab Nationalism, and every other ‘ism’ has been tried and tested by Muslims.”
Offering the solution of a “Natural Republic”, the book puts forth a constitution, noting it does not exist anywhere “except in the realms of wishful thinking.” And it is totally based on the Quran! Its central theme is that the troubles Muslims have had in the past and which they are presently encountering are based solely on their failure to correctly interpret and live by the requirements of the Quran.
I suggest that the troubles Muslims lament are the result of the Quran and the inability and refusal of Muslims to reform the institutions of Islam. By insisting that life cannot be lived properly outside of the demands of the Quran, Muslims have painted themselves into a diminishing corner of history and set the stage for the long-term demise of their religion.
The greater world will not submit to the Islamic campaign of terror. It will fight back and Muslims, many of whom already suffer greatly, will suffer still more. The greater world, be it the West or the emerging nations of Asia or even amidst the utter desolation of life in African nations, will not permit the Islamic holy war, a war seeking domination, to succeed.
That is why 9-11 sounded the death knell of the Taliban in Afghanistan, provoked the liberation of Iraq, and served as the trigger for the systematic organization of modern nations to root out and destroy the central motivating theme of Islam; the subjugation of people to a seventh century warrior cult built around the adoration of Muhammad. It is no accident that Islam translates as “submission” or “surrender.”
The book by self-proclaimed “progressive Muslims” says at one point, “We are not surprised that the Jews invented entire volumes of books such as the Talmud and falsely attribute them to God and His messenger (Moses), nor do we become surprised that Christians attribute a son to the Almighty!”
The utter dismissal and contempt for these two great rival religions reveals an arrogance that will not permit Islam to co-exist or change and, indeed, the book does not offer change. It says only that Muslims put God at the center of their lives and interpret the Quran in ways that permit them to fashion a “Natural Republic.” Real republics, however, do exist. They give each adult citizen the vote. They grant equality under the law. They protect freedom of religion.
“It is therefore no wonder God’s wrath is upon us and that we are destined to humiliation and destruction unless we amend and change.”
Destruction is precisely what the present day Jihad portends.
The other five billion people of Earth will not submit and, if the history of religion is any indicator, many among today’s and tomorrow’s 1.2 billion Muslims will openly or silently drift away. Some, as many Arabs already have, will accept the God worshipped by more than two billion Christians or they will select from any of the other faiths that offer a spirituality that does not celebrate the barbaric murder of non-believers.
Alan Caruba is the author of “Warning Signs” and his weekly commentaries are posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.
© Alan Caruba 2004
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