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This New York Times article is quite interesting. I have thought for many years that many Islamic people will one day become so violent-weary that they will turn away from what Islam seems to have become in recent years.
I can appreciate the debate within Islam itself about the questionable virtues of violence and force. Christianity itself has gone through the same debates. As long as Christianity was persecuted by the Roman Empire in the first few centuries A.D., it remained mostly non-violent, because loving one's enemies was considered a Christian virtue. But after the persecution stopped, and Christians gained power and money, love and forgiveness ceased to be a virtue among an increasing number of Christian leaders. The result was that non-Christians were strong-armed, and those considered "heretics" were killed and even tortured to get them to recant their views.
After some centuries of this degeneration, the Crusades began, and Christians began to be offered free tickets to heaven if they were killed in battle against Islamic "infidels." It took the Protestant Reformation (allied with the secular "enlightenment philosophers) to bring that era of Christian violence to a close.
The Zionist movement has brought the same debate to Judaism. The violence of the Menachem Begin's Irgun gang and Yitzhak Shamir's Stern Gang back in the 1940's were the results of Jabotinsky's philosophy of violence in the 1930's. And unfortunately, they have been successful in persuading evangelical Christians into supporting such violence in the name of "fulfilling Bible prophecy." This Jesus-with-a-gun philosophy is a reversion back to the force-and-violence teachings of the Roman Church in the Middle Ages.
So now we are seeing the same debate surface within Islamic circles. In the article, this woman speaks things that most Muslims hardly dared to THINK, much less voice in public. Mark my words, this is a major turning point. In part, the article reads:
"Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose.
"In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her, and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats. But Islamic reformers have praised her for saying out loud, in Arabic and on the most widely seen television network in the Arab world, what few Muslims dare to say even in private.
"I believe our people are hostages to our own beliefs and teachings," she said in an interview this week in her home in a Los Angeles suburb.
"Dr. Sultan, who is 47, wears a prim sweater and skirt, with fleece-lined slippers and heavy stockings. Her eyes and hair are jet black and her modest manner belies her intense words: "Knowledge has released me from this backward thinking. Somebody has to help free the Muslim people from these wrong beliefs." [end of quote]
You can read the full article at: