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December 27, 2005

Threadjack: Intelligent Design, Science, and the Constitution, Again

WAS: Moderate Muslims To Challenge Islamofascists' Fatwas

It's the discussion that keeps popping up. Scan down in the comments if you're interested.

(Original post follows.)

From Allah. No, the one who blogs.

It's becoming known as the war of the fatwas: the dizzying exchange of proclamations between Islamic moderates and militants on what it means to be Muslim. The duels have been waged everywhere from pamphlets to cyberspace. Now some Muslim leaders seek to shift tactics against radicals. Their hope rests in one of Islam's most elemental questions: Who has the real authority to make religious rulings and other interpretations of the faith?

Proposals to sharply control the issuing of fatwas β€” the nonbinding edicts on Muslim life, law and duties β€” are still little more than loose concepts and would require potentially stormy challenges to Islam's traditions of decentralized leadership.

But there are some influential backers such as Jordan's King Abdullah II. They argue that bold changes are needed in Islam's hierarchy to isolate radical clerics and discredit terrorist leaders, including Osama bin Laden, who have used self-styled religious decrees to justify their views and actions.

Abdullah, who brought his anti-terrorist message to Athens last week, has appealed for moderate Muslims to take decisive control over fatwas and religious guidance. In early December, Abdullah told the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference that failure to establish a clear framework to interpret Islam leaves the door open for radicals to strengthen their ranks.

The summit in Mecca, Saudi Arabia β€” Islam's holiest site β€” wrapped up with a statement reinforcing that only "those who are authorized" can issue fatwas. The monarchs, prime ministers and other delegates, however, could reach little common ground on a proposal to give a single body of Islamic law experts greater oversight of all fatwas covering the Muslim world.

Sometimes reform requires decentralization, as the Catholic Church needed in the 1500's. (Or, rather, it at least needed the challenge of the Protestant movement to clean up.) Maybe sometimes reform requires centralization.

The trouble is that people believe what and whom they wish to believe, and a quasi-official Islamic heirarchy condeming terrorism is unlikely to convince murderers that Islam means peace.

Real change is likely to come when, say, Iran's youth demands democracy, whiskey, sexy, or when Saudi women are permitted to read the "Arab Sex and the City."

From the first link in the above paragraph:

Mohsen Kadivar, a mid-ranking cleric and philosophy lecturer whose views landed him in prison a few years back, told Reuters that young people in secular Turkey were more interested in religion than those in Iran. "This shows that religion is voluntary. Forcing it on society has the opposite effect," he said.

Keep forcing it on them, then. A wise woman once said, "The tighter you clutch your fist, Lord Vader, the more systems will slip through your fingers."


Thanks to Allah for all those good links.


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posted by Ace at 09:41 PM

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