Friday, March 27, 2015

For Once I Disagree With Ayaan Hirsi Ali

She believes Islam is capable of a "Reformation" (it's the subject of her new book). I think that, so far, Islam has shown itself capable of but one kind of "reformation"--the kind that looks backwards to an earlier and purportedly "purer" time (i.e. the time of Islam's founder and his first few successors, the "rightly-guided caliphs"). Here's what I wrote in a letter to Commentary on more or less the same subject (only it was Daniel Pipes who was pushing the idea at the time):
Daniel Pipes employs a quasi-highfalutin concept—”essentialism”—and argues that it (along with history) points to Muslims’ ability to reform and modernize Islam in a way that the West can live with. If anything, though, history has shown again and again that whenever Islam “reforms,” it does so by looking backward, not forward. That’s because, in keeping with its essential nature, it is a religion that claims its doctrines and its founder are perfect. It divides the planet into two worlds, the world of Islam and the world not yet conquered for Islam. At the same time, the religion accepts no division between mosque and state. 
This is not Islamism. It is Islam, pure and simple. 
On the subject of Islam and its supposedly rogue aberration, Islamism, Turkey’s strongman, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is a more reliable authority than is Mr. Pipes. Vis-a-vis Islam’s essence, Erdogan has remarked: “Islam is Islam and that is all.” Which is why, pace Mr. Pipes, the future will likely give rise to more reformist movements in keeping with Wahhabism, Khomeinism, and the religious thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is also why the possibility that an Islamic equivalent to, say, Judaism’s reform and reconstructionist movements will gain traction in the Muslim world is so remote as to be nearly ridiculous.

1 comment:

Pierre said...

Islam is stuck in a violent "endless loop". This endless loop makes reformation within Islam close to impossible.

In my thesis "Islam is Fear" which can be found at, (, I describe in detail a large circular system (endless loop). This loop must be broken in order to reform Islam.

Starting from one simple question, "would you wear a Mohammad cartoon T-shirt?" it walks you through the details of this endless loop.

For anyone interested in exploring the possibility of Islamic reformation, it is worth a read.

I believe Islam can be reformed. But the process requires a wholesale deconstruction of Islamic theology.

You simply cannot have any active religion (especially one with 1.5+ billion followers) having theological documents which incite its followers.

Any way you try to white wash it, a small number of devout believers will follow those motivating passages. Unfortunately within Islam, these devout believers have reached critical mass. And they control Islam.