A reader emails:
I recently discovered your blog, and appreciated your difficulty in remaining a Muslim after 9/11. I was wondering what you think of something they had at Hot Air recently about Zuhdi Jasser (link). He said the solution to Islamic terrorism is to bring the terrorists back to their faith, and that his Islamic faith has been what has solidified him in his position against terrorism. Hearing a Muslim say something like that was like a breath of fresh air to me, but I wonder how widespread it is, and how really Islamic such an attitude is.
This question requires a careful answer because we have to separate the means and the goals of the Islamic terrorists.
Let me put forth a few statements that I think are true. They range from one extreme to another:
- A small number of Muslims -- the Jihadists -- are personally willing to use violence against non-Muslims to impose Islam.
- A significant number of Muslims support the Jihadists -- morally and often financially.
- A majority of Muslims do not support the means of the Jihadists. They do, however, support the goals of the Jihadists: to have an Islamic super-state where sharia rules.
- A minority of Muslims think that religion is only a personal matter. (From what I've heard, Zuhdi Jasser seems to fit in this group.)
As one can see, terrorism is a small part of the problem. The major issue is the fusion of religion and politics in Islam. The global Muslim community (the umma) does wish for a grand theocracy.
That's certainly not comforting. Most Muslims won't openly support Al Qaeda or its derivatives but then what about sharia? Sharia is made up of retrograde, superstitious and barbaric laws. It, by its very nature, requires force and coercion.
Just take a brief look at the heart of Sunni and Shia Islam.
- Women must cover themselves from head to toe in public or else.
- Non-Islamic religious teachings or places of worship are not allowed.
- The possession of alcohol is punishable by death.
- The hands of thieves are amputated.
- Do not take pictures of regime property or else.
- Members of the Baha'i faith are openly discriminated against.
- Adultery is punished by stoning to death.
- Homosexuals are publicly hanged.
All these laws are considered legitimate because they're derived from Islam.
Though, one can say that Saudi Arabia and Iran are, somehow, twisting sharia. My response to that: Muslims went nuts over a few drawings in a once-obscure Danish newspaper. Over a hundred people died in the ensuing carnage across the world. One would think that hundreds of millions of Muslims would be shocked, horrified and disgusted by how their, supposedly, peaceful religion is being perverted in these two nations. Yet, do we even see one percent of the cartoon outrage on this matter?
What does that tell us about Islam and most Muslims?