07 March 2006

Religious wedge issue

In an article discussing the Treaty of Hudaybiya, Daniel Pipes also writes:

Early Muslims saw Muhammad as an exemplary human but by no means a perfect one. Indeed, they dared not. The Qur’an itself refers to Muhammad as “erring” (93:7) and includes much information that reveals his foibles. Perhaps the most damning concerns the Satanic verses episode when, for evidently political reasons, Muhammad recognized the validity of pagan Meccan gods (53:19-21), thereby temporarily making Islam into a polytheistic religion (and appeasing his Quraysh critics). Internal evidence suggests to Muhammad’s leading modern Western biographer, Montgomery Watt, that the Satanic verses incident must be true: “It seems impossible that any Muslim could have invented this story.”

Then, over the centuries, Muhammad’s blemishes faded. That is because, as Annemarie Schimmel explains in her study of the prophet’s place in the Islamic faith, “the personality of Muhammad is indeed, besides the Koran, the center of the Muslims’ life.” The jurists, the mystics, and the pious turned Muhammad into a paragon of virtue, explaining away his apparent faults. Fundamentalists took this process a step further; in their eyes, Muhammad has acquired a Jesus-like perfection. As concerns the Satanic verses episode, for example, an influential Egyptian intellectual simply dismissed information about it as “fabricated (even though it is in the Qur’an itself),” indeed, he calls it nothing less than “a fable and a detestable lie.”

The belief in the perfection of Muhammed is, IMHO, one of the big stumbling blocks to Islam adapting to liberal democracy. If, as Pipes writes, that is in fact not an original article of faith and contradicted by the Qur’an itself, then that would serve as an excellent “hook” toward a Reformation in Islam.

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Fool us twice, we don't mind

[source, source]

The man who for two years led Iran’s nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic programme.

In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear programme was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.

The sad part is that this open bragging about how the mullahocracy duped the EU-3 isn’t stupid, because it will have no effect on future events. The UK, France and Germany were fooled not because the Iranians were clever, but because the EU-3 wanted to be fooled and the reasons for that haven’t changed.

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