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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The quest for a moderate Islam...

... may be futile, writes Theodore Dalrymple in the City Journal. In an essay titled "All or Nothing," he states that "it is important ... to distinguish between Islam as a doctrine and Muslims as people." Later:
The urge to domination is nearly a constant of human history. The specific (and baleful) contribution of Islam is that, by attributing sovereignty solely to God, and by pretending in a philosophically primitive way that God’s will is knowable independently of human interpretation, and therefore of human interest and desire—in short by allowing nothing to human as against divine nature—it tries to abolish politics. All compromises become mere truces; there is no virtue in compromise in itself. Thus Islam is inherently an unsettling and dangerous factor in world politics, independently of the actual conduct of many Muslims.
I haven't studied Islam, of course, and won't comment on Dalrymple's piece. But it is thought-provoking, and does not bother to conform to either political correctness or the received wisdom of the day. There is a theory that Islam merely needs is a reformation, like the one Christianity underwent centuries ago, but Dalrymple seems to believe that Islam is, in its essence, beyond reformation.

So what then?

Some other essays by Dalrymple: 1, 2, 3, 4. You could also check out his collection of essays, "Life at the Bottom."

(Link via Brian Micklethwait.)
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