Thursday, March 05, 2015

Islamic State: Islamic or Not?

IS Fighters
Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group

Lee Keath and Hamza Hendawi, writing for the Associated Press (Yahoo News, March 2, 2015), ask "How Islamic is Islamic State group?" They actually answer immediately, but let's ignore that part of the headline and look at the evidence provided:
The vast majority of Muslim clerics say the . . . [Islamic State] cherry picks what it wants from Islam's holy book, the Quran, and from accounts of Muhammad's actions and sayings, known as the Hadith. It then misinterprets many of these, while ignoring everything in the texts that contradicts those hand-picked selections, these experts say.
Everything that contradicts? Does this mean that the sound hadith contradict each other? Expert Muslim sources admit to contradictions in the Qur'an and hadith? I didn't know that. These more moderate Muslims must be able to counter the Islamic State's false interpretations, so let's see:
Part of the problem in countering the group's ideology is that moderate clerics have struggled to come up with a cohesive, modern interpretation, especially of the Quranic verses connected to Muhammad's wars with his enemies.
Oh. All right. Does any moderate cleric suggest what to do while we wait for "a cohesive, modern interpretation"? Let's see:
While moderate clerics counter the Islamic State group's interpretation point-by-point, at times they accept the same tenets.

Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb - the grand imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar, one of Sunni Islam's most prestigious seats of learning - denounced the burning of the Jordanian pilot as a violation of Islam. But then he called for the perpetrators to be subjected to the same punishment that IS prescribes for those who "wage war on Islam" - crucifixion, death or the amputation of hands and legs.
Hmmm . . . is that more moderate than burning? While we think about that, let's also ask to see one of those point-by-point refutations . . .

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