Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Andrew C. McCarthy: "The Problem with Islam . . ."

Andrew C. McCarthy tells us that "The Problem with Islam Is Aggressive Scripture, Not Aggressive 'Traditionalism'" (National Review, January 16, 2016):
Islam . . . is not a religion of peace. It is a religion of conquest that was spread by the sword. Moreover, it is not only untrue that jihad refers "mainly" to the individual's internal struggle to live morally; it is also untrue that the Islamic ideal of the moral life is indistinguishable from the Western conception . . . . [Any struggle over the soul of Islam] would be over doctrine, [for] the backwardness and anti-Western hostility . . . [are] function[s] of cultural inhibitions [that] . . . . are direct consequences of Islamic scripture and sharia, the law derived from scripture . . . . [We may want] Islam to be moderate, but its scriptures won't cooperate . . . . Scripture . . . does not [evolve] - not in Islam as taught by over a millennium's worth of scholars and accepted by untold millions of Muslims. Mainstream Islam holds that scripture is immutable. The Koran, the center of Islamic life, is deemed the "uncreated word of Allah," eternal. (See, e.g., Sura 6:115: "The Word of thy Lord doth find its fulfillment in truth and justice: None can change His Words: For He is the one Who heareth and knoweth all.") . . . . Islamic doctrine . . . simply is not moderate. Looked at doctrinally, the challenge for "moderate Islam" is . . . Islam.
McCarthy makes a rather impassioned case. Read it in full on your own to see why McCarthy felt driven to write this article. And ask yourself if he's right that the problem is based on scripture, and that the problem is: Doctrine! Doctrine! Doctrine!

Note that McCarthy's reference to "scripture" in Islam is a reference to the Qur'an, and that's correct, as is his reference to "sharia" as "the law derived from scripture," but he does not refer in his article to hadith (traditions about the Muslim prophet) or sira (biographies of the Muslim prophet), from both of which sharia is also derived.

Make what you will of that.

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At 3:11 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Good point. McCarthy should broaden his criticisms, and moreover his scholarship.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Right. He's had 21 years to do so.

Maybe he even has done so but didn't see fit to deal with the stuff in a single column.

Jeffery Hodges

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