Friday, August 24, 2018

French Manifesto

In a Memri posting (August 20, 2018, Inquiry and Analysis Series No.1413), we find an important manifesto directed to Muslims. Many French public intellectuals and political leaders recently signed this manifesto against Islam, criticizing the hatred in some Qur'anic verses directed toward Jews, Christians, and unbelievers and urging Muslim authorities to disavow such verses as obsolete:
"Therefore, we urge that the Quranic verses calling to kill and punish Jews, Christians and non-believers be declared obsolete by the theological authorities."
Needless to say, this didn't go over well with those aforementioned "theological authorities":
The signatories to the manifesto, they said, were simply ignorant and harbored racist sentiments towards Muslims . . . . "[The] Quran does not contain a single verse that calls to kill Jews and Christians, nor is there any room for such barbarity and cruelty in that book." . . . Mentioning Quran 2:256, which states that "there is no coercion in religion," [the question is] asked: "Why should the Quran call to kill Jews and Christians? . . . How can any reasonable person make such a claim?" . . . "No to freezing a single letter of the Quran. Whoever demands this can go to hell . . . . [If] they rely on their own faulty understanding, then to hell with them and their demands."
This sort of response goes on and on for page after page, denial after denial. No attempt is made to engage the manifesto's criticisms.

As the Islamic authorities surely know, there are verses in the Qur'an that are understood to refer to Jews and Christians, for instance, in Surah 1:7, which says, "Guide us in the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast blessed, not of those against whom Thou art wrathful [the Jews], nor of those who are astray [the Christians]."

Islamic tradition has understood verse 7 to refer to the Jews as those with whom Allah is angry and to the Christians as the people who have gone astray. One sees how Allah's attitude toward Jews and Christians could lead to believers' violence against them.

As for the widely quoted verse about no coercion in religion, it is widely held to be abrogated, namely, that it was espoused when Islam was weak but does not apply when Muslims gain power.

And we see that anyone calling for reform of Islam by suspending verses in the Qur'an can simply go to hell.

One can see why the French signatories are alarmed. More here.



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