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The issue of Islamic Fundamentalism is on my mind this morning. I recently posted the recording of Dr. Durrani, a Muslim doctor who spoke to our church last August. A couple of people have warned me about Muslims trying to act "moderate" or tolerant and to watch out for them. Others have told about trouble passages in the Koran. "You've got to watch those Muslims because they've been taught it's OK to lie to infidels to get their way." I watched Kite Runner this weekend and Ty and I were both struck by the brutality of the Taliban (stoning adulterers at halftime of a soccer game), raping young boys (while pronouncing death the appropriate penalty for bein homosexual). But, as I watched that, I had to remember that there are stonings and people being struck dead in our very own Bibles.
What is easy (and convenient to forget) is that radical Islam is not so different from Christianity (and Judaism) just a short time ago. The practices we find so brutal and even incomprehensible were done in the name of YHWH and God by Christians and Jews. The stoning of the adulterers at the soccer game was hard to watch. But, we read over passages in the Bible promoting stoning without batting an eyelash. The Taliban guy ranting about the sins of the adulterers said something to the effect "The punishment of throwing stones at them is appropriate because by committing this sin, they have thrown stones at Allah's house.". How is that so very different from what we hear from Christian pulpits today saying God will send people to eternal torment for their sins? Give me a few hits with a rock versus being tortured eternally any day. Forced conversions to Islam and trials for heresy? How about the Inquisitions and the forced conversions Christians have done all across the globe? Troubling passages in the Koran? How about selling your daughter in to slavery as sanctioned in Exodus or putting someone to death for working on the Sabbath as Exodus 35:2 reads or the entire book of Leviticus for that matter?
I've been told that the moderate Muslims, the tolerant Muslims are really just covering up for the "real" Muslims. The same could be said for moderate or progressive Christians. Are the real Christians the Fred Phelps and the Pat Robertsons or are the real Christians those who do not use the Bible to condemn women, gays, blacks, Jews, etc?
At one time, Islam was known as a religion of peace and tolerance. And, I believe it is still- at its core. There are those who have hijacked the religion (IMO) to suit their own purposes, just as there are those still hijacking Christianity. Progressive Muslims must speak out against their intolerant fundamentalist brethren, just as Progressive Christians must do within our faith tradition. But, I will not take part in condemning all of Islam because of the actions of their less enlightened vocal minority. Those who live in glass houses...