21 Apr 2008

The Reform of the Snail

Shiraz Maher has hopeful views on Muslim conversions to other religions in his BBC piece here. His thoughts are progressive and show a slight healing of potential rifts between Muslims and Christians, but also point out the problem.

No two Muslims seem to agree what the Koran and Hadiths actually say. Another problem is, we simply don't know what language Muslim prophet Mohammed actually spoke. Archaic Arabic is almost impossible to recover, even by scholars.

Attitudinal change towards Muslim conversion, led by Imams or Mullahs, will have to take precedence over Muslim text, in that case. It will be a very long, slow process since the finality of "the word" in Islam is taken to an extreme not seen in most of Christianity for centuries. Islam also lacks a central authority and indeed since Mohammed's death has interminably warred within itself, something Christians avoided for almost 1500 years.

Indeed, only a decoupling of Islam from Sharia, as has happened in Turkey, will reform Islam enough to permit freedom of conversion, and as this story illustrates, even that is on shaky ground. Some Turks who convert are threatened with death or indeed murdered and this is after 80 years of a decoupled secular state in Turkey.

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