Grey Thoughts
Muslim Double Standard
In reading a debate between a muslim and non-muslim (Mansoor Ijak and Andrew McCarthy) over Can Islam Reform Itself I noticed something interesting. A double standard in what is rational. Let me quote the Muslim's comments in two different sections.
The words of Allah in the Koran, as promulgated through the Angel Gabriel and uttered and written down in words by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), are unalterable. On this point, we agree. You may not know this, but we Muslims are taught that God brought Islam to mankind in this way because in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, once the book had been given, man changed the literal words of God through interpretation, interpolation and in some cases, just outright made stuff up, that did not reflect what God had intended. To avoid this problem with Islam, it was given through an illiterate man, Muhammad, in a language, Arabic, that did not at the time exist. This way there could be no doubt it was the word of God and that those words were unalterable. They have remained so throughout time.

Your argument about Islam the message being the problem vs. Islam the body of believers makes exactly the point bin Laden would have us all believe--that in today's world, Muslims have prostituted the original words of God and he is here to save us all from that folly. Nonsense. I will never accept that as a premise for rational debate.

Notice the problems? God worked through Muhammad to fix corruption of his original inspired message, yet the idea that Bin Laden is being used by God to bring Muslim's back to God's original message is considered nonsense and irrational. Clearly, Mansoor is letting his own beliefs trump rationality at some point

Yet the real question I have is that if Allah's word in the Koran is unalterable and unable to be corrupted by man's intepretation (Like they assert the old and new testament were), then how is Bin Laden able to interpret Muslim doctrine differently? It shouldn't be possible. Indeed, there should be next to zero, if not zero doctrinal differences amongst the Mulsim community.
When I found out about this debate, I was really interested to see what was going to happen. I was severly disappointed. Ijaz was all over the map right from the start. McCarthy, a very patient but determined man, really gave him numerous opportunities to explain at a basic level how the muslims can refute their "mistaken" bretheren. Ijaz first tried blustering through it, and then ignored the more pertinent questions or gave ridiculous answers. Ijaz seems like a nice man, but his understanding of Islam is baffling. You post points out one of those baffling contradictions.

I can't remember the Surah, but I remember that somewhere it says that the commands of the Koran are easy to understand. So, we basically end up with the easy to understand Koran that some muslims distort and lead other muslims astray to commit violence. Yet, it is a baffling array of contradictions that supposedly one understands better if they know Arabic. However, not enough muslims really know Arabic. My head is really spinning.

I think one thing that really annoyed me about Ijaz's comments is that in the end he blamed the West for not helping muslims become moderate. His basic reasoning is that the West doesn't say nice things about Islam (I guess he doesn't watch TV or read the paper), doesn't have enough muslims is positions of power, and we haven't poured enough money into their economies. What does any of that have to do with how muslims think about their religion?

In the end, it just shows that the "moderates" are whispering in the wind. I read one site that attempted to, in detail, explain the violence in the Koran in a moderate manner. Between the stretches of logic (somehow people with caravans were always attacking Mohammed) and alright distortions, I gave up on it. It all sounds nice, but the reality is that anyone looking at the complicated explanations is going to go "It says slay the infidel wherever you find them. I think that makes more sense."
Didn't Ijaz also say that Bin laden's big problem was blaming everything on the west?

You mentioned Ijaz does it himself at the end. Yet another double standard.
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