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Friday, May 16, 2003

The Muslim war against Islamism.

Be sure to read "Pilgrims and Passages: The Flight of faith" by Amir Soltani Sheikholeslami in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. Sheikholeslami writes:

Most Muslims, certainly most Iranians who have sought refuge in the United States, know that September 11 is much more than a jihad against America. In fact, there has been a holy war against them, long before it reached the shores of the United States. The violence that shook the United States provides a glimpse into the plague that has been claiming the lives of thousands of Muslims. The map of the Islamic world, from Algeria to Afghanistan, Iran to Lebanon, Kashmir to Palestine, Sudan to the Philippines, is checkered with ground zeros. If this terrorism is to be rooted out, then it can only be done if one tackles the ideology that legitimizes terror: fundamentalism. 
Like Jacobinism, Bolshevism, and Fascism, Islamic fundamentalism is a modern political invention: a grotesque revolutionary ideology that distorts the basic principles of religion in the name of liberating and unifying an oppressed nation. As with other puritanical movements, the armed prophets of this new faith believe that they can resurrect the decaying body of their divine community by waging war against Satan. In practice, this means converting the state into a symbol of faith and an object of worship: a sacrificial instrument of death with which they protect the virtuous body of their divine community by eliminating their satanic enemies—foreign sources of contamination and alien symbols of corruption. Because they wage total warfare in the name of absolute principles of reason, religion, and national interest bound to their infallible interpretation of legal doctrine, they cannot and do not accept any limits on their freedom to kill.

That's from an interpretive passage in his essay, but Sheikholeslami's moving personal accounts of Muslim and immigrant experiences give his essay real punch. Recommended.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 16 May 2003 at 8:36 AM

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