Is Islamic Extremism a Problem of Poor Hermeneutics?

March 24, 2009

WSJ – 16 March 2009 – Letters

It is very uplifting and encouraging to hear a bright, progressive Muslim like Tawfik Hamid speak out against the cruelty and unfairness of Islamic extremists (“Islam Should Prove It’s a Religion of Peace,” op-ed, March 9).

As a Jew who wants my children to be able to coexist in peace with all religious peoples of the world, I feel very hopeful knowing there are Muslims who do not hate my people because of our religion.

I welcome the day when we can all live in harmony, in our own unique ways. Mr. Hamid’s statement that better Quranic scholarship would prove that Islam is a religion of peace is very welcome.

God bless his ecumenical plea to his religious community.

Steven Levy
Seabrook, Texas

Kudos to Tawfik Hamid for standing up to the wimps of the world. And congratulations to the Journal for publishing Mr. Hamid’s calling the British government to account for the travesty of justice in denying entry to the United Kingdom of Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament and creator of the film, “Fitna.” The British government is blaming the messenger, Mr. Wilders, instead of the message, Muslim radicalism.

Only by repeatedly exposing the barbaric practices of Islamic radicalism to the world, such as the stoning of women, will the world stop tolerating such criminal behavior.

By suppressing free speech by banning “Fitna” from being shown in the House of the Lords, the British government unwittingly is condoning and encouraging the Muslim radicals in pursuing their atrocities.

Paul O’Neill
Kansas City, Mo.

Mr. Hamid is certainly correct in exculpating Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders. However, he both tries to say that “everyone did it” and that “better scholarship” would demonstrate Islam to be a religion of peace.

The only basis for Islamic scholarship to interpret the Quran, in addition to the text, is to look to the practices of Mohammed and the first three generations of Muslims. It’s going to be hard to find a basis for more liberal interpretation there. The issue is whether Islam can prove it’s a religion of peace. Mr. Hamid is not calling for better scholarship; he is calling for “different” scholarship: indeed, something beyond even a Reformation.

To date, the most authoritative religious scholar to assert the peacefulness of Islam is George W. Bush.

Stuart L. Meyer
Evanston, Ill.


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