Can Islam Be Reformed?


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So, yes, Islam needs to be reformed. This is no insult to Muslims. Judaism and Christianity have undergone major changes. And needed to.

Can Islam be reformed? I do not agree with Lord Cromer. I believe it can.

What is necessary is that Muslim reformers:

1. Honestly acknowledge the Muslim moral record — i.e. the lack of liberty in Muslim nations, the killing of large numbers of non-Muslims, the low status of women, etc. This does not necessitate rejecting the Quran or Islam.

2. Eschew incorporating Sharia into state law and oppose the establishment of any Islamic theocracy (which is not, in any event, Quran-based, according to moderate Muslims).

3. Publicly and unambiguously condemn all violence in the name of Islam, including violence against Israel.

4. Express a deep appreciation of the moral record of America, including its superb treatment of both its Muslim citizens and Muslim immigrants, along with a complete rejection of the Islamist notion that America is hostile to Muslims.

5. Fully accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, and distance themselves from the Muslim/Arab obsession with Israel.

At this very moment, there are Muslim reformers who believe and express all five of these propositions.

Examples include University of Delaware Professor Muqtedar Khan, who runs www.ijtihad.com: “American Muslims really have no reason to feel they are victims of anything … .” The Muslim American community is thriving, proof of “America’s benevolence and tolerance of Islam.”

Another is Ahmed al-Rahim, a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia: “The most important message is that we condemn all kinds of hate speech, including anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, and that we come out as boldly as possible against violence committed by Muslims in Iraq, in Israel … . ”

Regarding the Muslim obsession with Israel, Khan has written: “It is time the leaders of the American Muslim community woke up and realized that … Islam is not about defeating Jews or conquering Jerusalem. It is about mercy, about virtue, about sacrifice and about duty. Above all, it is the pursuit of moral perfection.”

Zainab Al-Suwaij, a refugee from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and executive director of the moderate American Islamic Congress, publicly declared that America “has given Iraqis the most precious gift any nation has ever given another — the gift of democracy and the freedom to determine its own future.”

And Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a physician in Arizona whose parents fled Syria in the 1960s, is the founder and chairman of the board of the moderate American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). A believing and practicing Muslim, Jasser advocates American values, promotes a Quran-based life to be practiced by the individual Muslim and never imposed by the state. He is courageous in confronting the Islamist Muslim groups that the mainstream media in the Western world have promoted to appear as the spokesmen for Western Muslims.

As Jasser says of organizations such as CAIR and other so-called Muslim civil rights organizations, “There was more concern with hate crimes against Muslims, which I think were relatively low; there was more focus on that than actually looking at the violence and the hate speech that has been committed in the name of Islam.”

Islam is too important to deny its need to reform. And it is too important to deny its ability to ever reform.

And if it does reform, Muslims who have embraced America and American values will lead the way.

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  • nickos

    I do not for see this so called reform, maybe you can within a small minority of Muslims if that, from what I see in Europe they immigrate to these countries and preach tolerance and peace until there is a sufficient number to start demanding their beliefs into the adopted society, then they imposed their so called law under Sharia, violence, intimidation and brutality. An I agree Christianity is not innocent in its history and all religions have their dark periods, however most religions have progressed except for this one that still lives and acts as if the dark ages still exist. Its a shame to have to think this way, but from the sampling of stories and obvious examples of Islam I have been reading from around the world for the past year its heard to claim this religion is of peace and tolerance.

  • tarleton

    The Christian Reformation was against the corruption of the Catholic church , while Islam doesn't have that same problem …what Islam needs is a scientific enlightenment and modernity ,… a liberalisation ,'' thawing out ''and flexible reading of their ''holy book'', but unfortunately the overwhelming majority of muslims are from developing third world nations who have a narrow , woefully uninformed worldview……I mean , let's face it , they're peasants and those folks are not going to be receptive to liberal western values …''don't cast pearls before swine ''
    They have a frame of mind that is quasi medieval, or at best ,18th century ….the olympic struggle for the West is to try and enlighten narrow , primitive, provincial minds and only then will it be possible to have a liberal view of the Koran ….hmmm…imagine trying to convince 17th century Europeans that the Bible was not, in a narrow literal sense the exact words of God !……''thou shalt not suffer a witch to live ''

  • Ghostwriter

    Unfortunately,most Americans would disagree with you. They would say "What has Islam ever given America but violence and hatred,much of it directed towards us." They point to Muslims dancing in the street,celebrating 9/11,years of terrorism before and since 9/11,anti-Americanism,anti-Christian and anti-Jewish hatred and an unwillingness to live in peace with it's neighbors and other religions,and imposing things like sharia law upon Americans who don't want it. I'd hope to see someone prove me wrong but sadly,the conclusion most Americans have is that Islam and the Muslim world was always hostile to America and it's values and always will be. And it's real hard not to share that conclusion.

  • tarleton

    Islam is the frozen religion of the desert ; the riged , intolerant, medieval religion that has failed miserably to change and adapt with the times …it has failed to grow up and is now stuck in a time warp of ''arrested development ''
    It is christianitie's deviant , malignant , juvenile delinquent little brother …a problem child that is becoming increasingly angry , frustrated and unhinged at his own failures

    This is not to try and compare Mohammed with the gentle Jesus , as he was clearly a warlord with a psychopathic personality more in common with Ghengis khan

  • pat

    A great deal of the so-called Islamic scientific and mathematical "discoveries" were in fact by Jewish and Christian scholars in Muslim dominated lands.
    And the problem with Islam is more than simply learning tolerance. It is filled with superstition and the belief in supernatural forms, witchcraft, numerology, etc.

  • Clifford

    To think that islam can reform it's self is delusional at best. Muslims have no desire to reform thyeir religion. They talk a lot about reform, but that is as far as it goes, talk and no action. All they love to do is blame others for their problems (ie Israel, the US, etc). The best thing for westerners to do is to arm themselves with Biblical Christianity to fight back

  • Bernard Abernathy

    Islam should not be reformed. Islam should be eradicated.

    Islam cannot be reformed. The gates of ijtihad were closed hundreds of years ago. Any muslim who wants to re-open them does so at the risk of being accused of committing bidah (innovation), which is heresy, and for which the punishment is death.

    Our best hope is the ex-muslim movement led by people like Ali Sina, Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Walid Shoebat and others. We need to provide them with all the resources they need to get their message out to the billion or so good people trapped in the death cult of submission to the will of that sicko Muhammad.

    Those nice people promoting ijtihad are fooling themselves and you've been drawn into their follie au deaux. Stop fooling yourself, Mr. Prager. Have you read Ali Sina's book Understanding Muhammad? Once you understand Muhammad, then you will understand Islam and why it must go. By the way, Mr. Sina claims that any muslim that reads at least the first three chapters of his book leaves Islam and will never come back to it. That sounds like the germ of a solution to me!

  • jamiu

    Islam is the only religion that as stand to withstand the teast of all time. Islam never in need of any reform

    • StephenD

      Wait…What? What the hell are you talking about? The only "teast of time" Islam has withstood is it's undaunted commitment to evil.
      But since you know all about it I have a question. Tell me why is it ok to insult Allah, which is what it is if you leave the religion, you are essentially saying you reject Allah, you are to be invited back and if you accept and return everything is ok. But if you insult Mohammed you are to be killed where you stand? Who carries more weight in Islam? Should this be "reformed" or do I "misunderstand" this?

    • sjay

      You are sooooooooooo ignorant. Islam goes against tan important law of nature. The test of time in nature in terms of survival is adaptation via evolution. Islam is the most static major religion that was ever created. Mohammed dictated the Koran during the last 25 years or so of his life. One man, one viewpoint, and his Koran represents a very thin, very biased preception of life over a very shot period of time. Islam is the only major religion that has not evolved/reformed – it is doomed to failure because it goes against the "survival of the fittest" law. Islam by far is the "least fit" for "modern consumption" of ALL major religions. Now that it has be SAFELY exposed via the internet to the rest of the non-Muslim world, it is only a matter of time before Islam shrinks and disappears from the face of the Earth, provided Islam does not reform; in which case, modern civilization will reject it since it's most fervent adherents want everyone to live their lives by 1400 year-old standards of a man called Mohammed who was not a prophet, but merely a man who most likely suffered from a medical condition called temporal-lobe epilepsy.

    • dr.music

      Muslims to the MAD end ….no guts….no guts to leave islam …. No guts… no guts to take an educated leap out of islam ….no guts to leave islam behind and save his future family…..no guts to leave islam….no guts…muslims have no guts. Even evil osama had no guts to leave islam even though he saw that islam was evil and willed and instructed his kids not to jihad which is at the core of EVIL islam…. The evil osama guy knew islam was evil but again no guts to leave islam…no guts…muslims have no guts to do good…no guts…muslims JUST have no guts. Period.

  • Shafkat

    wonder why Islam continues to spread so fast inspite of it being such a 'terrible and suppressive' way of life ? Not talking about 'them breeding like rabbits etc' . Am talking about New converts world over ….. More female converts than male, I am told ….. Wonder why?

    • Gunner57

      Why? Satan is a clever liar.

    • Indioviejo

      Masochism. Some women like rough stuff.

  • Joshuapundit

    When whole, vast sections of Muslims condemn Islamism and violence,not just a few brave academics and fringe figures here in America without any sort of mass following, that will be one thing. But it has never happened, and I doubt it will happen short of a major confrontation with the West that disgraces and defeats the Islamist ideology. That's what it took with the Nazis.

    J

  • tarleton

    People are naturaly superstitious and you could say that ignorance , irrationality and superstition are the natural human condition …it's only because of compusary education teaching logic and reason, here in the West, that has produced generations of rational , logical thinkers , largely free of irrational superstition
    Moslems /third world people have a medieval frame of mind that is not going to be receptive to Western values and thughts…the foundation of the problem lies in the classroom

  • Khan

    Cheapest article I’ve read. The author didn’t even talk once about Islam or what reforms should happen in that religion but instead talked about Muslims and basically that’s it. A very cheap un-academic writing.

    Islam should be understood first than one should understand the Muslim mindset. Is it national values, ego, or culture that needs reforming rather than blaming it Islam itself like most people do that don’t understand much or have the ability to understand.

    P.S. Rubbish and waste of time.

    • SamB

      Take a course in English syntax. If it was such a "waste of time" why even read it? You should have ceased reading it at the article's title–and not beyond.

  • Russell

    The more I come to understand the Islamic world, the more I believe that this religion is not revealed by God but a construction of human will. This explains many of the "obstacles" that have to be overcome to reformation. If true, reform will not work.

  • Jaladhi

    The answer in a word: never!! The only solution is its eradication from this planet.

  • StephenD

    You're wasting your breath with this article and your book if this is what it covers. You quoted it yourself in the beginning:
    "As Lord Cromer, British consul-general in Egypt from 1883 to 1907, put it in a quote known to all Western students of Islam, “Islam reformed is Islam no longer.”"
    It doesn't get much clearer than that.

  • Steve S

    Dennis
    After Baruch Goldstein comiited his atrocity in Hebron in 1994 I remember the news reports about how the streets of Israels citys were thronged with Jews of all persuasions, condemming Goldstein and proclaiming "Not in our name" This was a perfect example of the fundamental decency of Israeli society. When I see one such mass protest against the endless procession of Islamist atrocities I might start to believe Islam can be reformed

  • mrbean

    Oh hummm… Did you ever hear you can't make a purse out of a sow's ear.

  • http://stopislamizationofamerica.blogspot.com/ Art

    IJITHAD,,,

    The following quote is from the http://www.ijtihad.org home page.

    "For Freedom of thought and independent thinking among Muslims everywhere."

    Dennis,

    Does "freedom of thought and independent thinking" sound like the sentiments of Muhammad presented in the Quran, AFTER he started killing Jews, and the Ulama, AFTER ijithad was refuidated years ago? (Also spelled ulema, it refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars)

    Dr. Zuhdi Jasser knows this ijithad was refuitated years ago, and his comments are not convincing because they are not persuasive.

    As much as I appreciate your substantial insights, this article is best read in the shallow end of the intellectual pool. In other words, not convincing because not persuasive.

    Art
    I stand with Israel
    I stand with the name of Yahowah (YHWH) vs. the name of Allah to
    STOP! Islamization of America

    http://www.ijtihad.org

  • TexExpatriate

    I have a lot of respect for Prager and his intelligence, but I have to believe he is stuck on stupid in this one. He names five conditions necessary for Reformation of Islam, and might as well have called them what they are: impossible conditions. Islam will have to be reformed from the outside, by defeat. It's one of those cases of kill 'em all.

    • dr.music

      TRUE TRUE TRUE

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    I am curious as to while all of these Anders Breivik type comments in favor of genociding the Muslims were allowed to remain, but the one saying that Jews have not yet finished Reforming Judaism was deleted. Is that a sensitive subject, or is it simply that Prager’s argument does not look convincing when contrary viewpoints appear alongside it? I think the replies here are evidence enough that trying to reform other peoples’ religions just whips them up into bloodthirsty fanaticism. It seems Prager will not be satisfied until Justiciar Templar Christianity takes root in the US.

    • Ghostwriter

      Flipside,what you don't see is that Americans have heard about places like Iran,Saudi Arabia,and Afghanistan under the Taliban and they way they do things. We don't want that here in this country. And I personally,don't want to forced to have a religion if I don't want it. And that's what people like Usama Bin Laden and his ilk want. To force everyone into Islam even if they don't want it. It's either stop the Islamists or submit to their rule. I'm with the majority of Americans who don't want to live under Islamist rule.

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        Oh, I agree. As an American it would be anathema to me to live under Sharia, under the Halacha or under Communism or even under the alphabet soup of the TSA BATF FEMA dictatorship. I have no need to pray five times a day or have my social or cultural freedoms limited by the Ayatollah, Janet Napolitano, PETA, Abe Foxman or any other cult leader.

  • SamB

    Dennis: A moderate Moslem is an oxymoron. And moderate Islam? The Koran prevents it. You're right on spot on most issues. On this one–well, hope springs eternal in the human breast. You may hope…but change?? As well turn Obama into a right wing conservative. But hen his heart belongs to Islam–That kind of conservatve,

  • Stephen_Brady

    I agree with Mr. Prager stated in his five necessary reforms. The only problem with those reforms is that all the "reformers" have to do is lie, and accept the reforms, on the surface. As I understand it, there is a principle in Islam that accepts and condones lies as a means of bringing about a Muslim society. Sorry that I've forgotten the name of this principle ….

    • dr.music

      IT;S CALLED TAQIAYA.
      Muslims to the MAD end ….no guts….no guts to leave islam …. No guts… no guts to take an educated leap out of islam ….no guts to leave islam behind and save his future family…..no guts to leave islam….no guts…muslims have no guts. Even evil osama had no guts to leave islam even though he saw that islam was evil and willed and instructed his kids not to jihad which is at the core of EVIL islam…. The evil osama guy knew islam was evil but again no guts to leave islam…no guts…muslims have no guts to do good…no guts…muslims JUST have no guts. Period. WHAT MUSLIMS HAVE IS ONLY

      • Stephen_Brady

        Thanks!

  • courdeleone

    Dear Mr. Prager,

    Part One

    I listen to you daily and enjoy much of what you say because so often you are so insightful. However, you are often wrong, but wrong with a good heart so I tolerate your errors and continue to listen to your show and read your articles.

    This is such a huge error in judgment that I feel compelled to comment. It is impossible for Islam to reform; for to do so would make it something other than Islam. I keep hearing about moderate Muslims…and there are many, but the "radicals" are right. They are apostate. We don't have to like their views to recognize that the "radicals" are in reality true Muslims.

    I just viewed a video of a family in Pakistan who are Christian and whose employer demanded he convert to Islam. When he refused the owners 18 year old son came over and kidnapped his daughter and raped her. The authorities did nothing. This is not an isolated case with Islamists. Australia had much the same problem. The men were raping Austria lain women because they viewed them as sinful because of the way the appeared on the beaches of that nation.

  • courdelone

    Part 2

    Islam was born in violence, murder, rape and pillage….which is what the Arabs were before they converted; marauders. The only difference was that once they become followers of Mohammad It could be done in the name of Allah. Can these people reform? Yes; but they would not be Islamists. They could become Christians, Buddhists, or even Hindus, but they cannot “reform” and be Islamists.

    The Koran requires jihad and as long as the Koran is their holy book there is no hope for Islam. It is a religion of violence and hate…those are the basis for its existence. There really is such a thing as good and evil. The left isn’t just wrong; it really is evil….and so is Islam. The evil must cease to exist in order for good to prevail.

    • Aliy

      Peace Be Upon You From a "Muslim" This is what Islam and the Quran Tought me, If were not brothers in religion we surely are brothers in hummanity, Under One God who created the heavens and the earth. May god give you guidence and open your heart to be more loving and less ignorant. :)

  • tarleton

    Unlike Xianity , Islam is too intolerant and tyranical to allow the self critique necessary for a reformation….what would happen to a moslem martin luther who tries to nail his grievences on the door of a mosk ?..he would find himself nailed up there too ! ! ! !

  • tarleton

    The former moslem states of the Soviet Union like Kazakstan , ubekistan , tajikistan etc have , to a degree , been tamed and reformed…they may not be shining examples of democracy and pluralism , but nor are they jhihadist strongholds …it comes from compulsery secular education

  • Indioviejo

    Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer, a long time British Consul-General in Egypt, knew what he was talking about when he said "Islam reformed is Islam no longer." If you know, Mr. Prager than the Quran of Medinah supersedes the Quran of Mecca, and you know what this means, then don't sell me a bill of goods. Respectfully.

  • Gloria Stewart

    Islam cannot be reformed. Muslims believe the Koran is the absolute word of God and that the prophet Mohammed was the perfect man . His sayings (the Hadith) and his life's activities (the Sira) are not to be questioned. Mohammed decreed the fusion of mosque and state. How can Muslims practice the Western concept of the individual's rights against the state? To them that would mean rights against God.

    The definition of blasphemy to Muslims is so broad that it could include a time table. Certainly it includes the mere suggestion of reform. A Muslim is free to kill a person who blasphemes without fear of punishment. That is a call to vigilanti law. How can Muslims respect the Western concept of the rule of law?

    • http://------- Ak

      Total retard hadiths r in millions and retard muslim still writing them so how can they be from the last messanger he has departed the world long ago?

      Think

  • Jim

    Yes Just write a revised standard version of the Koran. Then ease it in to the milieu.
    With out identification who is to say which one represents thhe word of the prophet.