In God We Trust The Prospects for the Future of Islam and the West Are Positive

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Feisal Abdul Rauf

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Abstract

Question 1: Who are the moderate Muslims, and what are their beliefs and
politics?
FAR: The debate among the participants shows that while the term moderate
Muslim is problematic, there is a need to define the attitudinal difference
between Muslims who can be worked with from those who cannot. I
suggest that the defining feature is between those who believe in a pluralist,
multicultural, multi-religious societal contract that allows for differences
of opinions within an over-arching construct, as opposed to those
who believe in a societal contract that has no space for other religions, ethnicities,
or cultures, or even intra-Islamic differences of opinion.1
The latter attitude leads to the phenomenon known as “Islamist terrorism,”
the modern-day version of the seventh-century Kharijites, who fought
and ultimately assassinated Ali, Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law, and who,
over the following century, developed a political philosophy that justified
murdering fellow Muslims, including innocent women and children.
Contemporary Muslims need to support that aspect of the war on terror that
is a true jihad against all forms of terrorism, known in classical Islamic
jurisprudence as hirabah, and anarchic terrorism that tears the social fabric
essential to well-functioning societies. But this cannot be done without
simultaneously purging Muslim societies of some other modern “isms” that
have “terrorized” Muslims and still continue to deny them their inalienable
human rights under the Shari`ah.2
One is fascism in the Muslim world, whether wrapped in a secular
veneer like that of Saddam Hussein in Iraq or in an Islamic veneer like that
of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Another is nationalism, a modernized form
of pre-Islamic tribalism that Muslim theologians call `asabiyah and that
more properly belongs to the jahili (pre-Islamic) time. This idea can morph
into the modern form of Islamic nationalism that, in turn, leads to religious
authoritarianism, which oppresses those Muslims and non-Muslims who
follow authentic and legitimate religious interpretations that dare to differ
from the “official” versions, and brands anyone who does not accept its
point of view as an infidel, thereby arrogating to itself a right that the
Prophet declared belongs only to God ...

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