Interesting findings from Insight, with thanks to Nicolei:
PARIS — The accelerating number of ever-bloodier outrages committed in the name of Islam has produced a curious transatlantic split over how this religion is to be seen.
A plurality of Americans (46 percent) believes that Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence among its believers, according to a new survey released by the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion and Pubic Life.
Yet more Americans take a positive than a negative view of Islam (39 vs. 37 percent). Meanwhile, European scholars interpret this result as a sign of “American naivitÃˆ” when it comes to judging the radical Muslim threat.
“This is in line with the tenor of 90 percent of the books on Islam currently oozing out of the United States,” said Christine Schirrmacher, president of the Islamic Studies institute in Bonn, Germany.
“Every theologian over there seems to feel compelled these days to pen an apologetic tome on this religion, and almost all of these books are of questionably scholarship, except for those written by bona fide experts, who are often remarkably profound.”
These sharp words are part of an astonishing phenomenon: In formerly “liberal” Europe, a radical turnaround in the public, scholarly and theological perception of Islam is underway, according to Schirrmacher and other specialists.
“People over here have come to believe that Islam is not comparable with Christianity,” said the Rev. Hans Voecking, key Islamic affairs adviser to the Brussels-based Commission of European Catholic Bishops’ Conferences.
Schirrmacher — who is frequently traveling around the continent addressing a vast array of civic, military, police, foreign service and religious organizations — observed amazing changes in her audiences’ responses.
“It used to be that at every one of these events, some people would get up claiming that Muslims are much nicer and much more faithful than Christians with their history of crusades and inquisition.
“This is over,” Schirrmacher went on. “Now I keep hearing: ‘We must return to our Christian heritage.’ You no longer hear the phrase, ‘After all, aren’t we all alike? Don’t we all want the same?”
There will no doubt be mainstream media tut-tutting over this, but it is a necessary development, which even self-proclaimed moderate Muslims should welcome: how can they successfully reform Islam if no one will admit that anything about it needs reform?