I personally think that headline should more accurately read, “Is there a place for tolerance in Islam,” but let it pass. Here’s yet another fresh steaming pile of religious deception, this time from the illustrious Khaled Abou El Fadl. From Malaysiakini, with thanks to Skeetstreet:
In his book, ‘The Place of Tolerance in Islam’, (2002), Khaled Abou El Fadl, a distinguished Islamic scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, makes a clear statement about the close interaction between the Quran as the text and the Muslim as the reader and interpreter in the construction of intolerance in Islam.
“If the reader is intolerant, hateful, or oppressive,” he argues, “so will be the interpretation of the text.”
Oh, I see. Those who see intolerance in the Qur’an only do because they are intolerant themselves. Of course! How simple! How clear! All we need is an army of Gandhis to read the Qur’an, instead of the gentle, teary Zarqawi (whose tears no doubt mask his inner intolerance) and it will suddenly become the world’s most loving, benign book!
In particular, the intolerant interpretation of Islam is then attributed to the Muslim puritans and extremists who read and interpret the Quran strictly, literally, and ahistorically. In support of his thesis, Khaled points to a number of these puritans and extremists in the course of Islamic history.
First, intolerance in Islam, as Khaled postulates, may be traced back to the formation of the Kharijites in the first century of Islam. The Kharijites were commonly considered ‘seceders’, ‘rebels’, or ‘revolutionary activists’, because they seceded and fought against the leadership of the fourth caliph, Ali b Abi-Talib (r 656-61), cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad.
According to Khaled, the Kharijites were responsible for the assassination of Ali b Abi-Talib by one of their members, Ibn-Muljam, in 661, and the deaths of both Muslims and non-Muslims at that time. He regards such historical events as examples of intolerance and fanaticism in the first century of Islam.
And those nasty Kharijites apparently read the Qur’an and imposed upon it all their violent, intolerant presuppositions, and taught others to do so. Ah, if only Rod McKuen had read it first!
Before the rise of the Kharijites, however, Khaled disregards several earlier examples that could also be taken to demonstrate intolerance in the course of Islamic history. One of these incidents involved the assassination of the third caliph, Uthman b Affan (r 644-56), at Madina by the mutineers – a modern term for religious extremists – who broke into Uthman’s house and killed him in the year 656….
Wow. A journalist who knows enough to pierce the fog of misinformation! The journalist in question here is named Sukidi Mulyadi. Bravo, Sukidi!