Father Khalil Samir is right, but the head-in-the-sand unreality that prevails among analysts of Islam in the West will prevent any kind of effort like this from being mounted. From Catholic News Agency, with thanks to Paolo:
Madrid, Apr. 07, 2006 (CNA) – Father Khalil Samir, a professor at the Oriental Pontifical Institute of Rome and St. Joseph’s University of Beirut, said this week that in order to change the Islamic mentality, “which is fearful of reality,” an “enormous educational effort” is needed at schools and universities, while paying special attention to textbooks and teacher formation.
In statements made to the Italian daily “Avvenire,” Father Samir, an expert in Islamic issues, said, “The enlightened West should help the most liberal Muslims to be heard in their countries and contribute to the spread of their ideas by fostering the circulation and translation of their works, inviting them to speak in Europe.”
“Above all,” he stressed, “an enormous educational effort needs to be initiated at schools and universities,” with special attention to textbooks and teacher formation.
“This is a task that would require generations to slowly change a mentality that is fearful of reality. As Christianity teaches us, reason is not an enemy, but rather an ally of faith,” he added.
Father Samir explained that in Islamic schools, “the teaching methods are based on repetition and memorization more than on logical reasoning. In the family, parents do not give their children motives for obedience; rather, it is imposed, sometimes through violence.”
The Koran, he continued, “is learned by heart and applied in a mechanical and literal way since, according to Islam, the text has been revealed directly by God to Mohammed and contains all that is necessary for life, and no interpretation is allowed.”
“If somebody says an effort is needed to find a better application of it to today”s world, he is accused of being a traitor of the most authentic spirit of Islam and even deserves death for apostasy.” The result, he said, is world that is “fearful of modernity.”