Salafism, the CIA and the Distortion of “Jihad”
via Conspiracy School
by David Livingstone
The world is being divided into a new Cold War, between the West and Islam, presented as a “Clash of Civilizations”, based on the assumption that Islam is a belligerent religion. Given that there are clear verses in the Quran commanding the Muslims to “kill the unbelievers wherever you find them”, doubters are caught in a debate where critics and fundamentalists alike appeal to those verses, and conversely, where moderates or apologists and Western liberals, argue that Islam is a “peaceful religion”.
As pointed out by Daniel Pipes, while otherwise known for his Islamophobia, Muslims can be divided into three categories: “traditional Islam,” which he sees as pragmatic and non-violent, “Islamism,” which he sees as dangerous and militant, and “moderate Islam,” which he sees as underground and not yet codified into a popular movement. Interestingly, however, he did concede that he did not have the “theological background” to determine which group follows the Quran the closest and is truest to its intent.
While the media tout the value of “moderate Islam,” the Western world is as yet unaware of the possibilities of traditional Islam, a heritage which even the Muslims themselves have forgotten. As identified by the late historian Marshall Hodgson, Islam’s “great pre-Modern heritage” is possibly the richest source Muslims possess for creating a coherent vision of their religion’s place in the world today. Yet, he comments: “One of the problems of Muslims is that on the level of historical action their ties with relevant traditions are so tenuous.”
Like anything else, a book with the import of the Quran, which is regarded as the Word of God by more than a billion people, should not be subject to uninformed interpretation. Either by its critics, or its defenders.
Islam had built up one of the most extraordinary intellectual traditions in history, through just such a recognition. Extreme care was exercised to ensure that all possible variations of interpretation were given the maximum care and consideration, and that any resulting interpretations were carried out with the utmost attention to detail. The result was the grand formulation of Islamic Law.
[related: Wahhabis and Salafis are not Sunnis]