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Islamic Reform Since 9/11 Essay

1448 words - 6 pages

The religion of Islam garners large amounts attention. Many believe it is a violent and backwards religion. Since 9/11, "Islamic reform" has become an all-purpose phrase: equally a western impulse to protect itself from Muslim violence and a humanist notion aimed at assisting voiceless Muslims (Eteraz1). Extreme displays of Islamic faith such as the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 have generated negative stereotypes about Islam as a religion. These stereotypes of violence and backwards thinking have been further perpetuated by even more recent examples of extremism by Muslim terrorists. Although most Muslims are peaceful and do not endorse the violence of their Muslim brethren, there are some who believe it is their responsibility to punish those who do not adhere to Islam. This religion is no stranger to divinely motivated warfare. Islam was founded on the belief that it is excusable to harm others in the name of Allah. The terrorist group, Al-Qaeda, holds many of these beliefs. Al Qaeda's modern origins go back to Wahhabism, named after the revivalist movement founded by Muhammad Ibn'Abd al-Wahhab in 1744. Wahhab called for a return to a pure and unadulterated form of Islam closer to the ideals of the Prophet (Blond 3). Recently a movement is being made to reform and reinterpret Islam not just as a religion, but also as a culture. The reformation of Islam by its religious authorities and will yield a more passive interpretation of Islam, therefor deterring Islamic extremism and producing a more diplomatic faith.
Although Islam has made substantial progress, many would argue that Islam is incapable of change. Understanding Islam’s past is imperative to understanding its future. Since its inception, Islam has been a violent and unforgiving religion. Social issues such as slavery and women’s rights have been left in the dark when it comes to Islam. In the past Islamic principles from the Koran have used been used to justify violence toward infidels (people with no religious beliefs or those who differ from Islam). Some of these practices are still used today in modern Islam and many people view this as foresight to Islam’s ability to reform. Another prevalent argument is that, if Islam were to be reformed, its core principles and teachings would have to be completely reinterpreted (Pipes1). This extreme reinterpretation and modernization would result in a new religion. Islamic Religious authorities have also expressed concern about how adaptive people will be towards this “new” religion. Furthermore, an additional concern shared by many is that religious extremists and Islamic purists will completely reject this and see it as the westernization of Islam. Modernization is what the extremists are attempting to prevent from invading their culture. Looking towards the past is usually a valuable interpretation of how the future could turn out and according to Islam’s past its future might look unclear and unstable. In spite of Islam’s...

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