Muslim scholar warns the west of Muslim goals
A leader of the small worldwide Muslim reform movement warned the West against wishful thinking as the U.S. government promotes an intensive dialogue with Islam.
"The dialogue is not proceeding well because of the two-facedness of most Muslim interlocutors on the one hand and the gullibility of well-meaning Western idealists on the other," said Bassam Tibi, in an interview with United Press International.
Syrian-born Tibi, who claims to be a direct descendant of the prophet Mohammed and teaches political science at Goettingen University in Germany, appealed for intellectual honesty between both parties in these exchanges.
"First, both sides should acknowledge candidly that although they might use identical terms these mean different things to each of them. The word 'peace,' for example, implies to a Muslim the extension of the Dar al-Islam -- or 'House of Islam' -- to the entire world," explained Tibi, who is also a research scholar at Harvard University.
"This is completely different from the Enlightenment concept of eternal peace that dominates Western thought, a concept developed by (18th-century philosopher) Immanuel Kant."
"Similarly, when Muslims and the Western heirs of the Enlightenment speak of tolerance they have different things in mind. In Islamic terminology, this term implies abiding non-Islamic monotheists, such as Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, as second-class believers. They are 'dhimmi,' a protected but politically immature minority."
According to Tibi, the quest of converting the entire world to Islam is an immutable fixture of the Muslim worldview. Only if this task is accomplished -- if the world has become a "Dar al-Islam" -- will it also be a "Dar a-Salam," or a house of peace.
Tibi appealed to his co-religionists to "revise their understanding of peace and tolerance by accepting pluralism." Furthermore, he said, Muslim leaders should give up the notion of Jihad in the sense of conquest -- as opposed to Jihad as an internal struggle of the individual.
Tibi's advice comes at a time when the U.S. government is urging American Muslim leaders to promote understanding for the United States in the Islamic world. To Tibi, this is more of a diplomatic endeavor than the promotion of a more profound theological understanding between Islam and the Judeo-Christian worldview prevalent in the West.
But Muzammil Siddiqi, one senior Islamic scholar the State Department consults with, told UPI he found that his efforts in furthering contacts between Muslim, Christian and Jewish theologians were having some success.
Indian-born Siddiqi is the director of the large Islamic Center of Orange County in California. In consultation with the State Department and in cooperation with the University of Kentucky, he traveled back and forth between the United States and the Middle East trying to convince Muslim theologians and jurists there to meet with American church leaders.
"I have found that many -- though not all -- were ready to welcome visitors from America and also to come here to explore with Christians and Jews what we have in common," Siddiqi said.
Though Siddiqi's center is heavily engaged in interfaith activities, he made it clear that to him, as indeed for conservative Christians, syncretism -- the mixing of religions -- was anathema.
Common values should be sought out, he explained, and the equality of all believers respected, be they Muslims, Christians, Hindus or Buddhists. But the purity of the faith must not be compromised.
In an article in the prestigious Hamburg weekly, Die Zeit, Tibi, gave anecdotal evidence of how daunting a task this dialogue with Islam can be.
The bishop of Hildesheim in Germany paid an imam a courtesy visit in his mosque. The imam handed the Catholic prelate a Koran, which he joyfully accepted. But when the bishop tried to present the imam with a Bible, the Muslim cleric just stared at him in horror and refused to even touch Christianity's holy book.
"The bishop was irritated because he perceived this behavior as a gross discourtesy," wrote Tibi, "but the imam had only acted according to his faith. For if an imam gives a bishop a Koran, he considers this a Da'Wa, or call to Islam."
This, explained Tibi, must be borne in mind when one engages in a dialogue with Muslim scholars, for it corresponds to a verse in the Koran: "And say ... to those who are unlearned: 'Do ye submit yourselves?'" (Surah 3:20).
Surprise ... Britain Has The Highest Crime In The Developed World
Brits tend to want to think they are less violent than Americans when what they really mean is that fewer Brits die with guns. Not really the same thing. Turns out Scotland is the most violent country in the developed world with England and Wales nailing down slots two and three for a Britain clean sweep of violence.
Are the 4000 more gun deaths in the US per year somehow worse than the 50,000 more violent assaults per year in Scotland? I bet not. It's no secret that gun ownership lowers petty crime. Home invasion -- even when you are home -- is much more likely when the criminal knows you can't have a gun but he can.
Woman Irked Hitman Fails, So She Calls Police
As if getting a hitman from the want ads in Soldier of Fortune weren't enough, this assclown Japanese lady adds to her ridiculous tale by complaining when he fails to complete the job.
The 32-year-old Tokyo woman was arrested Wednesday for incitement to murder, the Daily Yomiuri newspaper said Friday.
The woman contacted a private detective through a Web site last November and paid him 1 million yen in cash to murder her love rival, the paper said.
The 40-year-old detective accepted the money and suggested he could carry out the job by chasing the victim on a motorcycle and spraying her with a biological agent in a tunnel.
Police also arrested the private detective and found the alleged target safe and well, the paper said.