Islam from flexibility to ferocity

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Islam today in the minds of most Westerners – and not a few Easterners as well – is associated with fury, fierceness, fanaticism and intransigence. It is perceived to be a harsh and uncompromising faith, as deaf to the cries of the innocents slaughtered in its name as it is to the pleas for reform emanating from within its own walls. And although such a picture of glowering intractability is perhaps an unfair caricature of Islam as a whole, fundamentalist Islam – the brand of Islam that participates most actively in the “clash of civilizations” and consequently garners the greatest amount of coverage – may justifiably be portrayed as a stern, hidebound and merciless system, locked on an immutable course of conflict with any and all who do not accept its principles (indeed, its sovereignty). “Islam is not the bazaar, that it should be the object of negotiations and bargaining,” Iran’s Ayatollah Nateq-e-Nuri famously announced.1 “Flexibility involves a compromise between two opposing positions,” explained the late Ayatollah Beheshti, “but Islam’s doctrine of monism (tawhid) can tolerate only one position.”2 Even Salman Rushdie’s “Mahound” asserts that his religion is “an idea that does not bend.”3.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRadical Islam and International Security
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges and responses
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)0203938402, 9781134066407
ISBN (Print)0415444608, 9780415444606
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2008 Selection and editorial matter, Hillel Frisch and Efraim Inbar;individual chapters, the contributors. All rights reserved.


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