Book Review: The Future of Islam

Book Review: The Future of Islam

LibertyPhile posted a review of The Future of Islam by John L. Esposito. I have not yet read the book, but one point based on this review: Anybody who brings radicals such as Qaradawi and Ramadan as exemplary reformers, should also deal with the fact that they continuously threaten Europe and the Western World with a 'Muslim takeover'. In fact, by claiming they are moderates, Esposito encourages 'Islamophobia' and the idea that there are no real moderate Muslims.

I bring here an excerpt:

(4) Muslims in the West

Esposito’s treatment of Muslims in the West is totally inadequate. We get the standard condemnation of hate preachers but what we mainly get is special pleading and an exiguous failure to understand the depth of the problem and to suggest any solutions.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -

(4.1) Integration or What?

Despite the talk of integration and the idea of “European Muslims” or “American Muslims” rather than “Muslims in Europe” or “Muslims in America”, the discussion, the language, the examples, the arguments are always about Muslims as somehow different, a distinct and different class of people. They need understanding, consideration, because they are Muslims, a separate community!

The message seems to be, it is you Europe, you America, that has to change if we are to fit in. We are only going to identify with you if you change to suit us.

Esposito poses a question.

“Whether Muslim communities in America and Europe will be able to supply the financial and human resources necessary to build a strong self-sustaining community in the twenty-first century remains an important and unanswered question.” (p35)

Would Esposito speak about American black people in this way as if they should exist in some “community” of their own. Could that mean separate neighbourhoods, resources, institutions, just for them? Calling the community self-sustaining even requiring financial and human resources seems to say so. I think that’s called segregation. Perhaps segregation is what Muslims want. Surely Esposito should be talking about how individuals integrate into the community of all citizens.

The comments of Esposito’s reformers are instructive.

“For Mustafa Ceric, as for Ramadan and others, the successful encounter of Europe and Islam has two interconnected prerequisites: Muslims must embrace their European identity, and European governments must facilitate Muslims' integration by accommodating and institutionalising their religious needs. [emphasis added]

…. European governments, he believes, will only gain the trust of the Muslim community when they institutionalize Islam through state sponsorship of Muslim schools, state councils, and mosques. [emphasis added] Ceric also emphasizes the importance of training European imams in Europe rather than in Muslim countries ..” (p114-115)

Winter starts by asking a sensible question:

“Are we Americans, or Canadians, or Britons, simply by virtue of holding a passport and finding employment? Or is this our emotional home?”

But then crassly rubs in Muslim separateness. He warns:

“An insulting guest will not be tolerated indefinitely even by the most courteous of hosts.... A measured, concerned critique of social dissolution, unacceptable beliefs, or destructive foreign policies will always be a required component of Muslim discourse, but wild denunciations of Great Satans or global Crusader Conspiracies are, for Muslims here, not only dangerous, but are also discourteous scarcely a lesser sin.” (p116)

Yes, Muslims are outsiders. It’s just that they need to improve their manners. And those denunciations, apparently acceptable if made by Muslims elsewhere, are dangerous (to the denunciator) and discourteous in the West itself.

Mustafa Ceric is more ambitious and even blunter. He says:

“Muslims must become educated and get organized. The strength and unity of Muslims in one country will strengthen the Muslim community in other countries.

…. If you are strong, united and organized here we will naturally be strong, united and organized in Bosnia, Kashmir, Palestine, and the rest of the world.... It is useless if only parts of that body are functioning and others are not: we all need to get our acts together." (p115–117)

What does he mean by strength and unity? What are they going to do with this strength and unity? Would the leader of the Catholic Church in England speak like this about Catholics? The leaders of the Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, would they?

Many individual Muslims themselves seem set on marking themselves out as distinct and separate from the rest of their fellow citizens. I am a Muslim and I am different. We do this. We don’t do that. For a start, we dress differently and women don’t show their hair in public.
It is an appalling idea to ban a piece of clothing in a liberal democracy but the headscarf is a political badge and it represents something. It represents I believe I’m different from you and I’m superior. I don’t flaunt myself in front of strangers. You do.

On many western Muslim women a headscarf is also close to rank hypocrisy. The idea that it retains their modesty by concealing what men find attractive is a laugh. It was fascinating to see the headscarfed young Muslim women attending the recent British Council and Intelligence Squared debate [Ref 6] when Tariq Ramadan proposed the motion “Europe is failing its Muslims” (he lost, 51% to 37%, 12% undecided). So many of those headscarves were fashion items, some even flamboyant, designed to draw attention to the wearer. And some wearing jeans!


Source: LibertyPhile

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