Some thoughts on that article.
So, the questions is whether a secular critique to Islam or a "moderate muslim" approach is better. Better for what? For promoting the emergence of societies with which our own societies can deal better? For promoting secularism and its ideals inside non-secular societies and their people out of humanist altruism? In fact, there are people trying either approach.
And why would a muslim want to buy any of that? Out of an expectation for a better life? Out of fear? Out of an expectation to seize power? The answer to the initial question seems to depend on the answers to all these questions.
The practical chances of a particular approach also depend on factors such as the cultural nature of religion. It is not enough to convince some persons through rational discussion, because such beliefs are intertwined with their way of life. However, the existence of various breeds of "moderate muslims" (as well as the whole history of the emergence of various christian dogmas) should be an indication that life changes people and societies, whatever the holy books say. Such things have happened to our own cultures in the past.
A "moderate muslim" approach seems somehow lame when coming from Blair or from someone whom the muslim people have demonized, but I think it is perfectly valid when coming from inside a muslim society. The same is true of a secular approach coming from inside a muslim society and not from its "enemies".
Finally, there is the issue of distribution of power and wealth in an Islamic state, which is deeply conservative. So, left wing movements should also have a say in this, although they have been constantly demonized by both Islamist authorities and antiislamist western centers of power and wealth.
---- This message was posted by rhinoceros to the Virus 2002 board on Church of Virus BBS. <http://virus.lucifer.com/bbs/index.php?board=51;action=display;threadid=26302>
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