11 May 2015

The Islamic Reformation: Abandon all hope? Self-cretinisation?

The idea that Islam needs to reform is again in the spotlight following the recent publication of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.

While Ali makes the argument that Islam can reform -- and is in desperate need of taking the extreme measures she suggests to do so -- many of her critics offer a plethora of opposing claims, including that Islam need not reform at all.

The one argument not being made, however, is the one I make below -- namely, that Islam has already “reformed.” And violence, intolerance, and extremism -- typified by the Islamic State (“ISIS”) -- are the net result of this “reformation.”

Such a claim only sounds absurd due to our understanding of the word “reform.” Yet despite its positive connotations, “reform” simply means to “make changes (in something, typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it.” [The Commentator] Read more