31 March 2016

Can Islam move away from theocracy?

Terrorism is a distraction. It’s a distraction from the big question of our day, about Islam and violence. Only a tiny minority of Muslims affirm that sort of violence. A far larger proportion of Muslims condone another, vaguer sort of violence. It is this that we must confront.

I mean the violence of theocracy. Theocracy is the belief that one religion should be absolutely culturally dominant. Of course it thinks that the state should enforce this; if the state fails to do so it loses legitimacy. This theocratic worldview is the underlying cause of Muslim terrorism.

To judge from its founding texts, and its history, Islam is a religion that wants to be very firmly established. It wants to be the official religion of a nation, or empire. It rejects the notion that politics should be conducted without reference to religion, and it rejects the notion that various different religions should be treated equally. To be blunt, it has a very strong theocratic tendency. [Theo Hobson, 549 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 103 votes] "look at Asad Shah, the Glasgow shopkeeper whose messages of inter-faith harmony seemingly got him killed. The vast majority of British Muslims surely see his attitude as admirable, and his killing as abhorrent. So British Islam has largely become post-theocratic."

What utter nonsense! Mr Shah was an Ahmadi and therefore a heretic to most other Muslims. Nothing haram about killing a heretic or about vigilantism..."Do not suffer an apostate to live" etc.

The author's assertion that the vast majority of Muslims admire his attitude and abhor his killing (no data provided) is nonsense. And his conclusion that British Islam has largely become post-theocratic is nonsense squared.

[2ND 76] Referring to the recent murder in Glasgow; "The vast majority of British Muslims surely see his attitude as admirable, and his killing as abhorrent. So British Islam has largely become post-theocratic."

That's a lot of assumptions to make. The Ahmadi branch of Islam that Mr Shah followed is arguably "post-theocratic". Yet he was murdered, allegedly, by a Sunni muslim who thought this post-theocratic brand heresy. If you can be murdered simply for practising a tolerant form of Islam, by a fellow muslim, I fail to see how this is evidence that "British Islam has largely become post-theocratic". Quite the opposite in fact.

[3RD 34] Exactly. The use of the word 'surely' shows that the writer hasn't mixed with too many Muslims from Luton or Blackburn lately. I haven't either, because of the aggression and threats I faced when last I tried. Some people don't think peaceful thoughts when they think of their religion. Relying on 'surely everything will be OK' is a recipe for disaster.

[4TH 29] British Islam is not post theocratic. Islamic texts clearly state don't try and create theocracy when a small minority.

There is no such thing as post theocratic Islam, it is basic tenant of faith.

There will be no reformation and when demographics catch up we will have conflict. Wishful thinking isn't going to solve this problem. We have made a terrible mistake and our grandchildren will pay a horrendous price.

[5TH 28] Whether Islam can move away from theocracy or not is neither here nor there. The essential point is that the rest of us should not have to temporise with the religion in its present form while it makes up its mind. [The Spectator] Read more