Hidden Agenda

Two American-born Muslims are attempting to reconcile the differences between Western culture and radical Islam. Or so they claim. The New York Times is reporting:

Sheik Hamza Yusuf, in a groomed goatee and sports jacket, looked more like a hip white college professor than a Muslim sheik. Imam Zaid Shakir, a lanky African-American in a long brown tunic, looked like he would fit in just fine on the streets of Damascus.

Both men are converts to Islam who spent years in the Middle East and North Africa being mentored by formidable Muslim scholars. They have since become leading intellectual lights for a new generation of American Muslims looking for homegrown leaders who can help them learn how to live their faith without succumbing to American materialism or Islamic extremism.

This rhetoric is a symptom of the triumph of relativism in intellectual debate. It’s the abuse of the dialectic: Everything is perceived as a struggle between polar opposites, which will result in a synthesis which is better than either of the two extremes. But in this case, one of those extremes is modern capitalism and democracy. And the other extreme is a 1400-year-old religion which offers nothing of value to the modern world.

That these two clerics have encouraged American Muslims to eschew violence and participate in charitable works is commendable. But I ask the age-old question: Why not just do that, and forget the ancient texts and rituals? What is the need for a new system of repression to be imposed on our democratic and individualist values? Why the need to set back women’s (and human) rights 1,400 years?

And then there’s the issue of the hidden agenda. Like all religions, there is the public face, with grand gestures, and charitable works. Then there is the reality–usually reserved for the end of the interview, or in the case of this sympathetic puff-piece, the end of the 4-page article:

"Every Muslim who is honest would say, I would like to see America become a Muslim country," he said. "I think it would help people, and if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be a Muslim. Because Islam helped me as a person, and it’s helped a lot of people in my community."

The article describes debates between Muslims taking place with men and women on opposite sides of a room separated by a wooden screen. No doubt America becoming a Muslim country would include adopting of sharia law. This doesn’t sound at all like reconciliation. It sounds like a call for capitulation. ‘Moderate’ Islam has no more relevance to America than ‘moderate’ christianity. BEWARE–Both would enshrine utter tyranny through theocracy–if they could. We must oppose these insidious inroads against our freedom at every level.

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