How Islam Is Different… Or Not…

I would guess that the moderate Islam theologians, if they really call themselves that, tire of saying that these almost weekly killings don’t represent them. It just doesn’t seem to have much conviction behind those words anymore. I know this guy who killed and injured more than 100  in the latest event probably is more a Muslim in words than in acts but he is the face of that religion for most of us.

The words below come from a Muslim scholar at the Brookings Institute who tries to point out that Islam is just the way it is and you can’t do much about it. I take exception with his words:

2016-06-13_08-24-09.pngI am a bit uncomfortable making this claim, especially now, with anti-Muslim bigotry on the rise. But Islamic exceptionalism is neither good nor bad. It just is, and we need to understand and respect that.

Two factors are worth emphasizing: First, the founding moment of Islam looms large. Unlike Jesus Christ, the Prophet Muhammad was a theologian, a preacher, a warrior and a politician, all at once. He was also the leader and builder of a new state, capturing, holding and governing new territory. Religious and political functions, at least for the believer, were no accident. They were meant to be intertwined in the leadership of one man.

Second, for Muslims the Quran is God’s direct and literal speech, more than merely the word of God. It is difficult to overstate the centrality of divine authorship. This does not mean Muslims are literalists; most are not. But it does mean the text cannot easily be dismissed as irrelevant.

via How Islam Is Different from Other Religions | TIME

Islamic exceptionalism is mainly in the eyes of the beholder it seems. I googled the term and couldn’t find any references but I think he means that to the followers it is the only true religion. Of course there are many in the Christian world who make the same claims. They say that every word in their bible comes directly from God. Many in the ‘flat bible’ arena take that to believe that they can base their faith in any of the words contained in it as each word is as important as the next.  Some make snake handling as a serious part of their worship, some take the belief that God intends all of his believers to be millionaires. They can pick and choose any words as all are equally important. Isn’t that what all the suicide martyrs are doing?

The arguments in the quote above are the main reasons why we have so much religious related violence in the world. Every believer thinks they are exceptional. No, it is not” just the way it is”.


6 thoughts on “How Islam Is Different… Or Not…

    • You are painting with too broad a brush there jmsabbagh. Go to my blog post at
      There you will find that only about 10% of Muslims condone violence and that the vast majority of European and Western Hemisphere do not demand Sharia law.

      But you are right that the majority in the Middle East and Northern Africa and South Asia do want it as the law of the land. I think maybe after Trump is resoundingly defeated in the Fall he should head to that part of the work to build his wall. We should let those folks have their Sharia law if they want but if them come over the wall they are in trouble…. But then there is Israel in their midst… What to do about that?? Sounds like another serious post coming up…


      • God bless our American service men and women .The core of Islamic Jihadism is to eradicate the non Muslims .I respect you point of view.But reality can’t deny the Genocides,massacres ,terrorists bloody attacks committed by the Name of the Islamic ideology.


      • If Islam is merciful and peaceful religion ,why it allows the stoning to death the adulteress, flogging the lesbians and gays to death? Cut the hands of the thieves? Honor killing,little girls marriages? Women slavery, this what paganism used to do 5000 years ago .READ THE CODE OF THE BABYLONIAN KING HAMURABI.


  • Yes, most of us have moved forward from the harshness of Hammurabi. Most of us have moved forward from inflicting great harm for perceived sin. Most of us look for non violent justice. Those are the laws of our land.
    Not so in many parts of the Middle East and Southeast Asia. We may like to think that all of Islam (especially the ruling class) is peaceful, kind, loving, promotes women and gays as equals to men…but the reality is not the same as wishful thinking.


    • Jan, thanks for your usual wise thoughts. I couldn’t agree more. Yes, in most of the developed countries we have developed a more humanistic worldview and even the followers of Islam in those countries have followed suit. Christianity is not without its dark side too. The Salem witch trials, and particularly the Inquisition where we tortured people so they would get to heaven sooner, comes to mind. Do we reach for the least common denominator for our actions toward religious groups or do we discern a difference? That seems to be the question at hand…


Share Your Thoughts..

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s