Quote of the Week: Khaled Abou El Fadl
Catholics have been told to get to know Islam better, not from polemical, anti-Islamic sources, but from the Muslims themselves. Just as a Catholic would be appalled if someone learned their Catholicism from Jack Chick, Dave Hunt, or James White, so Muslims are disgusted by the sensationalistic, anti-Islamic trash which misrepresents their theological tradition and their historical reality. It is in this spirit I have decided to use a quote from a Muslim scholar as this week’s quote of the week:
The existence of Muslim puritanism is hardly surprising. Most religious systems have suffered at one time or another from absolute extremism, and Islam is no exception. Within the first century of Islam, religious extremists known as the Khawarij (literally, the secessionists) slaughtered a large number of Muslims and non-Muslims, and were even responsible for the assassination of the Prophet’s cousin and companion, the Caliph Ali b. Abi Talib. The descendants of the Khawarij exist today in Oman and Algeria, but after centuries of bloodshed, they became moderates if not pacifists. Similarly, the Qaramites and Assassins, for whom terror became a raison d’etre, earned unmitigated infamy in the writings of Muslim historians, theologians, and jurists. Again, after centuries of bloodshed, these two groups learned moderation, and they continue to exist in small numbers in North Africa and Iraq. The essential lesson taught by Islamic history is that extremist groups are ejected from the mainstream of Islam; they are marginalized, and eventually treated as heretical aberrations to the Islamic message.
– Khaled Abou El Fadl, The Place of Tolerance in Islam (Boston: Beacon Press, 2002), 5-6.