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February 01, 2003

Islam- Religion of Diversity

Conservatives have taken to derisively referring to Islam as the "religion of peace." But what those who denounce Islam as narrowly monolithic miss is its historic and present reality of incredible diversity.

Just see this quote describing the radical challenge to Iran's religious leaders from a newly released cleric of high prestige:

Talking is what Shiite Muslim clerics like Ayatollah Montazeri are trained to do. In principle, the clerical system is supposed to be a democratic, even chaotic one in which students are trained to speak their minds and challenge the authority of their professors. Qum, the dusty 1,000-year-old city on the edge of Iran's great salt desert 90 miles south of Tehran, is the national headquarters for that discourse.
Islam has a long history of both diversity, tolerance and intellectual engagement with other religious communities.

Those who pick out a few of today's political and terrorist movements like Al Qaida and declare that as equivalent to nearly a millenimum and a half of its long history just detray their own narrowness.

Posted by Nathan at February 1, 2003 12:15 PM

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