Ball is in Muslims’ Court

I commend those who defend the Muslim community in the wake of the horrific French terror attacks. And I think gestures like today’s unity march are very civilized. But the grim truth is that if the Muslim community really wants to avert retaliation, they should cleanse their ranks of  extremists.

I don’t see how the extremists can flourish without tacit acceptance by their communities. The fact that they can hatch terror plots undetected suggests a sympathetic environment. We know this kind of environment exists in countries like Yemen. And I suspect there are also sympathetic environments in expatriate Muslim communities.

The underlying problem, as I see it, is that most Muslims accept Sharia Law.

Even in countries like Saudi Arabia, which has been an American ally for generations, Sharia Law is in force. I understand that women cannot legally drive in Saudi Arabia. And I have read of rape victims being hanged for defending themselves in that country. Recently, a Saudi blogger was sentenced to a thousand lashes for encouraging debate of the law’s provisions.

To me,  Sharia Law is barbaric.  And I suspect many Muslims not only accept that law but would like to see it imposed on the rest of us.

That’s the rub.

Reform is long overdue in the Muslim world. And that reform should come from within. According to Salman Rushdie, the author of Satanic Verses:

What is needed is a move beyond tradition—nothing less than a reform movement to bring the core concepts of Islam into the modern age, a Muslim Reformation to combat not only the jihadi ideologues but also the dusty, stifling seminaries of the traditionalists, throwing open the windows of the closed communities to let in much-needed fresh air.

It seems to me that the alternative is a catastrophic confrontation with non-Muslims who reject the harsh and antiquated dogma of a hostile and aggressive culture.

I am not advocating retaliation against Muslims in general. That would be a tragic injustice. But sadly, I see it as inevitable unless dramatic changes occur among the billion-and-a-half Muslims in the world.

Fortunately, there are enlightened Muslims who see the need for change. For the sake of all humanity, let’s hope they prevail.

Click for more on Sharia Law.

Click for more on reform within Islam.

Click for an example of Saudi justice.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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