Muhammad died a political leader, and Jesus died on a cross

Here are some interesting comments from the Rt. Rev. George Carey. He is the former Archbishop of Canterbury. That means he was the head of the Anglican Communion, which numbers about 70 million around the world.

In general I agree with him, but I would clarify that my sense is that "moderate Islam" is largely a myth. That is, it is a fabrication, perhaps not malicious, but it does not exist on the scale that the Western press hopes for. True Islam is and must be profoundly conservative. It must be profoundly Arabic in a 7th Century sort of way because Muhammad is seen as the ideal man. Thus his way of living, eating, speaking, holding a water glass, trimming his beard, and so on, must be emulated. This is actually what the word "sunni" means: the way or manner of life of Muhammad.

Thus moderate Islam actually must support many of the people that are called terrorists in the West. I do think, however, that there is room within "moderate Islam" to condemn the 9/11 mujahidiin. That, however, would be a minority position within moderate Islam--condemning the 9/11 mujahidiin, that is. Sad to see how so many people misunderstand Islam. Claiming that there is a large "moderate" group that simply does not exist is not helpful to anyone at all.

Until the West begins to understand this there is no possibility for fruitful conversation.

Here are excerpts from that conversation, edited for space and clarity.

Q. I can't help but ask your thoughts about Pope Benedict and his comments last fall about Islam. What do you make of all that?

A. It didn't seem to relate to the message at all until one starts to look at the theme and what he was talking about. The secular mind can understand a God that's loving but cannot understand a God that's brutal and murders. So I think that in the pope's mind there was a link there: What kind of God do we believe in?

Now, I said that if people had looked at it carefully - it's a brilliant, brilliant essay on faith and secularism today - and the kind of thing he was saying indirectly about Islam, the Muslims need to face up to. The key question is why is Islam associated with terrorism? And it's no good saying that the terrorists are extremists.

There's something about the Islamic scriptures (that gives) justification for violence. There can be no denial about that actually. So there needs to be a really frank discussion.

Q. A lot of people who would call themselves Christians have committed acts of violence and used Scripture to justify (them). Do you see a difference?

A. I see a profound difference really. Because Islam - Muhammad - conquered by the sword. He died a political leader, and Jesus died on a cross. So there are two different concepts.

But you're absolutely right. There's been a lot of terrorism and violence done in the name of Christianity, which goes against the faith itself. I don't want to argue that Christians take the high moral ground on this. We can't. But what we have to say is we mustn't allow the terrorists to take Scripture over and bend it.... If Islam is a peaceful religion, then the moderates must deny the martyrs in terrorism and say that no terrorist actually is a martyr.

Here is the complete text: http://tinyurl.com/ye9ssk

Comments

Fletcher said…
Jesus inspires us because of He is our humble suffering servant, having made the greatest sacrifice of all, sacrificing His own life.

Muhammad (post Mecca) spread his "word" by force, sacrificing others should they not adhere to his teachings.

A stark contrast indeed.
I know this has nothing to do with your blog, but I just wanted to let you know I read your comment on my blog. I am so happy to see you and your family are blessed and safe.

"Does this guy know how to party or what? Huh?? Huh? Huh."

:-)
Oh yes, and the little girl is Kelly's daughter!
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Fletcher and Erica,

Fletcher: I was speaking with a Muslim friend today and he said that he had been reading the letters to the church in Corinth, and he said that we were victorious in the Messiah.

What are we victorious over? I asked

Over lust...over sin.

And what is the place of the cross in this?

That Jesus was victorious over death and sin through the cross. God vindicated him and proved his victory in the resurrection.

How glorious is the cross! It is God's victory over both death and sin.

Erica: wonderful to hear from you. Sorry to have to use my Arabicized name online, but for security reasons it is needed. Hope all is well with you. Look forward to seeing more on your blog.

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