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July 01, 2005

"Islam" vs. "Islam"

John points me to this article about Polish Tatars and immigrant Arab Muslims, and the debate about what true "Islam" is. Let me make it clear, fundamentally I am a nominalist on the question of what defines a religion (though operationally I will concede the importance of population thinking and an acknowledgement of general trends). Ultimately the battle for the "soul of Islam" must be fought by Muslims and arbitrated by non-Muslims (like it or not). That is why I am skeptical of individuals who assert "my religion demands that I behave like so," since usually it is really my interpretation of my religion demands such and such. An uncritical acceptance of an interpretation as normative, that is, the standard practice, is I believe a dangerous precedent. More later....

Posted by razib at 08:01 PM