My name is Rob J King (www.robjking.blogspot.com).
I am a Professor of Applied Ethics (St. Petersburg College, Florida) and have taught World Religion courses for a subsidiary of University of Phoenix-Online. In my time teaching, I have found that Islam is an especially intriguing topic. Does Islam continue the Judeo-Christian teaching (as it is similarly rooted in Father Abraham) or is Islam entirely different?
The answer to this question, of course, depends on who you ask. A Jew would say, of course not. There is only One True God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob (Exodus 3:15). A Christian would also say, well, no, God is not just "One," but "One and Three," the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit.
The Muslim, however, answers, "well, yes, Judaism and Christianity are both found within Islam and fellow 'people of the book' and should be accepted as brothers."
Having noted Islam's positive inclusion of Judaism and Christianity, however, the similarity ends there. True, Islam's "Five Pillars" of profession of faith (shahadah), ritual of prayer (salah), alms (zakat), fasting during Ramadan (sawm) and pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) are all strikingly similar to Jewish and Christian practices such as the Levitical Tithe or prayer such as praying the rosary (Catholic), but such religious practices mean entirely different things depending upon the belief system that is supporting such practices. For example, the Islamic self-understanding is that all reality must submit to Islam. Even peace-loving Muslims still practice the ritual of prayer known as the "salah" whereby Muslims around the world pledge allegiance to One, All-Encompassing, Theocratic Islamic community known as the Umma. Therefore, although peaceful Islam does exist, even peaceful Islam is all-encompassing and therefore not commensurable with either Judaism or Christianity which always place a great emphasis on acceptance of other religions, even allowing its own members to leave Judaism or Christianity on their own free accord. Islam makes no room for this, for in most Islamic countries, even moderate Islamic countries such as Kuwait, the official law as it is written in Shariah law is that to convert a Muslim is an offense punishable by death. No freedom of religion (that is, true freedom of religion) is allowable in authentic Islam.
Therefore, to speak of "moderate Islam" is really to speak of peace-loving Islam for Islam according to its own self-definition is all encompassing, swallowing up entire societies, governmental structures, etc. and essentially "Islamicizing" everything and making it all a part of the Umma.
So, in conclusion, the name "radical" is really a misnomer for all Islam is essentially "radical" in that it seeks to encompass all reality underneath it and even forcing all reality to submit to such rule. Even the name Islam means "submission." Therefore, rather than "radical Islam," perhaps we should speak of "violent Islam" or "Empire-building Islam," because Islam according to its own terms is certainly "radical" when compared to the liberal democracies of the West that ground their self-understanding in individual rights to include the right to practice freedom of religion.
Rob J King, Political Correspondent--RobJKing 21:34, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
- Rob, what is the mission of the missionaries from the Christian churches? To convert people to the "one true religion", and accept Jesus Christ as the personal savior of everyone on the Earth in order to save their souls from damnation, right?
- I wonder whether Judaism has something similar to that. I think through history it has depended on the strength of the Jewish State.
- What we need is for ALL religions to accept the others as different ways of seeing the same thing. G-d is the force that brings us together as living beings in the Universe. By whatever name, by whatever symbols, in whatever language, that is the constant. When G-d brings us together and we kill each other because we see G-d differently, we are the ones who are failing. Chadlupkes 23:40, 23 April 2007 (UTC)