Pope’s refutation of the moderate-Islam fantasy hits the mainstream
Finally, a mainstream columnist with wide readership—“Spengler” in The Asia Times—has writtten about Pope Benedict’s extremely important statement last summer, as reported by Fr. Joseph Fessio in an interview with Hugh Hewitt last week (quoted by me here), that Islam cannot reform itself. Finally, it is not just a handful of fairly marginal writers who are saying this (see, for example, my articles “The Search for Moderate Islam” and “The Centrality of Jihad in Islam”), it is the most authoritative person in the whole Western world. And the Pope is not just declaring that Islam cannot be reformed, he’s giving highly informed reasons why this is so, going to the very nature of the Koranic “revelation.”
So, now that the dissenting view on Islamic reform has gone from the periphery to the center, what are the believers in moderate Islam (Daniel Pipes and Bernard Lewis and all mainstream “conservatives”) and Muslim democratization (President Bush and Condoleezza Rice and all mainstream “conservatives”) going to say? That the Pope is wrong when he says that Muslims believe (because the Koran tells them so) that the Koran is the direct and absolute and uncreated word of God and therefore cannot be re-interpreted? Let the debate begin.