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Old 08-01-2011, 05:55 PM
dieter dieter is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 237
Default Re: I have a problem with this conversation

I agree with the second half of your analysis, but I've got a different take on the first half.

It seems to me that many of the memes and factoids that were deemed to be islamophobic and bigoted have entered into the mainstream. Karen Armstrong-type islamophilia has mostly died out. I remember vividly that progressives and even hardcore anti-christian atheists really believed that Islam was actually a religion of peace, women's rights, tolerance and logic and much more enlightened than Christianity. This embrace of Islam actually increased after 9/11 and the islam apologists were busily quoting the quran on their behalf. Later, their untenable position eroded to the position that Islam was unknowable, diverse, nebulous and arbitrary. Now it is pretty much understood that Islam is at the very least a very conservative religion. This development is more advanced in Europe than in the US, but the trajectory is the same.

The single issue anti-Islam bloggers and writers can't declare victory however, lest they would be out of their jobs and lose their purpose in life. So they've actually increased in shrillness and exaggerate their alleged persecution.

The anti-anti-Islam types have pretty much stopped arguing about substance and even admit upfront to many problematic aspects of real existing Islam and real existing islamic societies. Instead they critique the tone, shrillness and activism of the anti-Islam activists.

I haven't seen anything knew or substantive coming out of this debate for at least two or three years.

Let's end with a positive note. It appears that a new generation of Orientalists, Arabists and Islam scholars is emerging that once again is willing to analyse the origins of Islam critically, with an enlightened spirit and utilizing the historical-critical method rather than the obscurantist postmodern style of the Karen Armstrongs of the world. This kind of research is the best hope we have towards enlightenment in the muslim world.
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