Daily Archives: October 20, 2011

Can Islam undergo its own Reformation?

“Osama Bin Laden didn’t strap on any explosive vest or learn how to fly himself, you know.”

Posted by Cliverton

Marcus left this comment on a recent post Freedom, Understanding and the Middle East: One Muslim’s view. I think it’s worth a separate post…

Hello everyone,

I’m off to work shortly, so I must be brief. Perhaps I’ll expand upon this train of thought later…

1/ There was a time in Christendom when to announce you were “Catholic” in England or “Protestant” in Spain would get you burned at the stake, imprisoned, tortured etc.. That violence in the name of God was supposed to be about what God wanted, but it was really about achieving or maintaining temporal power by the elites of the day.

2/ Much of what we later called “The Reformation” was about power groups and not about spirituality, beliefs, God, Jesus etc. It was about the economic, political and social power that accompanied commitment to one side or the other. Yes, the foundation of the Reformation was a dispute about religious beliefs, but on many levels it was about power, control, money, territory. Call it “Political Religion” as opposed to “Spiritual Religion”.

3/ Similarly, much of the turmoil, violence and confrontation happening between the various Islamic sects and also directed at non-Muslims is about power, control, money, territory. Yes, there is disagreement about spiritual religion – often violent disagreement – amongst Muslims and by Muslims against non-Muslims, but we in the West and many Muslims themselves often ignore how much of the violence is about power, not religion. Religious fervor in young (primarily male) Muslims is cultivated and whipped up to be used as a weapon by the Islamic elites. Osama Bin Laden didn’t strap on any explosive vest or learn how to fly himself, you know. Continue reading


Filed under Human Rights, Religion