Saturday, October 11, 2003

The Reformation

Ideofact has responded to my random thoughts comparing Islamic fundamentalism with the Reformation. His comments are interesting, though in a couple of places we need to define some terms. By conservative, I mean in terms of social mores: The Reformation was a period when women's roles became increasingly restricted, for example, much like they are in places like Afghanistan. And in terms of the leaders, I see most Islamic fundamentalist leaders as forming part of an elite: Muqtada Sadr is the son of a leading ayatollah, for example, and Shaykh Ahmed Yassin a graduate of al-Azhar. However, their influence often seems out of proportion to their credentials. Of course, this comparison really isn't that meaningful on the Islamic side, as formal credentials have never been a big deal in Islam, which has no heirarchy.

Incidentally, I will say that as a Protestant, I mean this in no way as disparaging to any religious tradition of any kind =)

UPDATE: I see this topic has come up before. In December 2002, Unmedia posts some Ikram Saeed comments that "Wahhabism is the Reformation." Ideofact also discussed that perspective.


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