Monday, January 09, 2006

Islam's fanatical 1 per cent

While you may disagree with the numbers, this editorial in the Jordanian Times will be very helpful in explaining the different schools of thought within Islam beyond the simplified idea of Sunni/Shia/Moderate/Radical that we have been imbibing if your only resources is the American Main Stream Media.

A recent study published in Damascus by the Centre of Islamic Studies pointed out that conservatives make up about 80 per cent of the population of the Middle East's Islamic societies. Reformers make up most of the other 20 per cent. Radicals can count on support from no more than 1 per cent of the population. In my view, these rough proportions have been stable throughout ten centuries of Islamic history, with slight differences.

Islamic terminology has been established to describe these differences. Radicals first emerged as “Khawarij”, a fanatical group dating to the first century of Islam which used accusations of blasphemy — and violence — to suppress even small differences of opinion. Today's conservatives are known among religious scholars as “People of the Letter” — those who adhere to the letter of the Islamic texts. Reformists, as they are known today, are the equivalent of “People of Intellect.”

Read the rest:

Jordan Times Islam's fanatical 1 per cent

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