" At 11/06/2005 9:59 PM, Jon said...
I think that Islam, mirrors Judaism/Christianity very well. There are a few exceptions--the Empire came much quicker in Islam than in Rome, because there was not much of an existing empire to create centuries of suppression.
The Koran to me reads very much like the worst parts of the Old Testament glued together and amplified. I'm always grateful when Sufis share their favorite verses, because they find the lights in there that I can't. Unlike Christianity, whose Teacher basically forbade violence, there is no such prohibition in Islam--Mohammed is much like Joshua.
"Also, it seems to me that Islam's history is somewhat like Christianity's with a 600-year lag. In the early 1500's things were getting nasty. The Reconquista drove Muslims and Jews out of Spain, the Reformation (and all its wars) were set to begin, colonization and capitalism were getting under way.
"All of these are happening in certain strains of Islam today."
Right, Jon; it is uncanny how much they have recapitulated our traditions, and our historical course. It's actually more complex of course. A couple of centuries after Mohammed you can see Muslim learning far surprassing that of the Christian West, where learning was almost solely devoted to religious studies. They got Greek culture from Greece and passed it on to the West.
We taught them violence and brutality. Before the Crusades they were militant and had conquered a big part of the world. But they were not brutal; that they learned from the Crusaders.
Muslim culture is at least as complex as ours. Both religions have their fundamentalists (who seem to be primarily lacking in simple humanity).
Reading Karen Armstrong's short history Islam, (pages 180-83), about the West's dishonorable involvement in the military coup that ended an islamic (democratically elected) government in Algeria casts light on why France is burning right now.