Over at Slate, Robert Wright has written an excellent article on the issue of whether or not Islam can reconcile itself with modernity. Here’s one of the key points in the article:
I’m not saying that Islam is irrelevant to what happened on Sept. 11. In fact, I buy much of Sullivan’s argument-that understanding contemporary Islamic fundamentalism, as distinguished from moderate strands of Islam, helps illuminate our predicament. But I am saying that this whole business of mining the Quran for incendiary quotes is essentially pointless. Religions evolve, and there is usually enough ambiguity in their founding scriptures to let them evolve in any direction. If Osama Bin Laden were a Christian, and he still wanted to destroy the World Trade Center, he would cite Jesus’ rampage against the money-changers. If he didn’t want to destroy the World Trade Center, he could stress the Sermon on the Mount.
The entire article is excellent. Don’t skip it.