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      Dear Ms. Shireen Qudosi

      A few months ago I PM’d @imamofpeace, after having followed him for a year or more, about an issue that had niggled me but he never seemed to address in any of his communications or interviews. I never received a response and didn’t think much about it until I noticed, today, that he must have promptly blocked me from his twitter feed soon after receiving my question.

      I have just recently stumbled across you on twitter and, agreeing with much of what you share there, I thought you may be a good person to ask about my original question to Imam Tawhidi. The question was this: As Muhammad is to Islam what Christ is to Christianity (i.e. the ultimate example of how adherents are to live within the faith & interpret the Holy Texts) how is it possible to reconcile Islam as a religion of peace? Or even reform it without removing the example and teachings of the Prophet?

      I had no real knowledge of Islam prior to marrying a Serbian citizen. Since my marriage, and since living in Serbia for many years, I have learned a lot about the history of Islam & it’s teachings; both from Serbian academics and from numerous Islamic sources and Western critics online). I have recently started looking more into the writings of some of the the modern Islamic Reformers I found online, which is why I reached out to the Imam of Peace.

      Would you be able to shed some light for me with your own response to my question? I see in some of your tweets you mention that books like the Hadith are ‘secondary’ and that you prefer original texts when it comes to interpretations. Could you explain the thinking behind this as well? Or refer me to articles you’ve written that may answer these questions?

      Currently, I’m very sceptical of Islam and it’s compatibility with Western culture but I am sincerely open to hearing more from reformers such as yourself in order to gain better insight into the issue and gain a glimpse of hope for a different future for mankind than the one I imagine.

      I thank you for your time & for the work that you are doing.

      Best regards,

      Sandra

      1. Reply

        Hi Sandra,
        Thank you for your question. There is no simple answer and this requires a full (in person) conversation where we explore the role of prophethood and comparisons between Muhammad and Jesus. Nonetheless to answer your question as succinctly as possible, I offer a dual response, both applicable in their own way. The first is that as a perfect emissary, we have to question whether M. failed prophethood and a message of peace the moment he raised the sword, or (second) whether his raising the sword to ensure the survival of a new set of ideas was in fact part of that set of ideas. The latter requires us to do away with the fiction that Islam is peace and instead accept the truth that Islam (for better or worse) is both peace and war.

        The question of the hour isn’t so much whether Islam is compatible with the West, but whether the West is compatible with itself. We’re knee deep in deeply polarizing culture wars that have undone the idea that there is a constancy in what the West stands for as it moves into the future.

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