Taking back Islam

David Ignatius on the struggle within Islam. A bit confused over the character of Salafism – which he equates with the jihadist groups – but perceptive about some of the forces in the Muslim world that are actually combating terrorism. He gives the example of

“an Islamic conference in Amman in July that concluded with a communique on ‘True Islam and Its Role in Modern Society’. It reemphasized the traditional faith – the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence, the orthodox school of Shiite jurisprudence, the canon set forth over centuries of fatwas and other orthodox interpretations of what Islam means. Rather than running scared, as mainstream clerics sometimes do when facing the Salafist onslaught, the Amman declaration was proud and emphatic. It drew together fatwas from the leading clerics in Islam, including the sheik of Al-Azhar in Cairo and Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Najaf. Another backer was Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, who has a weekly show on al-Jazeera and is probably the best-known television preacher in the Arab world.”

Washington Post, 19 September 2005