Islamic Literalists Block the Way Forward

Islamic Literalists Block the Way Forward

It would seem that rage grips the world of Islam, that frivolity and joy and plain normalcy quit Muslim lands and communities a long time ago.

We don’t know with any reasonable certainty when this great change settled upon the Muslims. We do know that when Americans and Europeans encounter Islam today, they usually do so in the context of a ferocious anti-U.S. riot of young men -- this is the population that takes to the streets -- who are offended by a novelist’s literary license, a cartoonist’s irreverent depiction of Muhammad or a convicted fraudster’s idea, on a video trailer, of the life and imagined predilections of the prophet.

One would not know today that these Arab and Islamic cities had their “hakawatis” (storytellers) -- who spun yarns in the evening -- and had their sinners and brothels and proud heretics. One would have no idea of what life pulsated behind the shutters of these Muslim homes.

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