Islam (10-11; November 7 & 10)

I’ll be honest, Chuck.  I had more trouble with these chapters than the other ones.  This was mostly due to the fact that I have no real person connection to Islam and can’t connect it to my life.  Oh, fyi Journal, the chapters are on Islam and the Qur’an. 

I did note one thing especially as I read through these chapters—Avalos has lost his audience yet again.  He doesn’t know who he’s writing to at all; he doesn’t even know where he’s writing from.  I thought it interesting that in this section Avalos used modern examples and words like “terrorist” to get his point across.  Now, I’m not ascribing any negative tendencies to Avalos (yet), but I kind of wondered if maybe he flipped his hat from ‘biblical scholar’ to ‘American’.  I can understand that it would be especially easy, but it is something he needs to watch out for. 

The section “Osama bin Laden and Sacred Space”, in particular, can touch an easily triggered nerve.  Avalos exsplains the reasons listed in bin Laden’s fatwa for war against the United States.  Although there are admittedly certainly components of the opposition of the U.S. that are political, bin Laden and his followers perceive the political effects to be an extension of religion. 

But, returning to my point, here’s an example of the impression I got from Avalos and his attitude toward Islam—the crazy lady who asked McCain the question about Obama being a Muslim and making her nervous—on national television, no less—and McCain answering, “No, ma’am.  He’s not a Muslim he’s a good family man.”


Since when did being a Muslim amount to not being a good family man?  Now, this woman may have been simply ignorant—or maybe McCain was ignorant, but either way, it’s absurd.

Now Avalos isn’t really that bad—this is the overly touchy thing again, I’m thinking.  He does, in fact, bring out the good parts first and makes a strong, objective argument for sacred resources in terms of text.  On the bottom of 246, he states (and this is a loooong quote, but I appreciate the way he states his point),

Textuality and orality can be seen as rhetorical and hermeneutic strategies for maintaining or   changing power relations.  Those who wish to maintain power based on a specific textual form or interpretation will usually insist of fixity.  Those not satisfied with the current allocations of power may insist on flexibility and oral sources of authority that are beyond the text.  Yet both strategies are premised on the power of a text to enforce fixity, for one does not argue against fixity unless it is believed to have force.”



~ by spim on November 17, 2008.

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