June 26, 2008

Tactical Hudna and Islamist Intolerance

From Tactical Hudna and Islamist Intolerance:

Hudna is the first word used in Muslim history to mean cease-fire, specifically in the context of the seventh century Truce of al-Hudaybiyya. Named after a village outside Mecca, the truce came six years after Muhammad and his followers abandoned Mecca for Yathrib, today's Medina. This move set a pattern of retreat followed by regrouping and rearming, which permits an attack on the territory previously left behind. Muhammad and the rulers of Mecca negotiated a truce, the essence of which was to permit the Muslims to return unarmed on pilgrimage each year for the next decade. It came to an end two years later, however, when Muhammad entered Mecca with a small, armed force and took the city peacefully. Hudna, in other words, amounted to a temporary truce.

For Muslims, the challenge is to move from a worldview that sees all other religions and all non-Muslim people as inferior, Satanic, ignorant, and subject to Muslim conquest to one that coheres more closely with modern thinking, where religious hatred is increasingly relegated to the history books. The extent of Islamic terrorism, and the gulf between Islamic thinking on human rights and the norms of the original Declaration of Human Rights, justify concentration on Islamic intolerance as a special problem.