"while most religions tend to mature out of textual literalism, the idea of the Qur'an as a handbook of pluralism and democracy is fanciful. It is permeated with the language of struggle (jihad) and victory over unbelievers. It insists on the oneness of the political and the religious realm" (Ruthven)Post-reformation Christian Europe didn't produce a smaller role for religion in the State but a greater one; never before had the identities of State and Church been so congruent. It took the bloodshed and destruction of the Thirty Years War to prepare the ground for the transformation that really advanced European civilisation; the Enlightenment. Pluralism, and the separation of church from state, only developed when faith was tempered with science, rationality and humanism. Sadly, the prospects of an endogenous Enlightenment for the Islamic world are slight, and it remains condemned to a future of barbarism, blood and fratricide. And Jenkins' conclusion, that we must leave them to it, is undoubtedly correct;
Another writer in the same vein, Hans Küng, points out that jihad was never just a defensive concept but "a struggle to advance God's cause among the unbelievers". To make it accord with western pluralism would require a theological upheaval, a "total paradigm shift". Yet even to suggest this "can still be as dangerous for a Muslim as a heterodox view was for a Catholic at the height of the Inquisition or for a liberal Protestant in Calvin's Geneva".
The people of the Muslim world clearly need the west's humanitarian aid and sanctuary in distress. Britain must accept that there will be echoes of their conflicts in its domestic communities. But the glint in the eye of Washington and London that Islam's tribal tribulations might be relieved with more guns, more missiles and more soldiers is cynical warmongering. We have done more damage to the Muslim world than it has ever done to us. We should leave it alone. We have weed enough in our own garden.