Sistani, Moderate

The Ayatollah Sistani has been perhaps the most stabilizing force in Iraq these past few years. I've praised him often; some have suggested he be offered the Nobel Peace Prize. He is often presented as the very model of a modern mullah, open to separation of mosque and state. Still it's very useful to see what he actually believes on his own website. He believes, for example, that he must not touch a non-Muslim. We are unclean. There is a short list of things regarded as unclean, and, if you are not a Muslim, you are on that list: urine, feces, semen, a dead body, blood, a dog, a pig, alcohol and the sweat of an animal that doesn't eat the right things. Oh, and you:

The entire body of a Kafir, including his hair and nails, and all liquid substances of his body, are najis.

Faithful Jews and Christians fare a little better:

As regards the people of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) who do not accept the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah (Peace be upon him and his progeny), they are commonly considered najis, but it is not improbable that they are Pak. However, it is better to avoid them.

This website is useful for us to understand better why Islam - not just radical Islam - finds modern pluralistic societies so difficult to tolerate. The West's view is that all humans are equal in their political and civil rights. Islam's view is that non-Muslims are on a separate plane: beneath them. Hence their insistence that the West now comport to Islam's rules with respect to what we can and cannot say and publish in public. We keep saying we must avoid a "clash of civilizations" and no sane person would want one. But that clash has already occurred - within our own civilization. And we're slowly surrendering.