I read the first two sentences of this Mark Steyn post and had a sinking feeling that he was writing something sensible and important about the Muslim world:

Lisa, your second post is really the answer to your first one. What if we've already had the reformation of Islam and jihadism is it?

Fortunately, he turned out not to be going in the direction I feared at all. Where he should have gone, however, is this: People who call for a "Muslim reformation" seem to have completely forgotten what happened during the Protestant Reformation. The dime-store version, though, is massive religious wars in which huge numbers of people died. This happened on the European continent and also in the British Isles. It's true that in the long-run the Reformation led to the development of doctrines about religious tolerance and liberalism, but it took a good long time. Martin Luther's 95 Theses were written in 1517 whereas John Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration was written in 1689. In between came an awful lot of wars, witch-burning, fanaticism, etc.

Clearly, any analogy between present-day circumstances and 16th and 17th century Europe is going to be very, very, very imperfect but this seems to me to be the direction an appropriate analogy would take: the Islamism-related violence we're seeing is in some ways reminiscent of the violence associated with the Reformation and Counterreformation rather than something that would be solved by something Reformation-esque.

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