Fr. James Schall’s recently published collection of essays on Islam and violence suffers from reductionist arguments, nonexistent evidence, and historical ignorance. It is a book that defeats itself, and is an unfortunate addition to the legacy of an otherwise great scholar.
If conservatives want to seriously help address issues related to Islam, the Muslim world, and encounters with the West, they need to escape their narrow information networks.
Debates about whether Islam is inherently violent obscure more than they clarify because they misconceive the nature of religious authority in Islam. A lack of central authority lies at the heart of the difficulties facing Muslim reformers and explains why it is so difficult to disentangle violence from Islam.
Because there is no central authority in Islam and many ambiguities exist within the Quran, the status of women in Islamic societies depends greatly on historical and cultural factors.