The Washington Post's "On Faith" section offers some hilariously convoluted prose by Professors John L Esposito and John O Voll on the current scene. Opening sentence:
In a world in which Islamophobes blur the distinction between the barbaric acts of Muslim extremists and terrorists and the religion of Islam, two recent legal decisions in Sudan and Saudi Arabia will reinforce accusations that Islam is an intolerant religion.
As John Hinderaker at Power Line points out, that's "one of those sentences where the second clause takes away what the first clause asserted". The second sentence is almost as good:
After years of civil war and bloodshed and having failed to effectively respond to what some describe as genocide in Darfur, Sudan's government and judiciary have captured global attention with...
"Having failed to effectively respond to what some describe as..." Think we've got enough weaselly qualifying speed-bumps in there, lads? Shouldn't it be "Having been accused by some of failing to respond as effectively as has been argued they might have done to what some might describe as genocide if they weren't on top of all the nuances as we are..."?
Messrs Esposito and Voll now get down to the meat of their piece: Their main problem with tossing British schoolteachers in the slammer over teddy-bear names and giving 19-year old Saudi women 200 lashes and six months in jail for the crime of getting gang-raped isn't that blameless grade-school teachers are getting imprisoned and rape victims are getting lashed, but that such stories play into the hands of "right-wing extremists" who paint stereotypical portraits of Islam as intolerant. And that's a bad thing - not the lashing and jailing, but the right-wing stereotypes:
At a time when Islam is under siege from Muslim extremists and extremists from the Far Right in Europe and America, the judiciaries of Sudan and Saudi Arabia have managed to reinforce the vilification of Islam...
Fortunately, the professors offer an easy solution. Instead of writing about torturing women, we should all torture our prose style into equivalist mush suggesting Islam is no different from the Buddhists or Episcopalians or any other religion in having its overheated elements:
All our futures depend upon an ability to agree upon a global ethic, based upon mutual understanding and respect, that transcends our religious and cultural differences. Whatever our differences, there can never be an acceptable excuse for injustice and intolerance in the name of our religions.
Who are these guys? As the sign-off explains:
"On Faith" panelist John L. Esposito is professor of religion, international affairs and Islamic studies at Georgetown University. He also is founding director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
John O. Voll is professor of Islamic history and associate director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
Ah. That I understand.