In his useful essay, "Islamic Counter-Reformation" (August/September), Paul Marshall says that hoping for an "Islamic Reformation" makes little sense because Islam already has so many Protestant features. To that, I would add two points.
First, in The Decline of the West, Oswald Spengler claimed that Islam is a Reformation, or perhaps the Puritan phase of a Reformation, within what he called Magian culture. In this instance, old Oswald was on to something.
Second, Islam has already tried Mr. Marshall's suggestion of moving in a "Catholic" direction. Shia Islam (once a larger part of the Muslim world than it is today) already has a hierarchy and a "magisterium." As we see in the Islamic Republic of Iran, however, these features do not always serve to mitigate Jihadist tendencies.
John J. Reilly
Jersey City, New Jersey
Paul Marshall replies:
Since my article loosely applied the Christian...