I’m sure everyone here knows the fable of the three old blind men who stumbled across an elephant. Each man started describing their new-found friend based on whatever piece that happened to fall under his hand.
For one man, the elephant was all tusk and trunk; for the second, it was all ears; and for the third, it was all tail.
It is easy for us to laugh at their erroneous methodology (assuming a part represents the whole) and then promise that we would never, ever fall into the same trap.
So brothers and sisters from, in, and of the West: why do we do this with Islam?
The scholars we bring are just parts of the elephant. Most of us are in no position to judge whether we’re getting the end of the tail, or the tip of the trunk. And these arguments about who has the longest trunk or the flattest ears are a waste of time. If you’re after the whole elephant, import the entire beastie – even the parts that don’t strike your personal fancy. Otherwise, you had best stick up a warning and make it known that you’re just a specialty shop catering to a particular crowd…and good luck raising your herd of trunks, tusks, tails or whatever.