and promote unmediated interpretations of scripture or even his or her own renderings of Tradition, his or her efforts may be convincing, linguistically justifiable, and even substantively correct. But unless they are immediately accepted as faithful renderings or he or she commands enough authority to convert them immediately into normative understandings, it may be years or even generations before these deductions acquire such a status, if they acquire it at all. In the interim, it would be misleading and perhaps disingenuous to refer to these renderings as "Islam," in the sense of representing the normative phenomenon that is lived, practiced, and esteemed by the generality or even critical masses of Muslims. My point here is that ultimately, unless we commit to the principle that Islam is essentially the sustained conclusions of those whom critical masses of Muslims recognize as authorities,  any non-Muslim or "extremist" Muslim interpretation (of, e.g., jihad or female circumcision) that grounds itself in Western or Eastern understandings of Qur'an and Sunna must be recognized as having an equal claim to represent "Islam."
-Sherman A. Jackson, Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering, p. 11