Sunday, June 18, 2006

Moderate Muslims?

In a front page piece, the NY Times promotes Zaid Shakir and Hamza Yusuf
as US-bred moderate Muslim Imams:

Throughout most of the complimentary article, this pair makes several good and hopeful statements to the effect of promoting nonviolence and standing against Wahhabism.

But the final statement, of wishing for "America to become a Muslim country" and that any honest Muslim wishes the same is chilling. Even though I am Hindu, I do not wish America to become a Hindu country. Americans need to communicate to all of the different groups that make up the fabric of our nation the values that make our country unique - one of the key ones being that all religions are welcome and treated equally, another being the separation between church and state. The latter keeps religion from being contaminated by politics, and frees politics from the chains of self-righteously infallible dogma. The obvious retort of America being a "Christian country" is met by Christ's own "Render unto God what is God's, and render unto Caesar what is Caesar's." This goes to the crux of whether a Muslim Enlightenment/Reformation is possible - whether a mosque-state separation can be effected or set as a goal by "moderates." It is our duty to engage with those who abjure the sword for the pen and employ our finest methods of suasion to this end. Those who are open to reason must be convinced of the essentiality of an areligious arena of politics, where "I don't know" is the beginning of policymaking.


At 12:25 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Zarqawi's anti-people war

"The same applies to al-Qaida's tactical inflexibility that accepts only armed struggle as legitimate. What if al-Qaida depended (as the Palestinian movement and other Islamists generally do) on American naivete rather than alleged cowardice?

A May 2006 report by the US Institute of Peace, entitled,
"What Do Islamists Really Want?"
provides a wonderful example of this approach.
The institute, a semi-governmental organization, conducted a round-table meeting of several Islamist leaders who explained that they were really quite moderate.

The institute then concluded that since these people could not possibly lie about such a thing, the US should start providing them with training so they could organize more effectively and do better in elections."

At 12:59 AM, Blogger Doug said...

You Have to Love this Hate Crime Commission:

"The Illinois Governor’s Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes is shamed by the ongoing presence of commissioner Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad, a member of the Nation of Islam. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, appointed her to the position last August. He now claims that he didn’t know about her affiliation back then, but he certainly knew of it earlier this year, after Muhammad invited several of her fellow commissioners to attend a speech by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan..."

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Maria said...

If Hamza Yusuf expressed the wish for Islam to spread in America, it is because he sees the reason, the logic, the vastness of thought, the love and the compassion that the Quran provides as a fuel to drive civilization. If your dominant contact with Islam has come through the media, through the people the media likes to focus on, perhaps you do not understand what drives people like Hamza Yusuf to state what he stated. It is not out of the wish to 'conquer' but out of the wish to free people from oppression (including self-oppression) through spreading the knowledge of the Quran... just as you appear to believe democracy should be spread and shared towards the same end. Lumping Islam with 'organized religions' is an epistemological and historical mistake. Making it an opponent to democracy is also incorrect. Islam as presented in the Quran would subsume democracy as a way of life and remove the excesses of democracy. It is unfortunate that Islam is not practised beyond basic rituals anywhere in my expereince, including Pakistan. I regret I cannot provide live examples at the nation-state level.


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