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.