Somewhere on A1A...

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Moderate Islam Watch

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown doesn't like double standards in the Muslim world. He also thinks that more dialogue is needed with Moderate Islam:

Looking at our ever more perilous world, where new chasms open up daily between Islam and the West, you would think that politicians, non-governmental organizations and worthy bodies committed to building civic, non-violent societies would make it their priority to engage with European Muslims, particular those with reformist sentiments and agendas. The shock waves which have followed since the Salman Rushdie affair in 1988, culminating in the attacks on 11 September, should have told perceptive people that without deep, genuine and informed political and intellectual engagement with enlightened Muslims, chaos, and further chaos, is guaranteed...

...To ignore reformist Muslims is to abandon hope for any of us in the future. What do I mean by reformist? I mean people who see that there are universal principles of rights, freedoms, democracy and justice which apply as much to Muslims as others. I mean people insulted by the idea that they must be "tolerated" and who have the brains and guts to engage fully as democratic citizens.

I mean risk takers such as Zaki Badawi, the wise Egyptian head of the Muslim College who offered Salman Rushdie sanctuary in his home in the week following the fatwa. Or Ghiyassudin Siddique, leader of the once infamous "Islamic Parliament", who today boldly attacks the Government as well as the treatment of women in many Muslim families. I mean young Muslims like the young university student, Sama, who wrote to me last week to say: "I think we must be brave enough to say that no religion can continue to be relevant if it remains ahistorical. We live in a world where certain important values were not part of that old world. We must adapt or die."
What is the double standard that Mr Alibhai-Brown is talking about?:
I have had it with apologists who think that Muslims, whatever they do, only do these foul things because they are upset, humiliated, angry, despised and maltreated. There is no excuse big enough to explain the actions of cold-eyed slaughterers who descend on helpless Christians in Muslim states; the men who cut the throat of Daniel Pearl, the young Jewish American journalist; the grisly crowds in Nigeria who want to stone to death a young mother; the gang rape of children which is ordered as "punishment" by Muslim tribal leaders in Pakistan; the people who danced in the streets to see exploded bits of Americans and others.

I cannot stomach Muslim leaders and writers who jump up when there are signs of injustice against us (discrimination against Muslims is a serious problem, no doubt about that) but who never speak out to denounce outright the various discriminations which ruin the lives of common people (regardless of color or creed) in various parts of the world.
He's right, of course. These moderate muslims must take some of the responsibility in letting themselves be heard just as we need to share that responsibility by offering fora for their views to be heard .


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