Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

Muslim reformers

My previous post dealt with the problem.  This one has to do with the solution: Muslim Reform Movement.  The fact is that we all can talk about violence inherent in Islam till we blue in the face, and we will still have a problem.  Even if we defeat the the jihadis militarily now, they will come back later because the ideological basis for them will remain intact.  So, they will have to be defeated ideologically as well.  The only one way to do it in my opinion is to re-interpret Koran, de-emphasizing violence in it.  So, we need to promote the genuine reformers of Islam, people who seek to re-interpret the religious doctrine of Islam.  One of such organizations, Muslims Against Sharia, left a comment on this blog recently, and I am thankful for that.  There are others:

Dr. Tawfik Hamid;

American-Islamic Forum for Democracy.

I am adding these links to my sidebar.  There are probably others.  We need to scream as loud as we can, so that the media listens to these people, rather than CAIR.  Front Page recently conducted a symposium of Muslim reformers.  There is hope.  Finally, it seems that Turkish Government got involved in the Muslim Reform effort:

Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam – and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The country’s powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

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Turkey is intent on sweeping away that "cultural baggage" and returning to a form of Islam it claims accords with its original values and those of the Prophet.

But this is where the revolutionary nature of the work becomes apparent. Even some sayings accepted as being genuinely spoken by Muhammad have been altered and reinterpreted.

Prof Mehmet Gormez, a senior official in the Department of Religious Affairs and an expert on the Hadith, gives a telling example.

"There are some messages that ban women from travelling for three days or more without their husband’s permission and they are genuine.

"But this isn’t a religious ban. It came about because in the Prophet’s time it simply wasn’t safe for a woman to travel alone like that. But as time has passed, people have made permanent what was only supposed to be a temporary ban for safety reasons."

The project justifies such bold interference in the 1,400-year-old content of the Hadith by rigorous academic research.

Prof Gormez points out that in another speech, the Prophet said "he longed for the day when a woman might travel long distances alone".

So, he argues, it is clear what the Prophet’s goal was.

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According to Fadi Hakura, an expert on Turkey from Chatham House in London, Turkey is doing nothing less than recreating Islam – changing it from a religion whose rules must be obeyed, to one designed to serve the needs of people in a modern secular democracy.

He says that to achieve it, the state is fashioning a new Islam.

"This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation," he says.

"Not exactly the same, but if you think, it’s changing the theological foundations of [the] religion. "

Fadi Hakura believes that until now secularist Turkey has been intent on creating a new politics for Islam.

Now, he says, "they are trying to fashion a new Islam."

Significantly, the "Ankara School" of theologians working on the new Hadith have been using Western critical techniques and philosophy.

They have also taken an even bolder step – rejecting a long-established rule of Muslim scholars that later (and often more conservative) texts override earlier ones.

"You have to see them as a whole," says Fadi Hakura.

"You can’t say, for example, that the verses of violence override the verses of peace. This is used a lot in the Middle East, this kind of ideology.

"I cannot impress enough how fundamental [this change] is."

Read the whole article.  Generally conservatives like myself are skeptical about government involvement in anything.  But in this particular case, placing government resources behind the project might be a good thing.

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May 7, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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