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Reader comment on item: [Finding Moderate Muslims:] Do you believe in modernity?

Submitted by Jeffrey Schilling (United States), Jun 25, 2012 at 16:10

  • Violence: Do you condone or condemn the Palestinians, Chechens, and Kashmiris who give up their lives to kill enemy civilians? Will you condemn by name as terrorist groups such organizations as Abu Sayyaf, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Groupe Islamique Armée, Hamas, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and al-Qaida?

I condemn them, and all killing of civilians in the name of Islam.

  • Modernity: Should Muslim women have equal rights with men (for example, in inheritance shares or court testimony)? Is jihad, meaning a form of warfare, acceptable in today's world? Do you accept the validity of other religions? Do Muslims have anything to learn from the West?

As regards to inheritance shares, no, since men are finanically responsible for maintaining their households, while women have no reciprocal financial obligation. As for more important issues like court testimony, holding political office, women enjoy the same rigths as men.

I reject perpetual Jihad.

I believe that all religions originate with God, and therefore, I accept their validity.

Yes, Muslims have a lot to learn form the West.

  • Secularism: Should non-Muslims enjoy completely equal civil rights with Muslims? May Muslims convert to other religions? May Muslim women marry non-Muslim men? Do you accept the laws of a majority non-Muslim government and unreservedly pledge allegiance to that government? Should the state impose religious observance, such as banning food service during Ramadan? When Islamic customs conflict with secular laws (e.g., covering the face for drivers' license pictures), which should give way?

Yes, non-Muslims enjoy complete equal civil rights with Muslims.

Yes, Muslims convert to other religions.

Yes, and it is no one else's concern whom a Muslim world marries.

No, the state has no business imposing religious observance.

I would need more examples. As the given example, secular law should prevail, especially since there is no conflict with other interpretations of Islam.

  • Islamic pluralism: Are Sufis and Shi'ites fully legitimate Muslims? Do you see Muslims who disagree with you as having fallen into unbelief? Is takfir (condemning fellow Muslims with whom one has disagreements as unbelievers) an acceptable practice?

I accept other religions generally, and other interpretations of Islam which do not seek to violently impose themselves on others.

Muslims who disagree with me have not fallen into unbelief.

Takfir is not an acceptable practice.

  • Self-criticism: Do you accept the legitimacy of scholarly inquiry into the origins of Islam? Who was responsible for the 9/11 suicide hijackings?

Not only do I accept scholarly inquiry into the origins of Islam, I believe it to be necessary.

A group of nineteen Muslims, the majority of whom were from Saudi Arabia, were directly responsible for 9/11.

  • Defense against militant Islam: Do you accept enhanced security measures to fight militant Islam, even if this means extra scrutiny of yourself (for example, at airline security)? Do you agree that institutions accused of funding terrorism should be shut down, or do you see this a symptom of bias?

Considering that Muslims do not fit one ethnic profile, I question whether target particular ethnic groups is effective. If the law is equally applied to everyone, I have no problem with it.

I believe in innocence until guilt is proven, so I do not support shutting down an institution based solely on an accusation. If the accusation is proven then shut it down.

  • Goals in the West: Do you accept that Western countries are majority-Christian and secular or do you seek to transform them into majority-Muslim countries ruled by Islamic law?

Of course the west is majority-Christian and secular. I have no objective to convert anyone, but I have no objection to conversion from or to Islam if done so freely.


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