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Thanks Naeem!

Reader comment on item: [The Canadian Islamic Congress:] An Islamist Apology

Submitted by GWK (United States), Jul 27, 2005 at 09:20

Naeem mentioned how distressing it is for a secular Muslim to see extremism accepted within many Muslim communities. Thank you Naeem for your courage.

Dr. Pipes is right. An olive branch needs to be extended from Muslims to non-Muslims, so that our children can continue to be friends and that their children can build a better (secular) world where each person finds their salvation independently, and doesn't carry bombs into schools or planes to get to Paradise sooner. Only in a secular and pluralistic society can that happen.

I am afraid, however, that the tide has begun reversing from a secularization of western-living Muslims to a more fundamental intrusion into the personal freedoms and consciences of Muslims in the West. I saw that in Brooklyn, NY where in 1990s Muslim women who were wearing once western-style fashions began to become less common a sight and Hijab and more conservative fashions (including sometimes full-body hijab) became the norm. Muslim merchants, once very friendly and appreciative of their new country, shifted toward fundamentalism as well, with the galibaya long-shirt becoming more commonplace and beer was taken off the shelves of Muslim-owned shops.

So, your courage in the face of the shift to a community of fundamentalists who want to de-secularize their brethren is impressive. It is with great regret that the leaders of this shift are so intolerant and that they threaten independent-minded Muslims with emotional (or even physical) abuse. In the West, we consider any community where people aren't allowed freedom of belief to be a cult. I hope that the beautiful theology of Islam isn't becoming one dominated by intolerant, cultish, tyrants.

Good luck to you in your efforts to help bridge the widening gulf between secularists and fundamentalists.
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