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To Swahili Dinaz

Reader comment on item: Bush Declares War on Radical Islam
in response to reader comment: Will the Moderate Muslims Please Stand Up And Show the Way?

Submitted by Mohammed Saleem Akhtar (United States), Oct 15, 2005 at 18:18

Mr. Dinaz, I like your posts although again like all of us indian subcontinent people you look at the situation very cynically. Let me try to adress your questions one by one..

Your question: In a crunch situation, can Moderate Muslims afford to stand up and be counted? Who calls the shots in the community?

This is the main problem. No one calls the shots in the community because there is no authority in Islam. Shias follow their own Islam, Sunnis have 50 different sects of Islam, Sufis are a different branch altogether. Most pakistanis eg belong to the 'Sufi' class of Islam. They have not read Koran or arabic. They think its a divine book, they dont know the meaning of it. The 20-30% sunnis follow the 'hanafi' school of thought that is a moderate version. Again there is no single authority that guides them. Now here the Wahabists have gained control of Islam. the Saudi family of Al-Saud formed and preach Wahabism. By remaining in the throne at Saudi Arab, the wahabists claim they have the central authority to main decision making. However this is a false and fabricated mechanism to gain power of a state by a family.

The moderate muslim is bewildered. S/he doesnt know what is correct. S/he doesn't have even read the koran or know its meaning. Eg the issue of Israel is a complete political issue of the arabs and has nothing to do with Islam. Jerusalem and the sacred land of Israel is Jewish for ages and will always remain so. If arabs develop friendly relations with the Jews they will be, I am sure, allowed to visit the holy sites where Solomon, Jacob, Isaac, David, Moses, lived and walked and preached. Arabs dont need to remain in Israel at all because Jews have the right to live in Israel being a historical fact. And true Islam, which arabs dont know an iota of, gives Jews that right.

One moderate muslim who comes to mind is Tarek Ramadan. Again, many moderate muslims dont like him because his knowledge is biased and he doesnt know his own history. He is a political person becoming a spokesman for palestenians that is wrong because palestinians does not represent Islam. Palestinians are a group of people who should peacefully live with Israelis. If they dont chose so then just go and live in the arab lands. Hence tarek ramadam is no authority in fact is just complicating things.

Question: This is mainstream Islam. All other shades of Muslim opinion are silenced in event of public confrontation. It means that moderate opinion, the voice of reason is worthless to Islam in the final reckoning.

Answer: Wrong. Above sentence might apply to 15-20% of 1.5 billion muslims. Not all of them.

Question: Ironically, moderates are welcome as representatives of Islam in secular debates. What instrument, what mechanism do they have to ensure that their opinion is heard or respected in the Ummah? There is none.

Answer: Yes here you are right! Because many illeterate Mullahs have taken over that role of 'central authority'. I do agree that young generation should just disregard some of these Mullahs. Again what is needed in Islam is REFORM of IJTEHAD.

Some leader needs to come up and lay down foundation of REFORMED ISLAM, kind of a new enlightened religion. Its just like hinduism trying to integrate Dalits in itself now. Although the progress is slow at least something is being done to manage the plight of 200 million low-caste hindus.

In exactly the same way, a new Reformed Islam must be formed to reflect the modern times. Although I am an agnostic, I do know that Islamic faith preaches spirituality, love and compassion. The religion is faulty but not the faith. One can only hope that some leader emerges who

1. has respect among all different races that follow Islam (like arabs, turks, indonesians etc)
2. is moderate, enlightened and bridges the gap between religion of Islam and other religions
3. lays the foundation of 'Reformed Islam'

Anyway, just my opinion. I am not as well read or knowledged as you guys here on this forum... so thanks for reading.

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