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"And what happened to Al-Ustazh Mahmud Muhammad Taha?"

Reader comment on item: How to End Terrorism:

Submitted by Lactantius Jr. (United Kingdom), Dec 5, 2006 at 17:16

Dear Dr Pipes

Really key comments of yours, are those where you say, "----------only Muslims can undertake the second step, the formulation and spread of an Islam that is modern, moderate, democratic, liberal, good-neighborly, humane---------------------" which prompts me to comment on an article by Irshad Manji, appearing on 29th.November on TimesOnline under the heading "What is a 'moderate' Muslim?" posted at, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2476832_1,00.html#post_comment in which Ms Manji writes,

"Thus the central conundrum for us Muslims. If it's an article of our faith that the Quran is the unfiltered declaration of Allah, then what makes moderate Muslims 'moderate?' going on to say, "Fortunately, more and more Muslims are proclaiming that it's time for a liberal Islamic reformation."

The comments of yours and those of Ms Manji I have quoted, encapsulate what I believe to be central to the issue of Islamic violence facing Western democracies, which is, Can Islam change its "unchangeable" Qur'an?

Try and "modernise" Islam, as Al-Ustazh Mahmud Muhammad Taha did, by wanting 20th.century Islam to be the "nice, peaceful, peaceloving, tolerant Meccan Islam," rather than the "harsh, violent, warlike, warmongering, flogging and stoning Medinan Islam," and see what happens.

In 1985, Sudanese President Ja'far Mohammed al-Nimeiri, mis-used both the Sudanese legal system and Islamic Shariah, to have Muhammad Taha sentenced to death for apostasy, for which he was executed by public hanging on 18th.January 1985, despite the Sudanese penal code of 1983 having no mention of such a "crime."

Around 3,000 people gathered to enjoy seeing his execution, many chanting that Taha's execution "was a victory for Islam." http://www.alfikra.org/jan18/jan18_30_e.htm

Can Islam change? Can a leopard change its spots?

Irshad Manji is author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Wake-Up Call for Honesty and Change (Mainstream UK) and Senior Fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy


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