Tag Archives: Muslim

7 Moderate Muslim Voices and Why You Should Listen to Them

Source: emel.com via River on Pinterest

 

 

As I write this #MUSLIMRAGE is trending on Twitter. Do a Twitter search on the terms “Moderate Muslim” and you get a string of cynicism and the snarky: “Where are the moderate Muslims?”. Some claim the term is an oxymoron. They say it doesn’t exist. These gems of faux wisdom are echoed by news commentary that I hear all the time around me. What is a moderate Muslim?  Where are they hiding when violence and controversy are stirred in the name of Islam?

Most recently, violent protests against an anti-Islamic film made in the United States are all over the news.  The September 11, 2012 killing of US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, is generating thousands of news stories.  A lot of Westerners are angrily claiming that Moderate Muslims are not condemning this violence.  Well, if you do some digging, you’ll find that they are:

#1 Let’s start with Libyans reacting to the killing of Stevens.  These pics tell the story:

Facebook Image - Libyan Youth Movement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[All images taken from Libyan Youth Movement Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/LibyanYouthMovement]

#2 Then there is President of Libya’s national assembly, Mohammed Magarief:
“We apologize to the United States of America and to the American people and to the whole world for what happened, and at the same time we expect the rest of the world to help us face these cowardly criminal acts.”

#3  A group of 500 Libyan tribal leaders
They met in a forum put together by the Council of the Elders of Benghazi and condemned the attacks as “shameful” and in direct conflict with the values of Islam.

#4 Egyptian-born cleric Youssef al-Qaradaw – “Our manner of protesting should reflect sense and reason,” – a public challenge in a Friday sermon following the killing.

#5  Sami al-Faraj, director of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies - “There’s no doubt that every Muslim feels in some ways deeply troubled by any insults to the Prophet Muhammad, but how many have seen the video of this movie to make up their own minds? Very few… You need someone to organize the protests and, in effect, throw the switch.”  – This indirect condemnation of the forces stoking crowd fury is highly astute and points at some of the source of the larger problem of extremist provocateurs.

#6 Komaruddin HidayatA Muslim academic from Indonesia says that while Muslims should oppose insults to their faith they should be sure to “avoid using violence in expressing their objections.”

#7 Sheik Sani Yahaya Jingireven more explicitly, this Muslim leader said that violence never brings “any benefit to Islam.”

OK, I hope I’ve made my point.  I could extend my list by thousands of names within Islam that condemn violence.  The ignoramus lobby in the United States and elsewhere that claims there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim should take a step back and realize that their narrow-mindedness is hurting them.  Rather than claiming that moderate Muslims do not exist or that if they do, the are mute, let us do all we can to lend our voice to theirs.

These voices of Moderate Islam help complete the picture.  They tell the story of true Islam better than terrorists or the ridiculous talking heads in anti-Islamic circles around the world.  Moderate Muslim leaders clearly show show that there are conscientious people everywhere.  They prove that fundamentally, we are all one and good is recognized the world over.

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Bjorn Karlman

 

Fundamentalism Loses its Mojo

street post with heaven ave and hell st signs

A fun-filled decade of evangelically-driven American foreign and domestic policy is behind us and despite best efforts to inject last minute sex-appeal à la Palin, Christian fundamentalism is fallen. Helpful clarifications and labels like the Axis of Evil are out of vogue.  Whereas previously, issues of national and international importance were seen through the handy prism of Dubya’s good vs. evil rhetoric, it looks as though we are actually going to have to think for ourselves again.

But the fact that Christian fundamentalism is losing its mojo does not mean that Christians are on the retreat.  If anything, moderate proponents of the faith are emerging from the shadows.  “I am a Closet Christian” confesses Ada Calhoun in a Dec 21, 2009 Salon.com article.  A New Yorker, Calhoun talks about her fear of being outed as a Christian: “Why am I so paranoid? I’m not cheating on my husband, committing crimes or doing drugs. But those are battles my cosmopolitan, progressive friends would understand. Many of them had to come out — as gay, as alcoholics, as artists in places where art was not valued. To them, my situation is far more sinister: I am the bane of their youth, the boogeyman of their politics, the very thing they left their small towns to escape. I am a Christian.”

Agonizing about how to verbalize her views on faith, Calhoun says, “it’s hard to talk about any of this without sounding dumb, or like a zealot, or ridiculous. And who wants to be lumped in with all the other Christians, especially the ones you see on TV protesting gay marriage, giving money to charlatans, and letting priests molest children?”

Moderate Muslims face a similar challenge.  After a decade of bad PR, the struggle remains to reshape Islam in the coming decade.  “The good news is that those Muslims who espouse militant ideologies no longer find a physical home in mainstream Muslim America… the New York-based al-Qaeda supporting extremist duo that calls itself “Revolution Muslim” has been reduced to heckling mosque-goers from the sidewalk,” says Shahed Amanullah in altmuslim.com / Global perspectives on Muslim life, politics & culture.

“Muslims Denounce Terrorism / Terror Has No Religion” reads a bumper sticker sold by the The American Muslim.  It’s hard to battle terror with talk of peace but as more and more voices demand an end to extremism, the tide may be turning.  It doesn’t hurt that Obama gave his first interview as President to an Arab broadcaster; that his Cairo speech was well-received or the fact that his envoy to address the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is seen as more balanced than his predecessor.

What the coming decade holds is anyone’s guess.  Hopefully, a new tone is being set. “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things….” said Obama in his Inaugural Address. Dodging any delusional salvation-through-Obama drool, perhaps there still is hope that childishly extreme religious rhetoric has seen its heyday in the US.

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Bjorn Karlman