Monday, June 27, 2005

No god But God

Since 9/11, our world has been searching for Islamic voices who ably combine their faith with modernity. These voices could then be the vanguard elite for a much-needed Islamic reformation.

The reformist voices we've heard are regrettably unable to serve this leadership role -- not because of their message which is usually sound, but because of who they are.

We have unreformed dictators talking up "enlightened moderation". Kemal Ataturk is presented as a reformist role-model, notwithstanding his profoundly damaging antipathy to his own faith. Salman Rushdie is an atheist.

Others like Dutch lawmaker Ayan Hirsi Ali are angry at their faith. Irshad Manji is the object of her faith's ire.

These voices from the edges from Islam cannot a reformation make. What Islam needs are mainstream voices proud of their faith and comfortable in their modernity. Reza Aslan fits this bill.

We caught him on TV talking about his first book No god but God. What he says is well thought out, but what struck us the most was the effect he had on the Muslims in his audience. They were visibly moved -- almost choking up -- that finally, finally Islam had a voice that has a chance to resonate with Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and brilliantly articulates the very things they feel but have been unable to express.

Do check out his book.


reformist_muslim said...

I have to say that on the problem with people like Irshad Manji in bringing about reform in Islam I completely agree with you.

I've seen Reza Aslan on tv and will definitely check out his book. He seems to be the type of person who engages with rather than dismisses one way or the other difficult questions within Islam.

I've posted on a similar matter recently and I argue that in terms of role models people like Sania Mirza also make very important contributions.

Shall look forward to future posts!

Primary Red said...

Thanks a ton. Will follow your blog as well.



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