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August 23, 2005



The destruction of our collective Islamic heritage is so outrageous & sad. *sigh*

A friend of mine just came back from Makkah & said there's a place right down from the Haram called "Club Distraction."

That about sums it up.



if calls for a reformation are going to continue to come from media tarts like Rushdie and Manji than this is going to only make the work of real progressives infinitely harder. (indeed the daniel pipes anti-islam brigade is a lucrative business).

George Carty

Indeed the daniel pipes anti-islam brigade is a lucrative business

Why? Who funds it?

If you're right, it would explain why there are so damn many anti-Muslim weblogs...

elsa graham

anti islam brigade in the west is lucrative business because people can clamber on to it and sing to the tune of a grinning western audience which will clap them all the way to booker prizes. native made good complex. the difficult thing is to resist urge to trash your roots and try to do something good to help islam fix itself.
i do love this pseudo progressive western liberal literati men like Rushdie whose rhetoric is not matched by their action. He rants on about progression in the muslim world and women's rights- meanwhile hes on to his fourth wife a beautifully commercial agreeement based on her sexual charms. the hypocrisy of these western men decrying the 'oppression' of muslim women. noble sentiments mask their snake like intentions. at least muslim men have fidelity. moral of the story- look at what people do not what they say. (muslims are smart enough to understand this requirement of their reformers)


I dont see how you can argue Rushdie is a hypocrite because he is "on his fourth wife." You are necessarily referring to relative standards of freedom and happiness in the west from the Islamic world.

However, Rushdie - a victim of intolerance in the Khomeini regime whose only crime was writing words and ideas - is pointing out that the Islamic world has problems. Is it possible that the west is not justified in its actions, and that the west is far from perfect itself, but that the core idea of Rushdie is also true? Which is that the conditions of women in many places of the Islamic world is far from ideal?

It seems as though the arrogance and stupidity of the west is used as a red-herring to avoid a different but no less important discussion on the rights of women and dissenting opinions in the Islamic world.

One can be against both the mistreatment of women, and the arrogance of the west, one doesn't need to defend against the one while forgetting about the other.


More blather by mulims infused with a false sense of superiority. Westerners never claim their society is perfect - but what is perfectly clear - is that I woiuld rather live under freedom and democracy than under the bootheel od islamic filth...


I would not listen too much to Rushdie, his connection to religion is tenuous at best. But he is not the first to call for a 'Ijtihad of Islam'.

Such calls were first articulated many centuries ago by Muslim Scholars of various dynasties. But the lack of codification or propagation of these reforms meant that any fitful improvements were exterminated at the next 'revival', or the next. The Andalusia that Muslims venerate today was actually built on the remnants of the culture that had been 'cleansed' by the Berber's of North Africa. It was built by some of the most Enlightened Muslim kings of their times and yet not a shred of their influence remains anywhere on Muslim lands. Contrast that with the constant calls to the better features of the Hellenic and Roman and Renaissance cultures amongst Western Countries. Cultures that ceased to exist Millennia ago. The only piece that all Muslims remember is the admonition of "Weep like a woman for the city you would not defend like a man". What a brutally foolish statement, that in a single sentence, denigrates some of the greatest achievements of Muslims.

The Renaissance, if Muslims care to remember eventually died out in the lands of their origin, only to have others form Northern Europe, and across the Atlantic, pick up the torch and run with it. Were are these torch bearers amongst the Muslims. The true tragedy, is that the end of Grenada was a source of contempt, rather than inspiration.

There are many who would argue that the Renaissance did not begin in liberal Protestantism, nor is it the dominant element of the Modern Renaissance. There is the Japanese reformation, the Chinese one on going, the painful to watch Indian one, and the slow South East Asian one. The lessons are many, but a few simple ones will get you going. You don't need all but at least a few.

- Separation of Church and State. Muslims can argue till the cows come home (which they have for centuries) that their religion is a total life blueprint, but this is a realization they have to think about seriously.

- Religion must vacate some public space. Without this there is no space for a state oriented civil society to grow.

- Equality for all esp.. women. And none of this equal but separate stuff. We saw how it went with the apartheid regimes.

- An abiding commitment to teach tolerance. Tolerance is not something that automatically comes, it has to be taught by both sides. Intolerance will breed intolerance.

That's it. That is the basis on which you build modernity and in time Democracies.

As far as the lament of the Makkah versus Bamiyan, I have one simple observation. How can the rest of the world rally to defend it seeing as how Non-Muslims are not eligible to visit. It took centuries of writings and documentation and visits for the Bamiyan Buddha's to build a constituency amongst the world. How to express outrage over something you can not see.

George Carty

The problem with most Muslim countries is that they are ruled by dictators who seized power by force. Regimes of this type are vulnerable to coups and civil wars, unless their militaries are deliberately crippled (in which case they are vulnerable to outside invaders).

Scott Henley

I have found three interesting blogs where a lean, bear essential religion as it where, is being hyped up as a solution to inter religious conflicts. On the second website I am quoting they are even selling a copy of the bible or is it Torah for this new cross-denominational creed.


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