New Civilization News: The Trouble With Islam    
 The Trouble With Islam11 comments
15 Jun 2004 @ 20:19, by Robert Oveson

On Sunday afternoon there was a very inspiring interview on the radio by Irshad Manji who was promoting her book The Trouble With Islam. The trouble being that fundamantalism has gone mainstream and that it is intolerant towards dissent. When questioned on the point that this applies to all fundamentalism, Irshad replied that this was true but that with Islam there was less seperation between religion and government compared to either Christianity or Judaism.

In spite of this Irshad considers herself a devout Moslem and thinks that the vast majority of Moslems are moderates like herself and would like to see the fundamentalists out of power but are afraid to say much. Irshad has no fear, is quicker than a gun slinger and sharper than a lazer scapel. She distinquishes between spirituality and religious. She also considers it her spiritual obligations to stand up for what is written in the Islamic holy books and speak up against the fundamentalist position. She is a big inspiration to a lot of fellow Muslims who are starting to question the established authorities and thinks that the religion will survive this and emerge even stronger and more in alignment with the original text. She is a positive example of spirit and integrity.

Perhaps the best overview of her opinions can be found on the letters section of her website. The following response is but one example. The entire site is worth reading.

"Ultimately, I do believe in submitting to God's will. What I do NOT believe in is submitting to human beings who claim to know God's will. How do I reconcile these two things? With this bridge: God wills all of us to have the freedom to explore.

I take that idea from the Koran itself. As I explain in my book, the Koran contains three recurring messages. First, only God knows fully the truth of anything. Second, God alone can punish unbelievers, which makes sense given that only God knows what true belief is. Human beings must warn against corrupt practices, but that's all we can do to encourage piety - warn. The third recurring message follows from the first two: We humans must have the humility to be open to debate. Which means we're free to ponder God's intention for us without any obligation to toe a dictated line. 'Let there be no compulsion in religion,' states a voice in chapter 2 of the Koran. 'Unto your religion, unto me my religion' echoes another voice in chapter 109. And in-between, there's this: 'If God had pleased, He would have made you all one people. But He has done otherwise...' Ain't that the truth!

By my reading of the Koran, we should not only enjoy the freedom to explore; we have to ensure that this freedom exists for everyone. Anything less undermines God's jurisdiction as the supreme judge and jury. As a Muslim, I worship the majestic and enigmatic God, not the self-appointed arbiters and packagers of His will."

I'm going to adopt this next quote for my own I liked so much.

"Sects are led by people. But I don’t worship people. I worship only one entity – God. If that means I’m going to hell, then I can’t imagine a better reason to burn."

In the radio interview she talks about the problem not being religion itself but fundamentalism. Another difficulty was that since Islam was established after both Christianity and Judaism, and incorporated and considered the ideas of both of these religions it was considered by Muslims to be the more refined and accurate description of God's will.

The problem with Islam is the same problem with all religions, namely the fundamentalist war mongers that hold the majority of the population hostage. This is true if is is Islamic radicals, or Jewish zionist, or Christian neo-conservatives.

I think Irshad may be the source for positive reform of Islamic policy and for empowering the people to overcome their fear, stand up to the tyrants, and reclaim their religion. The world needs a lot more people like Irshad in all of the different religions. You go, girl.


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11 comments

16 Jun 2004 @ 02:46 by ov : Vancouver Girl
Yet another reason this is such a great city.

This program was broadcast on CBC Radio which is government run and commercial free. Is it any wonder that our rightwing wants to get rid of it. It's not Rush Limbaugh that's for sure. You can stream it to your computer even if you aren't lucky enough to live in Canada.  



16 Jun 2004 @ 04:02 by shawa : Very inspiring
Thank you for posting this.

------------
Thanks for reading it Shawa, I hope you have a chance to check her website as well. I've been observing her for a number of years now, first on Vision TV, which is the Canadian religious television channel, and then she is regularly on the radio. She is very up beat and positive in ways that might not come across in written word. She doesn't come across as blaming other people, but instead by walking the talk and encouraging others to do the same. She donates some of the revenue from her books to Doctor's Without Borders because she says that they are non-denominational and also walk the talk. A great spirit she is, and isn't as well known as she should be because the mainstream doesn't cover her near as much as the other pundints. ov  



17 Jun 2004 @ 19:11 by fresian_is : Theological Schisms
I am struck with the similarities with some of our own current events and the period encompassing the First, Second, and Third Crusades. The Greek and Latin churches split on some minor terms in the Nicean Creed during the late 11th Century. According to the historian I am reading, the Latin Church accused the Greek Church of omitting two or three words that were never an original part of the Nicean Creed. The two church bodies never said 'sorry', and it took another 130-years to make Byzantium disappear with more than a whimper. As I read about the Aftermath of the First and Second Crusades, the dominant intra-Christian conflicts involve the Armenian, Syrian Jacobite, and Greek Orthodox traditions. Add to this the Latin Rites following the establishment of the Frankish Kingdom (1099-1187) and administration of the Holy Seplicure in Jerusalem, and the pot gets stirred some more. It could be argued that emerging national identity vied for separation from a central theological authority as the world began to shrink following the Age of Discovery for Western Europe. In our Western Tradition the Christian theological practices remain personal expressions and venues for belief while community leadership answers to temporal judgements (when possible), spiritual judgements ultimately. Islam "works" for most of one billion human beings on planet Earth...it appears that the Faith is going through its own catharsis that will eventually separate national identities from theological extremism.

Just sharing my thoughts.  



18 Jun 2004 @ 22:03 by ov : Gnostic Cathars
Well you certainly opened up a 45 gallon barrel of worms there didn't you Paul. What with the Albigenses crusade, which was a damned good try at genocide of the Cathars, and where some say Simon de Montford uttered that classic phrase of "kill them all and let God sort out his own" (pharaphrased there because I forget exactly how it went), though others say it was probably Arnaud Armaury, Abbot of Citeaux Cistercian, coining Tim 2:19 "The Lord knoweth who are his". Yeah and then around the Council of Nicea where the Iota was one of the greatest Fools Jokes of all time, and all of it because of trying to exclude the gnostic element throughout the first few hundred years of Christianity since Paul the Usurper screwed up a great design but in hindsight turned it into a marketing success so that it still exists. A person could fall into this story and spend their whole life trying to figure it out, and with reincarnation they could spend quite a few lifes and still be digging for the crux. ahhh I better stop before this turns into a discussion. It's a long way to catharsis (sung to the tune of From the Halls of Montezuma)

PS excuse any spelling and discombobulation, kind of winging this one. :-)  



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