Reformist Muslims: not only deplore Islamist violence but admit that religion is used to incite it.


“… Prof. Bilgrami chalks up the defensiveness of moderate Muslims to their fear that openly criticizing other Muslims “would amount to a surrender,” the ultimate abdication of group honor—and thus identity—to a contemptuous West.

But, as Prof. Bilgrami astutely points out, the reverse holds true: The final triumph for colonizers is the Muslim habit of denying and deflecting our internal dysfunction. Avoidance strips Muslims of the ability to be introspective and, therefore, free. Moderate Muslims throttle the very moderation to which they claim to be devoted.

It is time for those who love liberal democracy to join hands with Islam’s reformists. Here is a clue to who’s who: Moderate Muslims denounce violence committed in the name of Islam but insist that religion has nothing to do with it; reformist Muslims, by contrast, not only deplore Islamist violence but admit that our religion is used to incite it.

Notice that I say “used.” Islam is being manipulated. That is why Muslims should acknowledge the awkward passages of our own holy book and reinterpret them—publicly. The Quran, I believe, encourages this: It contains three times as many verses promoting critical thought as opposed to blind submission.”

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