symbiosis of a reformation

Judeo-Christian heritage, Islamo-Fascism, Religious-Zionism; all somewhat synthetic and artificial creations that have little historical basis to justify their emergence as mainstream custom and convention. The demonization of Muslims in America and Canada has been way overdone; whether it is classic immigrant fear, or tangible apprehensiveness based on current events, the governments have decided that immigration, a sane immigration policy is necessary to support the massive government structure and increase demand for domestic goods and services. It has become an economic necessity, at least to many, to exercise the capacity for absorption with in the context of the existing culture, despite the risks to social fabric and risk of violence this may pose to many perceptions of an orderly peaceful society. In effect, the embracing and fearfulness are both valid responses, an uncertainty over the divide between progressive acculturated citizens and the potential for shanty towns that resemble France’s bantuzistans.

—Hoping to follow in his footsteps on the free programme this year is Sadia Azmat, whose first Edinburgh show is a high-concept affair called Please Hold, You’re Being Transferred to a UK-based Asian Representative. It is, as the title suggests, chiefly about her experiences in a British call centre, although it incorporates general material about race and religion. For Azmat, coming to Edinburgh also meant taking a lengthy break from her current call-centre position.
“I knew that Ramadan was going to fall,” she says, “but when work was so kind to give me a month off, it was too good to pass up. In London, if you’re not well known, you only get five or 10-minute slots, so this was the perfect avenue to do more of my material. I’ve been preparing for this for a whole year.”—Read More:

Great minds like  Maimonides arrived at the conclusion that Islam itself was monotheistic and in fact engaged in little idolatry compared to Christianity. The Christian idea, in some quarters, that Islam was foisted on the world by jews as a revenge to Christianity seems unfounded; Maimonides asserted that it was not possible for a Muslim to be a pious Christian and forbidden for a gentile to follow the Islamic faith. A heresy to be sure, but no reason for a jew to give up his life rather than convert since it was still monotheism. Still, there have always been others who advocated giving up their lives at the point of the sword, based on the idea that if one gives consent to Muhammad’s mission, these prophecies of Islam are in effect a denying of the validity of the Torah, and by extension the bible.

What has been new, is the use of progressive Islamic thinkers in right wing, and nationalistic forms of journalism, often Jewish, that are not far from a Kahanist perspective on Arabs and equally proximate to a disinclination of democracy in favor of religious law themselves. In htis sense the motives are questionable, since the Muslim is transferred to role of colonized and not the religious jew who traditionally accepted or was placed in this context by the secular elite which is predominantly leftist. In any event, the so-called Islamic reformation may be a pandora’s box for the unexpected and perhaps overly volatile transition to something the West has in mind. The Thirty Years War was hardly a velvet revolution and the unbridled individualism and materialism that the Reformation engendered also merits consideration. The disease of idiocy knows no borders…

( see link at end) Tawfik Hamid: …The recent use of ‘twitter’ and the Internet by reformers in Iran to challenge the Mulla’s regimen have raised an important point which is — Can the internet play a major role in reforming Islam? For centenaries reformation within Islam has been impeded by several factors. This is clearly evident by the fact that many of the current leading Islamic scholars preach of today’s values such as stoning of adulteries, violent Jihad, slavery, beating women, anti-Semitism, and many other inhumane teachings. Deep analysis of the factors that impeded reformation within Islam illustrates that the Internet can play a major role in making it a reality….

—A Canadian TV anchor appeared in a full face-veil (known in Arabic as the niqab) to present his show on Canadian Sun News TV, ostensibly in a bid to poke fun at the newly-launched Egyptian channel, Maria TV, which features women clad only in the niqab, the Maan News Agency reported on Sunday.
Maria TV, which was launched on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan earlier in July, employs only women in niqab, even for behind-the-camera jobs.
Canadian anchor Michael Coren, dressed in black from head to toe, hosted a Muslim cleric from Toronto at the studio and discussed with him the idea of creating such a channel in Egypt.
Coren asked the cleric why Muslim women dressed “in that weird way?”—Read More:

…Previous failure of reformation efforts in Islam to bring the understanding of its text to modernity has been the result of numerous factors. These include killing those who dare to challenge some of its fundamental traditional values after considering those who challenge them as apostates. This has made many reformers unable to express their views and opinions for fear of losing their life. Failure to express these views has caused more stagnation of thoughts within the Muslim world.

Furthermore, critical thinking within the religion was suppressed in the Muslim world since criticizing the religious teaching is considered a taboo that makes the person feel that he will become and “Infidel” for doing so. Stopping Ijtihad (new interpretations) within the religion as what happened in the Sunni world further complicated this problem. Lack of exposure to other views and opinions either due to suppression by the religious authority or because of lack of proper communication channels with others, also contributed to stagnation in the thinking process in many Islamic societies. Reformers who think differently used to feel weak and lonely as communication with other reformers was much limited in the past. Control of women by strict religious rules was another factor that limited the progress of many of these societies toward modernity. Surprisingly, the Internet challenged all these factors and therefore can contribute significantly to reforming Islam. ( continued after break….Read More:

—Omid Djalili stars as Mahmud, a non-practicing Muslim whose life gets distinctly complicated when he discovers he was adopted as a baby and his birth father was actually Jewish. With all he’s ever taken for granted about himself turned upside down a rather confused Mahmud enlists the help of Jewish cabbie Lenny (Richard Schiff) in order to get in touch with his Jewish side.
But having a huge identity crisis is the least of Mahmud’s worries; his son Rashid (Amit Shah) is engaged to the lovely Uzma (Soraya Radford) and her uncle just happens to be a fanatical Muslim cleric (Igal Naor) who would disapprove of Mahmud’s non-Muslim ways and have a fit if he found out he actually wasn’t Muslim at all.—Read More:

For Israel and Judaism in general, the prevailing view is still one that Maimonides elucidated almost a thousand years ago. The Rambam as Maimonides was called, saw Mohammed in terms of being a  psychopath and the ideology that surrounded it resulting in terrible violence towards jews; perhaps the worst since the exile. He also stated that Islam was theologically devoid of integrity as they had appropriated Jewish Torah and did a copy/paste/rewrite and patch to suit its own ends. So much for Islam according to him. What Rambam did value and respect were the sliver and fringe of Muslim followers of the Aristotlian thought;  the remnant who also felt reason had a place within revelation. But Islam refused this cracking of the edifice, and the so-called Golden age went back to lead waiting for some alchemic innovation perhaps in our time.

Hamid: …First, many Muslims can now express their opinions about religious issues without fear for their lives. They can simply critique the traditional teaching and provide alternative interpretations anonymously and remotely without fear on the Internet. This encouraged many reformers to speak out and forced the recipients of their views to listen without being able to harm them physically. The Internet basically changed the ‘war within Islam’ from a physical one (where the reformer could be killed)-to an in

ectual one where reformers are relatively safe and able to continue their mission…

…Second, the internet has allowed an exchange of ideas with the Non Muslim world as well. This has enriched the thinking process in Muslim communities and bypassed the barriers that have been created by the radicals to prevent such exposure from happening….

…Muslim women in the Internet era can no longer be imprisoned by man. They can communicate more freely with others even with men. They can take the Hijab off and send their photo without the Hijab to whoever they want. The physical barriers on Muslim women were simply shattered by the Internet.

The internet can certainly be used by the radicals to promote radical views. However, the net outcome of using the internet is more likely to be positive than negative as it overcome most -if not all- the obstacles of reformation in Islam that existed in the past. Using the internet to promote reformation and modernity within Islam rather than extremism is our next challenge and goal to modernize the Muslim world. This form of e-Reformation can change the future of our world and can determine the future of Islam.
Read More:


(see link at end)…The radical fringe carrying out such actions has sought to dominate the discourse between Islam and the West. In order to do so, they’ve set out to foment anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. They’ve also advocated indiscriminate violence as a political strategy. To cap their victory, this abysmal lot uses the cataclysm of 9/11 as a lesson for the so-called enemies of Islam.

These dastardly acts have not only been tragedies of untold proportions for those who have suffered or perished. They have also delivered a calamitous blow to followers of the Muslim faith.

These are the Muslims who go about their lives like ordinary people—earning their livings, raising their families, celebrating reunions and praying for security and peace. These are the Muslims who have never carried a pocketknife, let alone explosives intended to destroy buildings. These Muslims are there for us to see, if only we can lift the veil cast on them by the shadowy figures in bomb-laden jackets hell-bent on destruction.

These are mainstream Muslims—no different from the moderate Christians, Jews and those of other faiths—whose identities have been drowned by events beyond their control. The upshot is a composite picture of Muslims as inherently intolerant, antidemocratic, inward-looking and simply unable to coexist with other communities in the modern world. Some say there is only one solution: Discard your beliefs and your tradition, and embrace pluralism and modernity. Read More:

Akbar Ahmed:Having studied the practices of Muslims around the world today, I’ve come up with three broad categories: mystic, modernist and literalist. Of course, I must add the caveat that these are analytic models and aren’t watertight.

Muslims in the mystic category reflect universal humanism, believing in “peace with all.” The 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi exemplifies this category. In his verses, he glorifies worshipping the same God in the synagogue, the church and the mosque.

The second category is the modernist Muslim who believes in trying to balance tradition and modernity. The modernist is proud of Islam and yet able to live comfortably in, and contribute to, Western society.

Most Muslim leaders who led nationalist movements in the first half of the 20th century were modernists—from Sultan Mohammed V, the first king of independent Morocco, to M.A. Jinnah, who founded Pakistan in 1947. But as modernists failed over time, becoming increasingly incompetent and corrupt, the literalists stepped into the breach.

The literalists believe that Muslim behavior must approximate that of the Prophet in seventh-century Arabia. Their belief that Islam is under attack forces many of them to adopt a defensive posture. And while not all literalists advocate violence, many do. Movements like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the Taliban belong to this category.

In the Muslim world the divisions between the three categories I have delineated are real. The outcome of their struggle will define Islam’s fate.Read More:

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