Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Rushdie Judgment

A column in today's Times of London by Salman Rushdie (titled "Muslims Unite! A New Reformation Will Bring Your Faith Into the Modern Era") calls for a reformation of Islam, to "combat not only the jihadi ideologues but also the dusty, stifling seminaries of the traditionalists, throwing open the windows of the closed communities to let in much-needed fresh air."

It would be good to see governments and community leaders inside the Muslim world as well as outside it throwing their weight behind this idea, because creating and sustaining such a reform movement will require, above all, a new educational impetus whose results may take a generation to be felt, a new scholarship to replace the literalist diktats and narrow dogmatisms that plague present-day Muslim thinking.

It is high time, for starters, that Muslims were able to study the revelation of their religion as an event inside history, not supernaturally above it.

Humanists should applaud Rushdie's call for scholarly reassessment of Islam, and its potential to wrest control of this major world faith from the hands of the Islamofascists who now hold it hostage and threaten world peace.

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