Monday, September 12, 2005

An Enlightenment

Salman Rushdie has an engaging editorial in the Times:
Reformed Islam would reject conservative dogmatism and accept that, among other things, women are fully equal to men; that people of other religions, and of no religion, are not inferior to Muslims; that differences in sexual orientation are not to be condemned, but accepted as aspects of human nature; that anti-Semitism is not OK; and that the repression of free speech by the thin-skinned ideology of easily-taken "offence" must be replaced by genuine, robust, anything-goes debate in which there are no forbidden ideas or no-go areas.
Reformed Islam would encourage diaspora Muslims to emerge from their self-imposed ghettoes and stop worrying so much about locking up their daughters. It would emerge from the intellectual ghetto of literalism and subservience to mullahs and ulema, allowing open, historically based scholarship to emerge from the shadows to which the madrassas and seminaries have condemned it.
There must be an end to the defensive paranoia that led some Muslims to claim that Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks and, more recently, that Muslims may not have been behind the 7/7 bombings either (a crackpot theory exploded, if one may use the verb, by the recent al-Jazeera video).
Not so much a reformation, as several people said in response to my first piece, as an Enlightenment. Very well then: let there be light.
Do read the whole thing, including his recounting of positive (and heartening) reactions he got from Muslims all over the world in response to his previous article.

No comments: