Reformist Muslim

Exploring possibilities for the future of Islam and other thoughts

Location: London, United Kingdom

Friday, November 18, 2005

Reza Aslan In The LA Times

I've mentioned before how Reza Aslan is potentially a very important Muslim thinker as he does not have the baggage carried by the likes of Irshad Manji and Salman Rushdie and because his views are rather sensible and likely to appeal to a majority of Muslims. In this piece in the LA Times, he does not disappoint untill the last two paragraphs.

Firstly as Sepoy at Chapati Mystery points out, saying that Islam does not have an equivalent to the Catholic tradition of excommunication while technically correct, does not take into account the treatment of groups such as Ahmadis.

Secondly there is the somewhat tangential analysis of offering low-level Jihadists a chance to get out of jail if they renounce violence. This may work in some cases, but it seems to me to be a rather dangerous policy to implement. Is it possible to monitor the behaviour of such people when they leave prison?

Thirdly, after recognising the impotence of clerics in preventing disillusionment with moderate Islam, he suggests that they somehow have the power to 'turn back the tide of Jihadism' by recognising that 'they are far more threatened by the rise of Islamic terrorism than is the West' without analysing how mere recognition would help. After all in his piece he documents quite well the failure of pronouncements against Terrorism to have a substantial impact. It seems to me that with most clerics having lost authority, there needs to be a reforming movement from the bottom-up by ordinary Muslims.

Despite the criticism, the article till then is definitely worth reading especially if you're unfamiliar with ideas of the 'near' and 'far' in enemy in Jihadist thinking which in my opinion are best analysed in Gilles Kepel's works on radical Islam.


Blogger Tony said...

Thanks for your site. I think it's interesting reading, not the least because I may be a kindred soul. I don't know quite yet since I've not read your site for very long.

4:14 pm, November 19, 2005  
Anonymous jamal said...

"there needs to be a reforming movement from the bottom-up by ordinary Muslims"

This is the key as for too long emphasis has been placed on clerics and sholars as advocates of correct behaviour. In the meantime the divides in the islamic community have continued. Islam teaches to read and think which is what every individual can do.

6:14 pm, November 20, 2005  
Blogger reformist_muslim said...

Thanks for the comments. Jamal your point is very pertinent. Sometimes i think that ordinary muslims use the inadequacy of clerics as a excuse for their own inaction.

7:34 pm, November 20, 2005  

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