Thursday, May 24, 2007

How to End 'Islamophobia' - WSJ opinion article

Brave man, this Tawfik Hamid:

It may seem bizarre, but Islamic reformers are not immune to the charge of "Islamophobia" either. For 20 years, I have preached a reformed interpretation of Islam that teaches peace and respects human rights. I have consistently spoken out -- with dozens of other Muslim and Arab reformers -- against the mistreatment of women, gays and religious minorities in the Islamic world. We have pointed out the violent teachings of Salafism and the imperative of Westerners to protect themselves against it.

Yet according to CAIR's Michigan spokeswoman, Zeinab Chami, I am "the latest weapon in the Islamophobe arsenal." If standing against the violent edicts of Shariah law is "Islamophobic," then I will treat her accusation as a badge of honor.

Muslims must ask what prompts this "phobia" in the first place. When we in the West examine the worldwide atrocities perpetrated daily in the name of Islam, it is vital to question if we -- Muslims -- should lay the blame on others for Islamophobia or if we should first look hard at ourselves.

He knows well that merely raising such questions is a very parlous enterprise.

But one question: would Dr. Hamid's "reformed interpretation of Islam," if put into practice, still be recognizable as Islam? Or would it fail to attract adherents from the current Muslim ummah because it was too far removed from Muslim tradition?

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