Monday, August 8, 2011

Islam and freedom

At our recent church conference one of the late-night discussions focused on the question of whether any orthodox Muslim could be a moderate, i.e. politically liberal, Muslim. Once home, I found this article by Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish Muslem, in which he makes the case for for freedom within predominantly Muslim states. Via Walter Russell Mead
.... Today, in order to go beyond those extremes, and to rediscover Islamic liberalism, I call on my fellow Muslims to embrace three basic freedoms:

First, “freedom from the state,” or the acceptance of secular (not secularist) governments. Yes, Prophet Muhammad happened to be the head of a state, but none of us mortals are divinely guided as we believe that he was. Thus, none of us should impose our own limited understanding of Islam, via the state, as “the real Islam.”

Second, there is the need to accept “the freedom to sin.” Not because we endorse sin, but because when we try to ban it with authoritarian means, all we create is hypocrisy, not genuine piety.

Third, we Muslims should recognize “freedom from Islam.” If any of our coreligionists choose another religion, in other words, we should just respect that choice. That would be a much bigger service to our faith, rather than depicting it as a club with a free entry but no free exit.

Muslims do not need to abandon the core of their faith in order to accept these freedoms. But they certainly need to recognize them, if they wish to build truly liberating democracies. .... [more]
Faith: Freedom and Islam - WWW.THEDAILY.COM

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