Moderate IslamS

So we’ve moved past the idea that Islam is a monolith and into the realm of Islam beings a series of monoliths. In the case of this Boston Globe editorial, moderate Muslims and others. I know the work of the American Islamic Congress, and I believe it is good and fundamental to creating a more moderate space for Islamic thought and inter-faith interaction. (Please sign their tolerance petition). Their work is committed to creating an on-going dialogue and gradual transformation. However, they are lumped together with Irshad Manji who has been receiving a lot of negative publicity within the Muslim community. (To be fair, I have not yet read her book, and don’t know the intricacies of the criticisms).

It strikes me that if Jacoby is truly interested in supporting Muslim moderates, he would not undercut the work of one organization looking at the longue durée by associating it with an individual who is not respected in most of the Islamic community and who is calling for a reconstruction of Islam in the absence of philosophical context. (I know I said I haven’t read the book, but her site is revealing).

Just as there are IslamS in practice, there are moderate IslamS, or more accurately there is a spectrum of thought in the Muslim world; that idea might strike some as unusual considering there are only 1.2 billion Muslims in the world with 1400 years of history spread over 90% of the inhabited world, but it’s true. Of course, I wouldn’t recognize Daniel Pipes as the spokesperson for moderate Islam either. I suppose it’s a question of whether you are interested in Islam or in colonizing Islam. Harsh, but true.