Fitna's challenge to moderate Muslims

Hamza Mohammed في الإثنين 31 مارس 2008


Al-Rashudi and Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi). While there are liberal and moderate schools of Islamic thought, they are, unfortunately, not predominant. Nonetheless, the portrayal of Islam as a singular monstrous monolith is troubling, from the perspective of a moderate Muslim.

At the same time however, the film (perhaps unwittingly) speaks to moderate Muslims and poses a challenge. This takes place during arguably the film's most powerful moment the film rests is its conclusion where an image of the Qur'an is placed on the screen, and the sound of tearing pages is heard in the background. The narrator immediately puts forward a challenge to Muslims:

The sound you heard was a page being removed from the phonebook. For it is not up to me, but to Muslims to tear out the hateful verses of the Qur'an.

The film, in obvious terms, will offend (to varying degrees) most Muslims, from traditionalists and Islamists to moderates and reformers. In my view, anger is justified. The penultimate question becomes, however: to whom and/or what should Muslims, particularly moderate Muslims, direct their anger towards? Is it Mr Wilders or other vociferous critics of Islam? Or is it towards the traditional Muslim framework of thinking that created the subject of Mr Wilder's film? My anger is directed towards the latter. It is not directed towards Mr Wilders, although I would view Mr Wilders and his motivations with scepticism. My anger and discontent over the substance of Fitna is firmly directed towards the traditional schools of Islamic thought that are responsible for creating the context and environment for Islamism, in which this film emerged. It is not enough to simply blame Wahabism or Salafism. The principles of aggressive jihad, dhimmitude, and other forms of Muslim tyranny were initially elucidated not by Ibn Tamiyya and Abdul Wahab, but Islam's foundational scholars and rulers.

Muslims should be angry about Fitna, but that anger should be directed to those ulaema and leaders who perpetuate traditional Islamist positions. Nevertheless, despite any feelings of anger Muslims must tolerate it, and other perceived insults to Islam, in order to demonstrate true Muslim tolerance and compatibility with wider civilisation. Moderate Muslims, in particular must play a leadership role by defending the universal freedom of expression, even in the face of insult, as Christians, Jews and members of other faiths so often do.

Moreover, Fitna's concluding challenge is one that should be immediately taken up collectively by moderate Muslims. It is beyond dispute that certain verses of the Qur'an, and moreover, the Muslim tradition, are the direct source of Islamism and the current civilisational conflict with the West. While simply removing parts of the Qur'an per Mr Wilder's suggestion, is unlikely to occur, moderate Muslims can nonetheless accept Mr Wilder's challenge by working towards new hermeneutical approaches to the Qur'an and other sources of Islam. To a degree this is already occurring through the work of moderate Muslim scholars such as Abdulahi Na'im, Amina Wadud and Ahmed Subhy Mansour who are developing Islamic solutions to combat Islamism and putting forth alternative approaches to the Qur'an and Islam.

But as the Islamist reaction to Fitna grows, moderate Muslims must not only accept the Fitna challenge, but must also play a central leadership role in ensuring that the blame for Fitna is not placed on Mr Wilders, but squarely on the shoulders of Islamists. For moderate Muslims, this is a defining moment.

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بطاقة Hamza Mohammed
تاريخ الانضمام : 2006-11-11
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بلد الميلاد : United States
بلد الاقامة : New Zealand