Dec 13, 2006


Somebody put this guy on CNN… or better yet, al-Jazeera…
"If we want to be democratic, we must be so by ourselves. But the preconditions for democracy do not exist in Arab society, and cannot exist unless religion is reexamined in a new and accurate way, and unless religion becomes a personal and spiritual experience, which must be respected.

"On the other hand, all issues pertaining to civil and human affairs must be left up to the law and to the people themselves."

"I don't understand what is happening in Arab society today. I don't know how to interpret this situation, except by making the following hypothesis: When I look at the Arab world, with all its resources, the capacities of Arab individuals, especially abroad - you will find among them great philosophers, scientists, engineers, and doctors. In other words, the Arab individual is no less smart, no less a genius, than anyone else in the world. He can excel - but only outside his society."

"The Muslims today - forgive me for saying this - with their accepted interpretation [of the religious text], are the first to destroy Islam, whereas those who criticize the Muslims - the non-believers, the infidels, as they call them - are the ones who perceive in Islam the vitality that could adapt it to life. These infidels serve Islam better than the believers."
The more I study, and the more I learn, I have come to the belief that Islam the religion has been supplanted by Islam the political movement. After reading this guy's analysis, I'd say he agrees. And he would know. Here's his bio. It sounds like he's a fairly well-known individual within arab culture and his opinions may not garner much support, but they at least stir some controversy and thought in that region. Maybe he's already been on al-Jazeera, then? I don't know, but he should get a weekly gig. Maybe daily.

Also interesting was his commentary from two years ago regarding the wearing of veils by Muslim females, especially in secular nations.
The well-known Syrian author and poet Ali Ahmad Sa'id, also known as Adonis, had harsh criticism of the veil as a symbol of social separatism. In an article titled "Concealing The Head or the Mind?" he maintained that all of the opinions requiring Muslim women to wear veils are no more than interpretations, and therefore obligate only those who believe in them. He explains that Muslims who want to impose the veil constitute a political minority, and thus that "Muslims and Westerners should deal with them not as representative of a religion but as a mere political party." According to Adonis, accentuating a different personal identity within the general unifying identity is a sign of separatism rather than of integration in society:

"One of the simple rules that Muslims [in the West] should know, especially those who have acquired citizenship in their countries of residence, is how to draw the line between the public and the private, between personal beliefs and common social values, because there is no alternative to adherence to the common values, especially those of educational and civil institutions. Muslims who are committed to the veil should understand that their commitment means that they do not respect the feelings of other people who live in the same motherland, that they do not hold the same values, that they denigrate the foundation of [other people's] lives and belittle the laws … and repudiate the republican democratic principles of their adopted country which gave them work and freedom…

"Those who call for the imposition of the veil are a minority among Muslims in the West as well as in the Arab world… This Muslim minority, which lives in the West, is trying – instead of respecting democracy and its principles – to disavow it and to forcefully impose its ideas not only on Muslims, but on democracy itself… All facts indicate that this group is nothing but a political minority. Muslims and Westerners should deal with them not as representative of a religion but as a mere political party."

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