Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A silent majority of moderates

Freedom II

Irshad Manji's message is honourable and simple, be morally courageous and speak out for the truth

The issue I have with Irshad's message is it remains entrenched in religious belief and this undermines it. You will hear her say that great religions such as Islam hold undeniably in each their own way a message of love. That in the name of Islam and Muslims this under-pinning message has been distorted by a radicalised extremist and increasingly violent element.  In another video Irshad tells the students that education alone does not prevent extremism, this is an accurate observation as many of the most infamous extremists are highly educated (though claims otherwise they are disenfranchised, poor, ill-educated are more popular or digestible). Neither though is it the case that religion prevents such things, else we may have less incidents of radicalised violent extremists blowing up stuff and other humans in the name of Islam - which is a religion? What can help prevent extremism and the concomitant terrorism becoming more and more associated with Islam? Irshad's message argues questioning is a strength in matters of faith, and that current "moderate Muslims" need to be outspoken and questioning of the extremism they witness emerging from within their religion.

Be honourable, fearlessly outspoken and public in support of human rights and of their communities. Contradict the extremists publicly in support the happiness and health of their muslim communities in whatever land they reside.

The humanist message she strongly and effectively presents though originates from a different perspective and not a religious one, not at least in the modern religion as we know them. Her message and themes are carried to us from ancient Greece through to an 18th Century re-emergence and recognition of a way of thinking that reintroduced reason into cultural, political and social conduct.

She is, due to her faith, perhaps, the glimmer of a transition to a form of enlightenment that Ayaan Hirsi Ali lamented [Infidel] remains the ever limiting curse of Islam. To paraphrase Hirsi Ali (badly probably) and Irshad if I understand the point she is attempting to make, we have a "political Islam" lacking the maturing and socialising influence of an enlightenment.

I do not doubt Irshad's intelligence or commitment to her message but it is wrung with pretty obvious contradiction. Religions rely upon their dogma though she points to dogma as harmful - part of the problem. Love is the message of Islam but love (trust, passion, honour, sexuality, empathy) and its many contexts of meaning are not supported by Islam in the manner we describe them and indeed experience them. Islam, or submission, is about denying what makes us human and individual in deference to living as did The Prophet according to Allah's teachings...and who's teachings include the subjugation of un-believers plus the subordination of non-muslims and women. Ultimately criticism from within Islam or from external sources is not tolerated these convenient eruptions into violent jihad at a relatively minor criticisms are absurd, unhinged and deadly for everyone. Lets be honest Christians, Hindus and Jews put up with much worse without the requirement to destroy, maim, kill or threaten to kill. Just what is going on asks Irshad? She says extremism emerges in those who's faith is not strong and who's confidence is undermined. This too is convenient. Humans are many things but just because as a human you feel weakened or lacking faith do you naturally then find release and power out of violent jihad?

Irshad's message in part is compellingly put, she is a talented orator, it may reach a susceptible but as yet uncorrupted audience.

She asks Islam to check its morality, measure its responses, and challenges the still mute "moderate majority" to step up and speak up to protect and defend the freedom offered by their societies and communities that are the ones under attack from the extremists.

Silence is acceptance. I wish her well.

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About Leeanneart

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
We are first and foremost human with a responsibility to the humanity within us and not to any faith, political, apolitical, social or societal group, union or faction. We are responsible for our own reputation, and for what deeds we do and what achievements or otherwise in life we enjoy. The rest is nonsense.