Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Reformation this

Some time ago, TheBit at "Muslims under Progress" wrote a stimulating essay on "secular fundamentalists" - which triggerred a response from the uber-secularists at Gene Expression. I highly respect the GNXP crew, especially Razib, but my sympathies are of course with TheBit on this topic. TheBit has now posted an excellent response which I consider a must-read (in full, so no excerpting).

A related problem is the political alliance that Muslims have made with the Progressive Left. For example, I consider Laura of Veiled4Allah to be a role model for the assimilation of muslims into American culture with retention of Islmaic values, but her support for the Dennis Kucinich wing of the Democratic Party neccessarily means that her allies become people like the odious Amy Richards. This association is difficult to justify to the more conservative muslim mainstream, and is perhaps precisely the neutering that the secularists want to see - a Christian-inspired "buffet" approach to Islam where specific elements are embraced and others rejected, heavily influenced by local cultural mores rather than universal principles. Diversity of interpretation is good but erosion of the essence of the basic teachings is not - and the navigation of those conflicting mandates is fraught with difficulties of both the spiritual and the worldy kinds.

We need to be able to formulate an independent voice from the Progressive Left and the Secular middle - and recognize that not all amongst the conservative Right are neccessarily opposed to our values. That triangulation is essentialy to preserving our religion's practice and our integrity in the larger Ummah as a whole.


  1. James,

    I understand why she cited that guy. It is something of a Nixon-goes-to-China type of argument. That is, if *this* hardcore fundamentalist preacher says it's ok to vote, it *must* be ok to vote.

    But the point is that one shouldn't look to fundamentalist preachers overseas to legitimate the practice of *voting* in the United States. You need to justify voting in the US on the grounds that it's your civic duty as an American citizen.

    She couldn't care less for the USA. Her interest is only the welfare of the Muslim "ummah". She doesn't say what she should have said, which is: "you should vote because while you are a Muslim, you owe your loyalty to the US. Religion and politics are two separate things and a Muslim American must fight for his country against a Muslim from another country if it comes to that".

    In other words, she's not promoting assimilation, but rather subversion. It's not the model to aim for.

  2. To what extent is "religion" separate from "politics" in the eyes of certain Christian right-wingers who believe Bush is doing "God's work"?