Not In My Backyard

An article by Ziauddin Sardar, in the independent. He advocates muslims need to be critical of wahabism, provides the historical context or the islamic framework how this could be done and pragmatically it is to be done in the west outside the Arab Sphere of influence.

He prefaces this is our best hope. Good article nonetheless, to his defense assuming you have a sound comprehensive islamic curriculum that promotes critical and rational thinking of the religion , one that would oppose and counter the literalist view, how do you go about educating the Arab population?

State Britain Sponsored Islam does not sound very legitimate, certainly not much help to the Arabs living in the Middle East. Maybe a Sunni version of the online “khan academy”?

Considering how easily the wahabist are offended, the website will go viral, but it will equally be banned.

What about we educate Arabs Muslims to treat Saudi clerics as a drug manufacturers and wahabism as a drug? I would presume this would be the honest and socially responsible approach.

Here an excerpt nonetheless:

“Our best hope of dealing with extremism is to challenge the doctrines manufactured by religious scholars, from the past and present. The distinguished history of critical thought in Islam must be brought back from the periphery to the centre. And if its spread is hindered in the Muslim heartlands, then it must be exported back from the West.
In Britain, for example, it should be an essential part of the curriculum whenever and wherever Islam is taught – including faith schools and seminaries such as the Darul Ulum in Birmingham – as well as in any comparative religion classes. There should be a proper system of certifying imams, who clearly need much more than a traditional education that simply perpetuates uncritical acceptance.
What’s more, British Muslims need to create and defend the freedom to question and, if necessary, reject religious authorities of the past and present. And why can’t we see this theme explored on television, instead of the usual programmes about terrorism and the hajj? If nothing else, a TV series on free thought in Islam would supply some material to Westerners, so that they could engage with Muslims in a discourse based on mutual respect.
Finally, let us be heard. No doubt many Muslims want to protest against jihad. But, at the very least, we should also be rallying against the Saudi hijacking of Islam. ”–but-recent-attempts-to-suppress-critical-thought-are-verging-on-the-absurd-9993777.html


2 thoughts on “Not In My Backyard

  1. Reading NOT IN MY BACKYARD I felt right at home. As the youngest child, in the presence of my sisters chatting, I was in awe to the complicated web of thoughts and interpretations that interwove their simple casual conversation. I got comfort from believing that growing up will solve the mystery of how ideas, conclusions or questions are generated from simple exchange of spoken sentences. School studies and history in particular did not make that riddle easier. I felt sorry for all the casualties of wars and communal death in these ancient stories and wondered how it happened but at the same time I was glad it was long time ago. I have to say growing up was a big disappointment.
    Today, the past and the future are living in the present. I no longer wonder how wars were carried out under the banner of Gods? I don’t ask how Genocides, Slavery or any other bloody chapter in history could have happen .
    Today, I am almost sixty, the interpretations of spoken or written sentences are still unresolved while the ancient history stories are alive like a reality show 24/7.


  2. I like your wisdom, think with the amazing technology that surrounds us we forget that the greatest technology mankind has ever created, and will ever create is language. We don’t examine the miracle that we both use language to project images into each other’s mind, abstract thoughts as a sense of wonderment, compassion and the myriads of emotions.

    There are benefits to re-think of language as a sophisticated technology invented by man.

    On one hand it
    can help us organize, articulate our fears, suspicion, wits to defend ourselves, allow us to advance other technology such as writing, and make inventions such as a remote control rovers on planet Mars, and internally we can reach the center of our existence – explore the depth of our ceilings, outwardly we contextualize beauty, ensure the survival of our specie…etc.. on the other hand, in its most efficient and purist form langauge in the heart of its wiring: instruct – follow, it is
    Control, and as soon as man realized he can control another man, we had to know why? With that Man on this planet gave birth to purpose.

    At some point purpose had to be elevated to the unquestionable, so that technology can be used to do the unquestionable.

    Man when he lived wih myth, and metaphor was probably more aware of these subtleties, he was more tuned with the awe of the milkyway and diverse life on earth. On the other hand Monotheism, is the ultimate power.

    I guess my point is that it goes both ways,
    Langauge contians within it the undoing of control if man seeks to be objective, remove himself and see himself at the same time or if Man choses not use langauge, use symbols, use art to free himself from the shackles of artificial purpose.


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