Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fascinating article from Aljazeera....

It's an article from a Muslim scholar who uses the Quran to argue for:

1) Intellectual freedom
2) Religious freedom
3) An Islamic distinction between morality and legality
4) A recognition that apostasy does not equal treason and therefore should not be punishable by death.

Now, this scholar now lives in the US, and so he has the ability to write this article without fear of attack. However, if he were living in the Middle East somewhere, would he be willing to proclaim these same points? I don't know. But there needs to be more Muslim intellectuals who are seeking to understand how Islam and religious/intellectual freedom can co-exist.

Here is the beginning of the article:

"Intolerance show ignorance of Islam"
by Mohamed El-Moctar Shinqiti

Eighty years ago, Marmaduke Pickthall, the British scholar of Islam and translator of the Quran, wrote: "It was not until the Western nations broke away from their religious law that they became more tolerant, and it was only when the Muslims fell away from their religious law that they declined in tolerance."

Tolerance was regarded as irreligious in the Christian world, but was an essential part of Islam, but it is no longer credited to Muslims.

Nowadays, the more "religious" some Muslims regard themselves to be, the less tolerant they are. The cause is a troubling intellectual decline of the Islamic civilisation.

While Muslims complain about the Western lack of understanding of Islam, this misconstruction in the interpretation of religious texts is unfortunately prevalent in the Muslim mind today.

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