Sunday, August 15, 2010

GPS & Hirsi Ali and Manji

I watched a segment of Fareed Zakaria's GPS show this morning. He had two guests:
discussing reformation of Islam versus abandoning the religion in favour of Christianity.

I enjoyed the conversation between they each politely agreed to disagree. Wonderful. That is civilized discourse. You get a chance to present your viewpoint. The other person theirs. If you can persuade, that's good. If you can't that's fine. That's exactly what I saw on GPS. That is a good show.

I like both these women. I've read most of their books. I heartily recommend anything written by these two. They are smart, thoughtful, critical women with valuable viewpoints to share.

The transcript of the interview is here, search the page for 'Islamic Cultural Center' to find the start of the interview.

Irshad Manji puts her finger on the failure of Muslims to confront the moderates to force them to take responsibility:
In 2007, my mother and I were sent by PBS to film -- screen my documentary, "Faith Without Fear". Without fear, it turns out. My mother, out of the corner of her eye, watched a small and then larger and then larger group of young Muslims gathering. And after all of the microphones and TV cameras had gone, this now large group of young Muslims came over to me and my mother and they said to her, Mrs. Manji, thank you for supporting Irshad.

And my mother looked at them quizzically and said, well, I really appreciate that, but why didn't you say that earlier when you, you know, could have basically broadcast that message to others who would be watching and they'd know that they're not alone? And they looked at each other sheepishly, and then they said, you don't understand. You have the luxury of being able to walk away from Detroit two hours from now. We don't, and we cannot be accused of dishonoring our families.

These are children of the first amendment. Where are the moderates going wrong?
I think Manji has the right approach. I find that Hirsi Ali is too unrealistic:
Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen who is now hiding in Yemen, who has inspired men like Faisal Shahzad, the guy who tried to blow up Times Square, Nidal Malik Hasan, the major in the American military, who's an American citizen, who killed Americans. These are guys who read the Koran and read the Hadith and then think that they are professional enough to tell other Muslims what they can do and what they can't do, what is right and what is wrong. And that is, in "Nomad", the reason why I came to the conclusion perhaps it's better for Muslims to move away from Islam altogether and seek a different source of morality. Those who want a God should forsake Allah and find a God like Jesus Christ, you know?

I'm not a Christian, but Christ, as he has evolved in the concept of the people who believe in Him, has become this cuddly God who is all about love and paternity, and -- and I think maybe for those Muslims, especially those who are seeking a better life coming to America, perhaps it's -- it's better for them not to just leave their home behind but also their God behind.
I really admired how the two women could agree to disagree while supporting each other by agreeing that all approaches should be tried to get Muslims to back away from the fanatics:
MANJI: But here's -- no, really. I don't mean that in any kind of a condescending way. You know that I defend your right to leave. But I am absolutely passionate about my responsibility to stay because if I was to walk away at this point it would feel like running away.


ALI: I -- I again say it's not one strategy. I agree with your strategy and with yours. And let's talk, let's persuade, let's do everything we can. But why pursue only the strategy of emancipating Muslims through reforming Islam. Why not emancipate Muslims also by introducing them. It's not either/or but also by introducing them to other moral systems.

If I can find video clips from it, I'll stick them here later. In the meantime, here is video in which Fareed Zakaria sums up his views on the Islamic Centre.

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