SECULAR MUSLIMS: Does Islam need reformation?
March 25, 2007
ILYAS, M.D., Jacksonville
last two decades, we have seen a vast number of efforts to reform Islam so it
would be more compatible to Western values.
Several small, proclaimed reform movements are trying to correct the assumed
wrongness of Islam and call for an Islamic reformation.
These self-proclaimed secularists represent only a small minority of Muslims.
The majority of Muslims, not only in the United States but worldwide, have
different opinions. Yet, the media, governments and neoconservative pundits pay
more attention to the secular minority.
The secular Muslim agenda is promoted because these ideas reflect a Western
vision for the future of Islam.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, many people, including high-ranking officials
in the Bush administration, have prescribed to a preferred remedy for Islam:
Reform the faith so it is imbued with Western values - the privatization of
religion and outsourcing democracy.
The rulers in Muslim countries who are secular are labeled good Muslims. The
problem with this prescription is that it is far from reality.
Consider the facts: Islamic renaissance has spread across the globe in the past
60 years from the East to West.
In Egypt, it is hard to find a woman on the street who does not wear a head
Islamic political groups and movements are on the rise. Even in the United
States, more and more Americans are curious about Islam, particularly the young.
Some are embracing Islam.
In Europe and the United States, where Muslims have maximum exposure to Western
culture, they are increasingly embracing Islamic values.
In Britain, a growing number of Muslims advocate creating a court system based
upon Islamic principles.
What all this means is that Western hopes for full integration by Muslims in the
West are unlikely to be realized, and the future of the Islamic world will be
much more Islamic than Western.
Instead of championing the loud voices of the secular minority who are capturing
media attention with their conferences, manifestos and memoirs, the United
States would be wise instead to pay more attention to the far less loquacious