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So, yes, Islam needs to be reformed. This is no insult to Muslims. Judaism and Christianity have undergone major changes. And needed to.
Can Islam be reformed? I do not agree with Lord Cromer. I believe it can.
What is necessary is that Muslim reformers:
1. Honestly acknowledge the Muslim moral record — i.e. the lack of liberty in Muslim nations, the killing of large numbers of non-Muslims, the low status of women, etc. This does not necessitate rejecting the Quran or Islam.
2. Eschew incorporating Sharia into state law and oppose the establishment of any Islamic theocracy (which is not, in any event, Quran-based, according to moderate Muslims).
3. Publicly and unambiguously condemn all violence in the name of Islam, including violence against Israel.
4. Express a deep appreciation of the moral record of America, including its superb treatment of both its Muslim citizens and Muslim immigrants, along with a complete rejection of the Islamist notion that America is hostile to Muslims.
5. Fully accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, and distance themselves from the Muslim/Arab obsession with Israel.
At this very moment, there are Muslim reformers who believe and express all five of these propositions.
Examples include University of Delaware Professor Muqtedar Khan, who runs www.ijtihad.com: “American Muslims really have no reason to feel they are victims of anything … .” The Muslim American community is thriving, proof of “America’s benevolence and tolerance of Islam.”
Another is Ahmed al-Rahim, a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia: “The most important message is that we condemn all kinds of hate speech, including anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, and that we come out as boldly as possible against violence committed by Muslims in Iraq, in Israel … . ”
Regarding the Muslim obsession with Israel, Khan has written: “It is time the leaders of the American Muslim community woke up and realized that … Islam is not about defeating Jews or conquering Jerusalem. It is about mercy, about virtue, about sacrifice and about duty. Above all, it is the pursuit of moral perfection.”
Zainab Al-Suwaij, a refugee from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and executive director of the moderate American Islamic Congress, publicly declared that America “has given Iraqis the most precious gift any nation has ever given another — the gift of democracy and the freedom to determine its own future.”
And Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a physician in Arizona whose parents fled Syria in the 1960s, is the founder and chairman of the board of the moderate American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). A believing and practicing Muslim, Jasser advocates American values, promotes a Quran-based life to be practiced by the individual Muslim and never imposed by the state. He is courageous in confronting the Islamist Muslim groups that the mainstream media in the Western world have promoted to appear as the spokesmen for Western Muslims.
As Jasser says of organizations such as CAIR and other so-called Muslim civil rights organizations, “There was more concern with hate crimes against Muslims, which I think were relatively low; there was more focus on that than actually looking at the violence and the hate speech that has been committed in the name of Islam.”
Islam is too important to deny its need to reform. And it is too important to deny its ability to ever reform.
And if it does reform, Muslims who have embraced America and American values will lead the way.
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