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Islam needs reform (and we need <em>real discourse)

Published by marco on

Salman Rushdie (yes, that one) writes Yes, This is About Islam, also in the New York Times. It talks about the need for reform in the Muslim world, particularly because those speaking most stridently for Islam are ignorant proponents of a “cluster of customs, opinions and prejudices…” rather than true religious leaders.

<q>An Iraqi writer quotes an earlier Iraqi satirist: “The disease that is in us, is from us.” A British Muslim writes, “Islam has become its own enemy.” A Lebanese friend, returning from Beirut, tells me that in the aftermath of the attacks on Sept. 11, public criticism of Islamism has become much more outspoken. Many commentators have spoken of the need for a Reformation in the Muslim world.</q>

Robert Jensen, of the University of Texas writes Against Dissent: Why free speech is important as the U.S. drops cluster bombs at CounterPunch, examining the apparent paradox that we live in a country with a powerful right to free speech, but for the most part, that speech never becomes discourse:

<q> How did political freedom produce such a depoliticized culture? … Which leads to another question: Why did so many Americans not only disagree with me, but become enraged with me? What is it about this political culture that leads people to see a different political analysis not as something to be argued with, but something to eliminate? … [Discussion is] labeled dissent only because this culture assumes that the pronouncements of the president and other “important” people are the policy, and we the people then have a right to either agree with it or dissent from it.</q>