Thursday, April 01, 2004

Whither Muslim World?

The discussion of where Islam and Muslims are coming from and where we need to go is an evolving, gathering and increasingly loud voice in my head that it is becoming more and more difficult to keep suppressed while I earn my daily bread. Existential angst, if you ask me. I will write more later; but for now suffice it to say this:

When we say either that the so-called "Hijab"* is OR IS NOT our most important issue, or when we buy into the mainstream "western" media's saying that to improve the lot of the Ummah it is a matter of either backing the secularists on the one hand or of backing a new set of people who are just now "learning" from the West on the other; when we do either of those we are being trapped into, we are buying into, the world view of the inflexible, rationalist obscuranists on BOTH sides--the Huntington crowd on the one hand and the Taliban on the other.

It is very interesting to see the Rand Corporation's recent report basically say the same thing; that what enlightened "world opinion" should be doing is supporting the "modernists" (as the report calls them; dare I say us) and not the secularists. [The Rand Report is titled Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies and can be read at]

*NOTE ON "HIJAB": The reason I said "so-called Hijab" above is that the artifact being discussed is the Right Wing's modernized version of what I believe was called the Djellaba. The Islamic concept of "Hijab", and "to do Hijab" ["Hijab karna"] is wider than one very modern implementation of it. And the moment we--the people that like to think we are enlightened and want to bring the true spirit of our Islamic and Pakistani heritage to the table and make the world a better place for it—call that headscarf a, or worse, the "Hijab", we are buying into one interpretation of how things should be. And I beg to say most humbly that it is not the interpretation I agree with.

My apologies for that rant, but calling the modern headscarf a "Hijab" is a pet peeve of mine; as is the noveau orthodox greeting "Allah Hafiz".