Saturday, April 01, 2006

Progressives, Right-Wingers, and Moderates

I was complaining about the conflation of "progressive" and "moderate" in a statement from a Progressive Muslim set up and someone challanged me on it, so I offered to try to unpack my comment. Here's what I said:

On the one hand, I was saying that I agree with most of what the statement says.

But efforts like this need to make a distinction between what is a progressive position and what is a moderate position. Right wing positions and progressive positions are both sold as being "moderate", and that confusion between the two makes it very difficult to have a proper conversation. Right wing, Progressive, and Moderate are three different things and they all have something to bring to the discussion, but the clear discussion can only take place if we are clear about what is what. As long as any and all participants do not cross lines of legality, morality, decency and, in this case, Islamic principles, they should all be part of the discussion.

And in terms of full disclosure, personally, I consider myself as coming from a moderate-to-traditional (not Maududist/Qutbist) background but who is increasingly finding that the folks I agree with and can work with are progressive. I am part of several organizations that are progressive and have called myself progressive. We should be honest about that; it would help us all have real conversations instead of haranguing/demagoging each other.


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1 comment:

Qalandar said...

I think a related problem is the passing off of people who are not Muslim at all (in the sense that they are self-professed atheists or non-Muslims) as "moderate Muslims" (many of these also appear to be enthusiastically playing to right-wing galleries): witness the recent NYTimes piece on the Syrian doctor who appeared on Al Jazeera and has apparently been receiving death threats...

The problem is that whatever one might think of their views, it cannot be denied that such people are not going to have any impact on believing Muslims, whether of the :moderate" "traditional" or "progressive" variety...