Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Does a Muslim Moderate Sound Like?

Playing catch-up, and having just returned from a lecture by Reza Aslan at Stanford's Abbasi Program on Islamic Studies, I found the following in the draft folder from the days of the discussion on the Pope's much-discussed speech. It's sort of a continuation of an earlier post, which you might want to read, too:

In case anyone is wondering what a discussion between someone like Irshad Manji, Wafa Sultan and/or Ayan Hirsi Ali on the one hand and a moderate Muslim on the other sounds like, please take a listen to the last hour of this program:

During the program, Fawaz Gerges points out that the protest in Cairo, at or near Al-Azhar, was organized and attended by the Islamists. And points to Islamists saying (Kamal Saeed Al Habibi) that they had thought of the Pope a leader in the fight against secularism, and worked with him, for example, during discussions on family planning at WHO conferences and the like. But now they have their doubts.

And the Vatican correspondent, even though he explicates and explains what the pope was trying to do, still says the same thing I was saying at the time, or that Fawaz G or Reza Aslan (see below) were saying: it wasn't smart to use that quote to make his point. And says that the University professor has yet to come to terms with being the Pope. Terrible failure of sensitivity" is the phrase he uses. He hopes that what will come out of this is that Pope will come up with a better vocabulary.

And FG also points out that people in the Muslim world are following this closely: and while this was what the rabble rousers and the mob instigaters are capitalizing on (ain't capital-ism great?!), the masses in the Muslim world are not thinking if this speech; they also remember very clearly his not including Islamic civilization in his list of civilizations in his first speech as Pope--and, not least, his opposition to Turkey and Bosnia's entry into the EU.

And at this point, even Brian Lehrer, the host, is taking jabs at Irshad, who seems to be the only one "defending" the Pope's speech in an unqualified manner.

Reza Aslan points out that unqualified, unsympathetic, un-well-thought-out, really, critiques of Islam make it impossible to reach out to Moderate Muslims--not the fanatics, who will never listen anyway.

Vatican Correspondent Guy says the Vatican is wondering "Where is all the goodwill we earned by being against the Iraq War and calling for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon?" My answer tot hat is: See under "Tet Offensive" and "Holy Father, please stop feeding the bears." Especially since Gerges says that the speakers at Al Azhar said "Let's do this peacefully; and we'll keep up the dialogue."

And Reza A points out that violence broke out over this issue in Gaza and Somalia--the two most lawless places on earth.

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