Saturday, November 5, 2016

Maajid Nawaz Makes The Case For A Secular Islam

Across the secular web there has been an uproar over the Southern Poverty Law Center's recent decision to add Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali to their list of "Anti-Muslim Extremists." Now I've followed both of them for years and read their work, listened to their speeches and lectures, and I know for a fact that neither of them are anti-Muslim extremists. 

Maajid in particular is a true Muslim reformer who wants to modernize Islam for the 21st century. He's an ardent secularist who wants a brand of Islam that is compatible with secular democracy and modern liberal values like gender equality, freedom of speech, equal rights for gay people — all the things left-leaning organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center should be for, not against.

But because Maajid is occasionally critical of Islam, Islamic history, and what Muslims have done in the name of Islam (and in many cases still do today), he's been branded by some on the left as anti-Muslim, despite being a Muslim himself. And so they've written critical pieces against him in left-wing syndications that exaggerate or outright lie about his deeds and intentions, and the SPLC picked up on that and branded him an anti-Muslim extremist without clear justification.

Regressive leftists like CJ Werleman have called Maajid a "House Muslim" because he's willing to take the "extreme" position that there is a link between Islamic beliefs and terrorism and because he challenges Islamists and engages with atheists. Instead, "true Muslims" according to regressives must be the kind that deny theology can have any influence whatsoever on anyone's actions — unless they're good of course. And "true Muslims" must be the kind that blame Western foreign policy for all the problems in the Islamic world and who deny groups like ISIS have anything to do with Islam.

So watch the video above. Tell me this isn't the work of a true Muslim reformer who's trying to find the difficult path on getting Islam updated for the 21st century — which all liberals should realize is desperately needed. The SPLC made a bad decision, and there is a petition on to get both Maajid and Ayaan removed. I urge all of you to sign it and share it on Facebook.

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