Sunday, July 24, 2005

Irshad Manji - another of the good guys

Irshad Manji joins Jeff Jarvis's good guy list along with Salim Mansur and Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali.

Irshad Manji says:
"...something has changed.

As I scour Muslim chat rooms and discussion boards, I see an overwhelming display of heartfelt condolences for the victims and angry condemnation of the criminals.

Last year, the powerless children of Beslan, Russia didn't have nearly such an effect on Muslims worldwide. It is as if London - its pluralism, dynamism, and (we shall whisper this) capitalism - marked the line that dare not be crossed.

Yet two myths still rear their heads in this most sympathetic of Muslim responses. First, that Britain courted the attack by joining the US in Iraq. Second, that Islam cannot be held responsible for what a few twisted Muslims choose to do.

Terrorists have never needed an Iraq debacle to justify their violent jihads. What exactly was the Iraq of 1993, when Islamic radicals first tried to blow up New York City's World Trade Centre? Or 2000, when the USS Cole was attacked? Indeed, that assault took place after US military intervention saved thousands of Muslims in Bosnia.

Even overt solidarity with the people of Iraq, demonstrated by CARE's top relief worker in the area, Margaret Hassan, did not shield her from assassination.
She fills in a blank for us. We all read this last week from an Imam in New York City:
"whoever kills a human being ... it is as if he has killed all humankind".
Irshad Manji gives us the verse in its entirety:
"Whoever kills a human being, except as punishment for murder or other villainy in the land, shall be regarded as having killed all humankind."
She then says,
"Militant Muslims easily deploy the clause beginning with "except" to justify their rampages."

Did economic sanctions on Iraq, imposed by the UN but demanded by Washington, cause the "murder" of half a million children? Bin Laden believes so, oil-for-food scandal or not. Did the boot prints of US troops in the Arabian peninsula, birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed, qualify as "villainy in the land"? To bin Laden, you bet. As for US civilians, can they be innocent of either "murder" or "villainy" when their tax money helps Israel buy tanks to raze Palestinian homes? A no-brainer for bin Laden.
She then challenges his fellow Muslims:
I stand with those Muslims who insist that certain passages are being politically exploited. Of course they are. The point is, however, that they could not be exploited if they did not exist.

How about joining with the moderates of Judaism and Christianity in confessing some "sins of scripture", as the Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong has said of the Bible?
A very thoughtful piece. As they say, read it all.

I might point out that there are a good number of Evangelical Christians who don't agree with Bishop Spong's assessment, who believe in the infallibility of the Book and its literal interpretation. But, then again, they don't slink around blowing the lives out of innocent men, women and children, either.

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