January 2, 2008

Muslims Against Sharia

Islam appears to me to be badly in need of a vigorous reform movement. Christianity has had several reform movements, from Martin Luther nailing a list of grievances to a church door to the Second Vatican Council. In a way, Protestant Christianity is in a continual state of reform. Judaism has had a very substantial reform movement, and Reform Judaism is now the largest bloc of practitioners of the Jewish religion in the U.S. Judaism created a reform movement with some bad feelings but minimal violence; sadly, Christianity's history of reform is somewhat more bloody.

So it was with great interest that I read a comment from some people who seem to support an effort to reform Islam from within. I wanted, very much, to believe that this was a real movement of Muslims asking for reform and with enough gumption to go through the Koran and edit it to remove statements calling for violence and intolerance -- based on the idea that Allah would not actually want such things and therefore those words could not have been divinely inspired. A noble, worthy venture, I thought.

But although I initially took the blog at face value, a closer look tripped my B.S. detectors. A large number of links come from FrontPage Magazine, an online agitprop magazine published by the of David Horowitz Freedom Center (formerly the Center for the Study of Popular Culture). That made me look further, to try and figure out who the blog's authors might be. A lot of the posts are attributed to Jamie Glazov, the editor of FrontPage, but that may be because the blog is simply reposting some, or all, of Glazov's writings. Turns out, the blog's contributing members include third-tier right-wing journalists, Republican partisans from the Midwest and bloggers with menorahs (and not crescent moons) prominently featured on their profiles. Nothing wrong with being any of those things -- but it seems unlikely in the extreme that any of them are actually Muslim. David is highly unlikely to have become a Muslim since I last met him. (If this group isn't under Horowitz's control, it is entirely possible that the reposts of Glazov's writings in FrontPage are copyright violations, which David is likely to take quite seriously.)

I don't know for sure if David is behind this or not. But this is exactly the sort of stunt he would pull. Sure, MASh is a creative idea and is both subversive and has a cutting point to make (why aren't there more genuine Muslim moderates, why isn't there a substantial effort to reconcile Islam to the realities of the contemporary world). But I fear he is doing more harm than good if he really is the mastermind behind "Muslims Against Sharia."

See, if the "reformers" are found out to not be real Muslims, this could be seen by a real Muslim as an effort by Jews and Christians to infiltrate and change their religion. They would resent this sort of thing as much as a Christian would resent a Muslim posing as a Baptist and making motions on the floor of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. What if John Calvin had really been a closeted Muslim?

Now, there is no reason that I can think of that Islam cannot also have a reform movement, designed to reconcile the moral principles and religious observations of that religion with the realities of the modern world and the cultural practices of the society in which believers find themselves. There is no reason that I can think of that Muslims must behave as though they were still living in the eighth century. But Muslims need to figure this out for themselves. Christians, Jews, and seculars masquerading as Muslims cannot create the real change that can only come from within that group of believers -- they can only create a backlash against themselves when they are found out.

And for me, this little episode is yet another example of how wanting something to be true does not make it so.


Anonymous said...

"As a Psych major, I have always found pathological projection fascinating."


MIRA said...

Hello T. Lawyer,
I find this post really interesting. I have been trying to figure out who these people really are and what their agenda is.
Most of them come from Omaha, Nebraska. Essentially all they do is to get on blogs and argue. They are quite vulgar and they don't appear at all to be Muslim.

Anonymous said...


"I have been trying to figure out"

Haven't we already established that you are too dumb to figure out anything? Besides, if we are not Muslims, why did you spend so much time berating Muslims when you respond to our posts? Your inconsistency rivals your stupidity and lying.

Anonymous said...

Another "non-Muslim" group is working on revising Islamic religious texts: http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/02/