Friday, January 14, 2005



Islam, it has been said, needs a Reformation. Well, if it doesn't happen, it won't be for a lack of advocates:

He promotes a reformist vision of Islam that accepts Western ideas, including secular forms of government. Women, he says, are permitted by Islam to receive the same level of education as men and to fully participate in public life, even as religious, political, and business leaders. He advocates peaceful resistance to the US-led occupation in Iraq, in contrast to some clerics in Syria's Sunni Muslim heartland who have encouraged the insurgency. And he rejects what he calls the "monopoly of salvation," the belief that Islam is the only true religion.

"We have to accept other religions," says Habash, director of the Center of Islamic Studies in Damascus. "Islam has to confirm what came before and not cancel [Judaism and Christianity] out. Also, it is not wrong to absorb new ideas from the West and East."

His views have put him at odds with Syria's conservative Muslim clergy...
Live long and prosper (current emphasis on the former).