Reclaiming and Beautifying Islam

.Islam..”we embrace a pluralistic interpretation of Islam, rejecting all forms of oppression and abuses…”

The Gatestone Institute is what you have been looking for.

It is so very easy, and understandable, to become utterly cynical about religion. Given the abuses in the name of Allah prevalent in the news over the past months it is easy to become very suspicious of Islam.

I have heard many folks wondering aloud why Muslims don’t speak out to denounce the inhumanities of ISIS, the kidnappings by Boko Haram, the killing of Christians in Iran, rampant anti-Semitism…(among a pretty nasty list). They are indeed doing so, but we have to listen in the right places.

The Gatestone Institute specializes in what goes under-reported in mainstream media especially regarding human rights. An article from January written by Ahmed Vanya of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy is too large to quote at any length here, but includes a great deal of good news. There are indeed faithful Muslims committed to peace, justice, and a reading of their own religion very compatible with the values we treasure as well.

“Our denial and our relative silence must stop!”

“it is the duty of we Muslims to actively and vigorously affirm and promote universal human rights,  including gender equality and freedom of conscience.”

“the quest for any and all Islamic State(s) has no place…”

To read the paper is to have new hope for religions and people getting along, for upholding democratic values without abdicating all to the bland wash of secular consumerism. A list of Muslims who have signed the document also reveals a plethora of organizations affirming interfaith dialogue and pluralist values, surely our only way ahead.

I don’t wish to seem unduly judgmental, but wow…these are hard days to be inclusive when such atrocities under the banner of Islam confront me every day. I  post this hesitantly because it truly is best if we critique our own. I am just so heartened by evidence that this is happening across the aisle.

BTW: I will keep looking for, or get around to writing, what Christians might do to reclaim our beautiful religion.

The full text of the article from the New York Times is here