Monday, November 29, 2004

Executive Director of PMUNA responds to critics!

The Executive Director of Progressive Muslims Union, North America, Ahmed Nassef, recently responded to critics of PMUNA on his web site MWU! The response: critics of PMUNA are "neo-salafis" (!)

In another entry on his web site - Nassef says that he is "confused" about concerns expressed in this article that appeared in the Vancouver Sun. (excerpts below)

(Itrath) Syed, who made front-page headlines in The Vancouver Sun during this June's federal election when she upset her mosque's imam by running for the New Democratic Party, is part of an international group of noted scholars and activists who say the Progressive Muslim Union (PMU) shouldn't include supporters of the war against Iraq.

They're challenging the way they say the PMU invited active participation from both left- and right-wing Muslims, including staunch supporters of President George W. Bush and the U. S. invasion of Iraq.

Syed said the international controversy has been "emotionally difficult" for her, because she admires Safi and Nassef and, until recently, considered them friends.

The dissidents, some of whom had been asked to serve on the PMU board, were appalled that PMU organizers had tried to draw in high- profile supporters of Republican policies in Iraq, such as Seeme and Malik Hassan, founders of Muslims for Bush, and Farid Zakaria, who wrote in Newsweek that the invasion of Iraq is "the single best path to reform the Arab world."

Syed's group also protested how the PMU approached noted Muslim Nawaal al-Sadawi, who has campaigned for enforcement of the head- scarf ban in France. "Such a ban," said the Muslim dissidents, "is as reactionary as forcing women to wear it."

A member of Syed's disaffected group, Farid Esack, a South African theologian who teaches at St. Xavier University in Cincinnati, stunned PMU organizers by refusing an invitation to join the board.

He didn't want to work with right-wing Muslims, who, although they might defend gender equity and homosexual rights, also support Bush's "expansionist" policies.

"The PMU is a liberal organization, not a progressive one," Syed says. "It should be standing up for justice and offering geo- political analysis," she said.

The board announced by the PMUNA excluded (for reasons unknown at this time) several of the initial controversial invitees - those excluded are Seeme and Malik Hassan (The Muslims for Bush people) Fareed Zakariyya, and Nawaal el-Sadaawi.

Click here to read A comment on the Progressive Muslims Union, North America that is a more comprehensive statement on this and other very important issues of concern to Muslims.

And read this blog for other important concerns regarding the PMUNA.

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