Thursday, November 11, 2004
The Progressive Muslims Union, North America Debate!
Early October/ late September of this year (2004) - Ahmed Nassaf, Omid Safi, Hussen Ibish, and Sara Eltantawi announced themselves as the executive board of a new Muslim organization calling itself "The Progressive Muslims Union, North America."
They sent out a packet of information to a prospective board of advisors. Among the invitees were the following:
Seeme and Malik Hassan, founders of Muslims For Bush, (see photograph above) who have raised and/or donated over a million dollars to the Bush presidential campaign. Their Muslims For Bush campaign included an article on belief net titled: The Muslim World's Savior (refering to Mr. Bush) "The best thing I can do for Muslims is to vote to re-elect President Bush." The article included this sentence:"I believe Bush is bringing liberation not war"
- Fareed Zakariyya from Newsweek whose public imperialist credentials are
impeccable and whose only problem with the empire is that it is doing an
inefficient job. In an August 5th, 2002 Newsweek article titled "Invade Iraq, but bring friends" Zakaria stated: "Done right, an invasion (of Iraq) would be the single best path to reform the Arab world."
- Nawaal al-Sadawi who has campaigned for the enforcement of the hijab (head
scarf) ban in French public schools. Enforcing the wearing of hijab is as
reactionary as a ban on wearing it.
- Ziyad Asali who at a UN-NGO conference publicly denied the right of return to Palestinian exiles and refugees.
- Muqtedar Khan, who worte that as soon as it became clear that Muslims were behind 9/11, I told my wife ‘there goes my chance to be this country’s first Muslim Henry Kissinger’ And in reference to the US war on Iraq, he wrote: "We will fight with America and we will fight for America. We have a covenant with this nation, we see it as a divine commitment..."
The inclusion of these individuals - and others who have publicly stated that they are not Muslim (Tariq Ali) resulted in an impassioned debate/conversation on the direction this new organization was going to take. Much of this debate has taken place on a discussion e-list The Network of Progressive Muslims.
Given that the debate took place over an e-mail list, it is somewhat cumbersome to read, but some time spent on this will no doubt benefit the North American Muslim community, so as to continue this debate/conversation in a public setting.
While I've attempted to divide up the comments thematically, there are many important, wideranging, and often overlapping issues. The comments are unedited, and the sometimes heated dialogue are a reflection of the importance of these issues.
the participants include:
Ahmed= Ahmed Nassaf
Farid = Farid Esack
Itrath = Itrath Syed
Na'eem= Na'eem Jeenah
Omid = Omid Safi
Sara = Sara Eltantawi
and many others...