Monday, April 25, 2005

There have been several interesting articles recently regarding the PMUNA (links below). However, these articles miss a critical point regarding this, and other such so-called "reform" Islam organizations.

1. Progressive Islam's Smelly Kebabs

2. Making sense of the progressive Muslim agenda

The point these articles miss is that, at this time, the United States has a specific agenda regarding how it wishes to see Islam's face changed. And the Progressive Muslim Union NA also has an agenda that it wants to impose on the Muslim community.

This fact was best stated by Abdus Sattar Ghazzali in a recent article:

It may be recalled that the Progressive Muslim Union of North America (PMUNA) the main backer of Friday prayer circus tried to push the major American Muslim organizations into corner by demanding a position on this non-issue. Just before the stunt, one of PMUNA’s co-founders demanded that the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), KARAMAH, the American Sufi Muslim Association, Women in Islam and Azizah Magazine should take a position on this non-issue.
The current political climate is such that the PMU NA has set itself up as the "good Muslims" (in the eyes of the United States media) and anyone that does not agree with them gets branded as "extremists" "backwards" "neo-salafis" "wahabbis" "mullah" and so on... Sometimes the media does this labeling, most other times the PMUNA officials hurl these epithets.

Furthermore there are PMUNA board members who are associated with organizations that want to support the US "war on terror." What does this mean?

A recent article in US news has pointed out that this "war on terror" includes "changing the face of Islam."

After repeated missteps since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has embarked on a campaign of political warfare unmatched since the height of the Cold War. From military psychological-operations teams and CIA covert operatives to openly funded media and think tanks, Washington is plowing tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to influence not only Muslim societies but Islam itself.
(See side bar for information on other PMU NA board members.)

An article suggests that the PMUNA supporters are lashing out, or maybe, like adolescents acting out.

If we are to use such analogies - then we should add that the PMUNA is playing with the neighborhood bully, and if you don't do as they say - the bully will attack you, and beat you up.

There are social problems within the Muslim community, however as Noam Chomsky has said regarding US interventions:

The right of humanitarian intervention, if it exists as a category in international law, is premised on the "good faith" of those intervening. That assumption of good faith is based not on their rhetoric but on their record, in particular their record of adherence to the principles of international law, World Court decisions, and so on. But if we look at the historical record, the United States does not qualify.


iFaqeer said...

Not being part of the original PMU/anti-PMU debate and, frankly, still having not decided which side I am on, so to speak, I would like to put in a reminder that from the point of view of the mainstream American Muslim community, or the Daniel Pipes' of the world, there really isn't a distinction between the PMU and the non-PMU progressive Muslims. I don't think either Ghazali Saahab or Kaleem Khwaja's recent post on FOIL about the progressive community was targeted any more or less at the PMU, the non-PMU, or even Irshad Manji.

Just an observation.


publicdebate said...

And so what is your point exactly?

You ask a valid question about alternatives (on your blog). Near where you live there is a place called Zaytuna Institute. Try it out. Not perfect, but i'd give them very high marks for trying to bring change by situating themselves within the Muslim community - and not using the US bully media to slander and name call mainstream Muslims.

And finally, I consider myself to be part of the mainstream Muslim community. So, what you say about them, you say 'bout me.

iFaqeer said...

...and about myself. If you give me an e-mail address, I would love to send you a couple of mails I exchanged with a few people since.

And I have great hopes for Zaytuna, too. But I am very disconcerted with how clearly Zaid Shakir, Senior Scholar at Zaytuna, appears to have thrown his lot in with the forces arrayed to dump on anything with the "Progressive Muslim" label. I admit this might only be an appearance, but this in a discussion like this, perception is very important.

Hamza Y did a lot of talking about how clearly 9/11, etc. are un-Islamic. But all that is being buried under this. And we are left with no one standing up to raise issues like the one I raised--except the progressives (from the Union or otherwise).

Where do I go? As we say in Pakistan, main manji kithth-hay d'haawan? Where do I place my bedroll? (The pun is inadvertent; but very interesting.)

publicdebate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DrMaxtor said...

Very nice

TarekFatah said...

Here is a question.

Why does Zaytoun name themselevs as Zaytoun? What was so unislamic about the name "The Olive Tree"

I was at a talk by Dr. Omar Farooq of Zaytoun, and he mentioned how Chinese Muslims have developed Chinese Islam without giving up their names and culture and that in China, Islam is not referred to as 'Islam', but its Chinese name.

As a freind of many Zaytounis (good people), I asked them about this contradiction. Why would Omar Farooq change his own name, give up his WASP name, while admire the Chinese for retaining their own?

Why did Zaytoun not have an English langauge name? Is English unislamic?

Is the use of Arabic sounding names used to give added authenticity to a group?

There is something disingenous about acquiring fake identities.

Why are new Muslim asked to change their names when the Prophet did not change a single name of the non-Muslims who converted to islam in his lifetime. Can;t we argue that the Sunnat is to retain one's name given by one's parents?

My two paisas.

Ta Taa...

Tarek Fatah

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Anonymous said...

ha ha ha ha. Progressive muslims? that's like saying i want coffee without coffee beans. The majority of "progressive muslims" don't pray, don't eat halal, question the authority of the Koran, and bend over backwards to prove to non muslims that "we are just like you". Ha ha ha. Mostly they are afraid of losing their jobs, fancy cars, money, homes, etc. And, if they see someone practicing Islam as dictated in the koran they lambast them and shun them. So, they behave the same way they claim "extremists" behave. If Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, and any of the other prophets were alive today they would be labeled extremists. Because they all shook up the status quo and didn't try to maintain it. Those guys would be in jail today. Progressive muslims need to stop calling themselves muslims and they need to stop labeling practicing muslims as extremists.