Sunday, July 31, 2005

Omid Safi declares takfir on Irshad Manji!

Omid Safi, along with Pamela Taylor, is the Chair of the "Progressive Muslim Union North America."

In a recent Cyber Fatwa - he has declared that Irshad Manji is not a Progressive Muslim!

I think to most of us it is obvious why Irshad is not a progressive Muslim.
Well no, actually it is not obvious at all - since it was Omid Safi himself who wrote the Progressive Muslim Union Shahdah:

"We affirm that a Muslim is anyone who identifies herself or himself as "Muslim," including those whose identification is based on social commitments and cultural heritage."
(An expanded version of the PMUNA shahdah can viewed here).
So, according to Omid Safi's definition of a Muslim - an athiest (they got a couple of those on the PMUNA board) can be a "Muslim" --- he has no limitations at all on who can identify her/himself as a Muslim.

HOWEVER, it now appears that Omid Safi does have some limitations on who can identify her/himself as a "Progressive."

Why? Well, because Omid Safi holds the word "Progressive" more sacred than he does "Muslim." If he were to be consistent in his views - he should welcome Irshad Manji to his fold - on the basis of:

"We affirm that a Progressive Muslim is anyone who identifies herself or himself as "Progressive Muslim."

And the fact is, they do have a lot more in common than meets the eye.

Omid Safi says in his cyber fatwa:

I am quite fed up with her, and frustrated by the way that she pitches herself to everyone from Fox News (which is quite infatuated with her) to very right wing Zionist organizations.

As usual, Safi exposes his double standards: he has no problems at all, and infact encourages the appearnces of his own people on FOX news, and right wing anti-Palestinian organizations.

Along with having a board member who has been strongly condemned by dozens of grass roots Palestinian organizations.

It is like this: if Omid Safi is doing it, that's all OK - but if someone else is doing the exact same crap, suddenly the person is no longer worthy of the title "Progressive Muslim."

Lets not forget that, with all of his rethoric about "Bush and empire" - Omid Safi has no problem cozying up, and inviting people such as Muslims for Bush to his board.

This is the "Progressive Muslims Union of North America."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

no more recomending "PMU"

Synaptic Cartography writes:

I used to recommend the Progressive Muslim Union (PMU) mailing list to those American muslims I'd meet who expressed disillusionment with other muslims (or even their entire faith) based in a high proportion of their encounters having been with very strictly and literalistically dogmatic and communally insular individuals/groups...

And so it's a fairly recent thing that I've stopped making this recommendation. There was a minor thing, a small personal embarrassment at having made just such a recommendation only to have it immediately followed by a run of particularly unnecessarily antagonistic and flat out puerile behavior by several of the more prominent writers there. It's a internet mailing list, this is how these things go, but in making the recommendation it then manages to reflect back, at the very least, on what appeals to me personally. And so that formed the quintessential straw upon a camel's back.

Click here to read more

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Tarek Fatah Problem

see an update on Tarek Fatah:

Pro-Regressives masquerading as "progressives"

The Living Tradition Blog has a couple of good articles worth a read:

Tarek Fatah and Canadian Islamic Court


Hijacking Tagedy -

Last year I wrote a piece on the collaboration of Neocons and “progressive” Muslims in the war against Islam. I received some negative comments demanding “proof” despite those cited in the post. Well here it is, 2 weeks after the tragic events in London. While responsible Muslim organizations in the US and UK were calling for calm and patience, Ahmed Nassef wasted no time claiming that the culprits had be Muslims.
Lets take a closer look at Tarek Fatah, he is on the board of directors of the "Progressive Muslim Union North America" and was one of the founders and moderators of the e-discussion group known as Network of Progressive Muslims (NPM).

A few months back, he was removed as moderator, after he took the e-mail addresses that he had access to, and created a new "progressive Muslim Union" e-list (where he is one of the moderators) - subsequently, he resigned from NPM.

Fatah, has a deliberate propensity to make wild unsubstantiated allegations, just a few examples: on the NPM list he has called officials of mainstream Muslim organizations snakes, supporters of Taleban, having connections with Ben Laden. And just about anyone who disagrees with him on Canadian religious court controversy, he insists, wants to impose "Sharia on Canada."

When he is asked to produce his proof - he commences to attack those who question his authority.

His recent statement on the London bombing includes this innuendo:

Tarek Fatah, communications director of the MCC, said, "For too long the Al-Qaeda and its apologists among the Muslim community have been holding the Muslim world hostage.

Perhaps someone can ask Fatah to identify who these "apologists" are so we can know just who is holding the "Muslim world hostage?"

Intrestingly, on the Islamicity site, the above statement is attributed to Tarek Fatah, but on the MCC web site - the exact same statement is attributed to Niaz Salimi, President of the MCC...

Niaz Salimi, President of the MCC, said, “For too long the Al-Qaeda and its apologists among the Muslim community have been holding the Muslim world hostage.”

hmmm... If you are going to use someone as your mouthpiece, atleast be consistent!

All of this is well known to Omid Safi and Pamela Taylor who are co-chairs of the "Progressive Muslim Union North America" - but they prefer to only whimper a protest once in a great while. And then Omid Safi and Pamela Taylor will talk about how they want self-critique and introspection and all those nice sounding words ---

It appears that they want to attack the Muslim community using Tarek Fatah, Ahmed Nassef, Hussein Ibish, amongst others - and they will NOT hold their own board members accountable for their statements, or actions! Not even when one of their own resigns, after being bitterly attacked, and called a liar by Fatah.

To his credit (if any is to be given to this guy) Tarek Fatah, after some initial flirtation, has distanced himself from Irshad Manji. BUT she did mention him in her section on acknowlegements - and addresses him as her friend here:

2. "'We're not smart enough' is a commonly uttered explanation throughout the Islamic world for why Muslims couldn't possibly have engineered the September 11 attacks." Source and note: This is confirmed by my friend Tarek Fatah, who recently spent time in Pakistan and frequently heard such mutterings.

This is the "Progressive Muslim Union North America"

Monday, July 04, 2005

Sex, Alcohol, and "No god" - The PMU shahadah updated

Earlier, this blog had a report on the "Progressive Muslim Union North America" shahadah and litmus test. This litmus test has now been updated and reads as follows:

"In addition to agreeing to the PMU statement of principles, you agree to interact and exchange ideas with Muslims who may or may not pray, who may or may not drink alcohol, who may or may not engage in sex outside of marriage, who may or may not be homosexual, who may or may not believe in God. PMU will not tolerate any statements questioning or admonishing a person's practice or lack of practice, faith or lack of faith, or sexual identity. "
While this may sound to some as if the Progressive Muslim Union is expanding the "tent" - it is, infact, yet another step by the PMU towards institutionalizing corruptions of very basic teachings of Islam. The issue of alcohol resulted in extreme defensive tones by the PMU defenders - Muqtedar Khan in his resignation letter has termed this "fanatical rage."

Readers in the United States may not fully appreciate the social status role that openly drinking alcohol plays in Muslim majority countries. While there are individuals across all social classes who may take a swig now an then --- it is for the elites that alcohol serves a specific purpose of enhancing one's status, and separating one's self from the mass of Muslims who live in poverty.

Both, alcohol, and an open willingness to have "sex outside of marriage" ('affairs') are part of a yardstick with which the acceptablity of a Muslim is measured. (A "good Muslim" is one who drinks alcohol, a fundamentalist is one who observes the five prayers, wears hijaab, has a beard etc.) It is a form of imitation of the "west" that elites love to indulge in --- believing in the superiority of the "west" to Islam.

While alcohol plays an elitest role in many/most muslim majority countries, lets take a look at Pakistan, as an example:

Dr. Mahjabeen Islam describes what is really a reflection of the elite class of Pakistan under the "enlightened moderate" Musharraf - who is busy implementing the United States vision in that country.

With Musharraf now quite inclined towards alcohol, pet dogs, Ataturk and secularism, euphemized as enlightened moderation, parties in Pakistan are no different from what they would be any Western country. There was a time that Pepsi was used to camouflage whiskey, now in mehndis and weddings there are regular bars serving vodka, whiskey and beer should you so desire.

I will admit that I travel halfway around the world for one or two Qawwali performances in the winter in Pakistan. To my horror prior to the start of the Qawwali I noticed glasses being carried in the hands of many full of that incriminating light yellow liquid. Soon enough the Qawwali was to begin and the groom’s brother detailed what a Qawwali is and then requested that since the Qawwal would start with a Hamd (poetry in the praise of God) that people should refrain from smoking. Excuse me? What about the yellow brew?
AND here is what Ayaz Amir, a columnist with the Dawn newspaper, Pakistan's largest English-language daily had to say about the "englightened moderate" :

"For the whiskey-drinking class, the chattering classes, he (Musharraf) was the messiah they'd been waiting for."
At the next "Progressive Muslim Union North America" event - watch out for that innocuous looking fruit punch --- it might be spiked!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Muqtedar Khan's resignation letter

Dear Omid (Safi)

Assalamu Alaykum,

Lately I have found the environment with Progressive Muslims Union extremely oppressive, abusive and hateful. I have found both PMU and MWU extremely intolerant of difference and disagreement. This is the only Muslim group where people who believe in the teachings of the Quran are ridiculed and those who express ambivalence about it even about the existence of God are celebrated.

But lately the culture of takfir and the absolutely lack of basic adab and simple etiquette that is becoming a defining characteristic of PMU has become suffocating.I have been extremely critical of many Muslim organizations, specially ISNA, AMSS and CAIR organizations that are routinely ridiculed by PMU members who feel that they are morally superior to all Muslims -- both in private and in writing but have never, ever been abused by any of them and most importantly never ever been made to feel that I do not belong.

It should not be a great loss to PMU. Even though I was member of the advisory board for a year, I was never consulted even once on any of its decisions. The advisory board never met even once and we never even had a single meeting with the executive committee. It is a sham anyway.

My close interaction with PMU has taught me three things, (1) that clearly I am not sufficiently indifferent to the teachings of Quran and the traditions of the Islamic heritage to be a "good Progressive Muslim"; (2) I was too gullible to believe in its empty claims of openness and tolerance for different perspectives. And (3) I have also learned that I am completely opposite in nature to most of the members of PMU. For example I believe that a rational argument precedes the moral judgment.

PMU is operating with a set of moral principles randomly acquired from Marxism and/or postmodern cultural trends and is treating them as absolutely moral truths, and are now looking for arguments [hopefully with some Islamic content] to justify them. PMU members unleash fanatical rage when this is questioned and resort to abuse, distortion, false accusations as a substitute to argument.

I can understand, sympathize and participate in exercises of Ijtihad that seek to reassess "human understanding" of Islam. I have been advocating this for over a decade. My website Ijtihad was launched in 1999. But not to observe Islamic values after recognizing them as such to me is a sin. I cannot for example in good conscience approve of alcohol consumption by those who acknowledge it as forbidden. To demand that I do so in order to remain a member of the community is exactly the kind of oppression that I though we had come together to fight.

I have been very prolific in presenting my views and opinions on myriad things Islamic or otherwise and hence there is very little about my politics that can be claimed to remain unknown. So when PMU invited me to join the advisory board, it was with full knowledge of my positions, so why the uproar now over my refusal to toe the party line. I have never, ever, hesitated from expressing my views and dissenting with any majority in every organization that I have worked with. But, the extent of intolerance that I have experienced from members of PMU has been shockingly unexpected and unprecedented. I have come to this sad realization that PMU's moral claims on social justice and tolerance and the "big tent approach" are shallow and indeed false. PMU is just another organization as intolerant and closed as any in our society.

Please liberate me from the oppressive and intolerant culture of PMU and accept my resignation from the advisory board with immediate effect.

Your Brother in IslamMuqtedar KhanM. A. Muqtedar Khan, Ph.D.

Director of International StudiesChair, Political Science Department, Adrian CollegeNon-Resident Fellow, Brookings InstitutionTel: 517-264-3949URL: http://www.glocaleye.orgURL:

Breaking News: Muqtedar Khan resigns from PMU?

According to sources, Muqtedar Khan has resigned from the Progressive Muslim Union, North America --- awaiting confirmation... if you have his resignation letter, please post it in the comments section. Thank You!

The following anonymous comment was left on this site:

I think that even though Khan was invited to join PMU, his mistake was accepting the invite. his resignation letter on the PMU list clearly indicates that he was always in disagreement. A dissident in a dissident community! I think he has had it with the crazies and has left.