According to Br. Ghazali, the PMU was formed by "some professed moderates who embrace the simply proposition that 'you are a Muslim if you say you are a Muslim -- for whatever reason or set of reasons -- and that no one is entitled to question or undermine this identity.'"
The statement, as it is written, implies - and I wholly concede my possible error - that there is something wrong with the proposition that "you are a Muslim if you say you are a Muslim." Is there a "litmus test" for being a Muslim besides "la ilaha illa Allah"? I did not know of one. When Usma bin Zayd (r) killed the pagan - who was just moments before mocking the Prophet - that said "la ilaha illa Allah," the Prophet became very angry, and he continued to repeat: "Where will you go from 'la ilaha illa Allah' on the Day of Resurrection?"
It appears that the good doctor is indeed in error, but not about brother Ghazzali's statement. The doctor apparently is not aware of the PMU NA litmus test that explicitly *does not* include "la ilaha illa Allah." Infact, the recently formed PMUNA Yahoo discussion list is upfront about this test:
"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.
For the PMUNA this includes athiest, and agnostic "Muslims." Infact, one of their invitees to the advisory board was Tariq Ali, who considers himself to be an athiest. And Hussein Ibish, who is the vice-Chair of PMUNA, and is also a self-proclaimed "agnostic."
Perhaps the good doctor can do some additional research about the PMU NA litmus test?
Meanwhile, those familiar with the divisions within the Jewish community, will recognize this as an attempt to create Muslim equivelents of "secular" or "reform" Jews.
Omid Safi, who is chair of the Progressive Muslim Union has also been upfront about this during an interview with their media outlet Muslim Wake Up:
And so there you have it...Yes, Dr. Hassaballa, there is another litmus test - it is the PMU NA litmus test.
MWU!: Are we in the beginnings of what will eventually become a new “progressive” school of thought in Islam with its own institutions—much like the experience of the “Reform” and “Conservative” Jewish movements in the US?
Omid Safi: My intuition tells me, yes. When you look at other traditions here, like among the various Jewish trends, there are always vigorous debates, but by and large, no one has a cow about it. So what’s to keep us from having the same thing?