Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Wanted—A Petition to Support Muslim Democrats

Joseph N. Kickasola, professor of International policy at Regent University, issued a call yesterday - directed most especially at evangelical Christians - to support Muslims democrats. He is uncomfortable with a call to sign a petition to support Israel issued recently by American Jewish organizations and some Christian broadcast media, because it leaves Muslim democrats out of the picture, which he argues is discouraging to them. In essence, he is protesting against a them/us mentality which puts all Christians and Jews on one side, and all Muslims on the other.
What most of my fellow evangelical Christians do not realize is that the clash between Islam and the West is due largely to the clash within Islam. This is at least a clash between Sunni and Shi’a, as the sectarian conflict between them in Iraq shows. But as the Shi’ite and Sunni groups in Lebanon coalesce for the annihilation of Israel, it shows that a much deeper and more generative clash exists within both the Sunni and Shi’ite communities, namely the clash between Muslim democrats and theocrats, moderates and militants, modernity and tradition, and, ultimately, between the national rule of law and the universal rule of sharia—the coercive quest of Islamic extremists.

He finds this clash even in different translations and commentaries of the Koran.
There are many peace verses and war verses in the Koran, and the democrats interpret the war verses in light of the peace verses, but the anti-democrats interpret the peace verses in the light of the war verses.
He argues finally that the Muslim democrats are the only ones that can lead the Muslim world into modernity and away from extremism and should therefore get our explicit, stated support. Please check out the entire text. He provides a link to a Muslim Washington think tank and to a paper he presented earlier this year on this clash in Islam.

I'm not too sure how useful a petition would be, apart from providing a bit of a morale boost and hopefully raising awareness in Western democracies of potential allies in the Muslim world. When you stop to think of it, those are not unworthy goals.

So how would YOU word such a petition?


Patrick Martin said...

I'm not sure I have the gumption to even begin to draft such a petition. I think the professor is absolutely correct, and this is why all the people who think that the terrorists hate us because of our support for Israel or some other aspect of our foreign policy are so foolish and misguided.

As you know, I consider the terrorists to be somewhat similar to the KKK in their primary motive, which is to return their society to a "glory day" which never really was, one in which the Islamic fundamentalists have power which they never really had before, but think they did.

Like the fight against the KKK, they must be fought with a combination of methods, direct and indirect. So to answer your question, let me ask this.

Suppose you needed to draft a petiton to convince northeners and black people that not all white southerners are ignorant racist rednecks. What would it say? That's an overly harsh way of putting it, but essentially accurate, and not all that different from the reaction southerners ocassionally get. Not all in the south supported the KKK. Many wanted to get rid of it, but did not speak out for fear of retaliation by the Klan. The situation is quite analagous.

Janet said...

Pat, yes, I like your parallel with the KKK. It's a useful one. Of course, you know my thoughts on historical analogies as opposed to historical parallels...

I'm not sure that the goal of a petition would be to convince anyone, but to give a bit more of a voice to those who are already convinced and hopefully provoke thought in a few others.

I haven't had the gumption either. Hoping the good professor will come through on this one.


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