We are Muslims who live in the 21st century. We stand for a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam. We are in a battle for the soul of Islam, and an Islamic renewal must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states, as well as an Islamic caliphate. We seek to reclaim the progressive spirit with which Islam was born in the 7th century to fast forward it into the 21st century. We support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by United Nations member states in 1948.
We reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam. Facing the threat of terrorism, intolerance, and social injustice in the name of Islam, we have reflected on how we can transform our communities based on three principles: peace, human rights and secular governance. We are announcing today the formation of an international initiative: the Muslim Reform Movement.
We have courageous reformers from around the world who have written our Declaration for Muslim Reform, a living document that we will continue to enhance as our journey continues. We invite our fellow Muslims and neighbors to join us.
A. Peace: National Security, Counterterrorism and Foreign Policy
1. We stand for universal peace, love and compassion. We reject violent jihad. We believe we must target the ideology of violent Islamist extremism, in order to liberate individuals from the scourge of oppression and terrorism both in Muslim-majority societies and the West.
2. We stand for the protection of all people of all faiths and non-faith who seek freedom from dictatorships, theocracies and Islamist extremists.
3. We reject bigotry, oppression and violence against all people based on any prejudice, including ethnicity, gender, language, belief, religion, sexual orientation and gender expression.
B. Human Rights: Women’s Rights and Minority Rights
1. We stand for human rights and justice. We support equal rights and dignity for all people, including minorities. We support the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
2. We reject tribalism, castes, monarchies and patriarchies and consider all people equal with no birth rights other than human rights. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Muslims don’t have an exclusive right to “heaven.”
3. We support equal rights for women, including equal rights to inheritance, witness, work, mobility, personal law, education, and employment. Men and women have equal rights in mosques, boards, leadership and all spheres of society. We reject sexism and misogyny.
C. Secular Governance: Freedom of Speech and Religion
1. We are for secular governance, democracy and liberty. We are against political movements in the name of religion. We separate mosque and state. We are loyal to the nations in which we live. We reject the idea of the Islamic state. There is no need for an Islamic caliphate. We oppose institutionalized sharia. Sharia is manmade.
2. We believe in life, joy, free speech and the beauty all around us. Every individual has the right to publicly express criticism of Islam. Ideas do not have rights. Human beings have rights. We reject blasphemy laws. They are a cover for the restriction of freedom of speech and religion. We affirm every individual’s right to participate equally in ijtihad, or critical thinking, and we seek a revival of ijtihad.
3. We believe in freedom of religion and the right of all people to express and practice their faith, or non-faith, without threat of intimidation, persecution, discrimination or violence. Apostasy is not a crime. Our ummah–our community–is not just Muslims, but all of humanity.
We stand for peace, human rights and secular governance. Please stand with us!
Affirmed this Fourth Day of December, Two-Thousand and Fifteen
The list of signatories and additional information may be found at the source site: https://aifdemocracy.org/declaration-of-the-muslim-reform-movement-signed-by-aifd-december-4-2015/
On the related Facebook page for the breaking of this news, several commenters noted the seeming spuriousness of the Declaration: did an assembly of Muslims — modern people — really have to feel compelled to declare separation from the Islam — the alleged perversion of Islam, the equally alleged “conservative Islam”, “Wahhabi Islam”, “Political Islam”, “Radical Islam”, and associated “Islamists” and “Islamism” — that tracks forward to so many internecine sectarian conflicts, the presence of countless “takfiri” (those who accuse others of heresy and impurity), and countless acts of terror against innocents both within and beyond Islam?
From the Awesome Conversation, This Writer’s Answer
The variables ignorance, literal reading, teenage-type narcissism, and religiosity may apply as regards energizing related conflict. In leaders and followers, lack of compassion, conscience, empathy, introspection seems evident, and that may be part of what informed feudal power, i.e., the absolute authority of kings. The feudal mobs must have been full of such “haters”.
The application of reform in religion indicates two or three things: 1) scripture might be linked to context in time, and the legacy either in primary text or subsequent exegesis demands review; 2) some ideas have come to an end and some pioneers are going to go forward a little differently; 3) one may notice here a global shift in interest in “nominal affiliation” — alliance by legacy — toward interest in 🙂 language and psychology and social psychology.
Is there — was there — such a thing as the “medieval mind”?
Is there — will there be — such a thing as a “modern mind”?
We’re all staying tuned.
BackChannels views the schismatic act as signal of a new era not only for Islam but for mankind as conflict interest shifts or extends from the physical battlefields into the more abstract grasp of equally critical cultural and personal psychology.
Last week, the news of the San Bernardino Massacre filled the airwaves and overshadowed the firebombing of a club in Cairo by a few Egyptian punks. The act had nothing to do with Islam even though the discussion of Islamic Terrorism could not be avoided in the telling of the story. On reflection, perhaps the two are related. From the Awesome Conversation:
Teenage energy, lack of restraint, insufficient channeling — and a lot of problems are about channeling abundant human energy — and lack of conscience in judgment lead to some cruel deeds. Their motives may not have been political, but how they responded to an afront may be informative nonetheless.
Time is the new space, and the nature of mind (and conflict, culture, and language!) is on the frontier.
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