A Liberal Imam Preaches Reform
Karim Moudarres, a friend from Aleppo sent me this note about a liberal Imam, Muhammad Kamal al-Husseini, in his city who calls for widespread reform.
I am convinced that Democracy and Human Rights can never be accepted among the masses without placing them in an Islamic framework:
محمد كامل بن محمد بدر الحسيني
Muhammad Kamal Bin Muhammad Badr al-Husseini, does just that.
This Friday he spoke out again for total reform of the religious institutions,
calling for a peaceful revolution, peaceful co-existence for other
religions, declaring the clergies in Islam are sacrilegious, opening to
western ideas (but not morals), calling from the separation of politics and
religion, calling for globalization (but making sure it incorporates Islamic
ethics), reforming the school systems, and women rights. (All in an Islamic
I could not believe my ears hearing it in a Friday sermon.
(أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يحرص أن يؤمن جميع الناس).
وإنه لأمر كبير يستوقف المتدبر والمتأمل أن يكون في قلب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، الذي فيه كمال العقل، والفهم ؛ حرصٌ على أن يكون الناس كل الناس.. بكل ما فيهم من الاختلاف، والتفاوت الوصفي...، والفروقات والتباين.. في ساحة الإيمان، والخضوع للدَّيان
I thought it would interest you.
This article by Marwan Kabalan is interesting in the light of Imam Muhammad Kamal al-Husseini's liberalism. Kabalan is angered by the about-face of conservative US commentators, who know call for democracy in the Middle East. The recent boldness of liberal Muslims in denouncing the violent and narrow-minded interpretations of Islam put forward by extremist groups suggests that the recent conversion of academics such as Bernard Lewis may be warranted, even if they are swimming with the tide.
Academia loses credibility when it serves politics
By Marwan Al Kabalan, Special to Gulf News
Published: 29/4/2005, 07:19 (UAE)
In the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, Bernard Lewis, the famous professor of the Middle East at Princeton University, wrote an essay titled Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East.
In it he argued that establishing democratic rule in the Arab world isn't only desirable but also real and possible.
"To speak of dictatorship as being the immemorial way of doing things in the Middle East is simply untrue. It shows ignorance of the Arab past, contempt for the Arab present and lack of concern for the Arab future.
"Creating a democratic political and social order in Iraq or elsewhere in the region will not be easy. But it is possible, and there are increasing signs that it has already begun," Lewis wrote.
In essence, this argument marks a significant shift from Lewis's original thesis on Islam and Arabism.
Decades ago, Lewis and like-minded scholars preached "modernisation" or "development" as the answer to the Middle East's woes.
In the 1950s and 1960s, basing most of its analysis on Euro-American historical development, the modernisation school argued that the transition from traditionalism to modernity was desirable, unavoidable and, hence, it represented the future of the Arab world.
In this view the history and structures of traditional Arab societies were seen as retreating in the face of modernity and social change.
Democracy was until recently a remote possibility and in many cases an unnecessary scenario; whereby anti-US elements might take over power in many Arab countries.