Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Is There Such a Creature as a "Secular Muslim"?

Some months ago now Raed Jarrar confessed on his blog that he was a "secular Muslim." I kidded him enormously about that oddly oxymoronic designation, but in truth I understood what he meant. Basically he was saying that Islam thoroughly permeates his world-view and, even though he doesn't go to mosque on Friday, he likes many of the rituals of the religion. This is all fine, of course, except that Mr. Zarqawi would love to saw mightily on Raed's "secular Muslim" head if he had the chance. "Rituals?! Who cares!" says Zarqawi. "Either submit or LOSE your effing head!"

Hm. Here's a question. Is there a place for "secular Muslims" in the Middle East?

Sarah Eltantawi, a Muslim woman living in the United States, has recently written in Dar Al Hayat:

For western Muslims born and raised in the United States, for example, harsh binaries of fixed identities do not resonate. For what is to be made of the American-born woman of Arab decent? The Anglo-American convert to Islam? The African-American Muslim? The Pakistani Christian? The agnostic Muslim living in Baghdad?

Or what about a Christian living in Iraq?. Fayrouz has kept all of us in touch with the rise in anti-Christian sentiment in Iraq. Harsh binaries again?

As a teacher, I have often given my students an assignment where they have to interview other classmates about the role of religion in their country. What many discover is that the Chinese and the Japanese reveal very little religious sentiment in their culture. That's a billion and a half people right there. How should the proselytizing religions like Christianity and Islam view all of these people "without God"?

I have no answers here. Any thoughts?

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UPDATE:

LIVE FROM ... KURDO'S WILD WEST SALOON!

Hey folks, it's been mighty lively over at KURDO'S! Kurdo wuz tryin' to send some pics to a fella operatin' some kina KurdishMedia thing, an' the fella sends back a VERY disrespectful reply! Oh! The fellers at the saloon were itchin' to git their hands on this chief editor. Listen to 'em:

I havent liked that KurdishMedia website because it contains too much bullshits.

(It's a shame, but TRUE! Far too much BULLSHITS coming from Mr. Wilat!)

I dont know where that mothafuka live but if I catch him Im gonna fuk him up to death.

(That's right fellers! Don't take that Mr. Wilat's shite!)

Is such dic kid work for kurds !

(Yah! Damn dic-hed!)

this Wilat guy was the editor for the Kurdishmedia forum and he is worse than Saddam Hussein.

(Get thee Wilat into yer SPIDERHOLE!)

wilat u piece of dust this is not kurdishmedia you can't have boss around here get lost.

(Piece of dust! Yah, just right!)

u narrow minded MIT agent.

(Okay, hold on now. What's an MIT agent?! Fellers?)

baxudai aw wilatai zor kara...amn la kurdishmediai shtm danoosi am hatiwai gooi daxward.

(I don' spik Kurdish, but hey that GOTTA hurt!)

What a self-important dick. Show how much credibility he DOESN'T have, huh? :P on him.

(After a few STEINS, Mr. Wilat is gonna get a SHOWER from the fellers!)

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Everyone is WELCOME at Kurdo's Wild West Saloon.

But do NOT piss off SHERIFF LEE C.! That is ONE BAD-ASSED HOMBRE!

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