"The Islam of the future, if it is to survive, will be based on liberty, equality and fraternity: a fitting tribute to this week's martyrs of Paris"by Usama Hasan / January 9, 2015 / Leave a comment
Islam, like other major world religions and philosophies, has been a major contributor to civilising the world for the past 14 centuries. The author and academic Richard Bulliet makes the case for an “Islamo-Christian civilisation,” challenging the notion that irreconcilable differences prevent a peaceful co-existence, which is already a reality in parts of the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe.
Most Muslims are saddened and shocked by inexcusable violence such as the Paris shootings and the use and abuse of their religion to justify terrorism. In the case of the Paris shootings, it is useful to consider two intertwined factors. Firstly, the issue of Muslim attitudes to blasphemy, satire and mocking sacred symbols. Muslims have every right to hold on to a “sense of the sacred,” but need to abolish blasphemy laws and any notion of responding to offence with violence. The spirit of Islam is mercy: compassion must always dominate anger. Thousands of reformers in Muslim-majority societies are calling for this. Hans Kung, the Swiss Catholic priest and theologian, calls for a paradigm shift within Islam. We are in the midst of one, part of a reformation within Islam that has been happening for a century and a half since the Ottoman reforms of the mid-19th century.
Secondly, a psychology of victimhood and anti-Western hate must be overcome: this often develops in conditions of racism, discrimination and marginalisation. The victim is paranoid and seeks out cartoons to be enraged by, even though the vast majority of the public, Muslim or not, are unaware of the cartoons and ignore them. Extremist ideology spins a satirical or offensive cartoon as part of a binary, global war between Islam and everyone else.
Read more on Charlie Hebdo and the Paris attacks:
After Charlie Hebdo: Muslims in France
Charlie Hebdo will survive
Charlie Hebdo attack: cartoonists’ responses
The reformation within Islam is also a struggle to reconcile Islam with aspects of modernity: modern science, universal human rights, and evolution of legal, political and social structures. All of this takes place within the context of a post-colonial legacy. Most of the Muslim-majority world was under European colonial rule until the last century, and…