08/23/2016, 12.58
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Young Muslim: I am very pessimistic about a reform of Islam

by Kamel Abderrahmani

For centuries Islam has been closed in on itself creating a "holy ignorance" that blocks all introspection and development. Islamic "clergy" and the Arab states contributing to this stagnation, in their push to make Islam the state religion. Many intellectuals, thinkers, religious trying to reform Islam are hunted, persecuted, expelled, their works banned.

Paris (AsiaNews) - The author, a 28 year old Muslim, is a native of Algeria. He studied linguistics in France and is very involved in the contemporary debate on Islam.

For some time now, after the many tragic events the fault of Islamist terrorism, some of the Muslim elite have begun to relaize that there is a very real danger threatening not only the Muslim world, but the entire planet. This elite has realized that the new mode of thinking about religion (in the Wahhabi manner) seems unstoppable. Combined with the terrorism which develops from this practice, it will eventually wipe out any hope of freedom and democracy and hold the future of Muslims hostage for a very long time indeed.

Mohamed Arkoun had already warned that Muslim thought had not evolved for at least six centuries and this delay constituted a danger. He had also insisted on re-reading the Koran to make it more dynamic, but unfortunately he has not been heard.

After recent massacres perpetrated by Daesh [the Islamic State] a number of thinkers and imams have publically protested demanding a reform of theology to adapt Islam to our age. Unfortunately, there is no competent religious authority to appeal to. In fact, the Wahhabi authorities never tolerate any reform.

This situation highlights two legitimate questions: Is there need for a clergy - as for our Christian friends - to regulate this kind of problems? The answer is yes. Is it possible to immagine and find such a clergy? The answer is no. In my opinion, the problem of Muslims is summed up in these two questions and answers.

Unfortunately, the problem is not only religious. The establishment of all the Arab states claim in their first article that Islam is the state religion. This article is the beginning of the problem because it not only makes one religion official at the expense of others, but also imposes an archaic worldview, based on the most obsolete case-law.

Through this law, Muslim clerics have created a "holy ignorance"; politicians have rendered it official; institutions have sacralized and taught it in schools, and the poor children must submit to it from their early years of primary school.

With "holy ignorance" I mean the taboo surrounding the dogma based largely on case law. No one can pose the question as to why it refuses the other [the other religion], nor about a hadith [the sayings of Muhammad] in flagrant contradiction with the same logic of the Koran. It is an all to be believed without batting an eye-lid.

Therefore, the reform is not only an issue of purely religious concern. It also affects the politicians and the people as a whole. But there is a great paradox: if, for example, a politician dares to talk about reform, the religious clerics react and flip the alarm switch to denounce that Islam is in danger. If an intellectual does so, it is the same thing: he is accused of apostasy and is excommunicated. And if it is a religious to propose a reform, they are immediately denounced, rejected and accused by their colleagues of working for the West.

In my opinion, any reform should be the result of an intellectual process, if not a current of thought. Unfortunately, the intellectual, separated from the base [of the people] from the dominant theology, suffers from a lack of listeners. Not only is the scholar not hif it is to have any chance to succeed, the reform must be carried out not by one or more individuals, no matter how high his or their rank, but an institution. But it is the institutions (religious and state) that have produced this "official"islam that is a source of terrorism and rejection of other religious confessions.

All this leads us to think that Muslim societies are anesthetized by a mentality among the most archaic and a "holy ignorance" that grows with the passing of time, a result of centuries of jurisprudence devoid of all logic and scientific spirit.

I quote here to outline some "victims" of this mentality:

  1. Mohamed Arkoun, philosopher and scholar of Islam, famous around the world, driven from his country, from a conference on Islamic thought by two Egyptian Islamist preachers, El Ghazali and El Qaradawi. Both are the godfathers of radical Islamism and terrorism.

  2. Muhammed Shahrour, civil engineer, thinker and interpreter of the Qur'an according to the modern linguistic tools, rejected by the Syrian political system, rejected by Muslims seriously affected by holy ignorance. His books offer an alternative to traditional Islamic thought, but are forbidden in Saudi Arabia.

  3. Ferhan El Maliki, dynamic specialist on Islam, imprisoned and expelled from his university by the Saudi authorities for his boldness in criticizing the Sunni and Wahhabi sect.

As you see, the problem is more serious than imagined. It is serious and deep. Every day the reformists are faced with insurmountable obstacles, on the political side, by that of "clerical" authorities, by the people.

What will we do in front of this impasse? The question remains open.

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