Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Reed professor opens minds on Islam, culture

From The Oregonian

Great article that dispels the myth that Islam is monolithic.

Some excerpts:

"The main thing that I've learned from him is that Islam is whatever its adherents make of it," says Kigar, 22. "Interpretation is always based on a particular context. Reading the Quran as an outsider with today's perspective won't give a holistic view of what Islam is and already has been."

It is wrong, he says, to draw conclusions about Islam based only on one reading of the Quran, on the statements of a few Muslim leaders or on the culture of one group of believers. It is inaccurate to isolate an issue -- such as Western culture, democracy or the role of women -- and suggest that Muslims have one response to it.

"But I hear questions about whether Islam and democracy are compatible, or about whether Islam and women's rights are compatible," he says. "We have all these Muslims living in the United States, participating in a democratic society, and they are excited to do so. Why do we ask whether Islam and democracy are compatible?"

"What does it mean to treat American Muslims as non-Western when in actuality they are a part of American history?" he asks. Too often, Muslims and non-Muslims do not think of their own experience with each other as much as they respond to extremist views that are reflected by the media.

No comments: