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Muslims speaking out against theocracy and radical Islam
Posted by: McQ on Monday, April 16, 2007

Yesterday I noted a large demonstration of about 300,000 in Turkey demanding the Turkey remain a secular state.

Another demonstration yesterday took place in Karahci, Pakistan, in which "Kalashnikov Sharia" was denounced:
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Sunday staged a massive rally in the city against what it called the threat of ‘Kalashnikov Sharia’ of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid clerics and asserted that Islam did not allow enforcement of Sharia by force and Pakistan had not been created to be turned into a theological state.

In a telephonic address from London, party chief Altaf Hussain quoted profusely from the Holy Quran and Hadith to substantiate his attack on religious extremism. He said that extremists were defaming Islam and maligning the name of Pakistan and because of their acts of violence and terrorism, India, Afghanistan and other countries were describing Pakistan as a sanctuary of terrorists. He described the scholars supporting the Sharia of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa as “Ulema-i-Sou” and said they were misleading the country and the people.

The venue of the rally was the vast expanse of M.A. Jinnah Road from the Square of the Quaid’s Mausoleum to the Tibet Centre pedestrian bridge, jampacked by people who had come from all parts of the city and the interior of Sindh.

Mr Hussain spoke for more than one and a half hours, during which two helicopters were seen hovering over the area.

Referring to Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa, the MQM chief alleged that the mosque and the Jamia, built on encroached land, had been occupied by armed terrorists and because of their actions the world was pointing fingers at Pakistan.

“For God’s sake don’t destroy Pakistan,” he said and termed the rally a referendum against the ‘Kalashnikov Sharia’. He said Ulema from different schools of thought had ruled that the enforcement of Sharia by force was against Islam.

He cited the Quaid’s speech of August 11, 1947 about equality of all citizens of Pakistan, whether Muslims, Christian, Parsi or of any other faith, and freedom for all of them to go to and offer prayers in their places of worship.
Both of these developments are good news because they point out that moderate Muslims recognize the danger of theocratic rule, in general and specifically in terms of the violent form it is taking today. I think Altaf Hussain's characterization of the radical form now causing the havoc it is throughout the world as "Kalashnikov Sharia" is an excellent one. It succinctly characterizes coercive theocracy. And that is exactly what the Islamist would impose if ever given their way. It's good to see these sorts of demonstration and public denouncements of theocracy and Islamist violence becoming more prevalent. It is also good to see the word "massive" used to describe the demonstrations as well.
 
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Unfortunately I think there’s more to this Turkey/Islamist thing than the simple good vs bad. Check out Instapundit’s Turkey Corespondent, Claire Berlinski.
I wasn’t there, but it was definitely a state-run (i.e., nationalist, Kemalist) show. This was planned a long time ago. It doesn’t necessarily mean much about what people are really thinking. By the way, the fact that Turkish nationalists are anti-Islamists should not lead anyone to conclude that they’re Western-style democrats. Despite Erdoğan’s Islamist past, one of the basic conflicts here is that he wants to open Turkish society. Here’s a good discussion of this point. The demonstrators are concerned that Erdoğan isn’t committed to secularism, probably for good reason, but Erdoğan’s supporters are — also for good reason — concerned that the Kemalists’ aren’t committed to democracy.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
These aren’t new developments; the major issues at play now are NOT Islam vs. the West, but internal to Islam, as the conservative traditional interpretations of the Ulama give rise to modern alternatives (Islam had back about a thousand years ago a time when rationalism prevailed over the current view, but that got defeated). We are witnessing the birth pains of an Islamic reformation, a move towards a different form of Islam. The extremists are anti-Western because of the success of western ideas on influencing average Muslims and creating a desire for a faith that can co-exist with modern ideas. The extremists fear they will lose out to the West unless they are in power and can defeat or at least de-legitimize modern and moderate Islam. We have to make sure that in our zeal to fight extremism, we don’t undercut the moderates (which moderates in Iran have already complained about — our policies make their job harder).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
We have to make sure that in our zeal to fight extremism, we don’t undercut the moderates (which moderates in Iran have already complained about — our policies make their job harder).
Which policies are those?

Ahmanutjob has been pushing ahead with the development of nukes at the same time he sponsors a holocaust denial conference and hints about destroying Israel. So far the only policy that the administration has pursued is an attempt to deal with the issue diplomatically and (unsuccessfully) to secure international support for sanctions. Is even that too much?
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Ahmanutjob has been pushing ahead with the development of nukes at the same time he sponsors a holocaust denial conference and hints about destroying Israel. So far the only policy that the administration has pursued is an attempt to deal with the issue diplomatically and (unsuccessfully) to secure international support for sanctions. Is even that too much?
Hopefully he’ll be out after 2009, even conservatives in Iran are turning on him for his unnecessarily confrontational and controversial style. In recent elections for the Council of Experts the conservatives did very poorly, assuring that the moderates will choose the next Supreme Leader. What the administration has to do is balance the fine line between sending a clear message to Iranian elites that "talk and action like this does you more harm than good" and "we can overcome the difficulties through pragmatic negotiation."

At this point, Bush is probably handling Iran OK — there have been talks and a lot of behind the scenes diplomatic action. At the same time, it’s clear that Ahmadinejad has been hurt by the negative reaction of the West to his rhetoric. Ultimately, though, I think we’ll need to recognize that we can’t just demand Iran jump through our hoops "or else." Perhaps Ahmadinejad’s current weak position in his own country creates an opening for creative diplomacy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Turkey is also trying to get into the EU. Becoming an Islamic state will not help that effort.
 
Written By: Danny J Norman
URL: http://www.globalflashpoint.com
Hi Bruce;

I’ve nominated your writing for the Thinking Blog award. I continue to appreciate how you help me challenge my assumptions and broaden understanding. I don’t always agree with your conclusions, but I savor the chance to explore ideas, values, and attitudes at a more critical level. Keep up the good work!
 
Written By: Belladonna
URL: http://mind-muffins.blogspot.com/
OK, Good. That’s one.
It’s a start.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://

 
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