Internet Vital to Reforming Islam
- It is being realized, by the current failure of a solution by use of force, that effective changes to Moslem society and to its outlook on non-Moslem society will only come about by subtle improvements at the grass-roots level. The support for terrorists by the major Moslem community is vast in that the non-violent Moslems are not actively opposing those who are radical Moslems. They are not cleaning their own house and their silence gives consent. A change of opinion is required and bullets don't change people's opinions. Bullets that don't obliterate only serve to irritate.
There is individualism and reform in Education and that is why educating the masses is so abhorrent to radicals. Thinking freely has always the enemy of any radical or dictator. They don't want people to think, they want people to obey. It is also easier for extremists to get the people to obey if the extremists have the guns and the people are unarmed. The people get the system that they fight for, or by default they get the system that they didn't fight for.
Internet Vital to Reforming Islam
By: Tawfik Hamid , Friday, September 4, 2009
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad." He was a former associate of Dr. al-Zawahiri (second in command of al-Qaida) and currently he is a reformer of Islam.
For centuries reformation within Islam has been impeded by several factors. This is clearly evident by the fact that many of the current leading Islamic scholars preach [past values as] today's values: such as stoning for adultery, violent jihad, slavery, beating women, anti-Semitism, and many other inhumane teachings. Deep analysis of the factors that impeded reformation within Islam illustrates that the Internet can play a major role in making it a reality.
Previous failure of reformation efforts in Islam to bring the understanding of its text to modernity has been the result of numerous factors. These include killing those who dare to challenge some of its fundamental traditional values after considering those who challenge them as apostates. This has made many reformers unable to express their views and opinions for fear of losing their life. Failure to express these views has caused more stagnation of thoughts within the Muslim world.
Furthermore, critical thinking within the religion was suppressed in the Muslim world since criticizing the religious teaching is considered a taboo that makes the person feel that he will become and "infidel" for doing so. Stopping ijtihad (new interpretations) within the religion as has happened in the Sunni world further complicated this problem.
Lack of exposure to other views and opinions either due to suppression by the religious authority or because of lack of proper communication channels also contributed to stagnation in the thinking process in many Islamic societies. Reformers who think differently used to feel weak and lonely as communication with other reformers was much limited. Control of women by strict religious rules was another factor that limited the progress of many of these societies toward modernity. Surprisingly, the Internet challenged all these factors and therefore can contribute significantly to reforming Islam.
The Internet can certainly be used by the radicals to promote radical views. However, the net outcome of using the Internet is more likely to be positive than negative as it overcomes most, if not all, of the obstacles of reformation in Islam that existed. Using the Internet to promote reformation and modernity within Islam rather than extremism is our next challenge and goal to modernize the Muslim world. This form of e-reformation can change the future of our world and can determine the future of Islam.
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