Welcome to the thoughts, rants and passions of a young Muslim woman seeking soulful enlightenment in cyberspace.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

A Call for Restraint

Am I the only one who isn’t gleeful that MuslimWakeUp’s website was hacked? Is it unusual to feels pity for those folks hoisting placards cursing Amina Wadud and others outside the premises where she was to give her Friday khutbah?

Many people have asked why I abandoned Muslim-Jewish dialogue work. Those of you who know how passionate I am were confused as to why I let it slide. I did so because I have come to realize that real progress is not ultimately achieved through inter-religious dialogue. There is too much that must be dealt with within the Muslim community before one can gain widespread, mainstream support for the very concept of interfaith dialogue.

We do not have to agree with what Amina Wadud did to appreciate the need for intra-religious dialogue. I was delighted to see the discussion papers and scholarly opinions on women leading congregational prayer being passed back and forth with much enthusiasm. But we need to learn how to engage each other in an Islamic manner. We need to learn how to disagree with one another without tearing the community apart. We need to elevate our discourse beyond the whining and screaming. And we will do so only by respecting each other and taking each other seriously as brothers and sisters in Islam.

In fairness, we must make more of an effort to understand the individuals we disagree with before we can legitimately judge their words or actions. We’ve used online articles to blast Amina Wadud – articles even she has spoken out against. Yet we do not know the thought processes that led to the sound bytes we now hear. And so it is important that we exercise restraint in our criticism. And if we are not capable of reasonably discussing contentious issues, then we must remain silent. For if we shout and protest, we only make ourselves look like radical fools in the eyes of the rest of the world. We will never help our cause this way.


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