Salman Rushdie on Reforming Islam

Salman Rushdie, the Indian-born British novelist and target of a lethal fatwa for his impious prose,  offers nine provocative thoughts about bringing British Muslims "into the modern age" in a  piece for the Times of London. Here's one of them:

"Reformed Islam would encourage diaspora Muslims to emerge from their self-imposed ghettoes and stop worrying so much about locking up their daughters. It would emerge from the intellectual ghetto of literalism and subservience to mullahs and ulema, allowing open, historically based scholarship to emerge from the shadows to which the madrassas and seminaries have condemned it."

Editor's Note:  Rushdie is scheduled to participate in a washingtonpost.com Web chat at 3 p.m. ET on Sept. 13. Here's the link to participate.

By Jefferson Morley |  September 12, 2005; 4:00 PM ET  | Category:  Religion
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I think that terrorism can only be stopped from within the Islamic community. Extremists will eventually come after moderate Islam and take away their western influenced or non extremists approved toys, so the moderates need to clean up their own religion. Others can only play defense until then.

Posted by: me2 | September 13, 2005 12:56 PM

If what you say about what S.R. says is correct, I think S.R. is underestimating the modernizing role that "ulema" (scholars or "knowers," to be more precise, in English) play. This is already proved in modern day Iran, if anyone cares to see beneath the veil.

Posted by: | September 13, 2005 05:25 PM

There is no such thing as a self imposed ghetto. If its self imposed, its not a ghetto. Use a new word if that's not what you mean.

Posted by: | September 14, 2005 02:44 PM

SR in each and everyone of his pieces shows is complete ignorance of Islam and the people that practice the religion. Many assume he has some sort of knoweldge on the subject becuase he writes about Islam all the time and comes from a Muslim majority country. Neither of these make hime a scholar or for that matter a source of information on Islam or Muslims. By the way last commented posted should also point out that he is not even that intellegent of a writer. One would assume that someone who writes for a living would know the definition of "ghetto".

Posted by: | September 15, 2005 01:26 PM

The last two posts are ignorant.

According to the Wikipedia:

"A ghetto is an area where people from a specific ethnic background or united in a given culture or religion live as a group, voluntarily or involuntarily..." So, Salman Rushdie was correctly using the word ghetto.

Also, Salman Rushdie is from India, which is not a Muslim-majority country.

Any other ignoramuses want to join in?

Posted by: Hmm | September 15, 2005 05:41 PM

Not sure why Rushdie's view about religion is given this much importance considering that he never was an expert in the field nor he is an Islamic scholar.

In fact, he is not even a Muslim (he is an atheist) and according to his own bio he never was religious.

If he understood well Islam, he wouldn't have written his offensive "Satanic Verses" in which he insulted the sincere and genuine feelings of many Muslims.

His book of course did not justify Iran's fatwa, nonetheless, the book was offensive and people's objection to it was legitimate.

Imagine a well known anti-Semite giving advise to Jews.

But of course when it comes to Muslims, the moderate scholars are never given a voice (we are told they don't speak enough).

It is either a nutcase criminal fundamentalist like Bin-Laden or a radical writer (who called Muhammed's wife a whore) with no experience in the field like Rushdie.

Such is western media and its never ending distrust of Muslims.

I can't wait until Al-Jazeera English is launched.

Posted by: Karim | November 18, 2005 09:56 AM

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