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Another Progressive Muslim Organization: the Free Muslims Coalition.

In a recent comment, American Mick despairs: “I’ve come to realize there will be no coherent response from a Moslem to the genuine questions and concise points of logic raised here. I think most of us here to genuinely want some greater mutual understanding, but we may be beating our heads against a wall…. It would be nice to hear a Moslem express appropriate outrage over terrorism, just as Moslems expect – and see – American outrage over Abu Ghuraib and Iraq.”

I sympathize with such despair, since I often feel that way about the callous way in which many Americans accept the violence of their own government. But just as there are many Americans who (invisibly to foreign eyes) are agitating for a more responsible, humane, moral American government and society, so there are many Muslims who (invisible to American eyes) are agitating for a more responsible, humane, moral set of Muslim governments and societies. All you have to do is take a few moments to open your eyes and look for these groups, and you’ll find them.

Last week, I took a moment to mention the efforts of the Progressive Muslim Union. Today, I’d like to turn your attention to the Free Muslims Coalition, with chapters in the United States, Canada and Egypt.

Regarding the recent and ongoing brouhaha over cartoon images of Mohammed, the Free Muslims Coalition writes:

The controversy intensified on Wednesday when a French news paper, printed a new drawing on its front page showing Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy figures sitting on a cloud, with the caption “Don’t worry Muhammad, we’ve all been caricatured here”.

The response by Muslims to the cartoons is absolutely pathetic and depressing but revealing. The reason Muslims are responding with anger and threats of violence is because most Muslims live in countries where democracy and freedom of speech are alien concepts.

Moreover, the Muslim world suffers from a lack of visionary leadership. In this particular case, when Muslim leaders, including American Muslim leaders, realized that Muslims are furious they joined the chorus of fury rather than explain to their people that they must be reasonable and that freedom of speech is healthy even if it is insulting.

On Democracy and the Separation of Church and State:

Democracy is rule by the people; a system of free choice where rulers are elected and held accountable by their constituents. The element of free choice of leaders is an explosive topic right now in the Middle East & North Africa. If fair and free elections were held tomorrow, the majority of Arab countries would probably elect totalitarian leaders with an intolerant pro-Islamist agenda. The election of extremists would spell death to democracy. We must first expel Islamic extremists and terrorists from Arab and Muslim societies before democracy sweeps the region.

The Coalition supports the right of all peoples to self government, but recognizes the importance of a solid system of government which guarantees a secular democracy protecting the rights of all people, regardless of gender, race or religion, and strives tirelessly to eliminate threats to democracy including extremism and terrorism. The Coalition fosters this secular environment by opening debates on the prerequisite of secularism in governments in the Middle East & North Africa, rallying against Islamist propaganda in media outlets, in institutions of education and in political campaigns, and by exploring the creation of secular democracy-preserving constitutions for Arab and Muslim countries.

The Coalition believes that Muslims must be reeducated about the benefits of secularism and that the failure of their governments to bring them peace and prosperity was not because they were secular. The Coalition also believes that democracy can not succeed unless terrorism is defeated and Islamic extremism is discredited.

On Terrorism:

The Free Muslims Coalition believes that there can NEVER be a justification for terrorism.

The Coalition believes that fundamentalist Islamic terror represents one of the most lethal threats to the stability of the civilized world. The existence of Islamic terrorists is the existence of threats to democracy. There is no room for terrorism in the modern world and the United States should take a no-tolerance stance on terrorism in order to avoid another tragedy, along the lines of 9-11. With the added threat of biochemical weapons, the call to defeat terrorism has never been so urgent.

Among Islamic scholars, the concept of jihad ranges in definition from the personal struggle against temptation to holy war. All calls for jihad to create an Islamic state should be rejected as heretic and a threat to modern society. The Coalition feels that the concept of jihad should be reinterpreted for a modern day context in which holy war is obsolete. No holy war needs to be waged; there is no clear and present threat to Islam; the only war that needs to be waged in the modern world is one against terrorists and extremists.

On Anti-Jewish Sentiment:

Another disturbing trend that is heavily propagated by extremists and accepted by many naive Arabs and Muslims is the blaming of all Muslim problems on “the Jews.” There are numerous examples for this but most recently news broadcasts out of Iraq quoted Iraqi victims of violence who blamed the bombings on Jews or a Jewish conspiracy.

Many Arabs and Muslims still blame the 9-11 attacks on a Jewish conspiracy that was allegedly perpetrated to demonize Arabs and Muslims in the eyes of the world.

One of the most recent and tragic examples of unjustified hate towards Jews was the brutal murder of Daniel Pearl. Daniel Pearl was a journalist murdered by Islamic extremists in Pakistan who had never met a Jew, and the only knowledge they had about Jews was the tireless propaganda from Muslim extremists throughout the world blaming Jews for all of the world�s problems. The extremists targeted and murdered Daniel Pearl because he was a Jew.

Our research indicates that one of the modern origins of this trend is the mutual demonization by Israelis and Arabs of each other to gain global support for each other’s causes. This pattern includes the Arab media�s ceaseless reference to the falsified document, the Protocols of Zion. The Coalition strongly urges Muslims and Arabs to refrain from demonizing Jews and stop blaming Jews for all of the world’s problems. The Coalition also urges Israelis to stop demonizing Arabs and Muslims who peacefully advocate for the rights of Palestinians.

American liberals have allies in the Muslim world, if we will only open our eyes and look for them.

9 comments to Another Progressive Muslim Organization: the Free Muslims Coalition.

  • vinnymo

    it is clear from the historicaly accurate,logical & commmon sense comments from this muslim group they have nothing in common with your leftist agenda, (support protect & defend any thing that may affect the
    demise of our capitalist society).
    looks like one slipped by you. they sound like bush supporters to me!

  • Vinnymo,

    You’ve really missed something big. Haven’t you noticed that we at Irregular Times -are- capitalists?

    Whoosh!

    Do you hear that sound?

    Whoosh!

    It’s the sound of common sense, passing quickly, unnoticed, over your head.

  • Layla

    Once again jCliff is being snarky rather than trying to educate. Common sense is not that common, and no, I haven’t noticed whether Irregular Times is capitalistic. I do however believe myself possessed of a supernatural ability to read between the lines. Since I saw the Berlin wall fall in 1988, I have not seen ANYONE in the west with a ‘leftist agenda.’

    I have asked about political philosophy several times on this forum, and have always gotten some vague answer about a protest before the Iraq invasion. Well, I subscribe to the ‘pottery barn’ theory of Iraq, at least for now, and I don’t believe our obligations in Iraq are finished. Still, when an opinion on a specific situation is offered on this forum, I find myself solidly behind the editors.

    Maybe it’s time to talk about progressive politicians like Paul Tsongas who worked so hard to forge alliances for economic development in their communities. The Bush policy is to benefit the rich and squeeze the middle class, yet the middle class is providing Bush with way too much of his base. Whoosh that, jCliff.

  • Oh, don’t be silly, Layla. I’m responding to a ridiculous comment that suggests Irregular Times is out to “support protect & defend any thing that may affect the demise of our capitalist society”.

    The person who made that point didn’t bother to notice that we actually sell political items like bumper stickers and buttons. We are capitalists.

    I’m responding to a specific point with a specific point. Must I have my grand Liberal Manifesto to educate the masses in every little comment I write, Layla?

  • Layla

    “We sell bumper stickers”? That’s your whole defense to the charge that IT supports, protects and defends policies that lead to the demise of capitalism? Who’s being silly? What I’d like to know is, which subversive policies does Vinnymo think will actually bring down the fabric of the universe as we know it.

    “Must I have my grand Liberal Manifesto to educate the ‘masses'”…sure know how to throw around the old Marxist rhetoric there, don’t we, jCliff. Been reading a little Engels? How do we know Irregular Times isn’t a pinko commie conspiracy plot?

    I’m going to church now, jCliff, and I will definately pray for you. Again.

  • No Layla, I’m mocking the weird Cold War language you and Vinnymo are using.

    You’re just being goofy now, or you really are off your rocker.

    I’ll go into my closet now, and scratch my ears for you. Again. It’ll do as much good as what you’re doing.

  • Layla

    jCliff,
    Glad you enjoyed it so much and that you’re not comicly challenged or anything. Actually I was trying to synthesize cold war rhetoric with Middle Eastern paranoia. Must keep up with the times, you know.

    ‘Goofy?’ ‘Off your rocker?’ What’s with all the name-calling? It really weakens your position. Don’t you have any real arguments?

    I’ve heard of coming out of the closet, but never going into the closet.

    Scratch where it itches, not where it looks nice.

    Yes, jCliff, I prayed for you, for what it’s worth. According to the prevailing dogma, it doesn’t matter whether you recognize God, God recognizes you and makes spiritual gifts available. I thought a vision from an angel or something similar might mess up your life too much, so I asked for increased ability to tap your intellect and critical thinking. Prepare yourself for increased wisdom and profundity.

  • Vegas

    Layla and Vinnymo are right!

    Anyone who criticizes Bush obviously wants the collapse of society as we know it! But will Irregular Times come clean about its agenda to subvert capitalism and undermine the cuteness of puppies?

    Irregular Times just hates Bush. There’s all there is to it! Oh, don’t give me that crap about opposing Bush’s new $9,000,000,000,000.00 debt ceiling, trashing the environment, wars of aggression, throwing no-bid contract money around like a drunken sailor. Like you’d object to that!

    I’m not buying it. It’s just personal. You hate Bush. Period. Oh yeah, and you want to destroy society, so there’s that too.

    Don’t try to deny your nefarious plot to sabotage the delicious tartness of rhubarb pie while assisting the Martian invasion! We’re on to you, Irregular Times!

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