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Two Positive Developments in the Struggle Inside the Islamic World

Posted on April 3 2010 7:33 pm
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Saudi TV Contestant Slams Extremist Clerics

The backlash against terrorism and Sharia Law in the Muslim world is something I’ve closely followed over the years. As the election results in Iraq showed, the trend is in the good guys’ favor. It’ll be a great day when Muslim leaders like M. Zuhdi Jasser can be seen leading the masses around the world, and I think that day will come. You may disagree with my belief on that, but two recent developments should at least be looked upon with satisfaction.

The first: A woman named Hissa Hilal is expected to win “The Million’s Poet,” an Arabic television show where poets compete. Her bravery is to be admired. Her poem was a reaction to extremist Saudi cleric Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak who called for the death penalty for those who oppose gender segregation. She slammed suicide bombers and clerics who are “frightening” people with fatwas and targeting those in favor of peace.

“’My poetry has always been provocative,’ she said. ‘It’s a way to express myself and give voice to Arab women, silenced by those who have hijacked our culture and our religion.’

For this, posters on radical Islamic Internet forums are calling for her to be killed, but she says that won’t stop her.

The second positive development happened in Turkey, where Muslim clerics have declared that Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwa calling for violence against non-Muslims as being null and void:

Referring to that historic document, the weekend conference said: “Anyone who seeks support from this fatwa for killing Muslims or non-Muslims has erred in his interpretation.

“It is not for a Muslim individual or a Muslim group to announce and declare war or engage in combative jihad … on their own,” said the declaration issued Sunday in Arabic and later provided to Reuters in English.

The article also quotes one Libyan preacher who said Muslims need to understand that secularism does not necessarily equate with against religious. The document doesn’t discuss women’s rights, democracy, Sharia Law, etc., but this is a big step in the right direction. Unfortunately, progress will be incremental and will not happen overnight.

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