Irshad Manji is the author of “The Trouble with Islam Today” (St. Martin’s Press, 2005), written while serving as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Hart House.
Read the whole thing, it is even worth registering (free) with the LA Times.
Even now, the Muslim Council of Britain adamantly insists that Islam has nothing to do with the London attacks. It cites other motives — “segregation” and “alienation,” for instance. Although I don’t deny that living on the margins can make a vulnerable lad gravitate to radical messages of instant belonging, it takes more than that to make him detonate himself and innocent others. To blow yourself up, you need conviction. Secular society doesn’t compete well on this score. Who gets deathly passionate over tuition subsidies and a summer job?
Which is why I don’t understand how moderate Muslim leaders can reject, flat-out, the notion that religion may also play a part in these bombings. What makes them so sure that Islam is an innocent bystander?
What makes them sound so sure is literalism. That’s the trouble with Islam today. We Muslims, including moderates living here in the West, are routinely raised to believe that the Koran is the final and therefore perfect manifesto of God’s will, untouched and immutable.
This is a supremacy complex. It’s dangerous because it inhibits moderates from asking hard questions about what happens when faith becomes dogma. To avoid the discomfort, we sanitize.
Her well made point is heavily reinforced by the fact that, according to Anthony King, writing in the Daily Telegraph – “One in four [UK] Muslims sympathises with motives of terrorists”:
The group portrait of British Muslims painted by YouGov’s survey for The Daily Telegraph is at once reassuring and disturbing, in some ways even alarming.
The vast majority of British Muslims condemn the London bombings but a substantial minority are clearly alienated from modern British society and some are prepared to justify terrorist acts.
If people, of whatever religion, want to condemn terrorism they should do so forthrightly.
Are you listening, Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi?