Friday, September 10, 2010
Via HBL, I have learned of an American Moslem activist who, through his American Islamic Forum for Democracy, champions "separation of mosque and state," calls for "reform" of his religion, and hopes to lead a worldwide pro-"individual rights" intellectual movement among the "silent majority of Moslems." (The preceding terms in quotes are all his.) Many Moslems, according to this activist, have already, "through their practice, ... reformed their faith."
Dr. Zudhi Jasser, the son of Syrian immigrants, has seen that, "the struggles faced by my family ... have followed us to the United States." He has decided to take a stand, and he can be heard below outlining his ideas and plans in a speech to the Oslo Freedom Forum 2010.
In a time when it can often seem like every Moslem is an enemy of freedom, it is encouraging to see someone like this. Based on my own somewhat limited personal experience, I think there is a decent number of Moslems in America who would be receptive to Jasser's message. (For example, not long ago, I heard a Moslem acquaintance say offhand, in the normal flow of conversation, that there was no place for limits to freedom of speech, and that any such limit threatened all speech.) Fascinatingly, Jasser notes that many Moslems are presented with a false dichotomy between "secular fascism" and theocracy regarding the relationship between their religion and the state. (Certainly, until I learned of his organization, I had never encountered a Moslem group whose stated positions sounded so pro-freedom.) If Jasser is right, then perhaps his efforts to promote freedom (which he sometimes calls "the third alternative") can gain ground quickly. In any event, it always does one good to see someone who understands freedom this well fighting for it.
The video is about twenty minutes long, but it is definitely worth watching.