Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Boston Globe: 'The Fundamentalist Moderate'

The New York Times Company has come under heavy and deserved criticism for its serial mismanagement and shoddy reporting practices. But, as owners of the Boston Globe, the Times Company deserves credit for an outstanding article published in the Sunday Globe.

Islamic scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi is a Pakistani cleric known for his strict interpretation of the Koran. But, unlike many fundamentalists, his readings argue against terroristic jihad, gender discrimination, and Islamic government. This is a man who needs more attention and the Globe obliges.

...At a time when many pin their hopes on "moderate" secular Muslims to lead the charge against radical militant Islam, Ghamidi offers a more forceful and profound deconstruction of the violent and bitter version of Islam that appears to be gaining ground in many parts of the Muslim world, including Pakistan. He challenges what he views as retrograde stances -- on jihad, on the penal code of rape and adultery, on the curricula in the religious schools, or madrassas -- but he does so with a purely fundamentalist approach: he rarely ventures outside the text of the Koran or prophetic tradition. He meticulously recovers detail from within the confines of religious text, and then delivers decisive blows to conservatives and militants who claim to be the defenders of Islam. His many followers are fond of comparing his influence in South Asia to that of Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss Muslim Islamic thinker of global repute, in Europe...

If traditional Islam is to coexist with the secular world, clerics like Ghamidi are poised to play important roles. Congratulations to the Globe and the Times Company for publicizing his efforts.

Boston Globe: The Fundamentalist Moderate

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