I cannot reblog questions so this will have to do.
This is not about criticizing Islam. This is about “changing” a religion, which is the intention of the Reform Islam Tumblr.
Let me put it this way: I am not Christian. I was brought up as one but quickly I disengaged from a religion that not only did not represent my beliefs but actively worked towards oppressing people. In all honesty, I have nothing but contempt for a good portion of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy (namely the Pope and the people who are in the Vatican). However, how do you think Catholics would react if I suddenly started a crusade to reform Catholicism? A religion I do not even believe in, whose dogmas and matter of faith mean nothing to me. Do you think it would go down well with people who do believe in them? Moreover, do you think that, by the mere fact that I do not believe in these dogmas I would have the moral authority to tell people in which way they should reform their religion?
Just like I jump at the throat of religious folks who feel entitled to tell me (and the whole of society) how we should live our lives, it would be hypocritical to claim that I would have the theological and moral authority to tell them how they should change their religion.
Social criticism of a religion (i.e. like when religious people try to influence legislation and the justice systems) is one thing, because we have the right to live free from such influence due to democracy being inherently secular and representative of all voices and minorities. However, the kind of faith people practice in their temples, churches or mosques is none of my business.
Who cares what the Catholic hierarchy would feel if you tried to stop them from lying about condoms spreading disease or telling people they’ll go to hell if they use protection?
I know you feel that no one should tell anyone else how to live, but the fact of the matter if we agreed to abide by that, we’re have to rid ourselves of feminism (after all, you say you shouldn’t tell people “how to live thier lives”), civil rights movements (after all, if you’re free to practice discrimination in your temple/chruch/mosque why shouldn’t you be free to practice it in a private club?) and the legal system (if we can tell people how to live thier lives, how can we tell them not to steal?). If people are doing harmful things in the name of Islam and someone wants to point it out and help show how to do things better, I say more power to them.
I’m sick of the idea that in order to criticize a social group you have to be a part of it. I’m not a Christian, but I’ll continue to tell both Catholics and Protestants to stop when they do things that are stupid and harmful, and I should be able to do the same thing with other religions that I see harm in.
I wonder if you are being disingenuous, having a bad day or trying to be intellectually dishonest in your argument. Did you read Reform Islam’s Mission statement? I would quote it but the Tumblr seems to be gone now. The statement the author made was that she was going to provide interpretations of the Qu’ran. Not criticize some crazy ass Mullah and their ridiculous decrees, but instead, offer the “correct” interpretation of a book she doesn’t believe in (she is a self confessed atheist).
I’ll differ my answer to someone who knows better about these things than I do (who also happens to have been brought up Muslim):
Islam is complex. It involves not just the Qu’ran but Arabic, Hadith and Sunnah. On top of that the way it has been adapted to preexisting cultures. Casual knowledge of living Islam won’t cut it. Not for a very serious examination of the issues
If the author of the Reform Islam Tumblr was offering criticism of someone else’s mandates then I would understand. However, that an atheist feels it is their right to tell people how they should interpret religion is not only far fetched, but just plain baffling.
You mention Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an example of an atheist who is fit to reform Islam. I happen to live in The Netherlands, the country where she sought asylum and was catapulted to fame. You have no idea what you are talking about if you believe she is a prime example of an Islam reformist. She is divisive, caused much harm in the political scene of this country and she is appealing to white dudes (not unlike yourself) that love her populist ideas and misguided self promotion tactics. I do not only know about her, I have extensively read her work (in Dutch, no less, the language she used to write in).
Also, I take offense in your childish arguments along the lines of “I know you feel that no one should tell anyone else how to live”. If in all these months reading my posts, this is all you take, then either I have been communicating poorly or you are being unnecessarily confrontational. I thought my rhetoric, my discourse, if you prefer, was slightly more nuanced than that.
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