This is a difficult time for Muslims. How do you seperate your religion from the acts committed in its name?
The Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society have been addressing this problem for some time. Their conclusion is that there are some harsh truths that Muslims must come to terms with about the nature of Islamic society.
From their charter:
"We are dedicated to combating fanaticism, intolerance, violent fundamentalism, and terrorism by showing the intellectual inadequacy of the fanatics’ programmes, the historical inaccuracy of their claims, the philosophical poverty of their arguments, and the totalitarian nature of their thought."
"We defend the right of free inquiry, and the free expression of ideas. We therefore reserve the right to examine the historical foundations of Islam, and to explain the rise and fall of Islam by the normal mechanisms of human history."
With this last point in mind, they have published "A Call to the Muslims of the World from a Group of Freethinkers and Humanists of Muslim Origins".
A look at the history of Islam combined with quotations from the Qur’an leads to an inevitable conclusion:
"Please understand that there is no terrorist gene - but there could be a terrorist mindset. That mindset finds its most fertile ground in the tenets of Islam. Denying it, and presenting Islam to the lay public as a religion of peace similar to Buddhism, is to suppress the truth."
Normally I would feel very uncomfortable about linking to an article that could be misinterpreted as being anti-Islamic. If this were written by Christians, Jews, or even atheists, I would question its validity - it’s all too easy to point an admonishing finger at others. But this article was written by Muslims - Muslims who have undergone very difficult self-evaluation.
I applaud them for their bravery. They ask uncomfortable questions and do not shy away from the even more uncomfortable answers.