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Rushdie urges Islam Revamp

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Ben W, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W Active Member
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    Sep 16, 2002
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    Aug 12, 2005

    British novelist Salman Rushdie, sentenced to death in 1989 by a Muslim edict for "The Satanic Verses", is calling for an Islamic Reformation to update the religion and broaden its appeal to the young.

    Writing in The Times newspaper, Rushdie said that in cities such as Leeds -home to three of the four rucksack bombers who attacked London on July 7- Muslims were living in "near-segregation from the wider population".

    "From such defensive, separated worlds some youngsters have indefensibly stepped across a moral line and taken up their lethal rucksacks," he wrote.

    Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued the fatwa, or edict, instructing Muslims to kill Rushdie for "The Satanic Verses", which he considered blasphemous.

    The fatwa, which forced Rushdie into hiding, was officially lifted in 1998 and Rushdie now lives openly in Britain.

    Rushdie said Islam needed wholesale reform to end some Muslims' separation from the rest of society.

    "What is needed is a move beyond tradition- nothing less than a reform movement to bring the core concepts of Islam into the modern age, a Muslim Reformation to combat not only the jihadi ideologues but also the dusty, stifling seminaries of the traditionalists, throwing open the windows of the closed communities to let in much-needed fresh air."

    The India-born author urged Muslims to read the Koran as a historical document and "a product of its place and time" rather than a book whose teachings are set in stone.

    "Few Muslims have been permitted to study their religious book in this way," he said.

    "If ... the Koran were seen as a historical document, then it would be legitimate to reinterpret it to suit the new conditions of successive new ages. Laws made in the 7th century could finally give way to the needs of the 21st.

    "The Islamic Reformation has to begin here, with an acceptance that all ideas, even sacred ones, must adapt to altered realities."