A potentially important meeting took place last month in Mecca, a meeting involving the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a group of leaders from 57 predominately Muslim nations. It was important because it was the largest and most important gathering of Muslim leaders to unequivocally condemn terrorism and extremism, and to call for an Islamic renaissance. The statement issued at the end of this conference could be the seed out of which grows a serious and global Muslim resistance to the forces of extremism and terror.
The Mecca Declaration, read out at the end of the summit's final session, warned of the dangers of Islamic extremism.
"The Islamic nation is in a crisis. This crisis does not reflect on the present alone, but also on its future and the future of humanity at large," it said.
"We need decisive action to fight deviant ideas because they are the justification of terrorism. We are determined to fight terrorism in all its forms."
The member states promised to change laws to criminalise the financing and incitement of terrorism.
"Islam is the religion of moderation. It rejects extremism and isolation. There is a need to confront deviant ideology where it appears, including in school curricula. Islam is the religion of diversity and tolerance," the statement added...
Whether Muslim leaders can live up to these ambitious goals will depend partly on their own political will, and partly on whether the OIC can be turned into an instrument of change, our correspondent says.
The West needs to be doing everything it can to encourage this reaction and strengthen this organization and others like it. The battle with Islamic militants is not just a battle between America and Bin Laden, it is a battle within Islam itself, between anti-modernist reactionaries and those who are open to accepting modern values like freedom of conscience. Christianity went through a similar battle and the Enlightenment signaled the victory of the modernists; we must do whatever we can to insure a similar result in the Islamic world.
Christianity went through a similar battle and the Enlightenment signaled the victory of the modernists; we must do whatever we can to insure a similar result in the Islamic world.
It has been proposed that the early Muslim world's love of knowledge is one of the sparks that led to the Enlightenment (via Averoes among others.) I believe there was a battle within the Muslim world at the begining of the European Enlightenment that led to a deemphasis of independent reason -- IIRC, called the "closure of the gate of ijtihad."
What's really sad is that I'm reading this for the first time here instead of in the NY Times, WaPo, or one of the major networks. No slam meant against this fine website, just lamenting how low our major media have sunk.
And the article is actually about a month old. I just found out about it yesterday via a link from another blog.