Originally published on Page 30, Q-News, Issue 361 March 2005
ISLAM HAS A PROGRESSIVE TRADITION THAT IS AS OLD AS THE RELIGION ITSELF, BUT YOU ARE NOT LIKELY TO FIND IT REFLECTED AT MUSLIMWAKEUP.COM
In the last few months Muslims living in the West have woken up to a rather daft assembly of Muslim men and women calling themselves the Progressive Muslim Union of North America (PMU).
Their literati are Amina Wadud-Muhsin, author of Quran and Woman; Akbar S. Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and professor of International Relations at American University in Washington; and Omid Safi, editor of PMU’s prescript Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, an anthology of essays reflecting the core ideas of the Progressives. Farid Esack, crowned with the moniker Funky Maulana and Khaled Abou el Fadl, the grand mufti himself of beauty, love and tolerance (except when it comes to invading foreign countries) articulate the philosophy of the Progressives but choose to remain outside the PMU’s structure.
The Progressives have a number of talented writers and activists in their congregation such as Tarek Fatah, Ahmad Nassef, Sarah Eltantawi, Hussein Ibish, Mohja Kahf, and Naeem Mohaiemen. In their ranks you will find devoted secularists, peace and justice advocates, feminists vocal on gender equality, those whose sole goal in life is to “hug a Jew,” and many whose mission is to bring about the acceptance and integration of gays and lesbians into the Muslim community. With this impressive line-up it is not surprising that Harvard University Pluralism Project has agreed to fund PMU’s first major conference scheduled for March 2005. Read the full piece here.