The Reformation of Kashif Chaudhry
“If an ideology is peaceful, we will see its extremists and literalists as the most
peaceful people on earth.” – Faisal “I’ve got a fine sense of hummus” Saeed Al Mutar
Introducing Kashif Chaudhry! “…a physician by profession, currently completing his Cardiovascular Medicine fellowship at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Massachusetts. He is also a registered first responder with the international charity Humanity FIRST…” (And, according to the ladies, Kashif is a good kisser!)
Dear Kashif: In Who’s Who in Islam, you ask what makes a Reformer? You’re close (as is Qasim Rashid), but. Your rejection of apostasy and blasphemy laws, violent Jihad, and endorsement of secularism only separate you from the Religious Sociopaths. To be a Reformer takes more. Your focus on Bill Maher, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or even Ali A. Rizvi distracts from reform. Points:
Crimes vs. Bill Maher: Reform is necessary to prevent crimes committed in the name of Islam (Rape, Blasphemy, Cartoon Outrage, Murder). Such crimes harm the image of Islam. But when Muslims cite passages in the Koran to support their atrocities, Reformers do not equivocate, they challenge. In your debate with Sameen Qazi at the Tribune she agrees with Bill Maher and Sam Harris. Sameen blots her face. Her position risks offending the crazies. What risk did you take? You disagreed:
“Academically speaking, Islam is defined by the Quran and the Sunnah, the practice of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is not defined by what the ISIS or some ‘Muslim government’ endorses. Nor is it defined by what 64% of Egyptian Muslims (compared to the 2% of Bosnian and Turkish Muslims that agree with apostasy laws) think. Regrettably, Maher and Harris judge Islam by the latter standard. And this is where they go wrong.”
Two percent is too fah-clucking much. 64% is a recipe for theocratic genocide. You say Maher and Harris “regrettably” judge. If you live in Egypt it would be reasonable to “judge” 64% of Muslims by this “latter standard.” Your view of Islam does not cancel out Muslims in Egypt or Daesh. It means Muslims differ. A majority of Muslims in Pakistan and Egypt support their government’s definition of apostasy laws.
Two Excellent Articles: An Open Letter to Ben Affleck and Why Don’t More Muslims Denounce Their Co-Religionists’ Barbarism? (Talking to you, Reza Aslan). These articles question those who silence critics. Reformers cheer these articles, they do not worry about Islamophobia or Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
“When you read the Quran, one of the striking things about it is its lack of context.” – Aisha Ashraf
Context, Sam Harris, and The Koran: You quote Sam Harris below, though Harris specified one situation where killing people based on their beliefs may be “justified.” That’s called context. The context in the Koran regarding “compulsion in religion” or “sexual relations with slaves” is not as clear. It’s not a parallel analogy. The same standard needs to apply.
Qur’an (33:50): “O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee.”
Logic: What context would make sexual slavery acceptable?
Atrocity vs. Sam Harris: Your excellent article, I left Pakistan Because of Their Hatred Toward Muslims, show that you get what it’s like to receive hatred, and you expose atrocity directed at Ahmadis. But when Harris and co. criticize Islam, you criticize them almost more than those committing the atrocities. Why?
Analogies: Just in case you’re going to bring up Christianity, remember the aphorism about two wrongs not making a right. Comparing the Old Testament to Islam, or contrasting present day Christianity to Islam, or George Bush to Daesh, are different arguments.
Muslim Reformers: When CAIR and the MSA protest Maher and Ali, they make Islam seem intolerant and insecure. Irshad Manji (The Trouble with Islam Today) and Maajad Nawaz (Nawaz Receives Death Threats for Tweeting Cartoon), however, take risk. Their advocacy of universal human rights helps the image of Islam.
PS – Rhetoric matters, acting if you’re right and your opponent is wrong, arrogance, sarcasm et al (unless it’s damned funny) hinders any case. A strong argument stands alone.