September 11, 2007

PHATWA:

Symbol of hope in Muslim world (Mona Charen, September 11, 2007, Washington Times)

Ahmad Dhani, Indonesia's counterpart to Justin Timberlake, has called his song ("Warriors of Love") a "musical fatwa against religious extremism and violence." The lyrics are derived from the Koran and Hadith. (Sample: "If hatred has already poisoned you/Against those... who worship differently/ Then evil has already gripped your soul/ Then evil's got you in its damning embrace.")

Mr. Dhani is a soldier in the culture war within Islam. With 190 million people, Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country — but its religious culture is far more tolerant and humane than that of Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim lands.

A former president of Indonesia, H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid (popularly known as Gus Dur) has co-founded an organization, LibforAll (www.libforall.com), that aims to contend with the radical Islamists on the extremists' own chosen turf — the true meaning of Islam. Gus Dur denies normative Islam is the faith of the torturers and suicide bombers, of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He finds within Muslim sources the ideas of tolerance, respect for others and humility. Islam is meant to be a "blessing for all the world," he reminds his listeners.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2007 12:00 AM
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