I have great respect for the work of Muslim intellectual Dalia Mogahed, co-author with John Esposito of Who Speaks for Islam, an incredibly important book.
The post below is important for several reasons. Obviously, it sheds important light on the dangerous situation in Egypt, especially the stage-management being planned by the military junta, and the subversion of democracy in the name of democracy. It also gives important background on Egyptian prisons (not Afghan caves) as the conceptual birthplace of Al Queda.
But it is equally interesting to “eavesdrop” on a wise and moderate Muslim voice interacting with someone for whom violence and extremism are becoming more attractive. This reminds me of many conversations I’ve observed among my fellow Christians.
Quotable (from a social media exchange between Dalia and an Egyptian):
Ali: “They’re pushing us to be extremists, if they kept arresting pres. Morsy & refuse every democratic process”Me:
I responded in four parts:
“1. No one can force us to extremism. We have a choice. We must choose Islamic ethics over self defeating impulse. 1/4”
“2. Nothing would please your enemies more. Perfect pretense for mass repression and political exclusion. Choose wisdom. 2/4”
“3. Turning to extremism dishonors the blood of the martyrs. 3/4”
“4. Remember God said ‘don’t let a people’s hatred of you cause you to be unjust.’ God rewards patience. 4/4″Ali:
“He also said “And if you punish an enemy, punish proportionally to that which you were harmed””
“Yes, within what is permitted. Responding in like in this case is wrong and unwise. Results disastrous.”
“We are dying anyway, u should advise the one who kill not the victim”
“I have. See my timeline. They wish for nothing more than a pretense for more repression. Don’t give it to them.”
Dalia Mogahed’s voice here reminds me of the fine line Jesus walked in the Gospels, between the Sadducees and priestly allies of the Roman regime on the one hand, and the Zealots and Pharisees on the other. She is not counseling passive compliance with injustice, nor is she counseling violent reaction. She’s counseling a path of courageous wisdom …