Postscript to Muqtedar Khan’s resignation from PMU

Postscript to Muqtedar Khan’s resignation from PMU July 10, 2005

Due to my own increasing ambivalence about PMU/MWU in recent times and my conclusion that this exchange is ultimately unconstructive, I have decided to remove my previous postings on the topic. 

I continue to feel that the wording and tenor of Muqtedar Khan’s resignation letter"–his scathing statement is already being disseminated on the Internet (e.g., LivingTradition, American Muslim Perspective)–were inappropriate and problematic coming from a scholar dedicated to reform and what he calls the "progressive agenda  and I remain concerned about what I consider to be his at times inconsistent politics.  Also, while I think the issues I raised about his role as a pundit and tendency to oversimplify important issues  were legitimate concerns, I do not wish personalize things (even if I’m not sure how that can be avoided).  So I’ve removed those postings, as well.  Perhaps I’ll revisit the topic later, when I have the time to explore the issue in more depth.

The exchange with various parties over PMU and the resignation has also gotten me thinking about whether I really want to be defending PMU, even from criticisms that are not entirely fair.  I reacted strongly to Muqtedar’s  attack partly out of a sense of fairness but primarily out of concern that its wide-brushed rhetoric helps reactionaries undermine reform and marginalize minorities within the community, but I also can’t help but wonder whether the PMU and MWU are not having the same effect at times. 

On a tangent, this unfortunate episode also illustrates for me how much tension there is between some of the promising ideals that the Progressive Muslim Union aspires to (e.g., as found in Progressive Muslims) and the PMUs ambiguous profile.  PMU is clearly a very "big tent", and I wonder sometimes whether that tent is spread so wide that a coherent platform and worldview is impossible.  Only time will tell.

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