Monday, June 18, 2012
Freedom Train Fails to Arrive in Muslim World
When Muslim Countries Restore Freedom of Expression -Harold Rhode
Why can Muslims who emigrate to the West - especially to the U.S. and Canada - invent and innovate in the fields of science and technology, but not in their native lands?
It seems that those who live in Muslim communities are subjected to intellectual oppression: they are not allowed to question. When young Muslims do ask questions, their elders usually humiliate them - often publicly - a sure-fire way to discourage intellectual development and curiosity. If Muslims repeat what is proscribed, they are praised; if they question, they are chastised.
The exercise of critical thinking and independent judgment - or Ijtihad - was an important way to address questions in the early centuries of Islam, but after 400 years, the leaders of the Sunni Muslim world closed the "Gates of Ijtihad," seeing questioning as politically dangerous to their ability to rule. What followed the closing of the Gates of Ijtihad in the Muslim world were centuries of intellectual and political decline.
Is there a chance that the Muslims could reopen the Gates of Ijtihad? For the foreseeable future, the answer seems to be a resounding no.
Only if the forces which want to bring back seventh-century Islamic society were to suffer a massive defeat, could there be much hope.
The writer served from 1994 until 2010 in the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment.
Islamist Claims Victory in Egypt President Vote -Sarah El Deeb & Lee Keath
The Muslim Brotherhood declared that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won Egypt's presidential election, which would be the first victory of an Islamist as head of state in the stunning wave of protests demanding democracy that swept the Middle East.
But the military handed itself the lion's share of power over the new president, sharpening the possibility of confrontation. With parliament dissolved and martial law effectively in force, the generals issued an interim constitution granting themselves sweeping authorities that ensure their hold on the state and subordinate the president.
Official final results are not [in] and Ahmed Shafiq's campaign challenged the Brotherhood claim.