Saturday, August 21, 2004

Martin Luther of Islam

I know, I know...I'm posting a lot tonight. I've been so busy the last week that all I got done in between flying and driving was reading and not writing anything brilliant. But I found some brilliant things, so bear with me.

In one of the discussion threads here, I was discussing the need to have a Martin Luther of Islam and I wondered who and where that might be. Islam needs it bad. Needs a really strong leader that will not qualify all his statements for fear of antagonizing the establishment, but is willing to do it for the sake and survival of their religion. So, I am reading this website called Toledo Muslims and reading several articles. Guess what I found? The first inklings of Luthernism in Islam.

With the recent departue of the Arabic-only speaking religious leader, a local Mosque is now presented with an opportunity, unlike any other, to switch to an English-only prayer service. Community members have been asking and harping on this for quite sometime, and the time is ripe.

Of course, you will have the financial backers and older generation that will want to leave the sermons in Arabic. They are born in Arabic speaking countries, spoke Arabic growing up, and are accustomed to Arabic sermons. However, they are already "good" Muslims. Because of their background and upbringing; they know Islam quite well and don't really "need" the sermons; they are there out of religious obligation.

The new generation of young Muslims, born and raised in America, do not have as strong a background in Arabic, and despite all of our efforts, will learn better from English sermons.

Anybody remember one of the tenets that Luther was fighting for was to get rid of the old "Latin" only sermons and allow the people to hear mass in their native tongue? Of course, this served to de-mystify the church, but it certainly helped gain a more universal understanding within the Christian communities just what religious folks were up to.

Excellent idea and gives me hope.


91ghost said...

Do you think that "Luthernism" in Islam stands a chance over in the middle east? I think it stands a chance here, but then that might only raise the specter of serious internal strife within Islam--some kind of "true" Muslims vs. "westernized" Muslims...I don't know--I surely don't have the answers.

Kat said...

Actually, I think it is happening right now. If we can keep the stereotyping and ad hominem attacks of Islam to a minimum, it will allow the moderate folks a cushion. If it keeps getting attacked, it may force them into the other camp on the basis of "mutual protection" of Islam.

However, I do think it will have to happen in places like Saudi Arabia to make it viable. But, if it starts here and the financiers and major supporters see that they may lose a chunk of their followers because Islam is too strict, we might see exactly what began to happen to the Catholic church in 1517.

They had to change in orer to keep a good many of their followers from joining the lesser groups.

Kat said...

I forgot to add that the only part of Martin Luther's legacy I could do without in the Islamic movement is the hatred and blame of jews. That already exists so we need to get off that.

Tom said...

You cut to the heart of the matter with this post.

Issues such as the Isaeli-Palestinian conflict are important, but solving it, if it is even possible to do so, will at best deprive the Islamists of a recruiting slogan. Even "bringing democracy" to Iraq puts the cart before the horse. Long before such thoughts were prevalant in Europe we had to create a secular environment.

If Mustafa Kemal could do it in Turkey then it can be done in an Arab country. Hopefully weare creating the conditions for this to happen with our invasion of Iraq.