America's Associated Press has a very one-sided article lauding Muslims who give up what many Muslims consider essential parts of their faith to fit in with the moving cultural landscape occurring in North America. The article wrongly treats Islam as though it were a religion based on the Quran, as evangelical Christianity might be considered based on the Bible. The Quran while a holy book in Islam is a recording in writing of the things that Mohammed said and so forth. Much of Islam whether Shi'ite or Sunni, centres on the authority of various teachers within Islam. The tradition of Islam is as important to the life of Muslims as can be stressed. Interpreting the Quran so as to fit in, in America, would not be considered proper interpretation by most Muslims.
The Associated Press states their view that the Quran does not condemn homosexual sex and homosexual civil unions. They also state that many a modern American Muslim are doing away with any differences between the sexes. This might be all good and well if it were in fact the dominant trend amongst American Muslims, however the Associated Press focus their attention purely upon small minority groups which do not in fact represent the whole. If such an article were written about the Catholic Church, it would certainly meet massive objection from The Catholic League, for the simple reason that it misportrays a major world religion.
There certainly are many modern Muslim scholars who have brought great fruits into modern Muslim traditions from ancient times. However, groups which place their first identity not in their religion but in political groups, following a specific political party in a specific country, are not representative of the whole.
While the Associated Press write with much joy of the reforming of Islam, and its naturalisation into something it is not in America, this could not be further from the truth. Firstly, the major strands of Islam are in no need of reform. Groups such as Al Qaeda are based on reformed interpretations of Islam, which ignore centuries of tradition. The centuries old versions of Islam are in fact quite tolerant of other religions and people with other lifestyles. The Quran needs to be interpreted within its historic significance. Muslims adopting the American approach of cafeteria religion, taking what they like and rejecting what they don't: is hardly a newsworthy article but is exactly what is occurring amongst the groups quoted. A proper reform of a religion, returns to its origins and gains more understanding of what the religion meant. The Catholic counterreformation is an example of this within the Catholic religion. Looking back at ancient texts simply to reinterpret them to fit a cultural need, makes the culture the dominant acting party, subjugating and reforming the religion to its own needs. If the dominant party is not the religion itself but an external political force attempting to change the religion, then it is not true reform whatsoever but a form of imperialism being practised by Americans upon Islam. Many Muslim nations are in fact very tolerant of people of other faiths and other lifestyles. Islam has taken strides forward that were unthinkable in the last century, but these strides originated in Islam itself. There is a massive difference between people who attempt to redefine religion to fit their lifestyle, and genuine progress in understanding the roots of a religion. Muslim people for centuries have well understood the difference between civil and religious law. Muslim nations have often also been highly tolerant of non-Muslims. Muslims can be highly tolerant of non-Muslims also, while maintaining fully their belief in the essential doctrines of Islam.
The essence of tolerance, does not consist of forcing a person to change. If the Associated Press tolerated Islam they would not demand that it change and reject centuries of tradition as though they were worthless. Islam well knows tolerance, tolerance is precisely that, because it consists of respecting a person despite the fact that they act in a manner you might find unbecoming within your religion.
In this sense, the Associated Press article is in fact tragic as it does not tolerate Islam, but treats it as something "evil", so "evil" in fact that no orthodox Muslim of either of the major strains of the religion was given an opportunity to comment on the article. We always hear about how Muslim woman cannot pray in certain areas of a mosque, but very seldom about English gentlemen's clubs who do not permit female membership. There is a massive difference between treating the sexes as unequal, and valid ritual which spans for centuries. Men are not allowed in certain monasteries in the Catholic religion. Women are not allowed in certain monasteries in the Catholic religion. This is not something unjust, but something which is merely ritual. If a woman is not permitted to drive or is not permitted to be educated, then that is something of concern. However, whether men and women pray shoulder to shoulder or not has no effect on their everyday lives.
If the major leaders of Muslim religion across the world were in fact to endorse homosexual unions, gay sex, extramarital sex in massive casual doses, female imams and so forth then that would be newsworthy, that would be a change in a major religion. However, a couple of Muslims who give up their cultural identity to impress little white kids and the white and or Hispanic editors of the Associated Press, are mere outliers are not the core. How does the Associated Press think their article will be viewed in the Muslim world? Do they think it will make Muslim countries like America more, that they laud people who prefer America to Mohammed? Or do they think such articles as theirs will not be used as propaganda to spread extremism? In fact the American Constitution exists precisely to prevent people from having to choose between their god and their country, their rights and their country, their soul and conscience and their country and so forth.
'Muslim movement accepts once-taboo causes' by the Associated Press is linked to below: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/muslim-movement-accepts-once-taboo-causes