Jewish Journal

Muslim writer: Actually, Mr. President, bin Laden was a Muslim leader

by Brad A. Greenberg

May 9, 2011 | 9:33 am

Remember a week ago when President Obama told the nation that Osama bin Laden had been killed? Or course you do. It’s basically dominated the news since.

During his address, Obama said: “I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.”

Irshad Manji, writing in the Wall Street Journal says the president got it wrong:

bin Laden and his followers represent a real interpretation of Islam that begs to be challenged relentlessly and visibly. Why does this happen so rarely?

“Moderate” Muslims are part of the problem. As Martin Luther King Jr. taught many white Americans, in times of moral crisis, moderation cements the status quo. Today, what Islam needs is not more “moderates” but more self-conscious “reformists.” It is reformists who will bring to my faith the debate, dissent and reinterpretation that have carried Judaism and Christianity into the modern world.

Manji, who is Muslim, goes on to say that we don’t see such reformists because that’s “no way to win a popularity contest in the Muslim community.” I definitely recommend reading the rest of Manji’s thoughts here.


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