Qantara.de, a German effort to bridge the gap between the West and the Islamic world, runs an interview with Ziauddin Sardar, the British-Pakistani publisher of “Critical Muslim” a quarterly magazine that seeks to raise for debate issues the Muslims find uncomfortable to discuss. The magazine is a printed one; online, it offers only teasers of the articles with an invitation to subscribe for the full text.

The magazine seems an interesting one. Its merit may be discerned by the fact that various issues have been banned in countries worried about how extremists would react to the subjects raised.

”Muslims yearn for real debate”
Interview with Muslim Scholar Ziauddin Sardar

Ziauddin Sardar is a leading British-Pakistani Muslim scholar and critic. In this interview with Susannah Tarbush, he talks about the magazine “Critical Muslim” he founded and which he sees as an “intellectual, cultural, philosophical and creative backup” for the revolutions of the Middle East

In January a year ago, a refreshingly different kind of Muslim publication, the quarterly Critical Muslim (CM), was launched in Britain. Published by London-based C Hurst & Co, CM takes the form of an attractively-produced paperback book of over 250 pages. Its stated mission is to be a quarterly of “ideas and issues showcasing ground-breaking thinking on Islam and what it means to be a Muslim in a rapidly changing, increasingly interconnected world”.

CM’s founder and editor is leading Muslim scholar, critic and public intellectual Ziauddin Sardar. Born in Pakistan in 1951, Sardar grew up in London where he still lives. He is a prolific and much-read writer: since the late 1970s he has written some 45 books as well as numerous articles and essays. Sardar’s CM co-editor is the prominent British-Syrian novelist, critic and blogger Robin Yassin-Kassab.

Qantara.de is itself worth visiting. It, too, raises issues that are of deep concern to those who care about relations between the Islamic world and the West. Luckily, its content is all online.


January:22:2013 - 08:32 | Comments & Trackbacks (4) | Permalink
4 Responses to “Pushing Islamic Discourse”
  1. 1
    Jay kactuz Said:
    January:23:2013 - 01:25 

    I found nothing in either CM or Qantara that would indicate that ”Muslims yearn for real debate”. Perhaps if it is “it’s not your fault” deliberation, or a conversation based upon the concept that Muslim behavior has nothing to do with Islam, or a discussion about the errors and evils of non-Muslims and the West — maybe this is their idea of debate. Ziauddin Sardar himself says that we “will not publish anything that is abusive of our tradition”. So I guess what he means is non-critical criticism. This is, of course, his idea of “ground-breaking thinking” on Islam. Why do I bother…..

  2. 2
    Jerry M Said:
    January:23:2013 - 14:37 

    @jay

    Did you look at the Muslim Institute site? http://www.musliminstitute.org/blogs/education/importance-evolution-and-islam-debate-london-salman-hameed There is a frank discussion of Evolution. I wish it had gone into detail about how modern science changes many Muslims traditional understanding about things like evolution, but it did fairly expose Harun Yahya’s Atlas of Creation as being an embarrassment.

  3. 3
    Jay kactuz Said:
    January:24:2013 - 07:56 

    Jerry, I view the evolution-religion debate as kind of a side show. It has no moral diminesion, in my view. While creationism (man as unique) and evolution (chance and selection) are basically incompatible, this issue has no immediate presence in our lives. If one accepts either, it changes nothing as far as morals are concerned.

    Now, theology (beliefs) and behavior are different. They are what make a person. I find it hard to believe that a moral person can blindly accept Islamic doctrine without reservations, given the depth of the abhorrence for non-Muslims and the multitude of wrongdoings by the person they consider to the a shining example of goodness and truth. What I am saying is that unless a Muslim can be critical of the Islam teachings as expounded in the Quran or of Mohammad’s doings as written in Islam’s own traditions and history, then what they call ‘criticism’ is not criticism at all, as there is no real disapproval or condemnation of actions that even Muslims would censure if not referenced to Allah, the Quran and their prophet. Selective morality is no morality at all.

    Believe me, I have looked long and hard for any evidence that Muslims can be honest about problematic issues, but what they call criticism is usually nothing but excuses and meaningless discussion about tangential matters.

    Have you ever seen a debate or discussion on an Islamic website about “was it proper for the prophet to let his men rape captives?” or “are non-Muslims really ‘lower than animals’?”

    Criticism requires honesty and common values. Constructive change requires effective criticism. So nothing changes in Islam and among Muslims. I found nothing in the mentioned site that Muslims would find uncomfortable to discuss.

    Thats it. Jay in HongKong signing off.

  4. 4
    Jerry M Said:
    January:24:2013 - 09:48 

    I agree that I have seen nothing that discusses that actions or words of the founder of Islam, nor is there anything discussing the history of the Koran.

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