usama hasan is optimistic on the potential for coexistence of islam and democracy. islam, he says is based on a democratic spirit that has been lost in part because of the modern day political weakness of current arab and islamic regimes.
he notes that that islamic history is characterized by a pluralism and intellectual vibrancy that would astound contemporary islam watchers. there’s an interesting aside on how alcohol, adultery and fornication were not even outlawed in the prophet’s age.
to me one there are still many unresolved, fundamental incompatibilities between islam and free speech (an important pillar of democracy). if we are to allow for heresy in the islamic world then the drawing of the heretical boundaries will always be open to abuse, minority opinions will often be suppressed, neither of which encourage the kind of debate we need in islam. as the economist points out, the combination of heresy and apostasy’s death penalty is stifling.
usama’s personal quest: to simultaneously be a person of brain and faith (both are provided by god after all he asserts).
usama is a fouding member of interesting sounding city circle:
The City Circle promotes the development of a distinct British Muslim identity. It seeks to assist the process of community cohesion and integration by building bilateral strategic alliances between Muslim and non-Muslim communities and harness and channel the skills and resources of Muslim professionals into practical projects thereby facilitating and empowering young Muslim women and men to ‘put back in’ to the wider British community.
The City Circle is an open circle for open minds. The City Circle provides an atmosphere where individuals are pushed to think outside the box. The City Circle hosts weekly events where ideas develop, the soul is nourished and issues highlighted. It seeks to promote practical and progressive solutions to community problems. The City Circle runs targeted community based projects and highlights social and welfare causes as well as servicing third party initiatives. The City Circle is a registered charity.
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