Read What They Are SayingMODERATE?
First published on Islam Newsroom November 29, 2009
MODERATE ISLAM GLOBAL IN UNDERSTANDING?
Can Muslims be 'moderate' in their daily lives?
What do you say about all this?
Recent Events Intensify the Debate of Islam's Role in Modern World
Some Muslims argue, Islam must embrace modernity..
All of this with its emphasis on reason, acquired knowledge, human rights and representative politics, would be to reclaim an Islamic heritage that has enriched humanity and contributed to its progress.
There are others, however, who view modernity with suspicion, seeing it not only as a Western concept which threatens Muslim values, but also as a sinister attempt by Western powers to dilute and weaken Islam.
What do you think? Are Islamic concepts incompatible with modern aspirations? Why is there a perceived lack of democracy in a number of Muslim states? How can the heritage of Islam in science and the arts be made meaningful in a modern world?
Please include your email (below) if you'd like to participate in a special interactive forum or Talking Point show on GUIDE US TV (on satellite & free to air antennas across America - APPs too)
Read what they say . . .
_____________________________ Comments ____________________________
- "Most of us in the west are not really familiar with the plight of people living in Muslim countries. They really do not have true "Islamic State" conditions due to the way British and other countries occupied their lands and then left "agents" in charge to be sure the true Islamic state could never come back as it once was.
"I know many of us think we know everything about the east and middle-east, but most of what we have comes from a steady diet of provacative issues twisted by our media to present a picture suitable for western minds to justify our continued onslought of "exporting democracy", which by the way looks a lot more like "demon-occupancy" to those on the other end.
"It is a shame that none of us in the west or the Muslims in the east for that matter, can really have a picture of the true Islamic society. I believe as did many well known historians, "If the true picture of Islam were revealed in today's world - you could find real peace and true modernity." -- Josson, Texas, US
"There is no single religion that advocates violence and Islam is no different but lot of things are taken out of context, both by non-Muslims and Muslims themselves and that brings Islam its present bad image."
"I believe that as a religion Islam is very modern in terms of rights, ways of living and in the field of science. Of course, not if you think that being modern is the way you dress and not a state of mind. I choose my moral lifestyle over that one. Islam makes you a very peaceful person with a clear conscience if you understand it very well." -- Ziana, Wales, UK
Of course Islam is compatible with modernity. In fact, we in the west have much to thank Islam for- We adopted Arabic characters and text from the last golden age of Islamic scholarship which helped us to emerge from our dark age. The only thing Moslems and other religious groups such as Christians have to fear is the 'rabble-rousing' for political gain by opportunist politicians on either side of the debate.
Anthony Duggan, London, UK
"Islam and modernity are compatible only in the West, where freedom of religion and separation of church and state make it possible. For the theocratic Middle East and the rest of the Islamic world, forget it." -- George Mena, Fremont, California, USA
"No, they are not compatible. Islam is an all-encompassing moral, spiritual and physical theology teaching right from wrong, and highlights the ultimate responsibility for the actions one takes. Modernity emphasises practicality, is flexible to the desires of the majority and is ultimately governed by the economics of the elite. The "Muslim" states you mention contain very little of Islam, and plenty of modernism without the flexibility. Having a dictatorship in a Muslim majority country does not make it Islamic." -- Ibi, UK
Having a dictatorship in a Muslim majority country does not make it Islamic
"Why is it we as a nation of Christians/Protestants etc think that the Islamic faith is not modern? Is it because we think we are better than the followers of that faith? We call ourselves democratic and that we allow others to be whatever they want but as soon as they turn their backs we are trying to change them and make them what we want them to be. This is not my idea of fairness to the rest of the world - rich or poor! "-- Lise B, Canada
Western ideas of modernity are achieved by blackmailing the developing countries and by the systematic subjugation of economic, political and social power. Those who tend to think that western modernity has given them so much should find out first how that was achieved. Unfortunately many of them don't look beyond their world (USA and Europe) because they do not suffer economic hardship like most of the world. The problem is being compounded partly because of attempts to export the western concept of modernity to people who find it difficult to get one meal a day. Islam provides a pragmatic approach and is effective if utilised in the right manner. Unfortunately for most of the Muslim countries, their leaders strive for the same level of material greed as the West and so ignore the plight of the people." -- John, UK
Those who tend to think that western modernity has given them so much should find out first how that was achieved
"To Muslim countries, modernity means whether they're next on the American hit list for a bombing campaign and invasion. They're going to be bombed into wanting 'modernity' whether they like it or not. In the meantime, westerners think that they're on a holy crusade to impose western values on others whether they like it or not. Well, that sums up the West's racism and imperialist ambitions dressed up as a debate on 'modernity'." -- Bilal Patel, London, UK
"Having been born into a Christian sect, I would say that all religions which go beyond the simple act of fellowship/worship are incompatible with modernity as they become progressively more introspective and arrogant to outsiders and fundamentally non-democratic. What really worries me is that Bush and his core administration are actually reverting to the dogmas of the Christian religion in their criticism of the 'uncivilized world'. Now that's progress!" -- David O, UK
"In Malaysia, the Islamic model they have there seems to be compatible with modernity. They have a good education system and a society that is fairly open and democratic - unlike Arab countries. Islam is not the trouble. The Arab culture of tyranny is. I hope Islam wakes up to this threat before it exports itself more effectively." -- TB, Spain
Islam is not the trouble. The Arab culture of tyranny is
"Secularism, equal treatment of women, religious tolerance and democracy are all relatively modern ideas. I see no reason why any of these things should be incompatible with Islam. The Muslim world, as diverse as it is, does seem to reject some or all of these ideas.
I'm not sure exactly why. One only needs to take a brief look around the world to see that secular democracies with religious freedom and better treatment of women are more successful, free and prosperous places. Of course, the people in the Muslim world should be free to choose their own path, but don't complain about being left behind if you choose not to adopt a more modern system." -- Shawn, Washington, DC, USA
"It is said in the Holy Quran that the first word from Allah was "ikra". which means "read". The importance of the quest for knowledge, education and advancement is on of the key concepts in Islam. If modernity is defined by technological progress, and acquiring knowledge then Islam is most certainly modern."
"But if modernity is defined as adoption to western values then it is not. From my viewpoint, the West does not have the right to judge the values of people from different cultures which they do not understand. The assumption that western values are the right ones is not acceptable. In fact, such close mindedness is what I see as being "not modern". -- Mishuk, MN, USA
The West does not have the right to judge the values of people from different cultures
Mishuk, Mankato, MN, USA
"It's not just Islam. Christianity - especially as espoused by the Catholic Church and much of America - is totally unsuited to life in this new millennium. The only way that we'll ever get out of this mess of a world is if no religion is taught to anyone anywhere. Demolish the church-schools, forbid religious education and only allow adults to read any religious books."
"Most certainly prohibit preaching and missionaries. The human mind has absolutely no in-built defences against these hideously destructive memes." -- Zaid, London
_____________________________ More Comments ____________________________
"The notion of "modernity" as synonymous with an emphasis on, for instance, political justice and human rights, is itself a very European idea. Most of these components of so-called modernity have appeared in many forms, in most cultures, with varying degrees of success. What is hegemonic about the attitude of the "West" - in the sense of the predominantly Christian world - is the notion that these ideas are strongly unique to our culture. --
The notion of "modernity" as synonymous with an emphasis on political justice and human rights, is itself a very European idea
"While the exact way we have developed and expressed these ideas in relation to the rest of society may be unique, I see no obvious reason to believe that this exact development is the only one compatible with the aims of compassion and the desire for justice. Quite the contrary - a real concern for human rights and justice is as incompatible with the forced imposition of "our" notion of modernity as it is with the Crusader or militarist Jihad notion of bringing "the truth" through force." -- Colin, California/Canada
"I strongly believe that Islamic concepts can be compatible with modern aspirations if and only if the operators of the modern world stop their allies from terrorising Muslims who share a common boundary with them. Like the case of the Indians, the Israelis, the Bosnians and so on. Also the US needs to have a rethink towards its view of Muslims and Islam."
"One keeps wondering why the US is so hostile to the rest of us. The invasion of Iraq confirm our fears. Finally, Islam as a religion is totally against killing innocent lives. So Islam does not teach the act of barbarism, at the same time it does not stop its followers from defending their rights no matter how powerful the aggressor is. That is not incompatibility." -- Adamu Idris, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria
"To blame the West for the shortcomings of the Islamic world is wrong. Democracy is a messy thing that requires certain human rights. Such as freedom of religion, speech, and the basic human needs met for its citizens. Such as food and shelter. If Islam wants to join the modern world it will need to accept these practices. If someone is critical about the Prophet or the religion, they cannot just call for the person's head. Remember "Satanic Verses". Even my most moderate Muslim friends seem to agree with the Iranians' death wish for the author." -- Patrick, Cincinnati, OH, USA
"Suicide bombers exist because Eastern people think in absolute terms and cannot distinguish between ideal and self or between state and the individual. This is not the case with Western thought which is based on relativistic outlook. Therefore the point where East meets West is the point were Eastern people see Western ideals and ideologies as if they are their own self. Fighting for an ideal then means fighting in a suicidal fashion and killing oneself (which is a form of victory for the cause since in absolute thought, the cause and the self are the same thing)". - Yitzchak, Israel
"No. I don't think Islam is compatible with modernity. It seems to be stuck in a 1000-year old time warp, which it desperately tries to hang on to while the world around it changes.
Modernity has equality for the sexes, not just roles, for example. It has free thinking, including the question whether a god exists at all.
It has free enterprise and so forth. With what we know of the universe today, religions and the concept of an all-powerful god are outdated.
Moral values differ according to culture and cannot be imposed outright across the spectrum of human civilisations, modern or traditional.
Islam, like Christianity, as well as Buddhism here in Thailand, needs to find its place in an evolving world with global awareness and problems, or perish into history." -- Victor D., Thailand
Religions and the concept of an all-powerful god are outdated..
Victor D., Thailand
"Islam, like other religions, is a code to implement in one's life. However, once the followers feel that they are morally superior to others, then that is when a code becomes an ideology. History shows that faiths/religions succumbing, at some point in time, to such a fate. Religions should never over-ride our humanity. This is, sadly, the case with all popular and organized religions." -- Adel Abunawass, Georgia, USA
"Modernity has been a forward step for tool making but a backward step for civilization. In resisting modernity, Islam is exhibiting spiritual vigour and liveliness." -- Ari Siletz, Sebastopol, CA, USA
"Islam is still quite a new religion compared to mine's, Hinduism. I believe that Islam is still evolving. We must remember Christianity once upon a time was a radical religion that created a lot of terror and bloodshed. Some Muslims might scorn my religion and others as well as the West but I feel a lot of Muslims are just too proud of their religion, just like the West is too proud of its wealth and achievements (largely due to oppression of other countries where incidentally Islam is the fastest-growing religion). Humility not pride is what is required." -- Mausumi, UK
Humility not pride is what is required
"If anyone thinks that Islamic countries don't have and want democracy and human rights because they are "not in their culture" then that is arrogant. And thinking that "they" cant "handle democracy" and is racist." -- Richard, USA
"Modernity did not emphasise reason and knowledge, rather it is through the latter that we have reached where we are today. Islamic philosophy strongly encourages the pursuit of knowledge and contemplation, respect and compassion for all of creation; man and environment. Does capitalism or modern industrialisation attempt to address any of this in theory, let alone in practice?" -- Ibrahim, London, UK
"The Quran says that there is no limit to knowledge, that the whole universe is made for and is subservient to man and that it is through acquisition of knowledge and use of reason that it can be conquered and made to serve the interest of mankind. I personally believe that the limitlessness of knowledge in Islam best explains how Islam and modernity - are compatible. The Muslim world is not a peace - it has not been allowed to face itself where people predominantly are more willing to live peacefully than to think about modernity and those concerned are bankrupt of ideas regarding all the obstacles on their way to modernity." -- Zikria Zakee, Kabul, Afghanistan
"I'm sorry but I really do not see the connection between Islam and terrorism.
U.S.A. world domination and secure oil supplies!
David in Bergen, Norway
Even though they say they commit these atrocities in the name of Islam that does not make it true.
Also I do not see the connection between Islam and the West. One is a geographical group and the other is a religious community.
It is like comparing Africa and Judaism. I think the whole premise of this topic is to incite debate on a non-subject and blur the real issue which is - 'U.S.A. world domination and secure oil supplies'." -- Daivid, Bergen, Norway
There's no sense in the question. I don't know what modernity is. However, being a Christian I can understand fully what Islam is. Islam is, the way I see it, a coherent system of values as important as mine. There's no future for humanity if all the values built for centuries are denied by so-called "modernity". If such "modernity" prevails call it stupidity.
Maria, Porto, Portugal
"Islam is a religion that is anti-progressive. Room is not given for repentance for every offence made against Sharia Law. It also preaches hatred against people of other beliefs. The Islamic belief is anti-democratic and anti-establishment." -- Efoe Livingstone, England
"The core of this debate is in fact the ongoing conflict of moral relativism vs. absolutism. It is arrogant of the Western world to assume that our beliefs and ideas are the correct ones, while those of the Islamic world are unjust and acts of terror. A believer in Islamic concepts may just as well look at American politics, concepts or laws and view them as being terroristic or unjust. What gives anyone, any one country, any one person, or any one system the right to impose an absolute code of morality throughout a multicultural and diverse world?" -- Evette Caplan, Toronto, Canada
It is arrogant of the Western world to assume that our beliefs and ideas are the correct ones
Evette Caplan, Toronto, Canada
"How can Islam vary so drastically over the world? Some state that it is a peaceful religion, while others say Islam should be the only religion and all others should be abolished - with force. How can one religion be interpreted in two opposite extremes? Surely it's either peaceful, or it's not." -- Pete Tuson, Bishop's Stortford, UK
"What is modernity? Is it modernity that allows its proponents to cluster bomb the nnocents, to vindicate the bulldozing of civilian homes, to ignore the poverty of the majority of the world's people? Or is it the use of racism to prevent economic migration because the modernists own the world? Is it modern to bully countries into submission by denying them the right to trade fairly or to use radioactive materials in war while denying it? Is it modern to imprison apeople in Camp X-ray and deny them a fair trial because they happen to be of a different colour? If this is the case, then Islam is not compatible with modernity - Islam is better. The West is not modern. It is just the way that it is. It is not better - it rules its people through psychological tyrannies. Get your heads out of the sand: it is not modernity that the world needs, it is justice and frankly most of our countries completely lack that." -- Shezad, London, UK
It is not modernity that the world needs, it is justice
Shezad, London, UK
Having just heard about the memorial for the 7500 Muslims murdered by the modern Christian Serbs, the question is what do you mean by modernity? Was the West 'modern' as it watched the death of 800,000 Christian Rwandans? Was the US 'modern' when it secretly bombed Cambodia during the Vietnam War? Was Israel 'modern' when it carried out assassinations with the innocents counted as collateral damage? Why are you asking such questions when you know that all they are likely to do is to increase division? How 'modern' of the BBC to illustrate its bias by claiming to champion free speech." -- David Green, London UK
The question should be "is religion compatible with modernity?" In spite of the renaissance 600 years ago in Christianity, there still is many backward and irrational thinking as well as practice in the Christian world. The seemingly modern appearance of Christianity was not easy to achieve; much blood was shed to gain those rights. In Islam, there has never been a renaissance. If history can be used as a guide, there will be and there should be. But it will not be easy. As it was for all conservative and religious movements many power hungry classes will fight to the end against evolution. The question being asked is biased and wrong because by asking it the assumption is that Christianity is, which is not a true assertion.
I.B. Celik, Morgantown USA
The seemingly modern appearance of Christianity was not easy to achieve
I.B. Celik, Morgantown USA
"If intolerance and terrorism are the measure of incompatibility with modernity, one might equally ask if Christianity is compatible.
Let us not forget that it was a "Christian" not a Muslim behind the devastating bombing in Oklahoma City just a few years before the tragedies of September 11, 2001.
History provides quite strong evidence that all religions and societies are capable of both great compassion and great repression. Evidence is also quite strong that just because a society reaches a state of tolerance and freedom does not mean they will maintain it.
Take a look at the rapid decline of both internal freedom (the Patriot Act) and international inclusion (the unwillingness to seriously consider world opinion) in the United States over just two years. Fearing and demonising other groups is the first step toward the intolerance and closed minded idealism that leads to injustice, repression and finally violence." -- Steve, California, USA
"Where are the worldwide protests against militant Islamic terrorists? Can anyone answer this question? One can only assume that secretly the moderate Muslims and their leaders feel as though terrorists are fighting for Islam, what else can one assume? Please help me on this quest. Why is there a need to be ambiivalent about this question?" -- Cliff, USA
"Islam is actually very compatible with the idea of modernity. If we agree that the idea of modernity came about with science and technology. There is no 'Galileo affair' in Islamic history. However, Modernity must be based on ethics which guarantee basic human rights. It is the content of every religion. Any understanding that religion oppresses human beings must be invalid. I agree that some Muslim countries lack democracy. But democracy and or lack of democracy are not dealt with in religion. It is an accident that major Muslim countries are undemocratic." -- Ali Amin, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
If by modern aspirations and political systems you mean "Western" ones, then the answer can only be no. Islam, for all its fairness and talk of tolerance is the antithesis of not just modern western society but any western society. Where western society is pluralistic, integrating individuals within itself, Muslims prefer their own community. Where western societies subscribe to the rule of law, Muslims have their own law. You have to ask ultimately, where are their allegiances. It's all very well to talk of Islam's past contributions; Italy had the same, so too Greece, China, the Babylonians, Egypt, but we're not talking about the past. Where are these empires today? What does Islam contribute today?" -- Robert Bobbs, Hong Kong
"The acceptance of Western values, whether in 50 or 100 years, is inevitable and I believe we are witnessing the last desperate push to weaken the influence of Western secular and democratic values.
Islam has had a self imposed isolation for centuries. With the advent of movies and television, this is no longer possible.
There is a rejection of the "modern world" because of a rage that much of Islam does not fit in a modern world.
Outside of a few fanatics (out of a billion Muslims) no one much cares for the establishment of Sharia, the cutting off of limbs for various crimes, or stoning for alleged sexual misconduct.
If many manifestations of Sharia seem barbaric to Westerners - IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE BARBARIC." -- Andrew Zaplatynsky, Syracuse, NY, USA
We are witnessing the last desperate push to weaken the influence of Western secular and democratic values
ndrew Zaplatynsky, Syracuse, NY, USA
"I think we should define first the meaning of the word "modern". If the word modern means that we encourage premarital sexes, putting our parents in retirement homes instead of taking care of them, encouraging marriage between same sexes, and other values considered as modern nowadays, then I would say that Islam would never be compatible.
But if modern refers to hard work, being technology minded, embracing democracy, and so forth, I don't see any regulations in Islam that goes against these.
The root cause of the actions only by extremist Muslims that I believe has been understood by the western leaders, though they may still be refusing to acknowledge this fact.
The way things are going right now, it is tempting the moderate ones to go to the extreme as well. We have to convince the western people that Islam is a peace loving religion, not as bad as what their leaders want them to think." -- Kenny, Jakarta, Indonesia
Islam equals traditionalism and fear of change. Islam could never be compatible with modernity, in the way most westerners define modernity." -- O. Hartwik-Johansen, Oslo, Norway
I am a Christian and have respect for other religions. Islam is a good religion with some fanatical followers like in any other religion.
The problem in the world today is that most westerners believe that the only correct path is following what they believe in. Democracy, as preached by the West, just cannot work in some countries, especially those that choose to be guided and ruled by the terms of their holy book. Those who are preaching democracy are not even democratic.
You can not rule America if you are not privileged or rich. Whatever the type of government any country chooses must be compatible with the norms and values of that country.
Democracy is simply not compatible with the teachings of Islam. My advice to all Muslim is to strongly defend what they believe in and not succumb to the pressures of some western countries." -- Adedapo Adesemoye, London, England
Those who are preaching democracy are not even democratic
Adedapo Adesemoye, London/England
Islam is a wonderful and peaceful religion with great leaders. Israel and the regime in the USA are doing everything they can to corrupt the name of Islam. One needs to separate fact from fiction in order to understand true Islam." -- Ali Ghaderi, Iran
One needs to separate fact from fiction in order to understand true Islam
Ali Ghaderi, Iran
Religions need not be compatible in this case Islam. People can be compatible with one another, in this case Muslims. There are many Muslims who either make compromises with their faith's precepts in order to live peacefully in societies of freedom. There are people of any and all faiths who do this. It is not a person's religion which matters, it is their behaviour. If Muslims are willing to live and let live we can live peacefully in our little global village." -- Richard Hicks, Amarillo, Texas, USA
It is not true that the Golden Age of Islamic civilization arose wholly as a result of Islam. Arabs conquered already existing, sophisticated societies such as those of the Byzantines and the ancient Persians. he Byzantines originated the modern concept of hospitals which the Arab Muslims copied, not invented. The Byzantines also originated the "Islamic" architectural style that is so admired today. The ancient Persians outlawed slavery which the Arab Muslims unfortunately reintroduced to that culture. Also, the Arabic contribution to the Italian Renaissance is exaggerated. As long as Muslims look to the achievements of a Golden Age that in many ways did not exist, they will not move forward. In truth their religion needs to be reformed, and that reformation is not going to be happen by looking backwards instead of forwards." -- Jane, California, USA
As long as Muslims look to the achievements of a Golden Age that in many ways did not exist, they will not move forward
Jane, California, USA
It's not Islam or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism or Christianity; it's the fact that while all religions seem to espouse to the 'love thy neighbor' philosophy none of the religions of the world can get along with each other.
It appears that most all incursions going on in the world are really all about religion.
Doesn't it seem at least a little bit ironic that, only those countries, which enjoy separation of church and state, seem to be economically and socially very successful?
Unless and until all factions in the world realize that religion and government must not be mixed together, there can never be peace in the world.
And one last thing, a question actually, 'If Islam is such a great religious belief, why are all the believers as poor as church mice and all the countries they live in referred to as 'Third World' or 'Developing Nations' who look toward countries like the US or England for economic assistance?' " -- Tom Stratton, Constableville, New York, US
The lack of democracy in a number of Muslim states does not mean any lack of democracy in Islam itself. Islam insists on the importance of science and all kinds of advances that improve the quality of our lives.
Muhammad, Birmingham, UK
In order to be compatible with the modern western world I believe Islam has to evolve. I am aware of how controversial this statement may be to Muslims, but I see no place in the West for a religion in which high clerics declare fatwas against writers (as was the case with Salman Rushdi). The sole idea of a jihad or holy war is certainly unacceptable to many Westerners as many of us believe there can be nothing holy about bloodshed. I am on the other hand quite aware that Christianity had many similar problems in the past. I am sure that Islam will be able to take on a shape which will be compatible with the western world, but I think it had not yet happened." -- Nick, Warsaw, Poland
Islam will be able to take on a shape which will be compatible with the western world
Nick, Warsaw, Poland
I often find Muslims and non-Muslims fail to understand the philosophy of Islam. It is so unique in so many ways. The thing which separates Islam from the other divine religious namely those of Christianity and Judaism is that Islam covers all aspects of life, be that of family, politics, economics or work. The West knows it received a lot of its knowledge from the once flourishing Muslim empire, but often denies it." -- Hassan Shallawy, Manchester, UK
It isn't just Islam, ALL religions are incompatible with a scientific approach to knowledge. There are no Gods other than those created by small minded men who are unable to grasp the reality that you are born - you live - you die - and that's all there is." -- Robert Gosling, London, UK
ALL religions are incompatible with a scientific approach to knowledge
Robert Gosling, London, UK
Islam is not only a religion but also a comprehensive way of life. It is a religion that emphasises social justice and denounces oppression. No peace without justice. Democracy in Muslim countries is prohibited and prevented by the powerful West, not by the concepts of the religion. The people want to be ruled by Islam, not by the oppressive and regressive regimes. Why does the west support these regimes?" -- Aly Soliman, Burke, VA, USA
The segregation between religion and government is required. Can't have both together, otherwise we would end up with extremists who scream for the extermination of all types of people." -- Arthur, Hong Kong
Islam is a universal religion. It is for this reason that during early Islamic history Muslim scholars contributed enormously to philosophy, science, the humanities, art and architecture. It goes without saying that Baghdad and Alexandria, Cairo, Andalusia and Persia were the seats of learning. It is well recognised that it was the Muslim scholars who sown the seeds of the European Renaissance. Unfortunately with the rise of political and military power, decadence and corruption set in within Muslim society. Muslims stopped interacting with the wider world. Muslim rulers became preoccupied with internecine struggles for power. Muslim scholarly endeavours were not supported by Muslim society.
Muslims have stopped interacting with the wider world...
Navidul Haq Khan, London
The rot set in. It was as a result of this situation that a religious clerical class grew out of the society, which eventually became inward-looking and had a very narrow world view. Perhaps the present rise of ultraconservative values in the United States establishment is a good example of what happens when political and religious leaders become wrapped in a sense of self-righteousness." -- Navidul Haq Khan, London