Response to Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Question in the NY Times: Where are the Moderate Muslims?
by Danya Shakfeh
Dear Ayan Hirsi Ali,
As a “moderate” Muslim I will tell you where I am. I am studying for my final exams, trying to balance my personal life with school, along with extracurricular activities. I do object to the recent occurrences that you describe such as the rape and punishment of the “girl from Qatif” and the “teddy bear incident.” I do think lashing a girl who was raped is unjust and I believe the teddy bear incident got out of hand. But pray-tell, what does all this have to do with “Islam?”
Unlike you, I can tell the difference between the laws of nation-states and Islamic law. What effect or influence I can have over the laws of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, or Bangladesh is beyond me. Shall I hold a rally in front of the embassies or consulates of these countries? How would that change their laws? Shall I write their judges letters? And under what basis would they take me seriously being that I am not a jurist from their system?
Or perhaps writing a confused letter in the New York Times would help? Ayan Hirsi Ali, tell me, what you have done to defend “moderate Islam” or “save” Islam from “extremists.” Since you are being so critical of us silent moderate Muslims, please give me a solution.
No, don’t tell me, because at this point I don’t think you have one. Here’s what you and the likes of you need to do. Quit telling us “silent moderate Muslims” to oppose the laws of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or Bangladesh or Sudan or Egypt or whatever it is. They are not our laws. They are not Islamic laws. This is not merely to defend “Islam’s image” but a matter of practicality and reality.
If I’m going to be outraged at unjust laws of NATION-STATES, I will focus on my own homeland where I am a citizen and have a voice and effect, like the policies against prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, the PATRIOT Act, getting back SCHIP, working on our school system.
Not all Muslims are citizens of Sudan and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Bangladesh and not all laws that Muslims legislate are qualify as “Islamic law.” I see no reason to be more outraged or to take more action than any other non-citizen of these countries for they are the laws of nation-states. I am probably upset about as you are, but aside from writing nonsensical letters to the NY Times, I’m not sure what else you, as a fellow non-citizen of these countries (irrespective of your religious views) have done to help.
Second Year Law Student
Florida International University College of Law
see also an update posted on the Sustification site at http://salika.wordpress.com/2007/12/12/my-ayan-hirsi-letter-let-me-explain/