Secular Islam: A contradiction in terms?
Talk about your tall orders: The name of the Institution for the Secularization of Islamic Society says it all.
Part of the Center for Inquiry, an affiliate of the Council for Secular Humanism, the ironically acronymed ISIS seeks to loosen the hold of Sharia, honor killings, sexist practices and bigotry toward other religions.
How tall is the order? Well, for one thing, ISIS’ manifesto, the 2007 St. Petersburg Declaration, includes the name of Ibn Warraq, a secular thinker who uses a pen name for fear of being killed. Also on the list is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Dutch legislator who has been threatened with death for opposing terrorists there.
The site, of course, is a bit contradictory. How can you be a secular Muslim? The heart of Islam is a creed: the statement that “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet.”
Another contradiction: Some ISIS founders, like Tawfik Hamid, are themselves believers who oppose radical interpretations. But the Center for Inquiry rejects even philosophies that accommodate faith. On the ISIS site itself, one author argues that all religion is lethal.
So the site has some incisive critiques of injustices done in the name of Islam. Just be careful when, for example, ISIS accuses Islamic law of “a soul-destroying pedantry” — when its parent organization doubts the very existence of souls.