Announcing a new blog.
The Minaret of Freedom Institute is an Islamic libertarian think tank dedicated to a four-fold mission:
1) to counter distortions about Islam
2) to show the origins of certain modern values that came out of Islamic civilization
3) to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims on the importance of free markets and liberty, and,
4) to advance the status of Muslims whether they live in the oppressive East or the hostile West.
I am Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, co-founder and President of the Minaret of Freedom Institute. Our website www.minaret.org is a rich source of information on the intersection of Islam and liberty. Most of our op-ed pieces are available there as well as virtually all of our academic papers. There are also advertisements for our books. From the front page one can access the answers to recently asked questions and get a listing of reliable recent news and analysis on related issues.
Despite years of experience with web editing, I am new to the world of blogs. This blog is made possible by the gracious assistance of our board member Shahid Shah, who guided its conception, and his son Amir who did the actual work in setting it up. I am grateful to them both.
So much for preface. Henceforth my postings will be my comments on recent developments in world events, on the work of the Minaret of Freedom Institute and its staff and associates. God willing, this blog will become an essential part of the ongoing work of the Institute.
Perhaps the best place to start is to emphasize my notion that what we are confronting in the world today is not essentially a conflict between civilizations, but, ESSENTIALLY, a conflict WITHIN civilizations. I mean that to a major degree the conflict between the Muslim world and the West is stoked by internal conflicts within the Muslim world and the West. In the Muslim world, the people have legitimate grievances against the dictatorial regimes that oppress them. Moderates seek to overcome those regimes by various methods, but extremists like al-Qaida seek an all out war against society (actually called HIRABAH, but which they miscall jihad) including in their sights non-combatant civilians in the West. At the same time within the West, there is a struggle between the moderates who earnestly desire freedom both here and abroad, on the one hand, and extremists who wish to impose their way of life on the rest of the world and call all who dissent terrorists (if they are Muslims) or unpatriotic (if they are non-Muslim countrymen).
The above is not to deny that there are legitimate grievances on both sides. It is only to say that neither al-Qaida nor the Neoconservatives are constructive in the addressing of those grievances. Rather, through such aggression as the attack on the World Trade Center and the invasion and occupation of Iraq they fuel new grievances and hatred. This is the conflict within civilizations is the context in which our blog finds itself. Our position is FOR understanding, reason, liberty, dignity, and justice on all sides. Of that, more anon.