To your first point, I think the more traditional interpretation in Islam is (and I'm not an Islamic scholar) that the prophets were people of extraordinary piety, and it was this piety that led them to be chosen by God to perform a specific mission. I don't know how a billion-plus Muslims work with that to make it relatable, but a lot of progressive Muslim commentators like to point out that, say in the case of Muhammad, that we know more about his human life than about most other religious figures, that he's portrayed in a more human light, as a family man, with his kids, with his friends, etc. And how I understand the Sunnah, the teachings of the Prophet, is that they're meant to replicate the human actions that Muhammad did on a daily basis, as a means of attaining that higher piety. So they are, in that sense, something very human, something that is attainable. The more idealized interpretation of prophets is, I think, about striving to follow their example. Maybe it doesn't work for everyone. For myself, it's not something I really think about on a daily basis, though a lot of people do; that's where the derive the strength of their faith. I look at the prophets' ability to shake their societies out of some kind of moral complacency. It's about purpose, and that I can relate to.
As for Jeremiah Wright and Farrakhan, this is a bit harder for me to talk about, since we didn't aim to do a complete treatment on the theology of Jeremiah Wright, so I'll take it from a slightly different angle. There's a lot of casual racism that I find really upsetting, when people say, "Obama's not a Muslim." I think this is an absolutely preposterous way of trying to explain his religious convictions and identity. Colin Powell's been the only high-profile political figure, to my knowledge, who's come out and said, "So what if he were Muslim?" I don't see how the American political establishment's implicit disregard for Muslims is going to help their efforts in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. So getting back to your point, if Jeremiah Wright was making racist remarks, that should be criticized, no question. This issue of race is going to be something we aren't going to completely explore in just that one program. There's more we need to talk about.
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