Omid Safi describes his reasons for using the lyrics of "The Times They Are A-Changin'" in the introduction to his book Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism. Listen and read the lyrics to Bob Dylan's modern folk classic.
In the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, scrutiny of the religion of Islam has become part and parcel of our public life. In forums of all kinds, often guided by non-Muslim pundits, we ask, what does terrorism have to do with the teachings of the Qur'an? Can Islam coexist with democracy? Is Islam capable of a reformation, or has it fallen into hopeless decay?
We pose these questions to a spectrum of American Muslims who describe themselves as devout and moderate. Our guests take us inside the way Muslims discuss such questions among themselves, and they suggest that when we consider "the Muslim world" we must look first at Islam in this country. In this open society, they say, Islam has found a home like no other.
Read a letter Malcolm X wrote to Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, after his departure from the organization and view an actual copy of the typewritten letter.
Listen to Precious Rasheeda Muhammad, founder and president of the Journal of Islam in America Press and founder of the Islam in America conferences at Harvard Divinity School, read from her essay "Oh Allah, Operate on Us!" Islam and the Legacy of American Slavery, which appears as part of a collection of essays Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith, edited by Michael Wolfe.
About the Image
On March 18, 2005, Amina Wadud (right, kneeling), a professor of Islamic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, leads both men and women in prayer at Synod House at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Her action has drawn sharp criticism from Muslim religious leaders.
Voices on the Radio
Safi is associate professor of Islamic Studies at Colgate University, co-chair of the Study of Islam Section at the American Academy of Religion, and editor of Progressive Muslims.
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