Opinion: Muslims Must Find New, Non-Violent Language to Express Faith's Values

July 10, 2005

Source: Sunday Herald


On July 10, 2005 the Sunday Herald ran an opinion piece by Merryl Wyn Davies, a British Welsh Muslim woman, co-author of The No- Nonsense Guide To Islam, about the need for reform within Islam to prevent extremist abuse of the religion. Davies writes, "To make a difference in the world, we have to make meaningful change in ourselves. There is little point endlessly complaining about how misunderstood we are when by sheer thoughtlessness some of the good and decent people talk and behave in ways that confirm the very prejudices and stereotypes we object to. There is little point in insisting Islam is a religion of peace, whose central principle is justice, when the traditional language of religion we use and the way we operate invokes images of war and defiance, emphasises exclusivity, and prejudicially stereotypes non-Muslims... To be peaceful and tolerant and to implement the values our religion teaches, we have to find new language and fresh ways appropriate to our condition here and now in Britain. And that means as Muslims we have to resolve the dilemma of tradition. We have to reason our way beyond our past... And most of all it is the breadth of Islam’s moral vision we have to put into action, the values that bid us to consult democratically, to co-operate and refashion a just society for and with people of all faiths and no faith. It is the problems of Britain that must be our concern, the focus of our determination to contribute."