September 26, 2007Foreign AffairsPublic PolicySecurity

On state-sponsored greybeards (3)

Support must go to the traditionalists

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

In a guest post on INI, Mirza Faisal Beg and Mohib Ahmad add their perspective to the debate over whether India must export its Islam.

In this war of ideas going on in the larger world of Islam, success can only be achieved theologically and hence only by Muslim scholars. Any intervention by the state in such a debate, even if it is positive, will not be welcomed by Muslims. An extremist Muslim is not going to listen to a liberal Muslim but he may be willing to lend an ear to the traditionalist Muslim. In a recent experiment in Yemen, Islamic scholars have been going in prisons to debate with incarcerated extremists and convince them theologically. This experiment has been quite a success and many reformed extremists have been released. Extremists, as we know, do not necessarily have a deep understanding of theological beliefs but only a superficial understanding. In their world-view things are in black and white and no shades in between. To get out of the current turmoil, supporting the traditionalists is the best bet. UK has already taken the lead by engaging with some leading traditionalists in fighting back the extremist thought. [INI]

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