In the meantime, many puzzled Muslims are looking out for the right way to understand and live their religion.
A “war of ideas,” indeed, is going on in the Muslim world.
Some emphasize that Islamic law was born in a certain historical context, and while its “intentions” — defined as the protection of “life, religion, reason, property, and lineage” — are universal, its injunctions must be interpreted.
The contemporary Tunisian thinker Rashid Ghannouchi, who is also the leader of the moderate Muslim En Nahda Party, is a prominent name in this reformist tradition, with his emphasis on democracy and liberty as essential values.
That is especially in some other Western nations, such as France, with whom Muslim nations had much more historical acquaintance due to geographic proximity.
The rigid secularism of France, which venerates freedom and God,” as a friend of mine once told me.It would be a major mistake in the face of this drama to declare that Islam never will accept liberty because of its supposedly unchangeable essence — as it was also argued for Catholicism or Judaism in the past centuries.For the West, this is mainly an intra-Muslim matter that cannot be directly influenced by outsiders.Liberal Muslim Thinkers The right analogy, if there is one, is not the Protestant Reformation but the Enlightenment.What are needed is not Muslim versions of Martin Luther, as I have repeatedly said, but Muslim versions of John Locke, who will reinterpret their religious tradition from within a more rational, tolerant, liberal worldview. And they have since the late 19 century, offering new interpretations of Islam, in particular the Sharia.Lately, Ghannouchi also called fellow Muslims to abandon “political Islam,” along with its zeal to impose the Sharia, and embrace “Muslim democracy,” presenting an example and hope for the future.There are many other prominent voices like him, such as the Iranian philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush, the Muslim feminist Amina Wadud, or legal reformer Khaled Abou el Fadl.For anyone who values human liberty, the predominantly Muslim part of the world is admittedly bleak today. However, a part of the problem is related to Islam — or at least some of its current manifestations.According to the global "freedom map" of Freedom House, a non-partisan organization, most Muslim-majority nations are simply “unfree.” While a few — including my country, Turkey rank as “partly free,” there is only one Muslim-majority country whose citizens may enjoy being “free.” That is Tunisia, the only country that was able to reap a liberal democracy from the tumultuous winds of the Arab Spring of 2011. In countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, or Pakistan, Islamic law, or Sharia, is implemented, with harsh punishments on “apostasy” or “blasphemy.” As a result, converts from Islam to other religions such as Christianity can be executed, or secularists who “insult” religion can be jailed or flogged.President of Ennahda movement Rached Ghannouchi, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and Tunisian Assembly of the Representatives of the People Vice President Abdelfattah Mourou at the 10th General Assembly of Ennahda Party in Rades, Tunisia on May 20, 2016.(Nicolas Fauque/Images de Tunisie/Sipa USA As it could be expected, Muslim reformists are condemned by hardcore Islamists as heretics and sell-outs to the West.