Here are some interesting videos from MEMRI focusing on alternative Arab voices which show that Arab or Muslim opinion is not monolithic and there are plenty of reformist voices out there, waiting to be heard.
Below we see a Saudi author being quite realistic about the roots of ISIS and calling for a liberalization of Muslim society, even a separation of “mosque and state”.
Saudi Author Turki Al-Hamad: ISIS Reaps What We Have Sown:
In a TV interview, Saudi author Turki Al-Hamad said that there was a need for “a real revolution in our education” and for the “humanization of religion,” because “our religion has been hijacked by many and has been made savage.” He further said that “ISIS is an organization that only reaps what has previously been sown.” Al-Hamad was speaking on Sky News Arabia on November 13, 2015.
Here is an extremely refreshing viewpoint from a New Jersey Imam who tells his congregation:
U.S. Muslims Should Serve in Military, CIA, Rather than Wait for the Country to Serve Them
In a Friday sermon delivered at the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center in New Jersey, Sheikh Mohamed Moussa encouraged American Muslims to serve in law enforcement positions. “This is your country, and you are required to serve it,” he said. “Join the police. Why not? Join the FBI. If the CIA will have you, join it.” The sermon was posted on the Internet on December 4, 2015.
Kol hakavod to the Imam for his clear-eyed view of the world and for encouraging his congregation to acculturate into American society. If only all Imams were like him.
And lastly, here is Egyptian President Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi with yet another reformist-minded speech, calling for unity amongst Egyptians as he congratulates Christians on Christmas:
Al-Sisi Congratulates Christians on Christmas: We Are All Egyptians, What Divides Us Destroys Us
In a December 22 speech at Al-Azhar University, on the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, Egyptian President Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi addressed an audience of Al-Azhar clerics, calling them to teach respect for others from the mosque pulpits. President Al-Sisi congratulated the Christians on Christmas, stating: “What divides us destroys us.”
This is not the first time al-Sisi has called for tolerance, unity, and reform in Islam. It seems to be a set part of his agenda and for all his faults in other areas, we wish al-Sisi continued success in this endeavour.
Watching these videos (or reading the subtitles) and understanding the courage that it takes to be so outspoken in the Muslim world, it gives me hope that these voices might one day reach critical mass. If that blessed event should ever happen, that would be the point at which we will begin to see real change and reformation in the Arab world. And that’s the point where peace between Israel and its enemies might become possible.