Earlier this summer, Professor Nabil Echchaibi, a CAS affiliated faculty member, the Founding Department Chair of the Department of Media Studies at CU Boulder, and Associate Director of the Center for Media, Religion, and Culture, had an opinion piece published in the Guardian discussing the increasingly tenuous position of Muslim faith and identity in the context of current political events, most notably, the rise of Isis in the Middle East. Professor Echchaibi's article presents an incredibly candid and thoughtful look at the nature of the existential crisis facing the Muslim community today and its concrete political antecedents, as he evaluates how drawing on the tenets of tolerance, moderation, and intellectual progress at the heart of the Islamic faith can allow the Muslim community to rise to meet the current sociopolitical crisis. Professor Echchaibi writes:
"But why do we allow ourselves to live at the mercy of this vicious strategic game suspended between the greed for resources and power? How do we turn away from this path of indoctrination and passive absorption to embrace an open society that questions and interrogates its beliefs and values in perpetuity?
We do not have to go far for inspiration. Muhammad Iqbal, a Muslim modernist philosopher and poet, told us at the turn of the 20th century that for thinking to be free, it does not have to be reactionary, defensive or simply restorative. It must above all lead to an embrace of risk and open discussion. Religion for Iqbal was a continuous project in perpetual movement; not a closed theology doomed for mere imitation. Islam marked the end of prophecy, not human intelligence.
In a time of deep confusion and anger, we must turn to the hopeful amongst us to shed our intellectual laziness and awaken in all of us a new spirit of vitalism that looks outward to the world. Muslims need a radical theology of hope in harmony with the world, not outside of it."
Thanks to Professor Echchaibi for this thoughtful and courageous article.
For the full article, please see the original posting at the Guardian here.