A Glimpse into the Past
Two men in Afghanistan face potential death sentences for the most "horrible" of crimes -- printing a translation of the Qur'an without the Arabic alongside. So much for trying to do good deeds! (The men in question thought that the translation would be a service since most Afghanis cannot understand Arabic.) It drives me completely nuts that Muslims can think this way, and that some of us seem to have a hyper-phobia of heresy. It's like looking through the wrong end of a telescope at the Inquisition.
And yet, what can one do but pray for a sense of balance, and of tolerance? There is no way for individuals here to change overzealous rigidity halfway across the globe. We can only stand by helplessly as people who want to convert to another religion, who ask questions about women's rights, who name teddy bears Muhammad according to the wishes of their second grade, Muslim students, all face sudden, and unexpected threats to their very life.
Signing petitions is good, but in the end I have to wonder if they really do any good. Unless scholars from other countries make an effort to educate these ulema, I doubt we will see change fast.
How long did the Inquisition last? It started in 1478, and wasn't officially ended until 1834. Over 350 years! Let us hope that sanity returns to those parts of the Muslim world that need it much sooner than that!