A coalition of liberal, secular Muslim writers, activists and politicians has launched a “Muslim Reform Movement” rejecting violence and calling for a defence of secularism, democracy and liberty.
The “reformers” – who include Usama Hasan of the Quilliam Foundation – have issued a declaration defending gender equality, freedom of speech and freedom of religion, stating that they are for “secular governance” and “against political movements in the name of religion.”
They have called for the separation of “mosque and state” and emphatically reject the “idea of the Islamic state”.
Activists from the group stuck their Declaration of Reform on to the front door of the Islamic Centre of Washington, a mosque the movement described as “heavily influenced by the government of Saudi Arabia.”
The preamble to the Declaration states: “We are Muslims who live in the 21st century. We stand for a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam. We are in a battle for the soul of Islam, and an Islamic renewal must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states, as well as an Islamic caliphate.
The signatories add that they “support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by United Nations member states in 1948.”
The Declaration also singles out gender equality and the protection of women’s rights, stating: “We support equal rights for women, including equal rights to inheritance, witness, work, mobility, personal law, education, and employment. Men and women have equal rights in mosques, boards, leadership and all spheres of society. We reject sexism and misogyny.”
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