The author of  A Sinner’s Almanac has graciously allowed us to share the following posts.  This voice is an important one for it responds in an articulate and meaningfuly way to the questions that many Americans and Westerners in general ask, “Where are the moderate Muslims in today’s interfaith conversations?” and “What do Muslims think about the way extremism and fanaticism is trying to hijack their faith?” 

The following was posted on October 8, 2010:

Ground Zero Mosque and the Ornament of the World

35. Menocal 2
Tolerance is the Jewel
Upon the Crown of Certainty,
And intolerance is
The Unmasking of Doubt
From the chapter entitled ‘Candy from the Ahad Candy Store’, March 2010
In 2002, Maria Rosa Menocal wrote a book entitled ‘The Ornament of the World’. I only just purchased and read it sometime earlier this year. It is an important book for everyone to read and understand. In light of the Ground Zero Mosque / Cordoba Center / Islamic Centre / Park 51 controversy in New York, one cannot but wonder, how far has the religionist of Islam drifted from the golden age of Cordoba.
I do not know who she is, I have not heard of this writer until I read the book, but her historical documentation of the impact of the Umayads in Spain cannot be overestimated in its importance. The book triggered a deep longing and yearning for those ancient days and a terrible realisation of just how far ‘Muslims’ have strayed from the poetic beauty, sincerity, compassion, love and strength that once illuminated the ancient world. This made me happy and sad.
Those people who are strapping grenades on naive men and women, those people who are tucking a cellphone bomb underneath the bus seat, those people who are called in the media as ‘Islamic Extremists’ or ‘Al Qaeda terrorists’ – They are just bandits. They are weak, doubtful, blind and desperate, and in their despair they hijack and slander the noble names of the Most Excellent Faith of Muhammad Habibullah.
These ‘Muslims’ have become intolerant because they have cast their faith in a vessel of desperation. And for those who knows of the Prophet Muhammad, the Red Rose, the Sublime Humility, oh woe unto those who despairs, for they have raised their banner against the Beloved. Muhammad is anointed as the Mercy to the Worlds, yet they slander him as the Doom of the Worlds. They are worse than even the most wicked amongst non-Muslims, because they cloth their wickedness in the Beautiful Names of Islam.
O’ Nation of Muhammad. What is your incessent bickering and complaining about? What is your mad adoption of a million and one conspiracy theories? You act as if you are being oppressed. You act as if the whole world is against you. How easily the names of Muhammad and Allah and Islam spill from your lips. But compared to the Companions, you are rubbish…

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