The site will continue to show the engagement of American Muslims in the national history of America. However, it is now an all volunteer organization and will begin a slow transformation over 2014. Please stay with us and check-in often.
Following my previous post on putting the Aga Khan’s speech at Brown in a historical context, I want to spend some time on his discussion of technology and human interaction. Rather than speaking only to the Nizari Ismaili community, or to concerns that affect only Nizari Ismailis, he is addressing a larger human concern. If, as the Qur’an states, the Prophet Muhammad was sent as a mercy to all mankind, than it is only logical that his descendants and the inheritors of his spiritual authority should continue to speak and work for the betterment of humanity, not just the segment that agrees with them.
Recently, the Aga Khan gave a speech at Brown University. As the head of a community of Muslims spread throughout the world, a community to which I belong, the speech needs some reflection. As the Imam, or Divinely appointed head of the community, it would be a mistake to read his comments as a concern for the moment.
Defending a woman’s right to choose what she does or does not wear on her head is a noble, if misguided, fight. The freedom to choose how you appear in public is part of a constellation of basic human rights that cut across divisions of religion, culture, class and history. But it's not the most serious concern to women and girls around the world.