Alternative voices of Islam


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A western paradise.
Below are some alternative voices within Islam that perhaps don't get enough publicity. Of course you can find much more on the Web, but here are the three sites represented here:,,

Progressive British Muslims - mission & purpose

PBM is a group of London based liberal minded Muslims who have decided to establish a platform to provide a voice for progressive British Muslims who feel unrepresented by the existing faith-based Muslim groups. We each have a cultural identity as Muslims that is important to us. We believe there is no single definitive version of Islam and that each individual must decide how best to live his or her life.

Who do we represent:

We do not purport to represent any particular group(s) of British Muslims. We speak only for ourselves but believe, based on our personal experiences, that we reflect the views of significant numbers of Muslims in Britain.
What is our purpose?

To articulate the views of those Muslims, who consider themselves to be British, integrated into mainstream society and who have a cultural identity as Muslims, in the mainstream media who feel unrepresented by the existing faith based organisations.

What do we not do:

We will not attack or denigrate other Muslim groups although we will promote our values in a positive and vigorous manner. We will not decide what is or is not Islamic. We are not Muslim scholars and do not feel qualified (or, believe it is appropriate) to judge others.

What is our aim:

To advocate:
equality in the Muslim community, especially between men and women, but also address equality issues based on sexual preference and disability
Muslim integration into mainstream British society whilst maintaining an Islamic identity
freedom of speech
respect for all faiths
human rights and democracy

First International Congress on Islamic Feminism

Muslim women denounce sexist interpretations of holy texts

The first International Congress on Islamic Feminism assembled over 400 delegates. During the course of the meeting, it became clear that Islamic feminism is a reality in many countries with a majority Muslim population. The Congress heard from women fighting for their rights and working in very difficult conditions against the implementation, in the name of Islam, of highly sexist and discriminatory family codes of behaviour.

Discussions were held on diversity and feminism, Koranic hermeneutics, Islamism and feminism, and other topics. There was also an exploration of the situation of Muslim women in South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. There was a particularly moving moment when Amina Wadud, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Commonwealth University of Virginia (USA), gave the Friday khutba (sermon) and led a mixed male/female audience in prayer.

Progressive Muslim Union Statement of Principles

The Progressive Muslim Union of North America (PMU) is a grassroots organization that aims to provide a forum, voice, and organizing mechanism to North American Muslims who wish to pursue a progressive intellectual, social and political agenda.

Our work is guided by the following principles:

1) We affirm that a Muslim is anyone who identifies herself or himself as "Muslim," including those whose identification is based on social commitments and cultural heritage.
2) We affirm the importance of celebrating the arts, culture, and the pursuit of joy in our daily lives. We believe the restrictions imposed by some on instrumental music and the depiction of human forms in paintings and sculpture contravene the rich Muslim cultural heritage from around the globe.
3) We affirm the validity of Islamic ritual and practice as an expression of love for God, while acknowledging that specific forms of ritual and practice are individual choices and should never be imposed through coercive means.
4) We affirm the equal status and equal worth of all human beings, regardless of religion, gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. We oppose any restrictions on women's full participation in society and believe that separation and segregation of men and women is contrary to the equity among genders enshrined in the Quran. We endorse the human rights and liberties of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-sexual individuals. We believe that Muslim women and men, gay and straight, of all nationalities, ethnicities, and races should work together, shoulder-to-shoulder, in their effort to rejuvenate our community.
5) We affirm that justice and compassion should be the guiding principles for all aspects of human conduct. Islam holds that these qualities are characteristics of God as revealed in the holy Quran, divine qualities that are the ethical virtues to which all human beings should aspire to emulate.
6) We affirm our commitment to social and economic justice and our opposition to the culture of militarism and violence. We will support efforts for universal health care, public education, the protection of our environment, and the eradication of poverty around the world.
7) We reject the authoritarian, racist, sexist and homophobic interpretations of our faith as antithetical to the principles of justice and compassion.
8) We affirm the diversity of inspirations that motivate people to embrace a commitment to justice and compassion, including a profound faith rooted in religious traditions, ethical imperatives developed throughout the centuries, and secular and humanist values shared by many Muslims today.
9) We call for critical inquiry and dynamic engagement with Islamic scripture, early Muslim sources, the Islamic intellectual heritage, and traditional and current Muslim discourses.
10) We endorse the separation of religion and state in all matters of public policy, not only in North America, but also across the Muslim world. We believe that secular government is the only way to achieve the Islamic ideal of freedom from compulsion in matters of faith and that the separation of religion and state is a necessary pre-requisite to building democratic societies, where religious, ethnic, and racial minorities are accepted as equal citizens enjoying full dignity and human rights enunciated in the 1948 UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights.
11) We recognize the growing danger of religious extremism and view the politicization of religion and the intrusion of religion into politics as twin threats to civil society and humane civilization. We vow to resist the intrusion of religion into politics and the exploitation of religion for political ends.
12) Recognizing our participation in the broader human family, we seek to engage with and contribute to other philosophical and spiritual traditions and progressive movements.