Monday, March 05, 2007

The St. Petersburg Declaration

Today was the last day of the Secular Islam Summit in St. Petersburg, FL. The purpose of this two day forum was to help organize reformist Muslims in their pursuit of the "secularization and liberalization of Islamic thought and practice". Among the speakers at the summit was Irshad Manji, who is reported to be speaking at ALA Annual this June.

The main product of the Secular Islam Summit was a shared statement of principles known as the St. Petersburg Declaration. This statement begins as follows:

We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies. We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the unfree.

We affirm the inviolable freedom of the individual conscience. We believe in the equality of all human persons.

We insist upon the separation of religion from state and the observance of universal human rights.

We find traditions of liberty, rationality, and tolerance in the rich histories of pre-Islamic and Islamic societies. These values do not belong to the West or the East; they are the common moral heritage of humankind.

You can read the entire text of the declaration at the summit blog. I just dare to hope that this will one day be remembered as a key event in the painstaking evolution of the Muslim world away from intolerance and fanaticism.


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