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13 September 2004updated 24 Sep 2015 11:46am

More voices from the Muslim world

Interviews via phone and e-mail

By Natalie Brierley

Fatima Zahra Moussa Moroccan Muslim
Following 9/11, Arab leaders have stepped up their fight against fundamentalist movements for fear that they will grow beyond control. Moroccans are beginning to ask questions about the interpretation of Islam to avoid further conflicts with other faiths. However, nothing substantial has changed in Morocco because the monarchy uses religion to rule the country, and cannot afford to allow changes which may threaten that.

Chris Brummitt A convert to Islam in Indonesia
Most Indonesians do not know or care about any kind of reforms, and practise their faith without a thought for notions of modernity or traditionalism. Like everything, there is a big gap between what the intellectuals say and what the people feel. Indonesian Islam doesn’t need much reform. The vast majority of this country’s 180 million Muslims are part of an already liberal Indonesia with no interest in sharia law.

Sangotwala Huzaifa Abid Indian Muslim
I don’t see any radical change in the Muslim world in the past three years, certainly not in India. In Afghanistan, people are now free to follow Islam in the manner that was intended, but I think that would have happened regardless of 9/11. The interpretation of religion, whether it be Hinduism, Christianity or Islam, is always changing – events such as 9/11 just make people sit up and take notice of what’s going on.

Fatiha Lounis Algerian Muslim
Why should the majority reinterpret their faith because of the wrongdoing of a minority group of fundamentalists? Algerians have not changed their approach to Islam at all since 9/11. Yes, certain legislation was recently re-examined and implemented, such as the family code and the rights of women. However, this progress was the result not of 9/11, but of Algerian women’s long, hard struggle to achieve equal rights, similar to the suffragette movement in Britain.

Eduard Mangindaan Indonesian Muslim
Indonesian culture in general is being modernised, not just Islam. Changes were happening long before 9/11, but they take a long time to filter down from the intellectual elite.

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Preeti Bharadwaj Indian Hindu
Since 9/11, Islamic radicals in India have enjoyed an immense amount of exposure, which has spurred them on in their fight. This overshadows any chance of reform. Certain groups have been pushing for the reform of triple talaq for decades, but there are still many people who prefer not to challenge old laws.

Ulrich Kratz Professor of Indonesian and Malay
It’s a myth that 9/11 has forced Muslims to rethink their faith in order to join the modern world. The adherence to tradition and the desire to reform have been part of life in Islamic communities worldwide for centuries. Indonesian Muslims have concerned themselves with creating a modern civil society in a way that puts others to shame, and this has more do to with the nation’s politics and pluralistic society than post-9/11 pressure. If anything, America’s reaction to 9/11 has enabled the fringe and has thrown back further reform by at least a generation.

Interviews by phone and email

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