This was inspired by an exchange I had with a woman on ANARCHISM.net on the LEFT AND JIHAD thread.
She said that she thought that Muslim Anarchists are ex-Muslim Anarchists. Her reasoning was that Islam is not consistent with Anarchy and one must relinquish either the one or the other.
The following is my response to what she wrote.
I've been in touch with a number of Muslim Anarchists and the overwhelming majority of them are not atheists. Their take on Islam is very similar to mine on Judaism. They are believers and find much truth in their Tradition, but they are totally non- and anti-authoritarian.
They also interpret all of the verses in the Qur'an Humanistically. I do the same with the Torah.This requires some very creative interpretation and a lot of hard work.
I believe that the Holy Scriptures were meant to engage us in that creative interpretation. I believe we are intended to go beyond what the surface of the Text *seems* to say and get to the *intention*, which is always pro-Humanity. It never pits God against Humanity. We are never asked to choose between God and Humanity. The correct interpretation of Holy Scriptures is always the satisfaction of both, and this is true Monotheism. If God is One, how can there be a separation between God and Humans?
By getting used to thinking thus creatively, I believe we learn how to be creative about how to better society too. This type of thinking hones our skills as Humanistic thinkers.
The idea is not necessarily to reject religion. That may be right for some, even most ,Anarchists, but it is not right for all of us. The idea for those of us who wish to stay within the framework of our Traditions even as we are dyed-in-the-wool Anarchists (I am an Anarcho-Communist a la Kropotkin), is to reject the distortions of religion and return them to their original intentions.This can only be done in religions without authority, without an established clergy who decide what the interpretation is.
We most certainly need to respect and consult with a Council of Aged Scholars, but their authority cannot go beyond that which they receive by dint of the honor and awe they arouse in our hearts.
Their role must be that of *advisors*, never those who have the final word.
In the last analysis, having considered the opinions of a number of Elders and Sages, we must make the decision that feels right to us asking God for the wisdom to make the right decision.Practicing Muslim and Jewish Anarchists are very much in sync on this point and I think it is the kind of Anarchy most likely to be palatable here in the ME.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel