In my campaign to celebrate those who risk everything to uphold liberty, I give you Al-afif al-Akhdar. This man has been on the job long time.
I’ll write more about this when I have time.
Thanks to the Egyptian Sandmonkey for posting excerpts from “The Roots of Jihad” on his blog. “Rantings of a Sandmonkey” has been a great portal for me into the Arab world, where I can find those Arab champions of reason and liberty that I’ve been hoping for.
* * * * *Comment added March 21, 2006: I wrote the above post before I finished reading that very long article on Akhdar. I planned to finish reading the article (after having read Sandmonkey’s excepts and the first part of “The Roots of Jihad”) and then write about my thoughts on it when I had time. But I was so excited by what I had already read, I wanted to post a link to the article right away.
I’ve now finished reading the article, and I’m disappointed that Akhdar criticizes capitalism and upholds socialism.
On one hand, he does say that he is constantly reading and changing his ideas the more he learns, which is all to his credit. And also, to his credit, is that he speaks out courageously in criticism of Islamism and in favor of Israel which, especially for a man of Middle Eastern origin, puts him in danger of his life.
But I find him to be seriously mistaken in regard to capitalism and socialism, and that his understanding comes across as shallow and disappointing on those topics. What he’s advocating is not the full principles of liberty that I uphold.
But he does advocate freedom of thought and expression, the seeking of knowledge rather than submission to dogma, and he damns jihad – and that I do respect. Plus he offers some very interesting information about Islam.
The article is well worth reading regardless of Akhdar’s errors. And for upholding freedom of thought, knowledge, expression, and religion and seeking to reform Islam, he *is* a courageous hero, regardless of his errors.
I just hope that the best of his ideas are influential while the worst of them wither away.