Ready for the good news? The Hudood laws are finally being seriously challenged, and not a moment too soon. Under them, more than 4,600 Pakistani women have been thrown in prison for charges that include adultery. By contrast, virtually all men accused of rape have gotten off.And this comment from the Danisth publisher of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons when he spoke at Muslim leaders of tomorrow conference in Copenhagen,
Thanks to a vocal but religiously respectful campaign by civil society groups, Pakistan's influential Council of Islamic Ideology recently recommended changing the Hudood laws. That move set the stage for President Pervez Musharraf to begin releasing the 1,300 women currently awaiting trial.
Maybe the most compelling insight came from a surprise guest: Flemming Rose, publisher of the reviled Prophet Muhammad cartoons. After addressing us and responding to our challenges, Rose confided that the reception we gave him was more civil than anything he'd experienced at the hands of humanist groups.I hope the humanists remember.
Any liberal reformation of Islam will have at least two features: the empowerment of women in the Islamic world, and the willingness of Muslims in the West to exercise our freedom of conscience. In one week this month, both got a promising boost.
We need to remember that as bombs grab the spotlight.