In a new article, the French-Tunisian intellectual Lafif Lakhdar argues that Islam is in need of an “historic re-foundation,” and that the model for that refoundation is Vatican II. One reason he sees in Vatican II a model for Islamic reform is Pope John XXII’s formulation of that event as an “aggiornamento”: “the adjustment of religion acccording to the facts of the world it lives in–that is, an adjustment to freedom, secularism and democracy.”
No doubt Lakhdar’s article will raise strong responses from Catholic thinkers. For example, even if at the time the “modernizing” current seemed to trump the “conservative” current in the Church, recent changes suggest that the modernizing current is losing ground. Nonetheless, even if one disagrees with his characterization of Vatican II, it is offered in such a sincere spirit of intellectual inquiry that one cannot be but drawn into the discussion. It stands in particular contrast to much of the so-called “Dialogue” generated by Islamist imams and scholars, whose dialogue is in fact more da’wa–education on Islam for the purposes of conversion.
Lakhdar’s article appears on the website Almuslih.org, an important new initiative that publishes leading reformist Muslim thinkers and intellectuals. Almuslih.org presents a wide range of authors, all of whom grapple with similarly profound questions, particularly whether Islam can adapt itself to live peacefully alongside other faiths and with contemporary human rights norms. Here is more on Lakhdar’s answer to that question:
For Islam today is also in need of a historic re-foundation that will liberate it from its fossilised vocabulary and behaviour. When this happens it will be able, through this process of re-foundation, to put an end to its war with itself – the Sunna-Shīʽa conflict, for example, and to its war with the world – such as global Islamic terrorism. It will be able to put an end to its bloody war with modernity and its institutions, its sciences and values, things which it at present continually demonizes morning, noon and night, by calling down curses on their Muslim proponents and calling for their assassination via excommunication fatwas. For today these fatwas have become a registered trademark of Islam, in contradistinction to all other monotheistic or pagan religions!
To read Lafif Lakhdar’s complete article, click here.