March 10, 2008 - Heretic Muslims Conference
Press Release by Heretic Muslims
Conference will take place Friday, Mar 28 - Sunday, Mar 30 Atlanta Georgia
The first of these conferences, "A Celebration of Heresy: Critical Thinking for Islamic Reform," will take place in Atlanta Georgia from March 28-March 30, 2008. The organizers consist of a group of Muslim intellectuals and activists who share a commitment to the values of pluralism, democracy and respect for human rights. "This title emphasizes that we seek to promote our commitment to accept dissent and disagreement, because we believe that strong disagreement with the current views is a necessary pre-requisite for genuine and effective reform," explains one of the organizers, Dr. Abdullahi Naim, Professor of Law at Emory University. He adds, "We celebrate heresy and dissent not as ends in themselves, but in order to enable and promote innovative and critical thinking."
According to Melody Moezzi author, activist and another conference organizer, "The Muslim Heretics Conference is an effort to bring together the wide variety of voices and opinions within Islam. Our aim is to respect and appreciate dissent and diversity in Islamic practice and thought."
This conference grew out of the recognition that often, dissenting ideas against the prevailing religious traditions are written off as heresy. Nearly all the prophets and great thinkers throughout history have been accused of being heretics. Furthermore, the stereotypical image of Muslims seems to be, as Fereydoun Taslimi, another conference organizer puts it, "An intolerance of a seemingly vain re-action to a cartoon or film and a tolerance for tyranny or oppression by some Muslims and Islamic governments. However, throughout Islam's history dissenting ideas have been prevalent and tolerated more than they have in many other religions."
"In the present atmosphere, one of the best places to hold such a conference is the United States, where Muslims can freely express their opinions without the fear of persecution" said another organizer author, activist and dissident Edip Yuksel, who will be leading a panel on critical thinking at the conference.
The conference will have panels on several topics, including critical looks at Sharia and related concerns, the Hadith and Sunnah, the absence of democracy in many Muslim countries, and women's rights.
For more information on the conference, including the organizers, speakers, schedule and more, please visit the conference website at www.hereticmuslims.com.