A look at calls to reform Islam

After a vigil
Pencils are left during a vigil at the Place de la Republique (Republic Square) for victims of the terrorist attack on January 8, 2015 in Paris, France. Twelve people were killed including two police officers as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

After attacking the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, gunmen shouted "We have avenged the Prophet Mohammad" as they left the scene.

Many Muslims and religious scholars responded by pointing out passages of the Quran that denounce revenge and violence.

Irshad Manji, founder of the Moral Courage Project at New York University and the author of "The Trouble With Islam Today," spoke to NPR last week about Islam and freedom of expression:

If I didn't believe it was compatible, I could not be a Muslim today. Freedom of expression is, for me, at the heart of what it means to live in a progressive, pluralistic society. Very briefly, I can tell you that there are plenty of passages in the Quran that defend freedom of conscience and even freedom of disbelief. And in fact, there are three times as many passages in the Quran calling on us to think and reflect and analyze and rethink, rather than merely submit blindly.

So yes, it's up to people like me to, you know, to advocate bold and competing reinterpretations of Islam. You're not going to get that from moderate Muslims, who typically only condemn violence once it happens. And frankly, I don't feel that that's a big deal. It doesn't help matters. I think that media and Americans will want to turn more to reformist Muslims, who are at the forefront of a movement for positive change.

On The Daily Circuit, we discuss what the notion of reforming Islam means.

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