Gerd Steiner, 17 March 2007
on Mission of the Reformed, by Abdul-Ahmad Rashid
Dear neighbor in faith,
I gather from your article that the new organization of ex-Muslims wants to reform and enlighten.
I would like to say (as a Protestant Christian) that this modest undertaking will probably not be very successful, for reformations are only possible from within. That religions develop and have to discover themselves anew is quite normal.
This behavior of trying to provoke something by leaving reminds me of defiant children who hope to get affection or attention by walking or running away. This has happened to me even in an artists' organization over which I preside. You can only leave once, and then you have less influence than before. But if I value my religion, I can only change it from within – and several Muslims are doing this (for example, the Cologne Centre for Islamic Women's Studies and Women's Promotion (ZIF)).
Some of my friends have left the Roman Catholic faith. They did this not with the intent to reform their Papist "neighbors," but because they had found an alternative. They do not make an uproar about their departure, but have simply gone their way in life.
Even I pray for a reformation in Islam, for example, for the development of a European Islam, whose impulses can emanate into countries where this religion is understood in a more authoritarian way. There is much to do – let's start doing it!