D. Kaplan, 21 February 2008

It is truly encouraging to have stumbled upon this website and its the insightful articles. I am especially appreciative of the self-reflective, commentary on issues and challenges facing the Islamic world. Most encouraging is the nuanced and complex way in which these issues are engaged. No broad generalisations are made, and critical comments are made without whitewashing the many virtues of the Islamic world.

It is important for members of ethnic communities to feel comfortable to engage in reflective self-analysis and self criticism without feeling that negative commentary represents a rejection of their culture in its entirety. Most importantly, members of those culture should feel comfortable to engage in such dialogue publicly, without feeling that such commentary will be "used as ammunition" against them by the rest of the world.

As a "citizen of the Jewish world", I try to engage in such self-analysis and self-criticism. This is not a denial of the inherent value of "Jewishness", though is often mistaken as such by the more insular elements of my community.

Unabashed, unapologetic and open critical enquiry is vital to the development and evolution of any culture, and people should feel comfortable enough within their own identity to engage in such enquiry.

Qantara is a terrific example of such an exercise.

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