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  The following information is provided by the Liberal Islam Network about themselves. It will give you an idea of how they see themselves and their mission before you log on to their website (below).


                                               Access to their website is provided below
    
About Liberal Islam Network

1. What's Liberal Islam?

Liberal Islam (LI) is a new interpretation form of the Islam religion with the insights:

a. The openness of ijtihad's gates in the entire aspects.

LI believes that ijtihad (the rational thinking of Islamic texts) is the main tenet that enables Islam to hold out through any seasons. Any locking of ijtihad gates, partially or even entirely, is a threat upon Islam itself. Since in this way, Islam would be rotten. LI believes that ijtihad could be held almost in every aspect, within ilahiyyat (theology), ubudiyyat (ritual), or (especially) muamalat (social interaction). ijtihad's space in ubudiyyat is exactly slighter than the other two aspects.

b. Emphasize on the ethical- religious spirit, not the literal meaning of the text.

Ijtihad that developed by LI is an endeavor of Islam's interpretation based on the ethical-religious spirit of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, not merely interpreting Islam based on the literal meaning of the text. The literal kind of interpretation would only "kill" Islam. Only by using the ethical-religious spirit based interpretation, Islam would live and grow creatively associated to the universal "humanistic civilization".

c. The relative, open, and plural truth.

LI based on the notion vis-à-vis "truth" (in religious interpretation) as a relative thing, since an interpretation is "human activity " which is shackled in a certain context; open, since each form of interpretation contain an erroneous possibility, instead of a correct one; plural, since each religious interpretation, in one and other way, is a reflection of any interpreter's need in an incessantly changes of time and places.

d. Stand behind the minorities and the oppressed.

LI stands behind Islamic interpretations that withstand on minorities, oppressed, and marginalized. Every social-political structure that preserves injustice practices upon the minorities is against the spirit of Islam. In this context, minority should be understood in the wider meaning, including the religious minority, ethnic, race, culture, politic, economic, sexual orientation, etc. Gender equality is a problem that we concern of, since our social structure is still based on the patriarchal idea which against the justice idea in Islam. We consider any religious interpretations that do not concern on the gender equality is inappropriate with the justice principle of Islam.

e. Freedom of belief and faith.

LI considers that the matter of "being religious" or "being not religious" is a personal rights that should be protected. LI does not abide any prosecution on the base of an opinion or belief.

f. The separation of ukhrawi (heavenly) vis-à-vis duniawi (worldly) authority, and the religious vis-à-vis political authority.

LI believes in the very nature of separation between religious power and political one. LI does not withstand any notion regarding the religious state whereas the authority of ulama (religious leader) or kiai (Javanese-Indonesian term of religious leader) is observed as the highest authorities that could not be wrong. The healthy form of state for the religious and political growth is a state where both authorities are separated. Religion is an inspirational source that could influence public policies, but religion is not the one and the only source that have transcendental privilege that could not be denied to determine all public policies form. Finally, religion works on private and individual spaces. Public affairs should be held trough "collective ijtihad" process, where everyone can debate, where every truth is determined inductively through the fit and proper test of vision.

2. Why named as Liberal Islam?

The name of "Liberal Islam" illustrate our fundamental principles; Islam which emphasizes on "private liberties" (according to Mu'tazilah's doctrine regarding "human liberties"), and "liberation" of socio-political structure from the unhealthy and oppressing domination. The "liberal" adjective has two meanings: "liberty" (being liberal) and "liberating". Please note that we do not believe in Islam as such---Islam without any adjective as some people argued. Islam is impossible without adjective, in fact Islam have been interpreted in so many different ways in accordance to the interpreter's need. We choose a genre of interpretation, and by this way, we selected an adjective for Islam, it is "liberal".


3. What is this Network's major mission?

Our missions are:

1. Develop the liberal Islamic interpretations that are appropriate to our principles, and disseminate it to as many people as possible.

2. Attempt to create dialogue rooms that are open and free from any pressures of conservatism. Only by the availability of open rooms for dialogues, the thought and Islamic action improvement could be well preserved.

3. Endeavor the formation of a fair and humanely social and political structure. We believe that the democratic system is a system that "in the very now" can accomplish those needs. In capitalism, we believe that there are some policies could be supported, and criticize some of its aspects as well.

To visit the website of the Liberal Islam Network, click here