Letter: Positive impressions of Muslim tolerance

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The Independent Online
Sir: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's article 'A new Islam for the West' correctly identifies the existence of a centre ground within the Muslim community who are secure in their identity and who seek no quarrel with the West.

There is nothing new about moderate views, tolerance or the centre ground in the Muslim community. What is new is that someone such as Ms Alibhai-Brown has decided to report on it.

The article, though drawing a distinction between the questioning intellectuals of the Leila Ahmed variety and the fundamentalists, subtly undermines what are seen as symbols of the religion through the eyes of outsiders. One would still come away thinking that all Muslim women wearing the hijab were oppressed, and coerced at every level. I advised many such women in a London Women's Centre and found that the majority sought spiritual salvation through the exercise of self-control and distancing from worldly desire.

Yours faithfully,


London, E2

14 February