Green Movement Transforming Islam?

The Green Revolution, in Iran.

To varying degrees, thinkers and theologians identified with the democratic movement have been offering a new reading of Shiism that makes the faith more amenable to democracy and secularism. The most significant innovation—found in essays, sermons, books, and even fatwas—is the acceptance of the separation of mosque and state, the idea that religion must be limited to the private domain. Some of these thinkers refuse to afford any privileged position to the clergy’s reading and rendition of Shiism–a radical democratization of the faith. And others, like Akbar Ganji and Mostafa Malekian, have gone so far as to deny the divine origins of Koran, arguing that it is nothing but a historically specific and socially marked interpretation of a divine message by the prophet. The most daring are even opting for a historicized Muhammad, searching for the first time in Shia history for a real, not hagiographic, narrative of his life.

That would be a revolt. As the article points, out, this is largely an attack on Ayatollah Khamanei and the way he was appointed by Khomeini. An elected spiritual leader changes the game and many of its names. It would be amazing if the courageous perseverance of Iranians in the street attempting to change their government resulted in changes to Islam. Changes to the one may not be possible without changing the other, but the passion and brutality on display over the last 7 months show how, I think, everyone involved understands the stakes.