He suggests that the Islamist orthodoxy which has had the Muslim world by the throat is beginning to crack under pressure from reformist Muslims around the world, particularly within Britain. He writes:
Recent months have seen a number of unexpected and extremely encouraging statements coming out of the Muslim world.
Respected, mainstream Muslim leaders in a variety of countries have voiced opinions which are at odds with traditional, conservative Islam.
They have challenged aspects of shari‘a and are calling for a liberal, modernist, enlightened Islam compatible with Western norms. Perhaps the most significant of all is a comment by a group of British Muslims calling for an end to the apostasy law and for full freedom in all religious matters.
A small minority of marginalised Muslim progressives has been bravely defying traditional and Islamist pressures by reinterpreting Islam in a way compatible with modern concepts of secularity, individual human rights, religious freedom and gender equality.
However, recently some significant cracks seem to be forming within the mainstream Islam.
Important mainstream leaders are coming out against long-held key traditional views and Wahhabi-Salafi doctrines and practices, openly supporting ideas compatible with modernity.
It would seem that the reformist teachings of Ahmad Khan (1817 - 1898) and Muhammad ‘Abduh (1849 -1905), which had been suppressed, are now resurfacing within mainstream Islam. As some experts on Islam have always been saying, ‘the really decisive battle is taking place within Muslim civilization, where ultraconservatives compete against moderates and democrats for the soul of the Muslim public.’
Of particular importance, writes Sookhdeo, is a paper that has just been published by several prominent British Muslim academics and religious leaders: