empty symbolism

via Bill, I see that one of Irshad Manji's recommendations to "fix" Islam is to open the Hajj to adherents all religions, not just Muslims. The argument is that the pan-Abrahamic hajj would somehow achieve a universality that is currently lacking. She also speaks glowingly of "globalism" as an ideal but fails to define it. Anyone who has actually attended Hajj can attest that it is already universal, in fact perhaps the epitome of a collective human shared experience that transcends all boundaries of caste, race, nation, or tribe. Perhaps Manji wants to expand "globalism" from its essentially demographic definition to include diversity of beliefs, but if so then it's not clear why someone who doesn't share belief in Islam would find value in performing it.

I see Manji's suggestion as hopelessly idealistic and blind in two directions. First, she draws on her Islamic roots to simply assume that hajj has value that is universal (in the pan-belief sense). I think non-muslims would differ. Second, she draws on her progressive-left roots to simply assume that numerical diversity equates to quality of diversity. Thus she is is blind to the universalism of hajj that already exists and prescribes a meaningless expansion to solve a perceived shortcoming that there aren't enough "beliefs" being represented in the hajji collective.

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