‘Islam has to adapt,’ says Akbar

Islam must reform itself to catch up with «changing social conditions,» said a leading Indian journalist and author in Athens yesterday. Asked about the status of women in Muslim countries, Mobashar Jawed Akbar said that, according to Islam, religious law must change in order to adapt to the social environment. «But the real problem is male gender bias, not religion,» he said. Akbar is editor-in-chief of The Asian Age, a leading Indian newspaper. During his lecture on religious conflict, Akbar sought to defend Islam against allegations of violence. «Why blame Islam for the crimes of Muslims? Do I blame Christianity for the crimes of Hitler? Do I blame Christianity for Apartheid?» he asked. «The real enemies of the Muslim world are not George Bush or Tony Blair – they are just the symptoms,» Akbar said, adding that the real problems are poverty, lack of education and gender inequality. But he also blamed colonialism. «I cannot erase 200 years of economic and social exploitation.»