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January 23, 2015

The Power of Nonconformity

martin_luther_king_jr“The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Rosa Parks is often used as an example of what it means to be a true revolutionary. Her statement, “You do what you’re going to do, but this is what I’m going to do” is at the very heart of what it means to be a nonconformist. She was one who was not automatically swayed by popular opinion or practice. She did not need the herd’s support in order to move in her own direction, a direction she believed was the right way to go. That the revolution she started came from the weakest social position in the South at the time, that of a black woman, is even greater testimony to the power of nonconformity.

This may be how true reform occurs within Fundamentalist Muslim countries as well. It may very well be led by a small minority of oppressed Muslim women whose creative maladjustment leads them to honor both the highest principles of Islam and the highest principles of human equality and justice.

None of this excuses any of us from doing what we can to speak out against injustice wherever we are. But there is such a truth in Dr. King’s words there that it is worth hoping that such a nonconforming minority of intelligent, brave, and self-respecting people awaken in every place where injustice appears to have the upper hand.

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