Yesterday's AP article on Easter throughout the Islamic world was somewhat enlightening. Publicly celebrating Easter is extremely illegal in Saudi Arabia. In this context, the strict interpretation of Wahhabi Islam is not only ridiculous but also fundamentally backward and cruel. Incidentally, it should not be ignored that Saudi Arabia is the one Islamic nation that the U.S. ruling class is most likely to ass-kiss on any given day. That Easter is openly celebrated in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, and even Iraq, is evidence that not all interpretations of Islam are as intolerant as Wahhabi Islam is.
In case the hinted argument isn't getting through, gentle reader, I'll be more blunt: Religious pluralism is more progressive, more advanced, more morally and politically defensible, than the lack of religious pluralism. Progressives should not feel the need to defend repressive versions of Islam any more than they would feel the need to defend repressive versions of Christianity, Judaism, or (if a repressive version of it existed) Zoroastrianism. We need not take sides in the pointless and destructive battles between reactionary right wingers of the Christian and Islamic variety.
And if you get a chance, read Mansoor Hekmat's "Rise and Fall of Political Islam."