If you take the time to read the above links, you'll probably come away with a taste for the dilemma, as Pipes' arguing for the substantial existence of moderate Islam is, for liberal Muslim scholars like John Esposito, like the fox guarding the multi-cultural chicken coop. My reading of the debate shows Pipes having the harder time supporting his contention, even though he has the scholarly edge.
I posted these link awhile back, but they disappeared on a fossilized thread.
Here are some of my own musings re: the uncertainty of moderate Islam:
Sufism, if we consider it a refuge of mysticism for Islam in general, seems to have little direct relationship to the religion's mainstream. There may be exceptions to that, since Sufism has various sects or lineages, but my sense is that what keeps Sufism estranged from its orthodox roots, is its embrace of the value of subjective perception in the religious experience. Yet even this is presumptuous, since articles on www.jihad.org and frontpage magazine show Sufi traditions to embrace violent jihadist agendas within their earliest thinking.
And so it appears that among the monotheisms Christianity has the fewest demarcations between theology and mysticism. Even among fundamentalist Christians there is the emphasis on the born again experience, and while this may be fraught with psychological impediments, there is still the assumption of individual reason and sovereignty of the individual in place.
What % of Muslims beyond the second generation since immigrating to the U.S. are still practicing their faith and not fundamentalist? It seems to me that the U.S. is the real, and perhaps only, proving ground, for the nature of Islam, insofar as Christians and Jews are able to find ways of maintaining their faith experience within a capitalist system that preserves room for individual differences. Is the U.S. environment, where over 80% of mosques are run my radical immans, showing Islam to be incompatible with an emphasis on individual identity over role identity? If this were not so, then it would seem more likely that Muslims would retain their faith without having to insulate themselves from influences that awaken their members to the desire, and conflict, of individuality and the freedoms supporting it.
When radical Islamists are calling for a Sharia-run world, and most Muslims exhibit an intolerance for sovereignty of reason and sovereignty of the individual, then how do we recognize Islam as compatible with modernity? If the constraints that make honor killing possible predispose Muslims to jihad against those threatening their tribal sensibility even ideologically, then drawing the line between Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic jihad is hard to make, especially since both are wedded to Islam's Utopian vision.
Islamic terrorism is primarily about the Muslim and Arab world's conflict with pluralizing modernity. The western character of those influences is radical Islam's opportunity to exploit its own people toward a retrograde vision. With all Muslim nations refusing to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and still not on board with such a vision, it is hard to make the argument that radical Islam is a modern phenomenon. As we know, any consideration of parting with Sharia principles, or embracing a secular-based redaction of the Koran, was treated with the utmost violence throughout Islam's history, and so the impossibility of Muslim and Arab societies insulating themselves from the western character of modernity seems to account for most of the violence directed to external influences.
And so the long-standing, endemic intolerance for sovereignty of reason and individual sovereignty crucial to the success of Islam, and Muslim and Arab societies where individual identity is subordinated to role identity, are the primary breeding grounds for terrorism. The elements of violent jihad central to Islam's creedal identity, along with its Utopian eschatology which the former serves, shape these tendencies already deeply grounded in cultural features that limit adaptability for change.
Germany and Japan are not good analogies for the future of Muslim and Arab societies. G and J during WWII were bordered by either neutral countries, and/or ones ideologically opposed to their totalitarian, fascist agendas. Such is not the case with Arab and Muslim societies, and the explanation doesn't appear to be primarily about geographical peculiarities.
Here's another litmus test for discerning a true moderate Islam:
Can it tolerate the apostasy of Muslims without issuing murderous fatwas? Can it tolerate an interfaith dialogue that includes the rights of Christianity and Judaism to persuade Muslims to consider other possibilities of faith experience?
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Here's a link describing Washington's attempts to identify and promote moderate Islam:
" . . . . Kaplan explains that Washington recognizes it has a security interest not just within the Muslim world but within Islam. Therefore, it must engage in shaping the very religion of Islam. Washington has focused on the root causes of terrorism – not poverty or U.S. foreign policy, but a compelling political ideology.
" . . . . The goal is: to influence not only Muslim societies but Islam itself…Although U.S. officials say they are wary of being drawn into a theological battle, many have concluded that America can no longer sit on the sidelines as radicals and moderates fight over the future of a politicized religion with over a billion followers. The result has been an extraordinary—and growing—effort to influence what officials describe as an Islamic reformation."
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In the absence of a governing institutional authority, who whould take a stand or discipline this mosque? The question is easy enough to answer with regard to a Catholic or Protestant church that might do such a thing, as we have regional governing organizations. But what is there is Islam? I honestly don't know the answer, here, and so am not just posing a rhetorical question.
-------------------- "The Light shines on in darkness . . ." - John 1: 3 - Posts: 7539 | From: Wichita, KS | Registered: Aug 2001
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quote: "And until today, people do not seem to be able to forget what happened on [September 11, 2001]. It’s very hurtful. But who suffered the most after that attack? Immediately, if you turned on a TV set, and they started mentioning the names of those who were involved in the attack, the Muslims and American Muslims started suffering right away...The American Muslims were suffering the most, and they’re still suffering. They’re not comfortable. And that is because of the lack of understanding of Islam in this country. Brothers and sisters, this is our country."
He continues: "Thus rule number one, fight for the sake of Allah. Who must you fight? Those who start the war against you. Those who establish the war against you. Those who initiate the war against the Muslims. Then you are allowed to defend yourself...If you are attacked, you ought to defend...Permission has been given to those fighters whom have been forced, have seen injustice, have seen wrongdoing, have seen oppression and occupation. Then, they are given the permission to fight and to defend themselves and let them know that Allah will assist them to victory."
WC, do you suppose your typical Moslem is trained to be able discern between reasonable arguments and the jingoistic tripe such as above? Although a governing institutional authority might surely help in weeding out such fanaticism, I can’t help but think that the general character and attitudes of the rank and file have more to do with the receptivity of a religion for violence, whether that violence is from Islamo-fascists or the Nazis.
Posts: 5365 | From: Washington State | Registered: Sep 2001
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As there is no central authority among Muslims, and never in the history of Islam like that of Christianity or Judaism, each mosque is pretty much left to itself. There are surely alliances between them, but the lack of a central authority outside of an imposing theocracy leaves them vulnerable to such things as Saudi Arabia's exporting of Wahabbist radicals; this assumes, of course, that Islam is capable of organizing itself around a legitimate form of moderate government while relinquishing its Utopian dream and embracing a social pluralism, all without precedent as far as I know.
Yes, I think you express my own doubts and concern. If most practicing, faithful Moslems are indeed oriented to the world, and to each other, through an external locus of power where individual identity is subordinated repeatedly throughout life and religious teaching to role identity, then any insight into the disingenuousness of such an imman has nothing to register on. What would be the purpose of sustaining such a recognition? Such a sustained insight would lead nowhere but into fear and isolation, which all human beings tend to shun regardless of their degree of individuation.
Here's a book I'll try to obtain from the library, having glanced at some chapters at a bookstore:
"Progressive Muslims," edited by Omit Safi
The book includes about 20 different author contributions, mostly Muslim scholars, a few from the west. There seems to be some measure of accountability re: the internal problems facing Islam and Muslim and Arab societies, but also signs of attributing them to fundamentalists as an implied minority.
Another more journalistic account is "Standing Alone in Mecca," by Asra Q. Nomani, a Muslim feminist who has challenged American Muslim leaders to make reforms, often meeting resistance, and some of it rather threatening.
Here's the Amazon link for reviews on "Progressive Muslims." Alyssa Lappen (I'm familiar with her via Robert Spencer's website: www.jihadwatch.org) has an incisive review that holds the authors to a level of accountability most Muslim scholars tend to shy away from, except perhaps for the likes of Bassam Tibi, who isn't featured here.
Here's an example of what may be the cutting edge of modern liberal Islamic thought, with a valuable critique by Robert Spencer. In the end, there appears to be few if any practicing Muslims, who are Islamic scholars, willing to completely redact the Quran.
"This is the state of the free press today: if you write a book that dares to suggest that Islam and the theology and ideology of jihad might have something to do with today's terrorism (which, of course, the terrorists themselves insist), the New York Times and the lemmings that follow in its wake will ignore you, unless they are planning a feature on "Islamophobia." So will National Review, at least for now.
Why will they ignore you? Because even to have a public debate with you will be to grant legitimacy to your perspective, and make them have to answer it. Since it is true, they can't answer it, so instead they resort to attempting to delegitimize it by treating it as if it were beneath notice and unworthy of discussion.
This is an extraordinarily irresponsible stance for the New Duranty Times to take. Why? Because it cuts the ground out from under the moderate Muslims they profess to be supporting. By forbidding discussion of the violence in the Qur'an and Muhammad's career, they prevent the moderate Muslims they support from coming to grips with the enormous challenge that the global jihadists have presented to them. The jihadists make recruits daily by referring to Qur'an and Hadith; but the moderates have no convincing response that will keep Muslims from becoming radicalized. And no one is pressing them to try to formulate such a response, because both left and right are pretending that the problem does not emanate from Islam's core texts.
So the entire moderate Muslim project today is a fruitless exercise in deception of others or self-deception, and the responsibility can be laid at the feet of every media type who has bought the line about "Islam is a religion of peace that has been hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists."
But we will never know why the Times is doing this -- because they will not discuss it. Instead, the Times is energetically boosting the Bright Young Muslim Thing Reza Aslan, whose shallow and distorted depiction of Islamic teachings I discussed here.
"The Jihad Is a Civil War, the West Only a Bystander," from the New Duranty Times, with thanks to all who sent this in:
For many in the West, the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center turned a page in world history. They signaled the onset of a monumental struggle between fundamentalist Islam and modern, secular democracy, what the Harvard scholar Samuel P. Huntington has called a "clash of civilizations."
Not so, Reza Aslan argues in "No god but God." "What is taking place now in the Muslim world is an internal conflict between Muslims, not an external battle between Islam and the West," he writes. "The West is merely a bystander - an unwary yet complicit casualty of a rivalry that is raging in Islam over who will write the next chapter in its story."...
He's right that there is an internal conflict, and that the West is unwary.
Mr. Aslan is, in a certain sense, a fundamentalist. The Christian sense of the word is meaningless in Islam, of course, because Muslims believe that the Koran was dictated by God and, therefore, that its words are literally true. But like the puritanical Wahhabists of Saudi Arabia, whom he reviles, Mr. Aslan looks to the first Muslim community in Medina, established by Muhammad 1,400 years ago, as a model for reform today. His Medina, though, is a communal, egalitarian society dedicated to pluralism and tolerance. The problem with Islam, Mr. Aslan argues, is the clerical establishment that gained control over the interpretation of the Koran and the hadith: the anecdotes describing the words and deeds of Muhammad, passed on by his followers and their descendants. Less than two centuries after Muhammad's death in 632, there were some 700,000 hadith circulating throughout the Muslim world, "the great majority of which were unquestionably fabricated by individuals who sought to legitimize their own particular beliefs and practices by connecting them with the Prophet." The stoning of adulterous women, to take a notorious example, originated not in the Koran, but in the virulent misogyny of Umar, one of Muhammad's first converts and later the ruler of the caliphate, who simply claimed that this form of punishment had accidentally been left out of the Koran. Although women in the Medina community were given the right to inherit the property of their husbands and to keep their dowries as their own personal property, later scholars decided that the Koran, when instructing believers "not to pass on your wealth and property to the feeble-minded," had women and children in mind.
One of Mr. Aslan's most important chapters deals with the centuries-long struggle between traditionalists and rationalists over the proper interpretation of the Koran. The outcome weighs heavy on the world today. The rationalists saw the Koran as both the word of God and a historical document whose meanings change through time. For the traditionalists, the Koran is fixed and eternal. Therefore, "what was appropriate for Muhammad's community in the seventh century C.E. must be appropriate for all Muslim communities to come, regardless of the circumstances."
The traditionalists won. The power to interpret the Koran came under the control of religious scholars, collectively known as the ulama, who ended the era of consensus and free reasoning that, up to the 10th century, had defined Koranic inquiry.
If this sounds like a remote quarrel, it is not. Mr. Aslan says it is now being played out again throughout the Muslim world. This, he argues, is the real jihad, not holy war against the West, but the internal struggle for Islam's soul, with reformers pitted against reactionaries in Tehran, Cairo, Damascus and Jakarta, as well as in Muslim communities in the West. "Like the reformations of the past, this will be a terrifying event," he writes. "However, out of the ashes of cataclysm, a new chapter in the story of Islam will emerge."
This has a heroic ring to it, but Mr. Aslan acknowledges that the outcome is in doubt. He places his hopes in the like-minded liberals who, he suggests, constitute Islam's silent majority. "The fact is that the vast majority of the more than one billion Muslims in the world readily accept the fundamental principals of democracy," he writes. Like the reformers in Iran, they are committed to "genuine Islamic values like pluralism, freedom, justice, human rights, and above all, democracy."
This may be, but Mr. Aslan, in his polemical conclusion, tends to assert rather than present evidence. His impassioned plea for an Islamic form of democracy, although moving, sounds sophistical. Religion and the state, in his view, cannot be separate. The very concept is alien to Islam. "At its most basic level, the Islamic state is a state run by Muslims for Muslims, in which the determination of values, the norms of behavior, and the formation of laws are influenced by Islamic morality," he writes. Yet somehow pluralism, human rights, equality of the sexes and religious tolerance would prevail, because, ultimately, these values already exist in Islam.
As Mr. Aslan acknowledges, Iran's halting steps toward a synthesis of Islam and democracy have been discouraging. The example of the Taliban casts a very dark shadow over the idea of an Islamic state. But the tide of history, Mr. Aslan insists, is moving in the right direction, sweeping Islam back, after 1,400 years, toward Medina."
And here is Robert Spencer's critique:
"Well, I have to give Mr. Aslan credit for novelty. Violence? Misogyny? Yes, he says, it's all there in Islam, but it's because the "traditionalists" got an early stranglehold on the interpretation of the Qur'an, and fabricated Hadith in support of their views. I don't doubt that there is a huge number of Muslims that accept democratic ideals, but the idea that these ideals are "genuinely Islamic" has a hollow ring to it.
If the fiendish "traditionalists" really wrested control of the Qur'an and Sunnah from those who believed in the "true Islam" early in Muslim history, what happened to the latter group? It would seem that if the Qur'an really taught all these things (democracy, pluralism, equality for women, tolerance of non-Muslims), the "traditionalists" would not have been able to stamp them out altogether without forbidding people to read the Qur'an. But the Qur'an has been widely read throughout Islamic history -- indeed, lionized and memorized and held up as the Muslim's primary guide -- and yet there has never been, anywhere in the Islamic world, a tolerant, pluralistic democracy that respected non-Muslims as equals and upheld equality of rights for women. (Don't talk to me about Turkey, which established a democracy in the context of a war with Islam.)
Also, Aslan's evident belief that Muhammad's community in Medina was "a communal, egalitarian society dedicated to pluralism and tolerance" is laughably ahistorical. The Qur'an fourth sura (enjoining wife-beating, 4:34) and its ninth (enjoining perpetual warfare against Jews and Christians and their subjugation as inferiors under Islamic rule, 9:29) are both Medinan suras. It was while living in Medina that Muhammad massacred the Jewish Qurayza tribe, ordered the assassination of many of his opponents, and performed other acts of cruelty and barbarism. Does Reza Aslan not know all this? I know Pinch Sulzberger doesn't, but does young Reza just not know anything about Muhammad, or does he hope we don't know?
If he were a genuine Muslim reformer, he would speak honestly about the contents of the Qur'an and Muhammad's career, and not pretend they are something they manifestly are not.
But this is the sort of thing that gets you into the New York Times these days. For a corrective, watch for my forthcoming book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades, which I sent off to the publisher (Regnery) Monday night. It is scheduled to be out August 1. Watch for updates on it here: it will not be reviewed in the New York Times.
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And here is an interview with Bassam Tibi, an Islamic scholar and true redactionist, author of "The Challenge of Fundamentalism." Notice the differences between Tibi's notions and the article posted above where the Muslim author is attempting to rationalize the history of Islam and the Quran as compatible with pluralistic modernity:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What portion of the Muslims living in Germany do you think would be prepared to accept such a model?
Tibi: From the perspective of the current situation, the majority would likely refuse this idea. But we have to think long term. If we are able to wean the children of the third generation (of Muslim immigrants in Germany) away from the mosque-club culture, then it is possible to make them amenable to this concept of citizenship. That won't happen alone. First, one has to address the existent value conflict between secularity on the one hand and a religion-dominated society on the other. We have to win the hearts and souls of the Muslim youth.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do we do that?
Tibi: In the short term, we have to strengthen democracy's ability to defend itself -- security in other words. I agreed completely, for example, with Interior Minister Schily when he deported (the radical Muslim leader) Metin Kaplan, the "Caliph of Cologne." In the long run, we will have to depend on more education.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Right now in Germany, you can hear from all sides that the multicultural society has failed. Do you agree?
Tibi: It depends on what you mean by the term. In my understanding of multiculturalism means "anything goes." Multiculturalism means that one person can live according to (ultra-orthodox) Sharia law and the other according to the constitution -- and that actually has failed. Van Gogh's murder shows us that what we need instead is cooperation. The better concept would be cultural pluralism. Unlike multiculturalism, cultural pluralism doesn't just mean diversity but also togetherness -- primarily the understanding of the rules of the game -- the European values structure. For an illustration, take a look at the example of the Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsli Ali, who has also received death threats. She has said she doesn't want to be Muslim anymore. According to the European values structure, that is her right. But according to Islamic law that represents a renununciation of belief -- and she can be killed for it. A European Leitkultur doesn't permit that, whereas the Sharia does.
Here's a revealing pre-9-11 debate between Pipes, Esposito, Kramer, and Fuller over the nature of Islamism. Viewed from current time, one can see the weakness in Esposito and Fuller's views, which they still mostly hold inspite of the evidence.
Wow. Like it or not I'm learning a lot about Islam. I think I've doubled my understanding just reading the links from your last four posts,WC. There’s so much to comment on and so little time, but the part below (which you also quoted) I thought was particularly interesting:
quote:Tibi: It depends on what you mean by the term. In my understanding of multiculturalism means "anything goes." Multiculturalism means that one person can live according to (ultra-orthodox) Sharia law and the other according to the constitution -- and that actually has failed. Van Gogh's murder shows us that what we need instead is cooperation. The better concept would be cultural pluralism. Unlike multiculturalism, cultural pluralism doesn't just mean diversity but also togetherness -- primarily the understanding of the rules of the game -- the European values structure. For an illustration, take a look at the example of the Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsli Ali, who has also received death threats. She has said she doesn't want to be Muslim anymore. According to the European values structure, that is her right. But according to Islamic law that represents a renununciation of belief -- and she can be killed for it. A European Leitkultur doesn't permit that, whereas the Sharia does.
That’s a lot to think about. I don’t think Tibi has quite gotten the concept perfected yet (“European values structure”?...surely that’s setting one’s sites too low), but I’m impressed that a German Muslim seems to understand the concept better than the Europeans themselves. Tibi still seems to be mirroring somewhat the European lack of depth for the concept of true tolerance (although he surely extended it from the rather limited European brand). He ought to feel free to openly say that laws are always reflections of our moral sensibilities and because Muslims have some different sensibilities that this would, quite naturally, lead to different laws – even with a full separation of church and state intact. What Tibi seems to be assuming (like the Europeans do) that there is some obvious, liberal, self-evident morality that just magically emerges with any enlightened state. In effect, Tibi wants to sort of “freeze” standards on the current European values structure and I would argue that this is not much of a grounding at all. For serious and real reform (short of deporting en mass all Muslims from Europe) they’re going to need a much better understanding of the principles behind a liberal Western society and what makes it work. Hanging your principles on what a few European liberal elites think isn't much better than hanging them on what a few radical Mullahs think.
Posts: 5365 | From: Washington State | Registered: Sep 2001
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Really good points/distinction. The moral relativism of Europe shows up in its empty churches, and in its multiculturalism, which is just another name for moral bankruptcy.
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Here's Robert Spencer's tentative evaluation of this march against terrorism by Muslims:
The Free Muslims March Against Terror, scheduled for this Saturday, is generating considerable excitement among non-Muslims: could this finally be large-scale Muslim anti-terror action that the world has longed to see since 9/11?
Maybe. I have so far refrained from saying anything about this, and even now the information I have gathered about this is so conflicting and inconclusive that I am unsure what to say. But we keep getting contacted about this several times a day, so I thought I would put out some of the evidence for you and let you be the judge.
In the first place, there are a large number of non-Muslim groups among the endorsers of the March: the World Lebanese Cultural Union (large portions of the leadership are non-Muslim); The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace; Saltzman International; Sartain Institute; Assyrian Media Center; Council of Volunteer Americans, Inc.; The Objectivist Center; U.S. Copts Association; Institute on Religion and Public Policy; Foundation for the Study of Abrahamic Religions; DiversityWorking.com; American Family Coalition of Virginia; Government of Free Vietnam; Canadian Israeli Students Association at the University of Calgary; Fairfax Area Young Republicans, etc.
The large number of such groups on the list makes me wonder in what sense this is really "Muslims" marching against terror. There are more non-Muslims on the list than Muslims. If the rally attracts large crowds, the media will no doubt report that large numbers of Muslims marched against terror, when it is entirely possible that more non-Muslims will march than Muslims. I am all for opposing terrorism, but I wonder what such a gathering would really accomplish in terms of establishing the existence of a Muslim presence against terror.
Also, I confess that I am somewhat puzzled by a list of endorsers that includes Marion Meadows Entertainment, JPJ Fashions, The Law Offices of Andrew Pakis, The Nawash Law Office, Rask Law Office, and Scentual Fragrance. What do these groups have to do with terrorism and jihad? What does their presence on the endorser list do except pad the list -- enabling FMAT to send out a press release recently touting the March's endorsement by over 50 groups?
I am not drawing any conclusion from all this. I am just raising questions. And there are more. Not long ago I got this critical analysis of certain premises of the March and FMAT from a writer named Erich von Abele:
"Help us send a message to radical Muslims and supporters of terrorism that we reject them and that we will defeat them." This laudable call by freemuslims.org accompanies their invitation to join and support a public demonstration that apparently includes many Muslims against terrorism, to be held in Washington D.C. this coming May 14.
This group sponsoring the May 14th March seem to be the "good guys" -- at least from what I can tell by looking at their site.
Many of their statements on their official site are encouraging, including: "The Coalition believes that fundamentalist Islamic terror represents one of the most lethal threats to the stability of the civilized world." Finally, we see a condemnation of Islamic terror, not merely of "terrorism" in a vague and abstract formulation that could easily be used (and has often been) to condemn the supposed "terrorism" of the United States and Israel.
However, one thing on their site ought to raise some concern: while they say they reject the violent interpretation of "jihad", they seem to leave wiggle room open for it with the following comment:
"The Coalition feels that the concept of jihad should be reinterpreted for a modern day context in which holy war is obsolete. No holy war needs to be waged; there is no clear and present threat to Islam..."
This comment implies that a violent type of jihad would need to be waged if there were a clear and present threat to Islam.
The problem with this implication is two-fold:
1) It permits the basic principle of the self-defense of the Islamic Umma as a justification for violent jihad, thereby leaving the door open for those who believe a violent jihad is justified, as long as they can convince other Muslims that, in fact, Islam is being threatened.
2) It justifies the concept of defending Islam from threats, but doesn't say who will be doing the defending. In the West, we do not have a formal concept of justification for "defending" Christianity: we leave the defense of threatened groups (whoever they are, religious or non-religious) up to the secular state.
Thus, this concept that Islam has a right to defend itself is, in its very nature, in opposition to (or at least in problematic tension with) the sovereignty of secular law.
Similarly, and more directly, in their "Resolution of Condemnation" as reported by jihadwatch.org on March 25, 2005, they write:
"a) we denounce the ongoing attack on America, the West, Muslims and all innocent people of the world. This attack is not "Jihad" (Holy War) but a heinous crime and a mortal sin of Hirabah (Unholy War which is a forbidden "war against humanity");
b) we label those who are fomenting and waging this forbidden type of warfare as mufsidoon (evildoers) and muharibun (unholy warriors) and not as the mujaheddin (holy warriors) or the shahiddin (martyrs) they falsely claim to be"
By arguing that Islamic terrorism is not, in fact, a "Jihad" (even though the Islamic terrorists themselves assert it is), but rather a "Hirabah" (an "unholy war"), the freemuslims organization is again (and more clearly) protecting the theoretical justification of the concept of Jihad as holy war, which again provokes the two questions I raised above.
(Interestingly, and curiously, this articulation of a difference between "Jihad" and "Hirabah" is not to be found on the current website of freemuslims.org, which makes one wonder, have they changed their minds about this? Or are they practicing some kind of clever deception whereby they establish a loophole for Jihad in one place, but omit it in their official site?)
Erich von Abele sent the same thing to FMAT's Kamal Nawash. This is the response he received:
Dear Erich, Paranoid schtsophrinia is a treatable disease now. Please see some one about your problems. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you are nuts. 21st century medicine has cures for just about anything. This is our official response. I hope you keep your word and have it published. FreeMuslims.org I have since confirmed that this response did indeed come from Kamal Nawash. For obvious reasons, I found it highly disturbing. I am used to getting abuse from Islamic apologists, but I thought von Abele's questions were entirely reasonable, and warranted a serious answer. That Nawash instead chose to respond with vituperation and insults, a la Stephen Schwartz, is more than unfortunate.
Like von Abele, I wonder what FMAT means by "terror." I would be happy to endorse the March if it were a March Against Jihad Terror. After all, everyone is against "terrorism." Even CAIR and other such groups have denounced "terror." It would be refreshing if FMAT could be more specific and host a Muslims March Against Jihad Terrorism.
But according to Thomas Haidon, that is what the present March is. At least that's how he represented it to CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper in this phone conversation, of which he kindly sent me a transcript:
TH: Greetings, Mr. Hooper. It's Thomas Haidon from FMAT calling. Asalamu aleykum. IH: Wa leykum salam.
TH: I am calling with respect to our rally on 14 May 2005. I spoke with your colleague Rabiah Ahmed.
IH: Yes. Thank you. I though FMAT received our official response quite some time ago.
TH: Actually we have not. But we would like CAIR to participate in a stand of unity.
IH: Let's be honest. Our organisations are diametrically opposed. The leadership of this organisation does not believe that FMAT represents the interests of the American Muslim community. We believe that CAIR does, and our organisation has spoken loudly and clearly against terrorism. We are not sure what this rally would accomplish.
TH: This rally is more than a rally against terrorism. It is a rally against jihad and the tradition of violence that aspects of Islam has fomented. We must speak openly and frankly about these issues. Are you ready to stand with us?
IH: Thank you very much, Thomas. FMAT has received our response. Asalamu aleykum and goodbye.
TH: Wa leykum salam.
That CAIR would not endorse this March is the best testimony in its favor. I'm against mass murder and mayhem against civilians, and I'm glad FMAT is finally establishing a Muslim stance against them too. Much, much more is needed. Will it come from Kamal Nawash?
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Here's an update on the Muslim march against Islamic terrorism. The turn out shows either the fear of Muslims to identify themselves with a secularizing influence on their religion, or simply a lack of agreement with that form of dissent, and perhaps an ideological affinity for the utopian dreams of Islam, which cannot be conceived of practically without violent jihad.
Maybe they should have told them that the terrorists had destroyed a copy of the Koran?
-------------------- "The Light shines on in darkness . . ." - John 1: 3 - Posts: 7539 | From: Wichita, KS | Registered: Aug 2001
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Boy, howdy . . . . the face of moderate Islam just gets dimmer and dimmer, or should we say veiled? Look at who is on the board of the organization that hosted that rag-tag march protesting Islamic terrorism: ___________________________________________ www.jihadwatch.org
More Questions for Kamal Nawash
A few days ago I published an article in Human Events expressing some qualified skepticism about the Free Muslims March Against Terror, which went off virtually unnoticed last Saturday. Now the Militant Islam Monitor raises some more pointed questions:
[Arab Comic]Ray Hanania is an advisory board on Free Muslims Against Terrorism. Although non Muslim, Hanania has worked with the PLO and was president of the Palestine National Congress. He calls "terrorism a legitimate form of resistance", justifies suicide bombings, and stated that: "The Likud party in Israel is the first terrorist organisation in the Middle East"...Ray Hanania's 1996 book is entitled: "I'm glad I look like a terrorist". Hanania calls his humor "Comedy for Peace".
Also from Militant Islam Monitor:
From terrorism lawyer to Free Muslims Against Terrorism - Kamal Nawash's organisation sees Jews/Israelis as the root cause of terrorism, no wonder he revels in being compared to the German anti semite - Martin Luther. MIM: Kamal Nawash and FMAT - Will the March Against Terrorism reveal the advent of a Muslim messiah in DC?
"I like to see myself as a leader of a Muslim reformation," Nawash says. "For certain people, I'm a hero. For certain people, I was sent by God...."
From a Washington Post interview, "...Nawash's office is four blocks from the White House, and the lobby directory doesn't list the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism. No Kamal Nawash law office listed. No Nawash, period. "We don't put our name down there in case bin Laden comes looking for us," says Nawash.
MIM: If Nawash is really interested in separating Muslims from terrorism, why is his Falls Church, Virginia law office in the same building which which houses two Al Qaeda and Hamas fronts, WAMY and the MSA? Both groups are now under Senate investigation for terrorism funding. According to Paul Sperry in his book "Infiltration",
"The building used to be the home of the U.S. branch of the Saudi based World Assembly of Muslim Youth,before it moved up the street to bigger digs. During his failed political campaign, Nawash, who specialises in immigration law, put up signs outside the nearby Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center, which is a Saudi controlled Wahhabi mosque popular with Palestinians like Nawash. But he is against Wahhabism. Of course he is..." "Infiltration" pg. 289-290.
The Dar al Hijah mosque,where Nawash was soliciting clients was described by Sperry as "this hardline Wahhabi mosque, one of the nation's largest,is a Saudi sponsored hub of terrorist activities,hate filled rhetoric, a fundraising house for Hamas and a magnet for Islamic militants and terrorists- including some of the 9/11 hijackers, who received aid and comfort there..." "Infiltration " pg.109
The excuse making is just astounding. Nobody would rationalize this behavior for any other group (?), and we can see through this incident how the entitlement-driven, victim-oriented leftist camp can embrace such foolishness.
IP: Logged |