Moderate Islam

Discussion in 'Political Action Forum' started by KENNEDY63, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. KENNEDY63

    KENNEDY63 Elite Refuge Member

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    GLOBAL VIEW
    By BRET STEPHENS

    Islam's Other Radicals

    March 6, 2007; Page A18

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- At this landmark Summit on Secular Islam, there are no "moderate" Muslims.

    There are ex-Muslims: People like Ibn Warraq, author of "Why I Am Not a Muslim," who doesn't want an Islamic Reformation so much as he does a Muslim Enlightenment. There are ex-jihadists: people like Tawfik Hamid, who, as a young medical student in Cairo, briefly enlisted in the Gamaa Islamiya terrorist group and who remembers being preached to by a mesmerizing doctor named Ayman al-Zawahiri.

    There are Muslim runaways: People like Afshin Ellian, who in 1983 fled Iran -- and the threat of execution -- on camelback and is now a professor of law at the University of Leiden in Holland. (Now threatened by European jihadists, he lives with round-the-clock police protection.) There are experts on Islamic law: People like Hasan Mahmoud, a native Bangladeshi who, as director of Shariah at the Muslim Canadian Congress, was instrumental in overturning Ontario's once-legal Shariah court last year.

    There are even a few practicing Muslims here, such as Canadian author Irshad Manji. Ms. Manji, whose documentary "Faith Without Fear" airs on PBS next month, describes herself as a "radical traditionalist" and draws a sharp distinction between Muslim moderates and reformers: "Moderate Muslims denounce terror that's committed in the name of Islam but they deny that religion has anything to do with it," she says. "Reform-minded Muslims denounce terror that's committed in the name of Islam and acknowledge that our religion is used to inspire it."

    The difference is not trivial. For more than five years, the Bush administration has been attempting to enlist the support of the so-called moderates in the war on terror -- its definition of "moderate" being remarkably elastic, to put it charitably. To take one example, administration emissary Karen Hughes has "reached out" to such figures as Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, head of al-Azhar theological university in Cairo, with whom she had a "wonderful meeting" in September 2005.

    Sheikh Tantawi, adept at talking out of both sides of his mouth, had earlier approved a fatwa calling on the Iraqi people to "defend itself, its land, and its homeland [against the U.S. invasion] with all means of defense at its disposal, because it is a jihad that is permitted by Islamic law. . . . The gates of jihad are open until the Day of Judgment, and he who denies this is an infidel or one who abandons his religion."

    Undersecretary Hughes is not at this summit, of course, nor is anyone else from the State Department, nor is the U.S.-funded al-Hurra Arabic TV station -- facts archly noted by the conferees. In the quasi-official U.S. view, the speakers at this conference amount to an exotic, publicity-seeking fringe group, with whom close association is politically unwise.

    Al-Jazeera, however, is here, suggesting that the real Arab mainstream better appreciates the broad interest the conference's speakers attract in the Muslim world, as well as their latent power. Perhaps this is the flip side of the appeal of extremist Islam, an indication that what Muslims are mainly looking for are radical alternatives to the unpalatable mush of unpopular autocratic governments, state-approved clerics like Sheikh Tantawi, and Saudi-funded "mainstream" organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

    Radicalism, at least of a kind, is certainly what this summit provides via Wafa Sultan. Dr. Sultan, a Syrian-born psychiatrist now living in the U.S., came to widespread public attention last year after she debated a Sunni cleric on al-Jazeera. "Only Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches," she observed. The televised clip, translated by Memri, has been downloaded on YouTube more than a million times.

    Dr. Sultan, whose outspokenness has forced her and her family into hiding, is here to receive an award from the Center for Inquiry, the summit's organizer and lead funder. She accepts it by saying: "I don't believe there is any difference between radical Islam and regular Islam."

    The view is shared by some, though by no means all, of the conferees. "Salafists cannot imagine Islam without the killing of apostates," says Dr. Hamid, who also now lives in hiding. "To them, the religion is a house of cards: Remove one element, and the whole structure collapses." Another conferee subscribes to the Salafist logic, though he dissents from the religion as a whole. "Truth is," he admits, "to be a Muslim democrat you have to be a bad Muslim."

    In this view, the baggage of Shariah and hadith -- the traditions in which some of the most violent Islamic injunctions are to be found -- are as central to Islam as the Quran itself. Hasan Mahmoud disagrees. "Most Muslims don't even know what the Shariah laws are," he says. "The moment you actually show them what the laws are, they can understand they're unjust." Mr. Mahmoud illustrates the point by observing that, under Shariah, a husband does not require a witness to divorce his wife. "But the Quran says that if you want to divorce your wife, you need two witnesses. With Muslims, this kind of thing works magic."

    Mr. Mahmoud spreads his gospel partly by way of cheaply produced DVDs, which seems pretty crude until one recalls that Ayatollah Khomeini, during his exile in Paris, spread the gospel of Islamic revolution by way of audiocassettes. Other conferees also have their Web sites: Alamgir Hussain, from Singapore, has islam-watch.org; Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, the conference's moving spirit, puts out IranPressNews.com; other conferees write for MiddleEastTransparent.com and so on. These are the "frugal chariots," to borrow a phrase from Emily Dickinson, that bear the Muslim reformer's soul.

    A fair bit of U.S. government money is being spent on conference security, including from the FBI. Still, it's remarkable that the government, given the huge resources available from places like the National Endowment for Democracy, provides no funding or support for this conference or its various participants.

    Here are two questions for the government: If Mr. Warraq, Dr. Sultan et al. are really irrelevant to the larger Muslim debate, why are the jihadists so eager to kill them? And if the jihadists want to kill them, don't they deserve support as well as security?
     
  2. okie drake

    okie drake Elite Refuge Member

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    The Koran also says some other wonderful things.

    People understanding that Shariah law is unjust doesn't make Islam a religion of peace. As I've said before, some muslims not going by their doctrine does not mean that they're practicing "true" Islam and that the radicals are just that.

    The ones going by what the Koran says are "true" muslims. And their doctrine dictates the killing of non-muslims and Islamic rule. America will probably figure this out when it is too late.
     
  3. 'tween_fly_ways

    'tween_fly_ways Moderator

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    Why does the title of this thread make me think of Emily Latella?

    Moderate Islam. . . . who would want the job of moderating islam?:nutz

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Lowtide

    Lowtide Elite Refuge Member

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    Anyone who thinks that Islam is a religion of peace has no idea what it's teachings are.

    http://www.dianedew.com/islam.htm

    Islam teaches:

    "Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme." (Koran 8:37)
    The Koran instructs not to make friendship with Jews and Christians (Koran 5:51) but to war against them: "When the Sacred Months are over, kill those who ascribe partners to God wheresoever ye find them; seize them, encompass them, and ambush them; then if they repent and observe prayer and pay the alms, let them go their way (Koran 4:5). "Fight against those who believe not in God nor in the Last Day, who... refuse allegiance to the True Faith from among those who have received the Book, until they humbly pay tribute out of hand." (Koran 9:29) Note: These verses distinguish between warfare against pagans, and against Jews and Christians.[17]
    "...kill the disbelievers wherever we find them" (Koran 2:191); "fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem" (Koran 9:5); "murder them and treat them harshly" (Koran 9:123).
    "Seize ye him, and bind ye him, And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. Further, make him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! This was he that would not believe in Allah Most High. And would not encourage the feeding of the indigent! So no friend hath he here this Day. Nor hath he any food except the corruption from the washing of wounds, Which none do eat but those in sin." (Koran 69:30-37)
    "Strike off the heads of the disbelievers"; and after making a "wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives" (Koran 47:4).
    "Instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers"; "smite above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them" (Koran 8:12; cp. 8:60).
    "O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern against them. Their abode is Hell - an evil refuge indeed" (Koran 9:73).
    "slay or crucify or cut the hands and feet of the unbelievers, that they be expelled from the land with disgrace..." (Koran 5:34).
    "for them (the unbelievers) garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods" (Koran 22:19-22)
     
  5. okie drake

    okie drake Elite Refuge Member

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    Great post Andy. Sound like Muhammad Ali or Osama? But yet the media continues to tell us that the "true" muslim is Ali. Amazing.
     
  6. flashman

    flashman Elite Refuge Member

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    Reminds me of the scene from Independence Day, after the President is mind probed by the alien in Area 54.

    Talk about prescient. Wow.
     
  7. KENNEDY63

    KENNEDY63 Elite Refuge Member

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    In Newsweek about three weeks ago, they panned one of these secular Islamists (it was that Dutch parlimentarian who lives hear now - I think that she is employed by AEI).

    Incredible the amount of scorn heaped upon her. Christians have generally, over time, answered the call of "reason". The current Muslim leadership appears to lack such reason. In the long term, these types of reasoned voices are the ones which will most help us win the WOT.

    Found her info:

    "Ayaan Hirsi Ali

    Resident Fellow

    An outspoken defender of women’s rights in Islamic societies, Ms. Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992, and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006. In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society, and on defending the rights of women in Dutch muslim society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made Submission, a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures. The airing of the film on Dutch television resulted in the assassination of van Gogh by an Islamic extremist. At AEI, Ms. Hirsi Ali will be researching the relationship between the West and Islam; women’s rights in Islam; violence against women propagated by religious and cultural arguments; and Islam in Europe."

    You can read some of the scorn here http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/06/AR2007030602145.html

    and here http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17204802/site/newsweek/
     

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