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Author Topic: Islam, theocratic politics, & political freedom  (Read 43741 times)
Erik
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« Reply #50 on: April 18, 2007, 01:28:23 PM »

Erik,

You live in the US, right?
Yes.  Bay Area, CA.
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G M
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« Reply #51 on: April 18, 2007, 01:41:07 PM »

Erik,

Given your acceptance of the "palestinian paradigm", I as an American Indian (I am an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe, vote in tribal elections, fall under tribal jurisdiction when on a reservation, am eligible for treatment at Indian Health Service clinics and so on....) am curious when you will be leaving the Illegally Occupied North American continent.

On that same point, what sort of violence is justified against the invaders of my native soil? Given your validation of "palestinian" terrorism, i'm assuming that you'd understand if the native peoples of North America engaged in the same conduct as we don't have a standing army or an air force.....

Of course once that done, I guess it's between us and those guys that insists this is "Aztlan".
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Erik
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« Reply #52 on: April 18, 2007, 02:41:51 PM »

Hi GM,

You're American Indian?  Then I'm really confused.  How can you not identify with the Palestinians?

And you pose an excellent question, one that I was expecting to ask you in a follow up post yet in the reverse direction.

I don't blame you in the least for asking when the white/black/asian folks will leave your homeland.  It's not likely to happen but that does not mean it is morally right for your homeland to be invaded and a whole people to be displaced.

Frankly, I wonder sometimes why American Indians have not become domestic terrorists.  The US has been horrible to you guys.  I wonder frequently why the Palestinians have decided to fight back (and at such horrible expense) and other groups in history, including Jews during the Nazi times, have not fought back so long or so hard or so desparately.  I'd like to know what the difference is.

I do not consider terrorism valid or good, for the record, under any circumstances.  I am not pleased about my bro-in-law still having nightmares of heads on stakes in his home village or my wife instinctively ducking when a car backfires or being good a certain surgical proceedures because she's had to repair certain wounds (sometimes on kids) before.

I'm not endorsing it.  I am trying to get really clear on how it comes about and I do not like my taxes going to support fascist countries who woudl be forced to compromise and behave more honorably if they did not have my money and my weapons aiding them.  If we want to figure out why soap is flying across the bathroom and knocking us in the head, it makes sense to look at who is wetting and squeezing it and why.

I do think that Islamist terrorism comes from the defeat of the Turks in 1918, re-drawing of the middle east by France and England, creation of Israel and its policies toward the Palistinians, modern high-tech which has changed the game (reference Thomas Freedman's concept of super-empowered individuals or groups competing with nation-states as actors), plus a bit of class-warfare that is a function of globalism.  That means that we play a role in creating it and we therefore have some responsibility for it AND, importantly, an opportunity to make changes in our collective behavior that may just solve the problems with less violence and less avoidance of self-accountability than otherwise.  I think that's a good thing.

I think what I just described is the mechanism by which such violence is made and I think it's important for people to understand this for the reasons you and I agreed upon earlier, namely that we've got to understand the problem well in order to solve it.

And, as agreed earlier, this mennace of Islamist terrorism is a real danger and must be understood if we're goign to solve it, maybe even in order for us to survive.  It could get pretty bad in the next 50 years.

-E
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G M
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« Reply #53 on: April 18, 2007, 04:37:52 PM »

Hi GM,

You're American Indian?  Then I'm really confused.  How can you not identify with the Palestinians?

****Because the Jews were the original "native peoples" of Israel, as well as other parts of the middle east. Once thriving jewish communities in places like Cairo and Baghdad have been forced to flee to the tiny speck of land of what is Eretz Yisrael. Think of it as the last Jewish/Christian reservation after the Islamic conquest of the middle east. I do. My tribe in paticular has had a bad experience with trading "land for peace".****

And you pose an excellent question, one that I was expecting to ask you in a follow up post yet in the reverse direction.

I don't blame you in the least for asking when the white/black/asian folks will leave your homeland.  It's not likely to happen but that does not mean it is morally right for your homeland to be invaded and a whole people to be displaced.

**** I think it would be a wonderful act of good faith for you to sign the title of your home over to me before you book a one way flight to Berlin. Maybe you could start a movement by living up to the standard you demand of the Israelis. Actions speak much louder than words. Let me know when and where we can meet so we can do this transaction before you catch your Lufthansa flight. (I am of course saying this with tongue firmly planted in cheek, you and I both know that you and everyone else aren't going anywhere.)****

Frankly, I wonder sometimes why American Indians have not become domestic terrorists.  The US has been horrible to you guys.  I wonder frequently why the Palestinians have decided to fight back (and at such horrible expense) and other groups in history, including Jews during the Nazi times, have not fought back so long or so hard or so desparately.  I'd like to know what the difference is.

****AIM kind of got into domestic terrorism in the 60's/70's, but most Indian people reject terrorism as immoral and contrary to Indian values and are patriotic Americans. Despite the horrors the various tribes suffered at the time of "manifest destiny", as conquered people we were treated better than the Turks treated the Armenians or the Spanish and later Mexicans treated the "Indios" or any people the muslim jihad has overrun. As a tribal elder once explained on this subject "We signed the treaties and kept our side because we gave our word". Indians were given their little chunks of land and allowed to survive, despite the the US military's ability to utter wipe us off the planet. In time, America evolved. Now those of european ancestry, such as yourself feel regret over the part wrongs against native peoples. If you'll look at Turkey, you'll see no such thing about the Armenian genocide. Muslims celebrate the genocidal acts of Muhammad against various Jewish tribes.****

I do not consider terrorism valid or good, for the record, under any circumstances.  I am not pleased about my bro-in-law still having nightmares of heads on stakes in his home village or my wife instinctively ducking when a car backfires or being good a certain surgical proceedures because she's had to repair certain wounds (sometimes on kids) before.

I'm not endorsing it.  I am trying to get really clear on how it comes about and I do not like my taxes going to support fascist countries who woudl be forced to compromise and behave more honorably if they did not have my money and my weapons aiding them.  If we want to figure out why soap is flying across the bathroom and knocking us in the head, it makes sense to look at who is wetting and squeezing it and why.

****Again, why the double standard. If sucide/homicide bombing is ok for the "Palestinians", why isn't it ok here?****

I do think that Islamist terrorism comes from the defeat of the Turks in 1918, re-drawing of the middle east by France and England, creation of Israel and its policies toward the Palistinians, modern high-tech which has changed the game (reference Thomas Freedman's concept of super-empowered individuals or groups competing with nation-states as actors), plus a bit of class-warfare that is a function of globalism.  That means that we play a role in creating it and we therefore have some responsibility for it AND, importantly, an opportunity to make changes in our collective behavior that may just solve the problems with less violence and less avoidance of self-accountability than otherwise.  I think that's a good thing.

****Muhammad was the original islamist terrorist. The problem is, when it comes to a theological debate between moderate muslims and the jihadists, the jihadists hold the theological upper hand.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220:
Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them).

Qu'ran verse 8, 12: "When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them."****


I think what I just described is the mechanism by which such violence is made and I think it's important for people to understand this for the reasons you and I agreed upon earlier, namely that we've got to understand the problem well in order to solve it.

And, as agreed earlier, this mennace of Islamist terrorism is a real danger and must be understood if we're goign to solve it, maybe even in order for us to survive.  It could get pretty bad in the next 50 years.

-E
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #54 on: April 18, 2007, 05:11:00 PM »

Forgive the interjection here Erik and GM.  It appears that I spoke in haste when directing everything to this thread.

Please continue the discussion of Israel et al on the thread "Israel and its neighbors" and please discuss here whether Sharia is part of the definition of Islam and related matters.

Thank you.
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G M
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« Reply #55 on: April 18, 2007, 05:14:13 PM »

Crafty,

You need a smiley pulling it's hair out.  angry

....Grumble.....It's like moving furniture for my wife.....grumble......
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Erik
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« Reply #56 on: April 18, 2007, 05:35:21 PM »

Sorry Crafty, I hope this debate is not out of bounds in the forum here.  Not sure how to give a gentle pat on the shoulder and respectful, friendly non-verbal eye-contact via internet, but consider it sent. -E
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #57 on: April 18, 2007, 05:43:01 PM »

GM-- thank you for the pasting here and if you reread my post you will see that I did not ask you to move it again.

Anyway, please carry on both of you!
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G M
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« Reply #58 on: April 18, 2007, 05:59:34 PM »

Crafty,

No worries. As usual, my sense of humor is funny to...me.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #59 on: April 19, 2007, 01:19:01 AM »

Erik:

Tis late and I am ready for bed, but for the record I find your description of matters pertaining to Jews and Muslims in Israel/Palestine (a.k.a. Jordan) to be quite wide of the mark. 

TAC,
Marc

PS:  Any continuation of this subject should take place on "Israel and its Neighbors".
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G M
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« Reply #60 on: April 20, 2007, 06:12:23 PM »

http://www.smithsonianmagazine.com/issues/2006/february/presence.htm

A Lesson In Hate

How an Egyptian student came to study 1950s America and left determined to wage holy war
By David Von Drehle

Before Sayyid Qutb became a leading theorist of violent jihad, he was a little-known Egyptian writer sojourning in the United States, where he attended a small teachers college on the Great Plains. Greeley, Colorado, circa 1950 was the last place one might think to look for signs of American decadence. Its wide streets were dotted with churches, and there wasn’t a bar in the whole temperate town. But the courtly Qutb (COO-tub) saw things that others did not. He seethed at the brutishness of the people around him: the way they salted their watermelon and drank their tea unsweetened and watered their lawns. He found the muscular football players appalling and despaired of finding a barber who could give a proper haircut. As for the music: “The American’s enjoyment of jazz does not fully begin until he couples it with singing like crude screaming,” Qutb wrote when he returned to Egypt. “It is this music that the savage bushmen created to satisfy their primitive desires.”

Such grumbling by an unhappy crank would be almost comical but for one fact: a direct line of influence runs from Sayyid Qutb to Osama bin Laden, and to bin Laden’s Egyptian partner in terror, Ayman al-Zawahiri. From them, the line continues to another quietly seething Egyptian sojourning in the United States—the 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta. Qutb’s gripes about America require serious attention because they cast light on a question that has been nagging since the fall of the World Trade Center: Why do they hate us?

Born in 1906 in the northern Egyptian village of Musha and raised in a devout Muslim home, Qutb memorized the Koran as a boy. Later he moved to Cairo and found work as a teacher and writer. His novels made no great impression, but he earned a reputation as an astute literary critic. Qutb was among the first champions of Naguib Mahfouz, a young, modern novelist who, in 1988, would win the Nobel Prize in Literature. As Qutb matured, his mind took on a more political cast. Even by the standards of Egypt, those were chaotic, corrupt times: World War I had completed the destruction of the Ottoman Empire, and the Western powers were creating, with absolute colonial confidence, new maps and governments for the Middle East. For a proud man like Sayyid Qutb, the humiliation of his country at the hands of secular leaders and Western puppets was galling. His writing drew unfavorable attention from the Egyptian government, and by 1948, Mahfouz has said, Qutb’s friends in the Ministry of Education were sufficiently worried about his situation that they contrived to send him abroad to the safety of the United States.

Some biographical sketches suggest that Qutb arrived with a benign view of America, but if that’s true it didn’t last long. During a short stay in Washington, D.C., he witnessed the commotion surrounding an elevator accident and was stunned to hear other onlookers making a joke of the victim’s appearance. From this and a few offhand remarks in other settings, Qutb concluded that Americans suffered from “a drought of sentimental sympathy” and that “Americans intentionally deride what people in the Old World hold sacred.”

This became the lens through which Qutb read nearly every American encounter—a clash of New World versus Old. Qutb easily satisfied the requirements at the graduate school of the Colorado State College of Education (now known as the University of Northern Colorado) and devoted the rest of his time to his true interest—the American soul, if such a thing existed. “This great America: What is its worth in the scale of human values?” Qutb wondered. “And what does it add to the moral account of humanity?” His answer: nothing.

[pullquote]

Still, Qutb’s contempt for America was not as simple as some people might now imagine. He did not recoil from political freedom and democracy, as, say, President Bush might expect from a jihadi theorist, nor did he complain about shades of imperial ambition in American foreign policy, as writers on the left might suppose. Regarding the excesses of American culture—vulgarity, materialism and promiscuity—Qutb expressed shock, but it rang a bit hollow. “The American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity,” he wrote. “She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs and she shows all this and does not hide it.” These curvy jezebels pursued boys with “wide, strapping chest” and “ox muscles,” Qutb added with disgust. Yet no matter how lascivious his adjectives, the fastidious, unmarried Egyptian could not convincingly portray the church dances and Look magazines he encountered in sleepy Greeley as constituting a genuine sexual “jungle.”

The core problem with the United States, for Qutb, was not something Americans did, but simply what America was—“the New World...is spellbinding.” It was more than a land of pleasures without limit. In America, unlike in Egypt, dreams could come true. Qutb understood the danger this posed: America’s dazzle had the power to blind people to the real zenith of civilization, which for Qutb began with Muhammad in the seventh century and reached its apex in the Middle Ages, carried triumphantly by Muslim armies.

Qutb rejected the idea that “new” was also “improved.” The Enlightenment, the Industrial Age—modernity itself—were not progress. “The true value of every civilization...lies not in the tools man has invented or in how much power he wields,” Qutb wrote. “The value of civilizations lay in what universal truths and worldviews they have attained.” The modern obsession with science and invention was a moral regression to the primitive condition of the first toolmakers. Qutb’s America was bursting with raw energy and appetite, but utterly without higher virtues. In his eyes, its “interminable, incalculable expanses of virgin land” were settled by “groups of adventurers and groups of criminals” who lacked the time and reflection required for a civilized life. Qutb’s Americans “faced the uncharted forests, the tortuous mountain mazes, the fields of ice, the thundering hurricanes, and the beasts, serpents and vermin of the forest” in a struggle that left them numb to “faith in religion, faith in art and faith in spiritual values altogether.”

This portrait likely would have surprised the people of mid-century Greeley, had they somehow become aware of the unspoken opinions of their somewhat frosty neighbor. Theirs was a friendly town best known for the unpretentious college and for the cattle feedlots sprawling pungently on its outskirts. The founding of Greeley in the 1870s involved no ice fields, hurricanes or serpents. Instead, it began with a simple newspaper column written by Nathan Meeker, agricultural editor of the New York Tribune. On December 14, 1869, Meeker appealed to literate readers of high moral character to join him in building a utopian community by the South Platte River near the foot of the Rocky Mountains. More than 3,000 readers applied; from this list Meeker selected the 700 best qualified to realize his vision of a sober, godly, cooperative community. The town was dubbed Greeley in honor of Meeker’s boss at the Tribune, the quixotic publisher Horace Greeley, who died within weeks of his failed run for president in 1872, just as the project was gathering steam.

[pullquote]

Poet and journalist Sara Lippincott was an early visitor to the frontier outpost, and later wrote about it under her pen name, Grace Greenwood. “You’ll die of dullness in less than five hours,” another traveler had warned her about Greeley. “There is nothing there but irrigation. Your host will invite you out to see him irrigate his potato-patch...there is not a billiard-saloon in the whole camp, nor a drink of whiskey to be had for love or money.” None of that made any difference to Qutb, who saw only what he already believed, and wrote not facts, but his own truth, in his 1951 essay, “The America I Have Seen.”

Sayyid Qutb cut short his stay in America and returned to Egypt in 1951 after the assassination of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the nationalist, religious and militant movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood. Over the next decade and a half, often writing from prison, Qutb refined a violent political theology from the raw anti-modernism of his American interlude. Virtually the entire modern world, Qutb theorized, is jahiliyya, that barbarous state that existed before Muhammad. Only the strict, unchanging law of the prophet can redeem this uncivilized condition. Nearly a millennium of history became, to the radicalized Qutb, an offense wrought by the violence of jahili “Crusaders” and the supposed perfidy of the Jews. And Muslim leaders allied with the West were no better than the Crusaders themselves. Therefore, Qutb called all true Muslims to jihad, or Holy War, against jahiliyya—which is to say, against modernity, which America so powerfully represents.

This philosophy led to Qutb’s execution in 1966. Proud to the end, he refused to accept the secular Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser’s offer of mercy in exchange for Qutb’s repudiation of his jihad. Nasser may have silenced a critic, but the martyrdom of Sayyid Qutb accelerated his movement. The same year the philosopher was hanged, according to journalist Lawrence Wright, the teenage al-Zawahiri formed his first violent cell, dedicated to the overthrow of the Egyptian government and the creation of an Islamist state. Meanwhile, Qutb’s brother Muhammad went into exile in Saudi Arabia, where he taught at King Abdul Aziz University. One of his students, an heir to the country’s largest construction fortune, was Osama bin Laden.

Others have taken Qutb’s ideas in less apocalyptic directions, so that M.A. Muqtedar Khan of the Brookings Institution can rank him alongside the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran as “one of the major architects and ‘strategists’ of contemporary Islamic revival.” But the last paragraphs of Qutb’s American memoir suggest just how far outside normal discourse his mind was wont to stray. After noting the stupidity of his Greeley neighbors, who failed to understand his dry and cutting jokes, Qutb writes: “In summary, anything that requires a touch of elegance is not for the American, even haircuts! For there was not one instance in which I had a haircut there when I did not return home to even with my own hands what the barber had wrought.” This culminating example of inescapable barbarism led directly to his conclusion. “Humanity makes the gravest of errors and risks losing its account of morals, if it makes America its example.”

Turning a haircut into a matter of grave moral significance is the work of a fanatic. That’s the light ultimately cast by Qutb’s American experience on the question of why his disciples might hate us. Hating America for its haircuts cannot be distinguished from hating for no sane reason at all.

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G M
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« Reply #61 on: April 21, 2007, 11:45:03 AM »

http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/04/an_apology_for_koranic_antisem.html

April 20, 2007
An Apology for Koranic Antisemitism?

By Andrew G. Bostom
Two months after the mass murdering  acts of jihad terrorism on 9/11/01, Dr. Walid Fataihi, director of "outreach" for the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), who still serves on the ISB Board of Directors, boasted that this carnage engendered two related "successes" -enhanced Muslim proselytization efforts, and damage to Christian-Jewish relations in the U.S.

Fitaihi crowed,

"...the Muslim community in the U.S. in general, and in Boston in particular, has begun to trouble the Zionist lobby."
He continued triumphantly, quoting the Koran (3:112/ 2:61 (see also this).

The words of the Koran on this matter are true: "They [the Jews] will be humiliated wherever they are found, unless they are protected under a covenant with Allah, or a covenant with another people. They [the Jews] have incurred Allah's wrath and they have been afflicted with misery. That is because they continuously rejected the Signs of Allah and were after slaying the Prophets without just cause, and this resulted from their disobedience and their habit of transgression." The great Allah spoke words of truth. Their covenant with America is the strongest possible in the U.S., but it is weaker than they think, and one day their covenant with the [American] people will be cut off.
During a private meeting with some 25 lay and religious leaders convened at the Workmen's Circle in Brookline, Massachusetts on April 6, 2007-nearly 5 ½ years later-Fitaihi was reported to have offered a belated apology for his November 11, 2001 remarks. The dubious sincerity of this putative act of contrition aside-it occurred as the ISB is embroiled in a bitter and debilitating legal dispute with members of the local Jewish community-did Fitaihi actually apologize for invoking Koran 3:112/2:61, and their virulently antisemitic contents?

As a central anti-Jewish motif, the Koran decrees an eternal curse upon the Jews (Koran 2:61/ 3:112) for slaying the prophets and transgressing against the will of Allah. This motif is coupled to Koranic verses 5:60 and 5:78 which describe the Jews transformation into apes and swine (5:60), having been "...cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary's son" (5:78). The related verse, 5:64, accuses the Jews-as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did in a January 2007 speech, citing Koran 5:64-of being "spreaders of war and corruption", a sort of ancient Koranic antecedent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

From the advent of Islam, dehumanizing Jews as apes (Koran 2:65/7:166), or apes and pigs (Koran 5:60) transcended any mere application to "Sabbath breakers." Muhammad himself, in both the sira (early, sacralized Muslim biographies) of Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa‘d, referred to the Medinan Jews of the Banu Qurayza as "apes" just before orchestrating the slaughter of all their post-pubertal men.

This sacralized massacre is the prototype. Large scale massacres of Jews by Muslims occurred in Granada (circa 1066;  4000 killed, and Jewish society destroyed; more Jews killed in this one pogrom than in the Crusaders' much more infamous ravages through the Rhineland 30 years later); Baghdad (1290/91; hundreds killed with pogroms extending throughout Iraq, and into Persia); and the southern Moroccan oasis town of Touat (~ 1490; many Jews killed, and their Temple destroyed).

Each of these massacres was incited and/or celebrated by depictions of Jews as apes in verses by popular clerics-in the case of Touat, the "composer" of such a verse al-Maghili (d. 1505), an important Muslim theologian whose writings influenced Moroccan religious attitudes towards Jews into the 20th century-led the pogrom himself. Maghili also declared in verse, "Love of the Prophet, requires hatred of the Jews."

The centrality of the Jews' permanent "abasement and humiliation," and being "laden with God's anger" in the corpus of Muslim exegetic literature on Koran 2:61 (including the hadith and Koranic commentaries), is clear. By nature deceitful and treacherous, the Jews rejected Allah's signs and prophets, including Isa, the Muslim Jesus. Classical Koranic commentators such as Tabari (d. 923), Zamakshari (d. 1143), Baydawi (d. 1316), and Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), when discussing Koran 5:82 ("Thou wilt surely find the most hostile of men to the believers are the Jews and the idolaters; and thou wilt surely find the nearest of them in love to the believers are those who say 'We are Christians'; that, because some of them are priests and monks, and they wax not proud."), concur on the unique animus of the Jews towards the Muslims, which is repeatedly linked to the curse of  Koran 2:61. For example, in his commentary on 5:82, Tabari writes,

In my opinion, [the Christians] are not like the Jews who always scheme in order to murder the emissaries and the prophets, and who oppose God in his positive and negative commandments, and who corrupt His scripture which He revealed in His books.
Tabari's  classical interpretations of Koran 5:82 and 2:61,  as well as his discussion of the related verse 9:29 mandating the Jews payment of the jizya (Koranic poll-tax), represent both Antisemitic and more general anti-dhimmi views that became, and remain, intrinsic to Islam to this day. Here is Tabari's discussion of 2:61 and its relationship to verse 9:29, which emphasizes the purposely debasing nature of the Koranic poll tax:

..."abasement and poverty were imposed and laid down upon them", as when someone says "the imam imposed the poll tax (jizya)on free non-Muslim subjects", or "The man imposed land tax on his slave", meaning thereby that he obliged him [to pay ] it, or, "The commander imposed a sortie on his troops", meaning he made it their duty....God commanded His believing servants not to give them [i.e., the non-Muslim people of the scripture] security-as long as they continued to disbelieve in Him and his Messenger-unless they paid the poll tax to them; God said: "Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden-such men as practice not the religion of truth [Islam], being of those who have been given the Book [Bible]-until they pay the poll tax, being humble" (Koran 9:29).. The dhimmis [non-Muslim tributary's] posture during the collection of the jizya- "[lowering themselves] by walking on their hand, ...reluctantly

...Ibn Zaid said about His words "and abasement and poverty were imposed upon them", ‘These are the Jews of the Children of Israel'. I said: ‘Are they the Copts of Egypt?' He said: "What have the Copts of Egypt to do with this? No, by God, they are not; but they are the Jews, the Children of Israel....By "and slain the prophets unrightfully" He means that they used to kill the Messengers of God without God's leave, denying their messages and rejecting their prophethood.

Indeed the Koran's overall discussion of the Jews is marked by a litany of their sins and punishments, as if part of a divine indictment and conviction process. The Jews wronged themselves (16:118) by losing faith (7:168) and breaking their covenant (5:13). The Jews (echoing an ante-Nicaean, Marcionite polemic) are a nation that has passed away (2:134; repeated in 2:141). Twice Allah sent his instruments (the Assyrians/or Babylonians, and Romans) to punish this perverse people (17:4-5)-their dispersal over the earth is proof of Allah's rejection (7:168).

The Jews are further warned about both their arrogant claim that they remain Allah's chosen people (62:6), and continued disobedience and "corruption" (5:32-33) Other sins, some repeated, are enumerated: abuse, even killing of prophets (4:155; 2:91), including Isa [Jesus] (3:55; 4:157), is a consistent theme. The Jews ridiculed Muhammad as Ra'ina (the evil one, in 2:104; 4:46), and  they are also accused of lack of faith, taking words out of context, disobedience, and distortion (4:46). Precious few of them are believers (also 4:46). These "perverse" creatures also claim that Ezra is the messiah and they worship rabbis who defraud men of their possessions (9:30).

Additional sins are described: the Jews are typified as an "envious" people (2:109), whose hearts are as hardened as rocks (2:74). They are further accused of confounding the truth (2:42), deliberately perverting scripture (2:75), and being liars (2:78). Ill-informed people of little faith (2:89), they pursue vague and wishful fancies (2:111). Other sins have contributed to their being stamped (see 2:61/ 3:112 above) with "wretchedness/abasement and humiliation," including-usury (2:275), sorcery (2:102), hedonism (2:96), and idol worship (2:53).

More (and repeat) sins, are described still: the Jews' idol worship is again mentioned (4:51), then linked and followed by charges of other (often repeat) iniquities-the "tremendous calumny" against Mary (4:156), as well as usury and cheating (4:161). Most Jews are accused of being "evil-livers" /"transgressors" /"ungodly" (3:110), who, deceived by their own lies (3:24), try to turn Muslims from Islam (3:99). Jews are blind and deaf to the truth (5:71), and what they have not forgotten they have perverted-they mislead (3:69), confound the truth (3:71), twist tongues (3:79), and cheat Gentiles without remorse (3:75).

Muslims are advised not to take the Jews as friends (5:51), and to beware of the inveterate hatred that Jews bear towards them (5:82). The Jews' ultimate sin and punishment are made clear: they are the devil's minions (4:60) cursed by Allah, their faces will be obliterated (4:47), and if they do not accept the true faith of Islam-the Jews who understand their faith become Muslims (3:113)-they will be made into apes (2:65/ 7:166), or apes and swine (5:60), and burn in the Hellfires (4:55, 5:29, 98:6, and 58:14-19).

The essential nature of the Koranic "revelation", as understood by Muslims, was elaborated in 1891 by Theodore Nöldeke (whose seminal 1860 Geschichte des Qorans remains a vital tool for Koranic research):

To the faith of the Muslims...the Koran is the word of God, and such also is the claim which the book itself advances...

And to this day, for the Muslim masses, as Ibn Warraq notes,

...the Koran remains the infallible word of God, the immediate word of God sent down, through the intermediary of a "spirit" or "holy spirit" or Gabriel, to Muhammad in perfect, pure Arabic; and every thing contained therein is eternal and uncreated. The original text is in heaven...The angel dictated the revelation to the Prophet, who repeated it after him, and then revealed it to the world. Modern Muslims also claim that these revelations have been preserved exactly as revealed to Muhammad, without any change, addition, or loss whatsoever...the Koran remains for all Muslims, and not just "fundamentalists" the uncreated word of God Himself. It is valid for all times and places; its ideals are, according to all Muslims, absolutely true and beyond any criticism. [emphasis added]
Thus it strains credibility to assume that Dr. Fitaihi-a pious Muslim actively engaged in politicized da'wa-would have apologized for his invocation of antisemitic motifs from the Koran, the Jews' traits as characterized therein being deemed both infallible and timeless. Equally important and related concerns were raised by Boston area blogger Solomonia, who observed,

We don't have any wording from the "apology," nor do we know who, exactly, was at the meeting. How do we measure this? Fitaihi jetted into town, then just as quickly jetted out after facing what looks like a friendly audience and no serious or skeptical questioning-a group who then...surprise...pronounce him absolved.
The Fitaihi affair-a depressing web of deceit, denial, and delusion-epitomizes the sorry state of public understanding of Islamic antisemitism, most ominously, by its victims.

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (2005), and the forthcoming The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism (2007), which can be previewed here.

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« Reply #62 on: April 21, 2007, 04:19:14 PM »

http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/04/e59f50e4-1868-44bd-9925-813ce3887bab.html

Friday, April 20, 2007

Germany: Founder Of Council Of Ex-Muslims Seeks To 'Break Taboo'

April 20, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Mina Ahadi, an Iranian-born activist living in Germany, has founded a council of former Muslims who have renounced their faith. Members of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims are immigrants from predominantly Islamic countries. Ahadi, who is now under police protection, spoke with RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari.





RFE/RL: Why did you decide to create the Council of Ex-Muslims?

Mina Ahadi: It's been 11 years now that I've lived in Germany, and the friends and I who founded the council have been critical regarding some events in this country. On the one hand, when there is talk about people who have come to Germany from countries such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Turkey, they're all being labeled Muslims; then all of these 3 1/2 million people are put in the same bag, and Islamist organizations are being presented as being in charge of them.


People like myself, we sought asylum in Germany and we came to live here because we [opposed] political Islam and such organizations. Many of the problems here -- such as honor killings or imposing the Islamic hejab on children, or building a number of mosques here -- create divisions among people. All of these are explained to society based on the argument that Muslims have a different culture or Muslims have different ideas. All of these prompted those of us who are critical and who oppose such things to create a body that will have different policies regarding such issues.

RFE/RL: What policies are you following and what is the aim of your group?

Ahadi: We are humans, and that's our most important identity. All of the people, men and women, who have come [to Germany] from [Islamic] countries are humans. They've come to this country because of a better life, because of freedom, and because of better conditions. And they want to live with the people of this country, with Germans. They don't want to have a parallel society. They don't want again for young girls not to have the right to have a boyfriend or not have the right to participate in swimming class because their families are Muslims.

We represent a secular policy, a human policy. And we want to stand up against political Islam and against Western governments' policy of cultural relativism

RFE/RL: How many members does your group have?

Ahadi: We started with 40 people, but currently we have 400 members. For now, we want our members to be from Germany. We have received membership requests from other countries -- for example, from Egypt, Morocco, Iran, [and] Scandinavian countries. But we have not accepted foreign members yet. All our members are living in Germany, and our only principle is that those who become our members [must] be atheists and not believe in God or any religion.

RFE/RL: You've said in interviews that you aim to give a voice to Muslims who do not want to be Muslims anymore and give a different image of people from Islamic countries who live in Europe. Could you explain?

Ahadi: We want to change the existing picture that all people who have come from Islamic countries are fanatics, religious, or backwards and that their culture is very different from others. In my view, this is not an accurate portrait. People who come from these countries, regardless of whether they're Muslims or not, they're not different from other people, and they want to have a [normal] life. And we are defending their rights.

RFE/RL: As you know, renouncing Islam is considered a grave offense among some Muslims, and in some Islamic countries, including Iran, apostasy is punishable by death. Don't you think that your move and the creation of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims could create tension and provoke some Muslims?

Ahadi: I'm aware that a person who says, 'I'm not a Muslim anymore,' faces the danger of death. That's why I'm now under police protection. But I don't think it causes tensions. It is possible that some groups or organizations might issue fatwas against people who have [renounced Islam].

But I think one should not be afraid, and this taboo should be broken. Our goal is to break the taboo -- people who don't believe should have the right to say it [publicly], and no one should [be able to] harm them for that. But in some countries where Islamists are in power, this is a taboo; and we want to break this taboo.

I actually think that our movement will motivate people to express themselves and live according to their beliefs. If this movement expands and grows worldwide -- which is our goal -- then it could create a global front against political Islam and force [proponents of political Islam] to retreat. In Germany, there have been no official fatwas against us, and I see it as a retreat that we have imposed on Islamic organizations and also on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

RFE/RL: You said there have not been any fatwas against you or the other members of your group. But have you received death threats?

Ahadi: Right after we launched our campaign, quotations from my interviews were published on some websites, and it was said that "this woman should get her response," or they said that "she should be murdered." So there have been death threats against me on [some] websites and also through letters we have received. But there has been no official fatwa by mullahs or by the Islamic establishment of Iran.

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« Reply #63 on: April 23, 2007, 08:07:56 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/04/23/intimidation-islamist-attacks-across-the-west/

Jihad Watch VLog

===============

Marc here:  I have reposted this link on the Islam vs. Free Speech thread.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2007, 09:17:08 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #64 on: April 23, 2007, 09:41:36 PM »

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/book_extracts/article1685726.ece

From The Sunday Times
April 21, 2007
How a British jihadi saw the light


Ed Hussain, once a proponent of radical Islam in London, tells how his time as a teacher in Saudi Arabia led him to turn against extremism
During our first two months in Jeddah, Faye and I relished our new and luxurious lifestyle: a shiny jeep, two swimming pools, domestic help, and a tax-free salary. The luxury of living in a modern city with a developed infrastructure cocooned me from the frightful reality of life in Saudi Arabia.

My goatee beard and good Arabic ensured that I could pass for an Arab.

But looking like a young Saudi was not enough: I had to act Saudi, be Saudi. And here I failed.

My first clash with Saudi culture came when, being driven around in a bulletproof jeep, I saw African women in black abayas tending to the rubbish bins outside restaurants, residences and other busy places.

“Why are there so many black cleaners on the streets?” I asked the driver. The driver laughed. “They’re not cleaners. They are scavengers; women who collect cardboard from all across Jeddah and then sell it. They also collect bottles, drink cans, bags.”

“You don’t find it objectionable that poor immigrant women work in such undignified and unhygienic conditions on the streets?”

“Believe me, there are worse jobs women can do.”

Though it grieves me to admit it, the driver was right. In Saudi Arabia women indeed did do worse jobs. Many of the African women lived in an area of Jeddah known as Karantina, a slum full of poverty, prostitution and disease.

A visit to Karantina, a perversion of the term “quarantine”, was one of the worst of my life. Thousands of people who had been living in Saudi Arabia for decades, but without passports, had been deemed “illegal” by the government and, quite literally, abandoned under a flyover.

A non-Saudi black student I had met at the British Council accompanied me. “Last week a woman gave birth here,” he said, pointing to a ramshackle cardboard shanty. Disturbed, I now realised that the materials I had seen those women carrying were not always for sale but for shelter.

I had never expected to see such naked poverty in Saudi Arabia.

At that moment it dawned on me that Britain, my home, had given refuge to thousands of black Africans from Somalia and Sudan: I had seen them in their droves in Whitechapel. They prayed, had their own mosques, were free and were given government housing.

Many Muslims enjoyed a better lifestyle in non-Muslim Britain than they did in Muslim Saudi Arabia. At that moment I longed to be home again.

All my talk of ummah seemed so juvenile now. It was only in the comfort of Britain that Islamists could come out with such radical utopian slogans as one government, one ever expanding country, for one Muslim nation. The racist reality of the Arab psyche would never accept black and white people as equal.

Standing in Karantina that day, I reminisced and marvelled over what I previously considered as wrong: mixed-race, mixed-religion marriages. The students to whom I described life in modern multi-ethnic Britain could not comprehend that such a world of freedom, away from “normal” Saudi racism, could exist.

Racism was an integral part of Saudi society. My students often used the word “nigger” to describe black people. Even dark-skinned Arabs were considered inferior to their lighter-skinned cousins. I was living in the world’s most avowedly Muslim country, yet I found it anything but. I was appalled by the imposition of Wahhabism in the public realm, something I had implicitly sought as an Islamist.

Part of this local culture consisted of public institutions being segregated and women banned from driving on the grounds that it would give rise to “licentiousness”. I was repeatedly astounded at the stares Faye got from Saudi men and I from Saudi women.

Faye was not immodest in her dress. Out of respect for local custom, she wore the long black abaya and covered her hair in a black scarf. In all the years I had known my wife, never had I seen her appear so dull. Yet on two occasions she was accosted by passing Saudi youths from their cars. On another occasion a man pulled up beside our car and offered her his phone number.

In supermarkets I only had to be away from Faye for five minutes and Saudi men would hiss or whisper obscenities as they walked past. When Faye discussed her experiences with local women at the British Council they said: “Welcome to Saudi Arabia.”

After a month in Jeddah I heard from an Asian taxi driver about a Filipino worker who had brought his new bride to live with him in Jeddah. After visiting the Balad shopping district the couple caught a taxi home. Some way through their journey the Saudi driver complained that the car was not working properly and perhaps the man could help push it. The passenger obliged. Within seconds the Saudi driver had sped off with the man’s wife in his car and, months later, there was still no clue as to her whereabouts.

We had heard stories of the abduction of women from taxis by sex-deprived Saudi youths. At a Saudi friend’s wedding at a luxurious hotel in Jeddah, women dared not step out of their hotel rooms and walk to the banqueting hall for fear of abduction by the bodyguards of a Saudi prince who also happened to be staying there.

Why had the veil and segregation not prevented such behaviour? My Saudi acquaintances, many of them university graduates, argued strongly that, on the contrary, it was the veil and other social norms that were responsible for such widespread sexual frustration among Saudi youth.

At work the British Council introduced free internet access for educational purposes. Within days the students had downloaded the most obscene pornography from sites banned in Saudi Arabia, but easily accessed via the British Council’s satellite connection. Segregation of the sexes, made worse by the veil, had spawned a culture of pent-up sexual frustration that expressed itself in the unhealthiest ways.

Using Bluetooth technology on mobile phones, strangers sent pornographic clips to one another. Many of the clips were recordings of homosexual acts between Saudis and many featured young Saudis in orgies in Lebanon and Egypt. The obsession with sex in Saudi Arabia had reached worrying levels: rape and abuse of both sexes occurred frequently, some cases even reaching the usually censored national press.

My students told me about the day in March 2002 when the Muttawa [the religious police] had forbidden firefighters in Mecca from entering a blazing school building because the girls inside were not wearing veils. Consequently 15 young women burnt to death, but Wahhabism held its head high, claiming that God’s law had been maintained.

As a young Islamist, I organised events at college and in the local community that were strictly segregated and I believed in it. Living in Saudi Arabia, I could see the logical outcome of such segregation.

In my Islamist days we relished stating that Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases were the result of the moral degeneracy of the West. Large numbers of Islamists in Britain hounded prostitutes in Brick Lane and flippantly quoted divorce and abortion rates in Britain. The implication was that Muslim morality was superior. Now, more than ever, I was convinced that this too was Islamist propaganda, designed to undermine the West and inject false confidence in Muslim minds.

I worried whether my observations were idiosyncratic, the musings of a wandering mind. I discussed my troubles with other British Muslims working at the British Council. Jamal, who was of a Wahhabi bent, fully agreed with what I observed and went further. “Ed, my wife wore the veil back home in Britain and even there she did not get as many stares as she gets when we go out here.” Another British Muslim had gone as far as tinting his car windows black in order to prevent young Saudis gaping at his wife.

The problems of Saudi Arabia were not limited to racism and sexual frustration.

In contemporary Wahhabism there are two broad factions. One is publicly supportive of the House of Saud, and will endorse any policy decision reached by the Saudi government and provide scriptural justification for it. The second believes that the House of Saud should be forcibly removed and the Wahhabi clerics take charge. Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda are from the second school.

In Mecca, Medina and Jeddah I met young men with angry faces from Europe, students at various Wahhabi seminaries. They reminded me of my extremist days.

They were candid in discussing their frustrations with Saudi Arabia. The country was not sufficiently Islamic; it had strayed from the teachings of Wahhabism. They were firmly on the side of the monarchy and the clerics who supported it. Soon they were to return to the West, well versed in Arabic, fully indoctrinated by Wahhabism, to become imams in British mosques.

By the summer of 2005 Faye and I had only eight weeks left in Saudi Arabia before we would return home to London. Thursday, July 7, was the beginning of the Saudi weekend. Faye and I were due to lunch with Sultan, a Saudi banker who was financial adviser to four government ministers. I wanted to gauge what he and his wife, Faye’s student, thought about life inside the land of their birth.

On television that morning we watched the developing story of a power cut on the London Underground. As the cameras focused on King’s Cross, Edgware Road, Aldgate and Russell Square, I looked on with a mixture of interest and homesickness. Soon the power-cut story turned into shell-shocked reportage of a series of terrorist bombings.

My initial suspicion was that the perpetrators were Saudis. My experience of them, their virulence towards my non-Muslim friends, their hate-filled textbooks, made me think that Bin Laden’s Saudi soldiers had now targeted my home town. It never crossed my mind that the rhetoric of jihad introduced to Britain by Hizb ut-Tahrir could have anything to do with such horror.

My sister avoided the suicide attack on Aldgate station by four minutes. On the previous day London had won the Olympic bid. At the British Council we had celebrated along with the nation that was now in mourning.

The G8 summit in Scotland had also been derailed by events further south. The summit, thanks largely to the combined efforts of Tony Blair and Bob Geldof, had been set to tackle poverty in Africa. Now it was forced to address Islamist terrorism; Arab grievances had hijacked the agenda again.

The fact that hundreds of children die in Africa every day would be of no relevance to a committed Islamist. In the extremist mind the plight of the tiny Palestinian nation is more important than the deaths of millions of black Africans. Let them die, they’re not Muslims, would be the unspoken line of argument. As an Islamist it was only the suffering of Muslims that had moved me. Now human suffering mattered to me, regardless of religion.

Faye and I were glued to the television for hours. Watching fellow Londoners come out of Tube stations injured and mortified, but facing the world with a defiant sense of dignity, made me feel proud to be British.

We met Sultan and his wife at an Indian restaurant near the British Council. Sultan was in his early thirties and his wife in her late twenties. They had travelled widely and seemed much more liberal than most Saudis I had met. Behind a makeshift partition, the restaurant surroundings were considered private and his wife, to my amazement, removed her veil.

We discussed our travels.

Sultan spoke fondly of his time in London, particularly his placement at Coutts as a trainee banker. We then moved on to the subject uppermost in my mind, the terrorist attacks on London. My host did not really seem to care. He expressed no real sympathy or shock, despite speaking so warmly of his time in London.

“I suppose they will say Bin Laden was behind the attacks. They blamed us for 9/11,” he said.

Keen to take him up on his comment, I asked him: “Based on your education in Saudi Arabian schools, do you think there is a connection between the form of Islam children are taught here and the action of 15 Saudi men on September 11?”

Without thinking, his immediate response was, ‘No. No, because Saudis were not behind 9/11. The plane hijackers were not Saudi men. One thousand two hundred and forty-six Jews were absent from work on that day and there is the proof that they, the Jews, were behind the killings. Not Saudis.”

It was the first time I heard so precise a number of Jewish absentees. I sat there pondering on the pan-Arab denial of the truth, a refusal to accept that the Wahhabi jihadi terrorism festering in their midst had inflicted calamities on the entire world.

In my class the following Sunday, the beginning of the Saudi working week, were nearly 60 Saudis. Only one mentioned the London bombings.

“Was your family harmed?” he asked.

“My sister missed an explosion by four minutes but otherwise they’re all fine, thank you.”

The student, before a full class, sighed and said: “There are no benefits in terrorism. Why do people kill innocents?”

Two others quickly gave him his answer in Arabic: “There are benefits. They will feel how we feel.”

I was livid. “Excuse me?” I said. “Who will know how it feels?”

“We don’t mean you, teacher,” said one. “We are talking about people in England. You are here. They need to know how Iraqis and Palestinians feel.”

“The British people have been bombed by the IRA for years,” I retorted. “Londoners were bombed by Hitler during the blitz. The largest demonstrations against the war in Iraq were in London. People in Britain don’t need to be taught what it feels like to be bombed.”

Several students nodded in agreement. The argumentative ones became quiet. Were they convinced by what I had said? It was difficult to tell.

Two weeks after the terrorist attacks in London another Saudi student raised his hand and asked: “Teacher, how can I go to London?”

“Much depends on your reason for going to Britain. Do you want to study or just be a tourist?”

“Teacher, I want to go London next month. I want bomb, big bomb in London, again. I want make jihad!”

“What?” I exclaimed. Another student raised both hands and shouted: “Me too! Me too!”

Other students applauded those who had just articulated what many of them were thinking. I was incandescent. In protest I walked out of the classroom to a chorus of jeering and catcalls.

My time in Saudi Arabia bolstered my conviction that an austere form of Islam (Wahhabism) married to a politicised Islam (Islamism) is wreaking havoc in the world. This anger-ridden ideology, an ideology I once advocated, is not only a threat to Islam and Muslims, but to the entire civilised world.

I vowed, in my own limited way, to fight those who had hijacked my faith, defamed my prophet and killed thousands of my own people: the human race. I was encouraged when Tony Blair announced on August 5, 2005, plans to proscribe an array of Islamist organisations that operated in Britain, foremost among them Hizb ut-Tahrir.

At the time I was impressed by Blair’s resolve. The Hizb should have been outlawed a decade ago and so spared many of us so much misery. Sadly the legislation was shelved last year amid fears that a ban would only add to the group’s attraction, so it remains both legal and active today. But it is not too late.

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« Reply #65 on: April 27, 2007, 10:06:00 AM »

Mainstream Caliphate Confessions   
By Andrew G. Bostom
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 27, 2007

Writing in 1916, C. Snouck Hurgronje, the great Dutch Orientalist, underscored how the jihad doctrine of world conquest, and the re-creation of a supranational Islamic Caliphate remained a potent force among the Muslim masses:

…it would be a gross mistake to imagine that the idea of universal conquest may be considered as obliterated…the canonists and the vulgar still live in the illusion of the days of Islam’s greatness. The legists continue to ground their appreciation of every actual political condition on the law of the holy war, which war ought never be allowed to cease entirely until all mankind is reduced to the authority of Islam—the heathen by conversion, the adherents of acknowledged Scripture [i.e., Jews and Christians] by submission.
 
Hurgronje further noted that although the Muslim rank and file might acknowledge the improbability of that goal “at present” (circa 1916), they were,
 
…comforted and encouraged by the recollection of the lengthy period of humiliation that the Prophet himself had to suffer before Allah bestowed victory upon his arms…
 
Thus even at the nadir of Islam’s political power, during the World War I era final disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, Hurgronje observed how
 
…the common people are willingly taught by the canonists and feed their hope of better days upon the innumerable legends of the olden time and the equally innumerable apocalyptic prophecies about the future. The political blows that fall upon Islam make less impression…than the senseless stories about the power of the Sultan of Stambul [Istanbul], that would instantly be revealed if he were not surrounded by treacherous servants, and the fantastic tidings of the miracles that Allah works in the Holy Cities of Arabia which are inaccessible to the unfaithful. The conception of the Khalifate [Caliphate] still exercises a fascinating influence, regarded in the light of a central point of union against the unfaithful (i.e., non-Muslims). [emphasis added]
 
Nearly a century later, the preponderance of contemporary mainstream Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia, apparently share with their murderous, jihad terror waging co-religionists from al-Qaeda the goal (if not necessarily supporting the gruesome means) of re-establishing an Islamic Caliphate. Polling data just released (April 24, 2007) in a rigorously conducted face-to-face University of Maryland/ WorldPublicOpinion.org interview survey of 4384 Muslims conducted between December 9, 2006 and February 15, 2007—1000 Moroccans, 1000 Egyptians, 1243 Pakistanis, and 1141 Indonesians—reveal that 65.2% of those interviewed—almost 2/3, hardly a “fringe minority”—desired this outcome (i.e., “To unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate”), including 49% of “moderate” Indonesian Muslims. The internal validity of these data about the present longing for a Caliphate is strongly suggested by a concordant result: 65.5% of this Muslim sample approved the proposition “To require a strict [emphasis added] application of Shari’a law in every Islamic country.”
 
Notwithstanding ahistorical drivel from Western Muslim “advocacy” groups such as the Muslim Association of Britain, which lionizes both the Caliphate and the concomitant institution of Shari’a as promulgators of “a peaceful and just society”, the findings from the University of Maryland/ WorldPublicOpinion.org poll are ominous. 
 
Umar Ibn al-Khattab (d. 644), was the second “rightly guided” caliph of Islam. During his reign, which lasted for a decade (634-644), Syria, Iraq and Egypt were conquered. Umar was responsible for organizing the early Islamic Caliphate. Alfred von Kremer, the seminal 19th century German scholar of Islam, described the “central idea” of Umar’s regime, as being the furtherance of “…the religious-military development of Islam at the expense of the conquered nations.” The predictable and historically verifiable consequence of this guiding principle was a legacy of harsh inequality, intolerance, and injustice towards non-Muslims observed by von Kremer in 1868 (and still evident in Islamic societies to this day):
 
It was the basis of its severe directives regarding Christians and those of other faiths, that they be reduced to the status of pariahs, forbidden from having anything in common with the ruling nation; it was even the basis for his decision to purify the Arabian Peninsula of the unbelievers, when he presented all the inhabitants of the peninsula who had not yet accepted Islam with the choice: to emigrate or deny the religion of their ancestors. The industrious and wealthy Christians of Najran, who maintained their Christian faith, emigrated as a result of this decision from the peninsula, to the land of the Euphrates, and ‘Umar also deported the Jews of Khaybar. In this way ‘Umar based that fanatical and intolerant approach that was an essential characteristic of Islam, now extant for over a thousand years, until this day [i.e., written in 1868]. It was this spirit, a severe and steely one, that incorporated scorn and contempt for the non-Muslims, that was characteristic of ‘Umar, and instilled by ‘Umar into Islam; this spirit continued for many centuries, to be Islam’s driving force and vital principle.
 
During the jihad campaigns of Umar’s Caliphate, in accord with nascent Islamic Law, neither cities nor monasteries were spared if they resisted. Thus, when the Greek garrison of Gaza refused to submit and convert to Islam, all were put to death. In the year 640, sixty Greek soldiers who refused to apostatize became martyrs, while in the same year (i.e., 638) that Caesarea, Tripolis and Tyre fell to the Muslims, hundreds of thousands of Christians converted to Islam, predominantly out of fear.
 
Muslim and non-Muslim sources record that Umar’s soldiers were allowed to break crosses on the heads of Christians during processions and religious litanies, and were permitted, if not encouraged, to tear down newly erected churches and to punish Christians for trivial reasons. Moreover, Umar forbade the employment of Christians in public offices.  The false claim of Islamic toleration during this prototype “rightly guided” Caliphate cannot be substantiated even by relying on the (apocryphal?) “pact” of Umar (Ibn al-Khattab) because this putative decree compelled the Christians (and other non-Muslims) to fulfill self-destructive obligations, including: the prohibition on erecting any new churches, monasteries, or hermitages;  and not being allowed to repair any ecclesiastical institutions that fell into ruin, nor to rebuild those that were situated in the Muslim quarters of a town. Muslim traditionists and early historians (such as al-Baladhuri) further maintain that Umar expelled the Jews of the Khaybar oasis, and similarly deported Christians (from Najran) who refused to apostasize and embrace Islam, fulfilling the death bed admonition of Muhammad who purportedly stated: “there shall not remain two religions in the land of Arabia.”
 
Umar imposed limitations upon the non-Muslims aimed at their ultimate destruction by attrition, and he introduced fanatical elements into Islamic culture that became characteristic of the Caliphates which succeeded his.  For example, according to the chronicle of the Muslim historian Ibn al-Atham (d. 926-27), under the brief Caliphate of Ali b. Abi Talib (656-61), when one group of apostates in Yemen (Sanaa) adopted Judaism after becoming Muslims, “He [Ali] killed them and burned them with fire after the killing.” Indeed, the complete absence of freedom of conscience in these early Islamic Caliphates—while entirely consistent with mid-7th century mores—has remained a constant, ignominious legacy throughout Islamic history, to this day. During the long twilight of the last formal Caliphate under the Ottoman Turks, Sir Henry Layard, the British archeologist, writer, and diplomat (including postings in Turkey), described this abhorrent spectacle which he witnessed in the heart of Istanbul, in the autumn of 1843, four years after the first failed iteration of the so-called Tanzimat reforms designed to abrogate the sacralized discrimination of the Shari’a:
 
An Armenian who had embraced Islamism [i.e., common 19th century usage for Islam] had returned to his former faith. For his apostasy he was condemned to death according to the Mohammedan law. His execution took place, accompanied by details of studied insult and indignity directed against Christianity and Europeans in general. The corpse was exposed in one of the most public and frequented places in Stamboul [Istanbul], and the head, which had been severed from the body, was placed upon it, covered by a European hat.
 
Salient examples from within the past 25 years confirm the persistent absence of freedom of conscience in contemporary Islamic societies, in tragic conformity with a prevailing, unchanged mindset of the earliest Caliphates: the 1985 state-sponsored execution of Sudanese religious reformer Mahmoud Muhammad Taha for his alleged “apostasy”;  the infamous 1989 “Salman Rushdie Affair”, which resulted in the issuance of a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini condemning Rushdie to death; the July 1994 vigilante murder of secular Egyptian writer Farag Foda—supported by the prominent Egyptian cleric, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazali, an official of Al Azhar University, who testified on behalf of the murderer, “A secularist represents a danger to society and the nation that must be eliminated. It is the duty of the government to kill him.”; and the recent (March, 2006) tragic experience of Abdul Rahman, an unassuming Afghan Muslim convert to Christianity, forced to flee his native country to escape the murderous wrath of Muslim clerics and the masses they incited in “liberated”, post-Taliban Afghanistan. An even more alarming and utterly intolerable phenomenon was on display just this week in the United States when a Johnstown (western Pennsylvania) area imam Fouad El Bayly openly sanctioned the punishment by death of former Dutch Parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali—born and raised a Muslim in Somalia—for her open avowal of secularism.
 
Ibn Warraq has observed aptly that the most fundamental conception of a Caliphate, “…the constant injunction to obey the Caliph—who is God’s Shadow on Earth”, is completely incompatible with the creation of a “rights-based individualist philosophy.” Warraq illustrates the supreme hostility to individual rights in the Islamic Caliphate, and Islam itself, through the writings of the iconic Muslim philosopher, jurist, and historian, Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), and a contemporary Muslim thinker, A.K. Brohi, former Pakistani Minister of Law and Religious Affairs:
 
[Ibn Khaldun] All religious laws and practices and everything that the masses are expected to do requires group feeling. Only with the help of group feeling can a claim be successfully pressed,…Group feeling is necessary to the Muslim community. Its existence enables (the community) to fulfill what God expects of it.
 
[A.K. Brohi] Human duties and rights have been vigorously defined and their orderly enforcement is the duty of the whole of organized communities and the task is specifically entrusted to the law enforcement organs of the state. The individual if necessary has to be sacrificed in order that that the life of the organism be saved. Collectivity has a special sanctity attached to it in Islam.
 
In contrast, Warraq notes, “Liberal democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom and attaches all possible value to each man or woman.” And he concludes,
 
Individualism is not a recognizable feature of Islam; instead the collective will of the Muslim people is constantly emphasized. There is certainly no notion of individual rights, which developed in the West, especially during the eighteenth century.
 
Almost six decades ago (in 1950), G.H. Bousquet, a pre-eminent modern scholar of Islamic Law, put forth this unapologetic, pellucid formulation of the twofold totalitarian impulse in Islam:
 
Islam first came before the world as a doubly totalitarian system. It claimed to impose itself on the whole world and it claimed also, by the divinely appointed Muhammadan law, by the principles of the fiqh, to regulate down to the smallest details the whole life of the Islamic community and of every individual believer....the study of Muhammadan law (dry and forbidding though it may appear to those who confine themselves to the indispensable study of the fiqh) is of great importance to the world today.
 
The openly expressed desire for the restoration of a Caliphate from two-thirds of an important Muslim sample of Arab and non-Arab Islamic nations, representative of Muslims worldwide, should serve as a chilling wake-up call to those still in denial about the existential threat posed by the living, uniquely Islamic institution of jihad.
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« Reply #66 on: May 14, 2007, 02:28:12 PM »

Matrimonial Relations in Islam

http://littlegreenfootballs.com:80/weblog/?entry=25477_Saudi_Gross-Out_Video_of_the_Day&only
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« Reply #67 on: May 31, 2007, 11:30:02 AM »

I read both the Bible and the Koran.  Almedimejad is as much a Muslim as George Bush is a Christian.  Neither are true followers of their religion.  They are pitting one group against the other to bring about global change.  They are both misguiding the public into fighting one another while a third party will benefit from the war.

If you study the same old formula that has been used by the elite over the centuries it seems this coming WWIII is nothing more than a manufactured war to make people so sick of monotheist religion that people turn to atheism.  Once people give up religion, then the State can become their religion.  Or if Al Gore has his way, we will all turn to Gaia worship.

The Hegelian Dialectic can be summed up like this......A problem is started, the public responds with a reaction (fear in the case of terror), then a solution is created and the public accepts.  This is known as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

This is better explained here.  http://www.calvertonschool.org/waldspurger/pages/hegelian_dialectic.htm

If we are going to look at the struggle between Muslims and Christians in modern times Operation AJAX deserves some attention.    https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol48no2/article10.html  Essentially, Prime Minister Mossadeq nationalized his countries oil reserves.  British Petroleum, with the help of the CIA, conducted black operations of terrorism, killing innocent people and blaming it on Mossadeq.  The people of Iran eventually revolted and the CIA put the Shah in power as a puppet leader.  This is what Ron Paul was referring to during the debates when he mentioned the Iran Hostage Crisis and 9-11 as being 'blowback.'  In other words, it is our foreign policy in the Middle East that has created modern terrorism against American targets.

If you will recall during the Iran Hostage Crisis, Ahmedimjad was one of the captors.  The hostages were released on the 444th day after Regan’s inauguration.  This is known as the 'October Surprise.' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_surprise#1980_Carter_vs._Reagan A deal was supposedly made between the terrorists and the Regan administration (Karl Rove) to NOT release the hostages until after Regan defeated Carter in the election!

We have done business with Ahmedimajad before.  There are a few other connections as well.  For instance, the Aga Khan is a powerful Ishmaeli sect Muslim who receives little to no attention in the media.  He traces his origin to the Prophet through his Catholic wife Fatima.  He has extreme influence in the Muslim world and is intermarried to the British Royal family bloodlines.  The previous Aga Khan went to Harvard.  There are stories of the Aga Khan commanding students to jump off of buildings to their deaths as a show of his influence over others.  Just rumors?  Maybe not.  The Aga Khan is the hereditary leader of the 'Order of the Assassins.'

During the 11th century, Hassan Ben Sabbah was an Ismaeli Muslim who would drug and kidnap young men and take them to his palace in the desert.  When the boys would awaken, the palace was a paradise full of drinking, multiple women, anything a man could desire.  He would spend three days in the palace believing he died and went to heaven.  At the end of the three days, Hassan would tell the boy he was being sent back to earth and would have to kill a target in the name of Allah.  Upon completion of his mission, he would spend eternity at the palace with 77 virgins.

The Assassins derived their name from either Hassan Ben Sabbah's name or by the Hashish they would chew on while conducting their operations.  The Assassins dipped their hats into the blood of their victims.  These hats were called Fez Caps.  The same hats as the Shriners wear on their heads.

Hence the creation of the 'Order of the Assassins.'  Quite similar to the suicide bombers in Iraq today.  Suicide bombers are often found with hashish in their mouths.  They are not Muslims, they have been brainwashed into blowing themselves up.  The Aga Khan, as the leader of the Assassins, is supplying the suicide bombers in Iraq via Iran so that America is forced to continue operations in Iraq with no possible way to exit.  All this is going on to fool the public into supporting a war that does not benefit Muslims or Christians, but only benefits the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Media Complex.

Amedimajad and Bush are business partners.
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« Reply #68 on: May 31, 2007, 09:13:47 PM »

Woof Brian:

Interesting post, but I'm thinking this is not quite the right thread for it.  Would you be so kind as to post in Geopolitical Matters at
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=510.100 and then I will delete it here?

Marc
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« Reply #69 on: June 04, 2007, 09:47:20 AM »

In my humble opinion, one of the most fundamental and difficult questions of modern life is what to do with the sexual energy prior to its biological purpose of reproduction.  Not only has the length of time between sexual maturity and reproduction reached extraordinary lengths (often decades!) but the sexual act itself can be separated from reproductive consequences.

Here is one approach:

============================

Iranian Minister Calls for Temporary Marriages to Fulfill Sexual Desires

Sunday, June 03, 2007


TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's hard-line interior minister is encouraging temporary marriages as a way to avoid extramarital sex, a stance many in this conservative country fear would instead encourage prostitution.

A temporary marriage, or "sigheh," refers to a Shiite Muslim tradition under which a man and a woman sign a contract that allows them to be "married" for any length of time, even a few hours. An exchange of money, as a sort of dowry, is often involved.

Although the practice exists, it's not very common in Iran, a Shiite majority nation where many consider it a license for prostitution. Others, however, have advocated institutionalizing the tradition, saying it would help fight "illicit" sex in a country where sexual relations outside marriage are banned under Islamic law.
"Temporary marriage is God's rule. We must aggressively encourage that," state-run television quoted Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi as saying.

The minister, who made his comments Thursday, was the first Iranian official to support the disputed practice in more than a decade. Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani raised the issue in the early 1990s but was opposed by the country's hard-line clerics.
"We have to find a solution to meet the sexual desire of the youth who have no possibility of marriage," Pourmohammadi was quoted as saying by local newspapers.

Half of Iran's population of 70 million is under 30. Taxi driver Reza Sarabi, 23, expressed the frustration of many young Iranian men who can't afford to buy a house and get married.
"I have no money to set up a matrimonial life. I don't want prostitutes. What should I do with my sexual needs?" he said.

The "sigheh" is banned in Sunni Islam, but similar practices can be found in Sunni countries. One such practice is the "urfi" marriage, an unofficial arrangement that is often kept secret. Although an urfi marriage involves signing a document in front of witnesses, the marriage can be broken by destroying the paper.

In Iran, temporary marriage has been reported as a way some widows and poor women help support themselves. But critics of the practice believe such arrangements only exacerbate the country's prostitution problem and undermine Iran's values.
"It will damage the foundation of the family," said lawyer Nemat Ahmadi, who argues it gives wealthy men religious cover to have affairs. "This will only promote prostitution."

Prostitution was banned in Iran after the 1979 Islamic revolution but has increased in recent years. There are no official statistics available in Iran on the number of prostitutes, but unofficial figures published by some media outlets put the number at several hundred thousand.
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« Reply #70 on: June 08, 2007, 11:41:59 AM »

The Road to Reformation
By Fareed Zakaria

For those in the west asking when Islam will have its Reformation, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the process appears to have begun. The bad news is it's been marked by calumny, hatred and bloody violence. In this way it mirrors the Reformation itself, which we now remember in a highly sanitized way. During that era, Christians of differing sects massacred each other as they fought to own the true interpretation of their religion. No analogy is exact, but something similar seems to be happening within Islam. Here the divide is between the Sunnis, who make up 85 percent of the Muslim world, and the Shiites, who represent most of the other 15 percent.

The dominant new reality in the Middle East today is the growing schism between these two groups. Look at the daily sectarian killings in Iraq, listen to the dark warnings of Saudi and Jordanian leaders about a "Shia crescent," watch the power struggles in Lebanon. Islam's quiet cleavage has come out into the open. At a recent demonstration in the Palestinian territories, opponents of Hamas taunted the Sunni Islamists as "Shiites" because of their links to Iranian-backed Hizbullah.

We in the United States have spent much time asking what all this means for Iraq, for U.S. troops in the midst of this free-for-all and for America more generally. But think, for a moment, about what the trend means for Al Qaeda.

Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, both Sunnis, created Al Qaeda to be a Pan-Islamic organization, uniting all Muslims as it battled the West, Israel and Western-allied regimes like Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Neither Zawahiri nor bin Laden was animated by hatred of Shiites. In its original fatwas and other statements, Al Qaeda makes no mention of them, condemning only the "Crusaders" and "Jews." But all ideologies change as they encounter reality. When bin Laden moved to Peshawar in the 1980s to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, he allied with radical Sunnis who had a long history of oppressing Afghanistan's Shiite minority, the Hazaras. (The novel "The Kite Runner" is about a young Hazara boy.) Even then, bin Laden didn't sanction anti-Shiite violence, nor did he add anti-Shiite accusations to his messages. But after the Sunni Taliban took power, Arab fighters under his command did support his hosts' anti-Shiite pogroms.

Iraq was the real turning point. The self-appointed leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, had a poisonous attitude toward Shiites. In a letter to bin Laden, written in February 2004, he described Iraq's Shiite majority as "the insurmountable obstacle, the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion, the spying enemy ... The danger from the Shia ... is greater ... than the Americans ... I come back and again say that the only solution is for us to strike the religious, military, and other cadres among the Shia with blow after blow until they bend to the Sunnis." Zarqawi was drawing on Wahhabi Islam-and its offshoot Deobandism in South Asia-in which there is a deep and oppressive strain of anti-Shiite ideology.

Bin Laden and Zawahiri were clearly uncomfortable with this new line, and the latter reproached Zarqawi directly. Bin Laden remained largely silent on the matter, but by the end of 2004, both had decided that Al Qaeda in Iraq was too strong to rebuke. And, rousing anti-Shiite feelings seemed the only way to mobilize Iraq's Sunni minority. It also, crucially, made them see Al Qaeda as an ally. The trouble for Al Qaeda is that as a practical matter, loathing Shiites works in only a few places: principally Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and some parts of the gulf. Most of the rest of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are turned off by attacks on their co-religionists.

So, an organization that had hoped to rally the entire Muslim world to jihad against the West has been dragged instead into a dirty internal war within Islam. Bin Laden began his struggle hoping to topple the Saudi regime. He is now aligned with the Saudi monarchy as it organizes against Shiite domination. This necessarily limits Al Qaeda's broader appeal and complicates its basic anti-Western strategy.

These emerging divisions weaken Al Qaeda, but they will help most Muslims only if this story ends as the Reformation did. What is currently a war of sects must become a war of ideas. First, Islam must make space for differing views about what makes a good Muslim. Then it will be able to take the next step and accept the diversity among religions, each true in its own way.

The United States should avoid taking sides in this sectarian struggle and aim instead to move the debate to this broader plain. We should encourage the diversity within Islam, which has the potential to divide our enemies. But more important, we should encourage the emerging debate within it. In the end it was not murder but Martin Luther that made the Reformation matter.
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« Reply #71 on: June 18, 2007, 12:38:11 AM »

This has the promise of something apparently learned AND interesting:

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/06/03/blogging-the-quran-sura-1-the-opening/

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/06/10/blogging-the-qura...the-cow-verses-1-39/

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/06/17/blogging-the-qura...he-cow-verses-40-75/

Hat tip to GM on these.  GM, please feel free to post additional entries here too.

TIA,
CD


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« Reply #72 on: July 07, 2007, 10:09:38 AM »



http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/488

Daniel Pipes' Weblog

Can Infidels be Innocents?
August 7, 2005

Three so-called fatwas (even a novice in Islam knows they do not fulfill the definition of a fatwa, which has to be written by a Islamic jurisprudent in response to a specific query) came out in July condemning the 7/7 attacks in London.

British Muslim Forum: "Islam strictly, strongly and severely condemns the use of violence and the destruction of innocent lives." (July 18, 2005)
120 Canadian imams: "Any one who claims to be a Muslim and participates in any way in the taking of innocent life is betraying the very spirit and letter of Islam." (July 21, 2005)
Fiqh Council of North America: "Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives." (July 28, 2005)
Non-Muslims can be forgiven if they assume the reference to "innocent lives" includes those traveling on the Underground and bus lines in London earlier in the month. But the term "innocent lives" can be much more restricted in application, as a fascinating article in today's Sunday Times (London) makes clear.

Titled "Undercover in the academy of hatred," it is based on the covert research by Ali Hussain of the newspaper's Insight team. Ali joined the Saviour Sect in June, a few weeks before the 7/7 bombings and took along his tape recorder. What he heard is hair-raising – it is imperative for Muslims to "instil terror into the hearts of the kuffar," "I am a terrorist. As a Muslim, of course I am a terrorist," "They will build tall buildings and we will bring them down," the bombings were "a good start" and Allah should "bless those involved"


Omar Bakri Mohammed, leader of the Saviour Sect.
He also heard two speakers discuss whom they consider to be innocent.
Zachariah, referring to the London passengers: "They're kuffar [infidels, kafirs]. They're not people who are innocent. The people who are innocent are the people who are with us or those who are living under the Islamic state."
Omar Bakri Mohammed, the sect's leader, who on July 20 publicly condemned the deaths of "innocents," but at the Selby Centre in Wood Green, north London, on July 22 referred to the 7/7 bombers as the "fantastic four" and explained that his grief for the "innocent" applied only to Muslims. "Yes I condemn killing any innocent people, but not any kuffar."

Comments: (1) Muslim statements condemning the killing of "innocents" cannot be taken at face value but must be probed to find out who exactly are considered innocent and who not. In brief, Can infidels be innocents?

(2) For other assessments of the U.S. "fatwa," see the critiques of Abul Kasem, Yehudit Barsky, Steven Emerson, Christopher Orlet, Steven Stalinsky, and the United American Committee, as well as the interesting quotations in an Associated Press report. See the fine analysis of the Canadian statement by David Ouellette.

(3) These documents fit a pattern of dissembling by Islamist organizations; for another example, see "CAIR's Phony Petition." (August 7, 2005)


Anjum Chaudri (a.k.a. Anjem Choudhury)
Aug. 10, 2005 update: Anjum Chaudri, a follower of Omar Bakri Mohammed and UK leader of the radical al Muhajiroun, appeared on the BBC program HARDtalk where the following exchange took place (at 4:20 minutes) with the host, Stephen Sackur:

Sackur: I just wonder why you won't condemn it when your own leader, Omar Bakri, said quite simply, "I condemn the killing of innocent people," on the 20th of July. Why won't you say what he said?

Chaudri: No, at the end of the day innocent people - when we say innocent people we mean Muslims. As far as non-Muslims are concerned, they have not accepted Islam, and as far as we are concerned, that is a crime against God.

Sackur: I want to be clear about what you are saying – this is very important – you are saying that only Muslims can count as innocent people?

Chaudri: As far as far as Muslims are concerned , you are innocent if you are a Muslim – then you are innocent in the eyes of God. If you are a non-Muslim, then you are guilty of not believing in God.

Comment: "When we say innocent people we mean Muslims" – one cannot put it more clearly or starkly than that.

Aug. 30, 2005 update: In a bellicose interview in Lebanon (where he may feel he has nothing to lose in being more candid), Omar Bakri Mohammed publicly came close to confirming the above sentiments. He was questioned by Sanaa al Jack of Ash-Sharq al-Awsat:

(Q) you said that you are against killing innocent people and have nothing to do with the Al-Qaeda Organization. Now you are calling for jihad. How do you explain your position?

(A) I have often repeated that I am against the killing of innocent people anywhere in the world but who are the innocent? I keep the answer to myself.

Q) Who do you define as innocent?

(A) The innocent people are specified by Islam. I denounce killing innocent people regardless of who kills them. However, who are the innocent? I do not have to explain this issue.
|
(Q) Does this mean that you support killing those whom you consider guilty and those whom Islam as you understand it describes as not innocent?

(A) I support what the Sunni Muslim youths in Lebanon believe in.

(Q) What about killing in general?

(A) Sister, I do not say that I support killing in general. You said that.

(Q) But you alluded to a classification of innocent people. Does this mean that you support jihad in certain areas because of things that are being done against Islam?

(A) Do you think that the Palestinian resistance is not right?

(Q) I am not giving an opinion, I am asking about your point of view.

(A) I am against killing innocent people and I repeat this everywhere. This is my personal position.

Sep. 15, 2005 update: A Pakistani veteran of the jihad, Khalid Khawaja, explains his understanding of "innocents" this way to Steward Bell (as quoted in Bell's new book, The Martyr's Oath, p. 81): "We don't believe in killing innocent people but we would certainly like to send you into the Stone Age the same way you have sent us into the Stone Age."


Salah Sultan on Al-Risala TV
May 19, 2006 update: MEMRI reveals today that Salah Sultan, a signatory of the above Fiqh Council of North America fatwa and a mainstay of the Islamist establishment in the United States, spoke two days ago on Al-Risala TV channel, where he blamed 9/11 on the U.S. government ("The entire thing was of a large scale and was planned within the U.S., in order to enable the U.S. to control and terrorize the entire world"). He also praised Abd Al-Majid Al-Zindani ("he is known worldwide for his refinement, virtue, and broad horizons"), although the U.S. government has categorized Al-Zindani as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" because of his loyalty to Osama bin Laden and his support of Al-Qaeda.
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« Reply #73 on: July 09, 2007, 10:40:02 AM »

The Hotair blog continues with its very aggressive studies in Islam:

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/07/08/blogging-the-qur’an-sura-2-“the-cow”-verses-211-221/
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« Reply #74 on: July 15, 2007, 11:33:39 AM »

Another installment from HotAir:

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/07/15/blogging-the-qur’an-sura-2-“the-cow”-verses-222-286/
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« Reply #75 on: July 21, 2007, 09:11:34 AM »

I just ran across this four year old piece, which is followed by something current:
=============================
Author of Saudi Curriculums Advocates Slavery
Ali Al-Ahmed

Shaikh Saleh Al-Fawzan

(Washington)… November 7, 2003 …The main author of the Saudi religious curriculum expressed his unequivocal support for the legalization of slavery in one of his lectures recorded on a cassette and obtained exclusively by SIA news.

Leading government cleric Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan is the author of the religious books currently used to teach 5 million Saudi students, both within the and in Saudi schools aboard – including those in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

“Slavery is a part of Islam,” he says in the tape, adding: “Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam.”



Government spokesman Adel Al-Jubeir and other officials have repeatedly claimed religious curriculums are being reformed, but Al-Fawzan’s books continued to be used according to the minister of education’s statements published by Al-Watan daily September 14th, 2003.


Al-Fawzan is member of the Senior Council of Clerics, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, a member of the Council of Religious Edicts and Research, the Imam of Prince Mitaeb Mosque in Riyadh, and a professor at Imam Mohamed Bin Saud Islamic University, the main Wahhabi center of learning in the country.

Al-Fawzan refuted the mainstream Muslim interpretation that Islam worked to abolish slavery by introducing equality between the races.

“They are ignorant, not scholars,” he said of people who express such opinions. “They are merely writers. Whoever says such things is an infidel.”

Al-Fawzan’s most famous book, “Al-Tawheed – Monotheism”, is taught to Saudi high school students. In it, he says that most Muslims are polytheists, and their blood and money are therefore free for the taking by “true Muslims.”

Among Al-Fawzan’s other controversial beliefs is the right to ban the marriage of Arab women to non- Arab Muslims, according to his book “Al-Mulkhas Al-Fiqhee” (“Digest of Law”). He has also issued a fatwa forbidden the watching of TV.

Al-Fwazan is also is a leading opponent of those who seek to introduce change to the Saudi school curriculum. He also claimed that elections and demonstrations are western imitations.

According to Saudi liberal writer and scholar Sheikh Hassan Al-Maliki, Al-Fawzan threatened him with beheading if he continued in his criticism of the extremist Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. Al-Maliki, who worked for the ministry of education, was fired after he wrote a 50- page paper criticizing Al-Fawzan’s book “Al-Tawheed”.
=================
The Persistence of Islamic Slavery
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | July 20, 2007

The International Criminal Court recently issued warrants for the arrest of Ahmed Haroun, the minister for humanitarian affairs of Sudan, and Ali Kosheib, a leader of that country’s notorious janjaweed militia. The Sudanese government has refused to hand over the two for prosecution. Charges include murder, rape, torture and “imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty.” Severe deprivation of liberty is a euphemism for slavery. Egypt’s Al-Ahram Weekly observed not long ago that in Sudan, “slavery, sanctioned by religious zealots, ravaged the southern parts of the country and much of the west as well.”
Muslim slavers in the Sudan primarily enslave non-Muslims, and chiefly Christians. According to the Coalition Against Slavery in Mauritania and Sudan (CASMAS), a human rights and abolitionist movement, “The current Khartoum government wants to bring the non-Muslim black South in line with Sharia law, laid down and interpreted by conservative Muslim clergy. The black animist and Christian South has been ravaged for many years of slave raids by Arabs from the north and east and resists Muslim religious rule and the perceived economic, cultural, and religious expansion behind it.”

The BBC reported in March 2007 that slave raids “were a common feature of Sudan’s 21-year north-south war, which ended in 2005….According to a study by the Kenya-based Rift Valley Institute, some 11,000 young boys and girls were seized and taken across the internal border -- many to the states of South Darfur and West Kordofan….Most were forcibly converted to Islam, given Muslim names and told not to speak their mother tongue.” One modern-day Sudanese Christian slave, James Pareng Alier, was kidnapped and enslaved when he was twelve years old. Religion was a major element of his ordeal: “I was forced to learn the Koran and re-baptised “Ahmed.” They told me that Christianity was a bad religion. After a time we were given military training and they told us we would be sent to fight.” Alier has no idea of his family’s whereabouts. But while non-Muslims slaves are often forcibly converted to Islam, their conversion does not lead to their freedom. Mauritanian anti-slavery campaigner Boubacar Messaoud explains: “It’s like having sheep or goats. If a woman is a slave, her descendants are slaves.”

Anti-slavery crusaders like Messaoud have great difficulty working against this attitude because it is rooted in the Qur’an and Muhammad’s example. The Muslim prophet Muhammad owned slaves, and like the Bible, the Qur’an takes the existence of slavery for granted, even as it enjoins the freeing of slaves under certain circumstances, such as the breaking of an oath: “Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom” (5:89). But while the freeing of a slave or two here and there is encouraged, the institution itself is never questioned. The Qur’an even gives a man permission to have sexual relations with his slave girls as well as with his wives: “The believers must (eventually) win through, those who humble themselves in their prayers; who avoid vain talk; who are active in deeds of charity; who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess, for (in their case) they are free from blame…” (23:1-6). A Muslim is not to have sexual relations with a woman who is married to someone else – except a slave girl: “And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you” (4:24).

In the past, as today, most slaves in Islam were non-Muslims who had been captured during jihad warfare. The pioneering scholar of the treatment of non-Muslims in Islamic societies, Bat Ye’or, explains the system that developed out of jihad conquest:

The jihad slave system included contingents of both sexes delivered annually in conformity with the treaties of submission by sovereigns who were tributaries of the caliph. When Amr conquered Tripoli (Libya) in 643, he forced the Jewish and Christian Berbers to give their wives and children as slaves to the Arab army as part of their jizya [tax on non-Muslims]. From 652 until its conquest in 1276,
Nubia was forced to send an annual contingent of slaves to Cairo. Treaties concluded with the towns of Transoxiana, Sijistan, Armenia, and Fezzan (Maghreb) under the Umayyads and Abbasids stipulated an annual dispatch of slaves from both sexes. However, the main sources for the supply of slaves remained the regular raids on villages within the dar-al-harb [House of War, i.e., non-Islamic regions] and the military expeditions which swept more deeply into the infidel lands, emptying towns and provinces of their inhabitants.[1]

Historian Speros Vryonis observes that “since the beginning of the Arab razzias [raids] into the land of Rum [the Byzantine Empire], human booty had come to constitute a very important portion of the spoils.” As they steadily conquered more and more of Anatolia, the Turks reduced many of the Greeks and other non-Muslims there to slave status: “They enslaved men, women, and children from all major urban centers and from the countryside where the populations were defenseless.”[2] The Indian historian K. S. Lal states that wherever jihadists conquered a territory, “there developed a system of slavery peculiar to the clime, terrain and populace of the place.” When Muslim armies invaded India, “its people began to be enslaved in droves to be sold in foreign lands or employed in various capacities on menial and not-so-menial jobs within the country.”[3]

Slaves faced pressure to convert to Islam. In an analysis of Islamic political theories, Patricia Crone notes that after a jihad battle was concluded, “male captives might be killed or enslaved…Dispersed in Muslim households, slaves almost always converted, encouraged or pressurized [sic] by their masters, driven by a need to bond with others, or slowly, becoming accustomed to seeing things through Muslim eyes even if they tried to resist.”[4] Thomas Pellow, an Englishman who was enslaved in Morocco for twenty-three years after being captured as a cabin boy on a small English vessel in 1716, was tortured until he accepted Islam. For weeks he was beaten and starved, and finally gave in after his torturer resorted to “burning my flesh off my bones by fire, which the tyrant did, by frequent repetitions, after a most cruel manner.”[5]

Slavery was taken for granted throughout Islamic history, as it was, of course, in the West as well up until relatively recent times. Yet while the European and American slave trade get stern treatment attention from historians (as well as from reparations advocates and guilt-ridden politicians), the Islamic slave trade, which actually lasted longer and brought suffering to a larger number of people, is virtually ignored. (This fact magnifies the irony of Islam being presented to American blacks as the egalitarian alternative to the “white man’s slave religion” of Christianity.) While historians estimate that the transatlantic slave trade, which operated between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, involved around 10.5 million people, the Islamic slave trade in the Sahara, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean areas began in the seventh century and lasted into the nineteenth, and involved 17 million people.[6]

And when pressure came to end slavery, it moved from Christendom into Islam, not the other way around. There was no Muslim William Wilberforce or William Lloyd Garrison. In fact, when the British government in the nineteenth century adopted the view of Wilberforce and the other abolitionists and began to put pressure on pro-slavery regimes, the Sultan of Morocco was incredulous. “The traffic in slaves,” he noted, “is a matter on which all sects and nations have agreed from the time of the sons of Adam...up to this day.” He said that he was “not aware of its being prohibited by the laws of any sect” and that the very idea that anyone would question its morality was absurd: “No one need ask this question, the same being manifest to both high and low and requires no more demonstration than the light of day.”[7]

However, it was not the unanimity of human practice, but the words of the Qur’an and Muhammad that were decisive in stifling abolitionist movements within the Islamic world. Slavery was abolished only as a result of Western pressure; the Arab Muslim slave trade in Africa was ended by the force of British arms in the nineteenth century.

Besides being practiced more or less openly today in Sudan and Mauritania, there is evidence that slavery still continues beneath the surface in some majority-Muslim countries as well -- notably Saudi Arabia, which only abolished slavery in 1962, Yemen and Oman, both of which ended legal slavery in 1970, and Niger, which didn’t abolish slavery until 2004. In Niger, the ban is widely ignored, and as many as one million people remain in bondage. Slaves are bred, often raped, and generally treated like animals.

A shadow cast by the strength and perdurability of Islamic slavery can be seen in instances where Muslims have managed to import this institution to the United States. A Saudi named Homaidan Al-Turki, for instance, was sentenced in September 2006 to 27 years to life in prison, for keeping a woman as a slave in his home in Colorado. For his part, Al-Turki claimed that he was a victim of anti-Muslim bias. He told the judge: “Your honor, I am not here to apologize, for I cannot apologize for things I did not do and for crimes I did not commit. The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors. Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors was the focal point of the prosecution.” The following month, an Egyptian couple living in Southern California received a fine and prison terms, to be followed by deportation, after pleading guilty to holding a ten-year-old girl as a slave. And in January 2007, an attaché of the Kuwaiti embassy in Washington, Waleed Al Saleh, and his wife were charged with keeping three Christian domestic workers from India in slave-like conditions in al-Saleh’s Virginia home. One of the women remarked: “I believed that I had no choice but to continue working for them even though they beat me and treated me worse than a slave.”

All this indicates that the problem of Islamic slavery is not restricted to recent events in the Sudan; it is much larger and more deeply rooted. The United Nations and human rights organizations have noted the phenomenon, but nevertheless little has been done to move decisively against those who still hold human beings in bondage, or aid or tolerate others doing so. The UN has tried to place peacekeeping forces in Darfur, over the objections of the Sudanese government, but its remonstrations against slavery in Sudan and elsewhere have likewise not resulted in significant government action against the practice. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also noted the problem, but as HRW observes, “the government of Sudan has stonewalled on the issue of slavery, claiming it was a matter of rival tribes engaging in hostage taking, over which it had little control. That is simply untrue, as myriad reports coming out of southern Sudan have made abundantly clear.” For Islamic slavery to disappear, a powerful state would have to move against it decisively, not with mere words, and accept no equivocation of half-measures. In today’s international geopolitical climate, nothing could be less likely.

Notes:

[1] Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996, p. 108.
[2] Speros Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century, Berkeley, 1971. P. 174-5. Quoted in Bostom, Legacy of Jihad, p. 87.
[3] K. S. Lal, Muslim Slave System in Medieval India, Aditya Prakashan, 1994. P. 9.
[4] Patricia Crone, God’s Rule: Government and Islam, Columbia University Press, 2004. Pp. 371-372. Quoted in Bostom, Legacy of Jihad, p. 86.
[5] Giles Milton, White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam’s One Million White Slaves, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004. P. 84.
[6] Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, Prometheus, 2005, pp. 89-90.
[7] Quoted in Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Oxford University Press, 1994. Reprinted at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/lewis1.html.


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« Reply #76 on: July 22, 2007, 11:31:23 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/07/22/blogging-the-qur’an-sura-3-“the-family-of-imran”-verses-1-32/

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« Reply #77 on: July 30, 2007, 12:35:40 PM »

God-Fearing People
Why are we so scared of offending Muslims?
By Christopher Hitchens

Posted Monday, July 30, 2007, at 12:33 PM ET

During the greater part of last week, Slate's sister site On Faith (it is jointly produced by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, both owned by the Washington Post Co., which also owns Slate) gave itself over to a discussion about the religion of Islam. As usual in such cases, the search for "moderate" versions of this faith was under way before the true argument had even begun. If I were a Muslim myself, I think that this search would be the most "offensive" part of the business. Why must I prove that my deepest belief is compatible with moderation?

Unless I am wrong, a sincere Muslim need only affirm that there is one god, and only one, and that the Prophet Mohammed was his messenger, bringing thereby the final words of God to humanity. Certain practices are supposed to follow this affirmation, including a commitment to pray five times a day, a promise to pay a visit to Mecca if such a trip should be possible, fasting during Ramadan, and a pious vow to give alms to the needy. The existence of djinns, or devils, is hard to disavow because it was affirmed by the prophet. An obligation of jihad is sometimes mentioned, and some quite intelligent people argue about whether "holy war" is meant to mean a personal struggle or a political one. No real Islamic authority exists to decide this question, and those for whom the personal is highly political have recently become rather notorious.

Thus, Islamic belief, however simply or modestly it may be stated, is an extreme position to begin with. No human being can possibly claim to know that there is a God at all, or that there are, or were, any other gods to be repudiated. And when these ontological claims have collided, as they must, with their logical limits, it is even further beyond the cognitive capacity of any person to claim without embarrassment that the lord of creation spoke his ultimate words to an unlettered merchant in seventh-century Arabia. Those who utter such fantastic braggings, however many times a day they do so, can by definition have no idea what they are talking about. (I hasten to add that those who boast of knowing about Moses parting the Red Sea, or about a virgin with a huge tummy, are in exactly the same position.) Finally, it turns out to be impossible to determine whether jihad means more alms-giving or yet more zealous massacre of, say, Shiite Muslims.

Why, then, should we be commanded to "respect" those who insist that they alone know something that is both unknowable and unfalsifiable? Something, furthermore, that can turn in an instant into a license for murder and rape? As one who has occasionally challenged Islamic propaganda in public and been told that I have thereby "insulted 1.5 billion Muslims," I can say what I suspect—which is that there is an unmistakable note of menace behind that claim. No, I do not think for a moment that Mohammed took a "night journey" to Jerusalem on a winged horse. And I do not care if 10 billion people intone the contrary. Nor should I have to. But the plain fact is that the believable threat of violence undergirds the Muslim demand for "respect."

Before me is a recent report that a student at Pace University in New York City has been arrested for a hate crime in consequence of an alleged dumping of the Quran. Nothing repels me more than the burning or desecration of books, and if, for example, this was a volume from a public or university library, I would hope that its mistreatment would constitute a misdemeanor at the very least. But if I choose to spit on a copy of the writings of Ayn Rand or Karl Marx or James Joyce, that is entirely my business. When I check into a hotel room and send my free and unsolicited copy of the Gideon Bible or the Book of Mormon spinning out of the window, I infringe no law, except perhaps the one concerning litter. Why do we not make this distinction in the case of the Quran? We do so simply out of fear, and because the fanatical believers in that particular holy book have proved time and again that they mean business when it comes to intimidation. Surely that should be to their discredit rather than their credit. Should not the "moderate" imams of On Faith have been asked in direct terms whether they are, or are not, negotiating with a gun on the table?

The Pace University incident becomes even more ludicrous and sinister when it is recalled that Islamists are the current leaders in the global book-burning competition. After the rumor of a Quran down the toilet in Guantanamo was irresponsibly spread, a mob in Afghanistan burned down an ancient library that (as President Hamid Karzai pointed out dryly) contained several ancient copies of the same book. Not content with igniting copies of The Satanic Verses, Islamist lynch parties demanded the burning of its author as well. Many distinguished authors, Muslim and non-Muslim, are dead or in hiding because of the words they have put on pages concerning the unbelievable claims of Islam. And it is to appease such a spirit of persecution and intolerance that a student in New York City has been arrested for an expression, however vulgar, of an opinion.

This has to stop, and it has to stop right now. There can be no concession to sharia in the United States. When will we see someone detained, or even cautioned, for advocating the burning of books in the name of God? If the police are honestly interested in this sort of "hate crime," I can help them identify those who spent much of last year uttering physical threats against the republication in this country of some Danish cartoons. In default of impartial prosecution, we have to insist that Muslims take their chance of being upset, just as we who do not subscribe to their arrogant certainties are revolted every day by the hideous behavior of the parties of God.

It is often said that resistance to jihadism only increases the recruitment to it. For all I know, this commonplace observation could be true. But, if so, it must cut both ways. How about reminding the Islamists that, by their mad policy in Kashmir and elsewhere, they have made deadly enemies of a billion Indian Hindus? Is there no danger that the massacre of Iraqi and Lebanese Christians, or the threatened murder of all Jews, will cause an equal and opposite response? Most important of all, what will be said and done by those of us who take no side in filthy religious wars? The enemies of intolerance cannot be tolerant, or neutral, without inviting their own suicide. And the advocates and apologists of bigotry and censorship and suicide-assassination cannot be permitted to take shelter any longer under the umbrella of a pluralism that they openly seek to destroy.
Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
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« Reply #78 on: August 02, 2007, 04:08:07 PM »

The Question Of Islam

by Theodore Dalrymple (Aug. 2007)
 
 
It is the best of faiths, it is the worst of faiths. It is the faith of tolerance, it is the faith of hate. Opinions of Islam in the world could hardly be more diverse or more opposed.
 
However many times one hears it said that Islam is not a unitary phenomenon - that the Sufis are as different from the Salafists as chalk is from cheese - almost everyone, after pronouncing this caveat, proceeds to speak or to write as if Islam were a unitary phenomenon. This is the great achievement of the Islamists: they have turned the nastiest imaginable form of their religion into the only one that counts for non-Moslems - and for an increasing number of Moslems too. It is as if the Spanish Inquisition had been made the sole legitimate representative (to use the cant term of the 1960s and 70s) of Christianity.
 
The claims that Islam has in its history been religiously tolerant are difficult to disentangle in an honest fashion. Without an axe to grind, you would hardly even consider the question. Islam is a religion but Moslems are people, and their conduct may not always have been what religious enthusiasts would have wanted them to be, or believed were religiously required. Then again, what is religiously required has been a matter of dispute: and extremism has not always prevailed over pragmatism.
 
Perhaps I should start with a personal experience. Not long ago in Istanbul, I bought something in a shop owned by a Jewish family. The language in which I spoke to the proprietor was Spanish: he was of the last generation that spoke Ladino, the mediaeval Spanish that the Jews expelled from the Iberian peninsula brought with them to Istanbul and spoke for half a millennium there. The language was dying out, but not because of any persecution: the young, obsessed with the fripperies of modernity, were no longer interested in maintaining the tradition (so much the worse for them, of course).
 
I discussed history a little with the proprietor. He felt nothing but affection for and gratitude to Turkey: for the Jews there had suffered nothing like what they had suffered in Croatia or Salonika, that is to say extermination. As for the near-extermination of the Armenians by the Turks, it occurred precisely as the Ottoman empire was remodelling itself along European nationalist lines. It was secularisation, not religious fanaticism, that led to this most appalling episode.
 
Now let me turn to a book published last year in France, entitled Les trios exils, The Three Exiles, by Benjamin Stora. This book illustrates and answers the question with the greatest clarity.
 
Professor Stora was an Algerian Jew who moved to France at independence in 1962. In his beautiful book, he recounts both his family history and that of the Jews in Algeria, whose two thousand year presence in the country (or perhaps I should say part of the world) ended definitively in the year that the author himself left.
 
For about two thirds of their history in Algeria, the Jews lived under a Moslem dispensation. They were, of course, dhimmis, but at various times some among them achieved great prominence in the government, such as it was. When Europeans in the sixteenth century mounted invasions of Algeria and Morocco, the Jews helped to repel it, both because they thought it was destined to fail and because they thought they were better off as dhimmis than under European rule. Indeed, the Jews of the Maghreb commemorated these events annually in what was called the Purim Kettanim.
 
They were nevertheless subject to violence, persecutions and discrimination; in 1805, 48 Jews were murdered in Algeria in a pogrom, and in the following year 300. European and American travellers of the first third of the nineteenth century remarked on the wretchedness the Jewish populations of the Maghreb, and the exactions to which they were constantly subject.
 
Then came the French occupation of Algeria, and the start of the long process of westernisation of the Algerian Jews. (There are photographs in Stora’s book, showing the change from Turkish to western costume, complete, irreversible and universal by 1938, though 1914 half of his family had still posed in Turkish costume.)
 
Napoleon III considered granting French citizenship to all Algerian Jews, but was overthrown before he could do so; one of the first acts of the new Third Republic, however, was the Cremieux Decree, which turned all Algerian Jews into French citizens.
 
Here was a reversal of fortune indeed: the Jews went from being dhimmis, that is to say second-rate citizens, to being first-rate citizens, while at the same time the Moslems went from being, if not first-rate citizens in the western sense, at least top dog to underdog.
 
But the colonial French were not altogether delighted by the Cremieux Decree. In the years that followed it, French anti-Semitism reached one of its apogees, and the Algerian French (the majority of whom were actually of Spanish and Italian origin, and were therefore somewhat insecure in their own citizenship) were in this respect more catholic than the pope. In the 1900s, there was a pogrom carried out against the Jews, not by the Algerian Moslems, but by the colons. Their complaints against the Jews were the usual ones.
 
The prevalence and virulence of French colonial anti-Semitism notwithstanding, there was also room for outbursts of Algerian resentment against the Jews, and in 1934 there was a pogrom in the city of Constantine carried out by a large Moslem mob. That it was an organised and not a spontaneous affair is suggested by the fact that there were simultaneous attacks on villages in the hinterland, not normally in intimate contact with the city. Some Moslems behaved with great ethical courage, however, in protecting their Jewish neighbours (the author of a book about the pogrom, Robert Attal, owed his life to one such, who told the rampaging mob that the young Robert, his mother and sister, whom he had hidden in his house, were already dead, and the mob, who had already killed Robert’s father, were satisfied and went away). As for the colonial police, they failed to restore order until it was too late.
 
With the defeat of France, a Petainiste regime was instituted in Algeria, which reversed the Cremiuex Decree: that is to say, the Jews became not merely second-rate, but nth-rate citizens. That regime lasted until the liberation, when they became first rate citizens again, in contradistinction to the Moslem Algerians. This was truly a dizzying historical trajectory.
 
Nor was it quite over. The nationalist movement gained strength, and the violence increased enormously; a million people were eventually killed. Officially, the FLN, the Front National de Liberation, was a secular movement; it appealed to Algerian Jews to join the struggle against the French, and promised them equal treatment after independence. However, the Algerian Jews did not believe it, for they had the examples of other Jews in other Arab countries before them; the famous Jewish-Algerian singer, Raymond, was assassinated in 1961, and Moslem attacks on Jews increased; the Jews naturally thought that the Moslem tradition would prevail over the secular nationalist ideology, and in 1962 they left en masse for France. If they had not, it is not difficult to imagine their fate in the civil war waged between the military government and the FIS, the Front Islamique de Salut.
 
But what is the moral of this history, if there is one? It is certainly not one of the immemorial goodness and tolerance of the western tradition and the immemorial wickedness and intolerance of the Islamic one. I suppose a Martian, on reading this story, might come to the conclusion that human beings were a bad lot, and that he had better leave Earth as soon as possible.
 
But there is another moral to the story, and I do not think it is one that is encouraging about Islam as a force in the modern world. For many centuries, the record of Islam was probably no worse, and might even have been better, than the western one, at least in point of religious tolerance (the Jews of the Maghreb in the Sixteenth Century certainly thought so). Unfortunately, this is a pretty dismal standard to measure anything by. There was, in fact, plenty of room for the Islamic record to be as good as or better than the western one, and still be very bad. Between dhimmitude and death, who would not choose dhimmitude? But that is not to say it was an enviable or morally defensible fate.
 
By 1962, however, things were very clear: for Algerian Jews, France, its chequered record notwithstanding, offered hope for the future and equality under the law, while Algeria offered the prospect of future pogroms, the promises of its leadership notwithstanding. And there was a reason for this: while France had a theory of legal equality, Islam did not. And the Jews of Algeria thought that the hold of Islam over the pays réel would more outweigh the hold of secular nationalist ideology of the pays légal. The former, and not the latter, would determine their fate in Algeria. They did not believe the promises of the FLN, not because the individuals who made them were insincere, but because the forces against their being kept were simply too strong.
 
This suggests that there is a conflict between Islam and modernity, at least if one of the important components of modernity is equality under the law. Such equality means that Moslems would have to accept that, even in polities where they were in the immense majority, Islam would have no special claim to consideration, and that (for example) apostasy would have to become a normal and acceptable part of life. Whether, under these circumstances, Islam would remain truly Islamic is a question for scholars, not for scribblers such as I.
 
Personally, I doubt whether the auguries are good. When the now-president Sarkozy asked the second-hand car salesman of Islamic fundamentalism, Tariq Ramadan, whether he believed in the stoning of adulterers (that is to say, not doubt, of the majority of French politicians or their wives), he replied that he was in favour of a moratorium.
 
A moratorium, indeed! The dilemma is this: if the answer is no, that we are no longer in favour of the lapidation of adulterers, any more than we are in favour of burying them up to their necks in sand and letting the sun and the ants do the rest, then the injunctions of our religion are not eternal truths, and the whole of its sacred basis must be questioned; if the answer is yes, that we are in favour of the lapidation of adulterers, as an example of the merciful correction of wrongdoers to be expected of the righteous, then we reveal ourselves as primitives unfit for the modern world. Islam is not the only religion about which such questions might be raised; but it is the only one that has not made a concerted attempt to deal with them (and its decentralisation, or lack of structure, makes it difficult for it to do so).
 
The question of adultery is a much less important one than that of apostasy, of course, because if open apostasy were allowed, who knows where it would end? In all likelihood in the secular society, complete with music and dancing, that so appalls Moslem fundamentalists (and which in truth does have unpleasant aspects but which, taken all in all, is the best we can, or at any rate do, hope for).
 
In other words, the moral of Professor Stora’s book is that Islam, whatever its past glories, achievements, strengths and even tolerance by comparison with extremely low standards prevailing at different times elsewhere, has no means as yet of dealing with the modern world in a constructive fashion, and perhaps (though here it is impossible to be dogmatic) never can have such a means without falling apart entirely. I leave it to the experts to decide.

http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/9577/sec_id/9577       
 
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« Reply #79 on: August 23, 2007, 12:01:22 PM »

Private Papers
www.victorhanson.com

August 19, 2007
In Their Own Words
Newly translated writings of the al Qaeda leadership.
by Bruce Thornton
Private Papers

The Al Qaeda Reader, ed. Raymond Ibrahim, Introduction by Victor Davis Hanson, Doubleday.

Given that war, as both Sun Tzu and Mohammed preached, is deception, it behooves us to understand accurately the enemy’s motivations and not be fooled by his deceiving propaganda. Yet in the current war against Islamic jihad, the West has stubbornly refused to take seriously what the jihadists tell us, believing instead what Thucydides called the “pretexts” with which an enemy rationalizes his aggression. Osama bin Laden and his theorist Aymin al Zawahiri in particular have provided us with numerous texts outlining the Islamic foundations of their war against the West. A few of these pronouncements and manifestoes have long been available, but now thanks to Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader, writings previously unavailable in English can be studied and analyzed. Such study will provide powerful evidence that contrary to the deceptions of apologists and the naïve delusions of some Westerners, the bases of the jihadists’ actions lie squarely within Islamic tradition, not in the alleged Western crimes against Islam.

Fluent in Arabic and trained as a historian in the ancient Middle East, Ibrahim is currently a technician in the Library of Congress’ Near East Section, where he discovered al Qaeda documents that had not been translated into English. He has organized these writings into two sections: theology, writings intended for fellow Muslims that ground al Qaeda’s war against the West in the traditional Islamic doctrine of jihad; and propaganda, writings meant for Westerners that cast bin Laden’s war as a just response to the depredations of Western powers.

The documents in the first section make a sustained, coherent argument for offensive jihad based on the Koran, the Hadith (the traditions of the words and deeds of Mohammed), and the Ulema (past and present scholars of Islam). Indeed, as Ibrahim notes, “Zawahiri’s writings especially are grounded in Islam’s roots of jurisprudence; in fact, of the many thousands of words translated here from his three treatises, well more than half are direct quotations from the Koran the Sunna [words, habits, and practices] of Mohammed, and the consensus and conclusions of the Ulema.” This extensive grounding weakens the “highjacking” charge apologists use to explain Islamic jihad. On the contrary, al Qaeda’s arguments are unexceptionally traditional — which is why, of course, millions of Muslims accept them.

In these writings addressed to fellow Muslims, bin Laden and Zawahiri argue against the notion of “moderate” Islam; the compatibility of Sharia (laws governing Islamic society) with democracy; the idea of accommodation with the enemy; and the prohibition against killing women and children. In other words, they meticulously attack as distortions of Islam all the popular assertions about Islam’s nature promulgated by apologists, Westernized Muslims, and even many Christians. As bin Laden himself writes in “Moderate Islam Is a Prostration to the West” — a letter written to the Saudi theologians who in 2002 publicly advocated coexistence with the West — such moderation necessitates the adoption of Western values: “They [the Saudi theologians] first acknowledge their [Westerners’] values and ideologies in their entirety, while shying away from evoking the truth valued by the Religion [Islam] and its foundations.” Even the notion of “co-existence” is a Western idea contrary to Islam: “As if one of the foundations of our religion is how to coexist with infidels!” Quite the contrary: the traditions and foundations of Islam urge believers to “wage war against the infidels and the hypocrites, and be ruthless against them” (Koran 66:9), a verse Zawahiri quotes along with the commentary of al Qurtubi, 13th-century author of a 20-volume exegesis of the Koran: “There is but one theme — and that is zeal for the religion of Allah. He commands the waging of Jihad against the infidel by use of sword, sound sermons, and the summons to Allah.”

So too with other Western notions such as tolerance and “dialogue,” which bin Laden correctly asserts are “built on Western conceptions, which themselves rest upon the most loathsome, secular principles.” Indeed, bin Laden has a strong case, for he appeals for evidence to the life and practices of Mohammed and his companions — along with the Koran the Muslim’s guide to every aspect of life — and asks sarcastically, “What evidence is there for Muslims for this [dialogue and shared understanding]? What did the Prophet, the companions after him, and the righteous forebears do? Did they wage jihad against the infidels, attacking them all over the earth, in order to place them under the suzerainty of Islam in great humility and submission? Or did they send messages to discover ‘shared understandings’ between themselves and the infidels in order that they may reach an understanding whereby universal peace, security, and natural relations would spread — in such a satanic manner as this?”

History shows that bin Laden has the better understanding of Islam than do Western apologists; as Ibrahim summarizes the argument, “‘radical’ Islam is Islam — without exception.” In this same vein, Zawahiri argues in his “Loyalty and Enmity” that the only relationship one can have with the infidel is enmity. Zawahiri buttresses this argument with numerous quotations from Islamic theology, the most important coming from the Koran 60:4: “‘We disown you and the idols which you worship besides Allah. We renounce you: enmity and hate shall reign between us until you believe in Allah alone.’” On this authority comes the necessity to wage jihad against the infidel.

Perhaps the most important document in Ibrahim’s collection is Zawahiri’s “Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Killing of Innocents.” For years, we have been told that terrorism is un-Islamic because Islam forbids suicide and the killing of non-combatants. Zawahiri, however, teases out from Islamic tradition a perfectly rational and coherent argument in support of terrorism and suicide bombings.

Zawahiri starts by repeating Islam’s acceptance of deception in war as justified, thus legitimizing suicide bombings, which are deceptive by nature. Next, he builds his argument on selected hadiths, which as Ibrahim notes requires some interpretive stretching. Zawahiri gets around this difficulty by resorting to analogy, “a legitimate tool of Islamic jurisprudence,” as Ibrahim reminds us. Zawahiri focuses on intention, why the Muslim kills himself, not who kills him: “Thus the deciding factor in all these situations is one and the same: the intention — is it to service Islam [martyrdom] or is it out of depression and [despair]?” As for killing women and children, Mohammed himself provides a precedent during the siege of Ta’if, where he used catapults. The Prophet’s response to the question of killing women and children, which of course catapult missiles would do perforce, was “They [women and children] are from among them [infidels].” Again, the ultimate intention is the key: referring to al Shafi’ and the Hanbalis, two schools of Islamic jurisprudence, Zawahiri argues that it is permissible “to bombard the idolators even if Muslims and those who are cautioned against killing are intermingled with them as long as there is a need or an obligation for Muslims to do so, or if not striking leads to a delay of the jihad.”

Zawahiri’s reasoning in defense of suicide bombing may be ultimately unconvincing to many Muslims, or unsustainable by more careful exegesis. But the mere fact that such a case can be made — something impossible to do in the Christian, or Hebraic, or Hindu, or Buddhist traditions — and that millions of faithful Muslims accept the case, speaks volumes about the “religion of peace.”

The next section of The Al Qaeda Reader comprises selections Ibrahim calls “propaganda,” arguments designed for Westerners that exploit all the self-loathing pathologies of Western intellectuals. Every distortion of history repeated in thousands of American college classrooms, every lurid lie peddled by the Chomsky-Moore cult is repeated by bin Laden, the only difference being a much more explicit indulgence in anti-Semitism. Thus in “Israel, Oil, and Iraq,” Bin Laden really doesn’t sound much different from your typical college professor off on a rant about the Halliburton-Cheney-Bush-neocon [read Jews] nexus. We hear about the “Jews — who direct you [Americans] through the lie of ‘democracy’ to support the Israelis and their machination and in complete antagonism to our religion,” which is basically the same argument American academics continually make about the “Israeli lobby.” Bush is castigated in Chomskyean terms for “concealing his own ambitions and the ambitions of the Zionist lobby in their desire for oil.” Western guilt is massaged by statements like, “He [Bush] is still following the policy of his ancestors who slew the American Indians in order to seize their land and wealth” — this coming from a devotee of the most ruthlessly imperial religion ever. And our old leftist bogey, the “military-industrial complex,” appears when bin Laden tells our troops, “You are spilling your blood to swell the bank accounts of the White House gang and their fellow arms dealers and the proprietors of great companies.”

These leftist bromides appear over and over in subsequent speeches and manifestoes, and testify to bin Laden’s shrewd recognition of the West’s Achilles heel: the appeasing proclivities of its elite intellectuals who, riddled with self-loathing guilt, are incapable of defending their way of life and its highest goods. So our Saudi millionaire businessman rants on about “providing business [contracts] for their [the Bush administration] private corporations,” the 2000 presidential election “stolen” by the Bush clan, the “contracts acquired by large and dubious corporations, such as Halliburton,” and the stupidity of our troops, who “convinced of injustices and lies of their government . . . fight only for the sake of capitalists, the lords of usury [code for Jews], and arms and oil dealers — such as that gang of criminals in the White House.” Even the failure to sign the Kyoto agreement, the dropping of a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, and the supposed flouting of international law — standard anti-American leftist charges — are trotted out by bin Laden, who mentions not one of these complaints when talking to fellow Muslims, for the simple reason that traditional Muslims care nothing for them. But guilt-ridden, self-loathing Westerners of the sort currently agitating for withdrawal from Iraq care very much.

The Al Qaeda Reader, simply by letting our enemies speak in their own voices, explodes the popular delusion that Western crimes and policies are responsible for the “distortion” of Islam that al Qaeda represents. As Ibrahim writes, “This volume of translations, taken as whole, prove once and for all that, despite the propaganda of Al Qaeda and its sympathizers, Radical Islam’s war with the West is not finite and limited to political grievances — real or imagined — but is existential, transcending time and space and deeply rooted in faith.” This means that the fight will be long and hard, that leaving Iraq or creating a Palestinian state will not buy peace, and that the side that accurately understands its enemy and has confidence in its own beliefs will ultimately triumph. Thanks to Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader, we have the means for achieving that understanding.
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« Reply #80 on: September 08, 2007, 08:08:20 PM »

http://whatthewestneedstoknow.com/

Buy it, watch it, pass it on.
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« Reply #81 on: September 09, 2007, 12:02:04 AM »

On your say so alone, I just bought it.

=======================================================

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2409833.ece

From The Times
September 8, 2007
Our followers ‘must live in peace until strong enough to wage jihad’
Andrew Norfolk

One of the world’s most respected Deobandi scholars believes that aggressive military jihad should be waged by Muslims “to establish the supremacy of Islam” worldwide.

Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani argues that Muslims should live peacefully in countries such as Britain, where they have the freedom to practise Islam, only until they gain enough power to engage in battle.

His views explode the myth that the creed of offensive, expansionist jihad represents a distortion of traditional Islamic thinking.

Mr Usmani, 64, sat for 20 years as a Sharia judge in Pakistan’s Supreme Court. He is an adviser to several global financial institutions and a regular visitor to Britain. Polite and softly spoken, he revealed to The Times a detailed knowledge of world events and his words, for the most part, were balanced and considered.

He agreed that it was wrong to suggest that the entire nonMuslim world was intent on destroying Islam. Yet this is a man who, in his published work, argues the case for Muslims to wage an expansionist war against nonMuslim lands.

Mr Usmani’s justification for aggressive military jihad as a means of establishing global Islamic supremacy is revealed at the climax of his book, Islam and Modernism. The work is a polemic against Islamic modernists who seek to convert the entire Koran into “a poetic and metaphorical book” because, he says, they have been bewitched by Western culture and ideology.

The final chapter delivers a rebuke to those who believe that only defensive jihad (fighting to defend a Muslim land that is under attack or occupation) is permissible in Islam. He refutes the suggestion that jihad is unlawful against a nonMuslim state that freely permits the preaching of Islam.

For Mr Usmani, “the question is whether aggressive battle is by itself commendable or not”. “If it is, why should the Muslims stop simply because territorial expansion in these days is regarded as bad? And if it is not commendable, but deplorable, why did Islam not stop it in the past?”

He answers his own question thus: “Even in those days . . . aggressive jihads were waged . . . because it was truly commendable for establishing the grandeur of the religion of Allah.”

These words are not the product of a radical extremist. They come from the pen of one of the most acclaimed scholars in the Deobandi tradition.

Mr Usmani told The Times that Islam and Modernism was an English translation of his original Urdu book, “which at times gives a connotation different from the original”.

==========

Can anyone flesh out the Deobandi tradition and how big its numbers and influence are?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2007, 07:56:29 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #82 on: September 11, 2007, 09:00:10 AM »

Young Muslims begin dangerous fight for the right to abandon faith September 11, 2007

Young Muslims begin dangerous fight for the right to abandon faith



David Charter in The Hague

A group of young Muslim apostates launches a campaign today, the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America, to make it easier to renounce Islam.

The provocative move reflects a growing rift between traditionalists and a younger generation raised on a diet of Dutch tolerance.

The Committee for Ex-Muslims promises to campaign for freedom of religion but has already upset the Islamic and political Establishments for stirring tensions among the million-strong Muslim community in the Netherlands.

Ehsan Jami, the committee’s founder, who rejected Islam after the attack on the twin towers in 2001, has become the most talked-about public figure in the Netherlands. He has been forced into hiding after a series of death threats and a recent attack.

Related Links
'Whoever changes religion – kill him'
The threats are taken seriously after the murder in 2002 of Pim Fortuyn, an antiimmigration politician, and in 2004 of Theo Van Gogh, an antiIslam film-maker.

Speaking to The Times at a secret location before the committee’s launch today, the Labour Party councillor said that the movement would declare war on radical Islam. Similar organisations campaigning for reform of the religion have sprung up across Europe and representatives from Britain and Germany will join the launch in The Hague today.

“Sharia schools say that they will kill the ones who leave Islam. In the West people get threatened, thrown out of their family, beaten up,” Mr Jami said. “In Islam you are born Muslim. You do not even choose to be Muslim. We want that to change, so that people are free to choose who they want to be and what they want to believe in.”

Mr Jami, 22, who has abandoned his studies as his political career has taken off, denied that the choice of September 11 was deliberately provocative towards the Islamic Establishment. “We chose the date because we want to make a clear statement that we no longer tolerate the intolerence of Islam, the terrorist attacks,” he said.

“In 1965 the Church in Holland made a declaration that freedom of conscience is above hanging on to religion, so you can choose whether you are going to be a Christian or not. What we are seeking is the same thing for Islam.”

Mr Jami, who has compared the rise of radical Islam to the threat from Nazism in the 1930s, is receiving only lukewarm support from his party which traditionally relies upon Muslim votes. His outspoken attack on radical Islam has led to a prelaunch walk-out from fellow committee founder Loubna Berrada, who herself rejected Islam.

She said: “I don’t wish to confront Islam itself. I only want to spread the message that Muslims should be allowed to leave Islam behind without being threatened.”

There have been suggestions that Mr Jami might defect to the right-wing Freedom Party, led by Geert Wilders, the most outspoken politician in the Netherlands, who has called for the Koran to be banned. But Mr Jami said: “I have respect for Wilders but we do not have the same ideology. I am for the freedom of religion.

“Banning something is not going to help. I am the opposite – everyone should read the Koran.” Mr Jami is being compared to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali refugee who became a prominent Dutch politician campaigning for the reform of Islam but who left eventually for an academic career in the United States.

Jannie Groen, a writer for De Volksrant newspaper, said: “[Among Muslims] he is getting the same reaction as Ayaan Hirsi Ali that he is too confrontational but you are seeing other former Muslims now coming forward. So he has been able to put this issue of apostasy on the agenda, even though they do not want to be in the same room as him and he has had to pay a price.”

By the Book

— 14 passages in the Koran refer to apostasy

— According to Baidhawi’s commentary, Sura 4: 88-89 reads: “Whosoever turns back from his belief, openly or secretly, take him and kill him wheresoever ye find him, like any other infidel. Separate yourself from him altogether. Do not accept intercession in his regard.”

— The hadith, tradition and legend about Muhammad and his followers used as a basis of Sharia, tells of some atheists who were brought to “’Ali and he burnt them. The news of this reached Ibn Abbas who said: ‘If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostate forbade it . . . I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostate, ‘Whoever changed his [Islamic] religion, then kill him’.”

— According to hadith, a special reward in Paradise is reserved for the killer of apostates

Source: Times archives; Barnabas Fund



Have your say

Young Muslims have a perfect right to follow their conscience so long as it isn't violent. Hooray for the non-violent young Muslims!!

Philip Saenz, Houston, USA-Texas

Allah is merciful, but his children ain't!

The Sanity Inspector, Atlanta, USA

The death penalty for apostates shows that the Koran is the creation of men, not God. A human ruler, such as a Caliph, cannot have significant numbers of his subjects ceasing to believe in the God who sanctifies his rule. Like any human dictator, he must terrorize his subjects back into piety and obedience. But God, if he exists, need not be so frightened. Whenever he wants to, he can simply furnish doubters with some clear evidence of his existence. If God is "all merciful", as the Muslim deity allegedly is, he can't possibly instruct his followers to go around murdering unbelievers - because that's not "all merciful" behaviour, is it?

Georges, London, UK

http://www.wnd.com/redir/r.asp?http...icle2426314.ece



If you can't leave a religion without fearing violent murder, then it's not a religion- it's a cult.
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« Reply #83 on: September 22, 2007, 09:04:41 AM »


There Is No God but Politics
by Theodore Dalrymple   

In my youth (in which I include my early adulthood), I read a lot of philosophy. In those days, I picked up books of metaphysics with an excitement that I cannot now recapture, and that completely mystifies me, indeed seems to me faintly ridiculous. I still cannot quite make up my mind, however, whether or not I wasted my time. After all, I was a medical student, not someone training to be an intellectual. I doubt that philosophy made me a better person, let alone a better doctor, but I suppose it is possible that it made me a better writer, which is not the same thing at all.


In those days, the Soviet Union loomed very large in all our imaginations. It was the ruffian on the stair of western civilisation, or a looming presence to the east. And that meant that, for anyone who wanted to understand the world, it appeared necessary to immerse himself in Marxism (actually, it was more important to read the history of the Russian intelligentsia from the time of Nicholas I than to read Marx), since the Soviet Union claimed to be a society founded on Marxist principles.


Marxist writers were not famed for their clarity or elegance of exposition. Indeed, clarity was rather looked down upon by them, for the dialectical nature of the world was inherently hard to understand and therefore to express. For Marxists, clarity was simplification, or worse still vulgarisation. It was the handmaiden of false consciousness that misled the workers into not being revolutionaries.


As with philosophy, I am not sure whether my efforts to understand Marxism were a complete waste of time, which I could and should have employed better. At any rate, when the Soviet Union collapsed, no thanks to my efforts to understand Marxism, I  thought, 'Well, at least I shall never have to struggle through any ideological nonsense again if I want to understand what is going on.'


How wrong I was! In short order, I found myself reading about Islam, a subject of great interest to scholars, no doubt, for nothing human fails to interest them, and of course also because Islam was the basis of great civilisations in the past, but not a subject (in my opinion) worth studying for any internal or new truths that it might be expected to yield me. No; I found myself reading about Islam because it had suddenly emerged as the next potential totalitarianism.


During my reading, I found myself swinging like a pendulum between taking Islam as a threat very seriously indeed, and not taking it seriously at all. The reasons for taking it seriously were that a large proportion of humanity was Muslim, that an aggressive and violent minority had emerged within that population with apparently very widespread, if largely passive, approval, and that the leadership of western countries was very weak and vacillating in the face of this, or any other, challenge. The reasons for not taking Islam seriously were that, in the modern world, it was intellectually nugatory, that the disproportion in power between the rest of the world and the Islamic world appeared to be growing rather than contracting, and that behind all the bluster about the certain possession of the unique, universal and divinely ordained truth for man was an anxiety that the whole edifice of Islam, while strong, was extremely brittle, which explained why free enquiry was so limited in Islamic countries. There was a subliminal awareness - and perhaps not always subliminal - that free philosophical and historical debate could quickly and fatally undermine the hold of Islam on various societies. Fundamentalism was therefore a manifestation of weakness and not of strength.


Recently, I have been reading one of Sayyid Qutb's best-known books, Milestones. Of course, not being an Arabic-speaker, I rely on the accuracy of the translation. Qutb, who was hanged by the secularising nationalist, Nasser, in 1966, for allegedly plotting the overthrow of the government, was one of the most influential Muslim thinkers of the 20th Century. He did not start out as an Islamist, but became one partly in response to his sojourn in the United States. He was appalled by what he saw there as its moral laxity (though he went at a time now looked back on by moral conservatives as a time of great and even exemplary personal restraint, at least by comparison with the moral atmosphere of today). He was a cultivated man, and very far from an ignorant one. He did not deny, for example, the contribution that Europe (and America , which he regarded as part of Europe) had made: speaking of the Renaissance and the recent past, he said:

   This was the era during which Europe 's genius created its
   marvellous works in science, culture, law and material
   production, due to which mankind has progressed to great
   heights of creativity and material comfort.


He did not expect the Muslim world to equal the European world in wealth or power soon, but this did not worry him. Like many an intellectual from a materially backward society, at least by comparison with a much richer and more advanced one, he consoled himself with the spiritual superiority of his own society, at least in potential. (Actually, he was highly critical also of so-called Muslim societies, which he criticised for not being Islamic enough and for chasing after the false god of westernisation.)


Curiously, though, Qutb's thought has many parallels with Marxism. Where Marx has Historical Inevitability, Qutb has God's Law. Marx, you remember, envisages a time when the state will wither away and history will end. In Marx's vision, political power will have dissolved, and the exploitation of man by man will have ceased, to be replaced by the mere administration of things. (How anybody of minimal intelligence could have believed such a thing beats me.) In Qutb's vision, all political power will have dissolved, replaced by man's spontaneous obedience to God's law. Just as the administration of things in Marx's utopia will not confer power on the administrators, presumably because everything will be so plentiful that no one will be tempted to appropriate more than the next man, so in Qutb's utopia no one will have to interpret the law and gain power from doing so. God's law will be as evident as thing will be abundant in Marx's classless society.


In both Marx and Qutb, the idea is expressed that, under the new dispensation, man will become more human, less animal. Personally, I have always found this kind of thought an appallingly arrogant slur on all the people who have lived before the thinker of it: does humanity really have to wait for Marx and Qutb before it becomes truly human?                     

Marx understood that the classless society could not come about by merely preaching socialism, as if it were merely an ethical demand or theory. Violence would be necessary. Similarly, Qutb denies that the world will become Islamic merely by preaching the word of God. He refers to Mohammed's Meccan period, when the Prophet did not resort to arms. This, he says, was merely tactical; it would have been impossible in practice to impose his rule by force. But when he went to Medina, he had no hesitation in fighting his enemies, including those who simply did not accept his message.

Just as Marx says that a showdown between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is inevitable, leading to the triumph of the former and the subsequent establishment of a classless society, so Qutb thinks that a showdown between believers and infidels is inevitable, leading to the victory of Islam, which will eliminate all religious conflict. Is this Marx or Qutb speaking:

   [there] is a natural struggle between two systems which cannot
   co-exist for long.

It is Qutb; but it could have been taken from the writings of thousands of followers of Marx, if not from Marx himself, including Mao Tse-Tung.


The violent imposition of a socialist and Islamic society is justified in the same way in Marx and Qutb: if people were really free, that is to say suffering from neither false consciousness not jahilliyah (ignorance of divine guidance), they would accept the socialist or Islamic state not merely without demur, but joyously, as being for their own good freely chosen. True freedom in both Marx and Qutb is the recognition of necessity. Everything that prevents people from seeing the truth of their messages is an enemy of real, as against merely apparent, freedom.


There is very little that is specifically spiritual in Qutb's book: it is a political rather than a religious manifesto. And like Marx, he insists that Islam is not so much a body of doctrine or theory or facts, but a method. His notion is uncommonly like the Marxist one of praxis, of a dialectical relationship between theory and practice. Here is what he says about the Islamic society to come:
   Only when such a society comes into being, faces various
   practical problems, and needs a system of law, the Islam initiates
   the constitution of law and injunctions, rules and regulations.

Over and over again he insists, just like Marx, that Islam is not doctrine, but a unified theory and practice.


Qutb insists that the triumph of Islam is the only way that what he calls the lordship of man over man will be abolished, just as Marx and Marxists insist that the triumph of Marxism is the only way that the exploitation of man by man will cease. 


Marx believed that man once lived in a state of primitive communism which ended with the division of labour. Qutb believes (much less excusably or plausibly) that the first generations after Mohammed lived in a perfectly functioning Islamic society. He doesn't ask himself, at least not in this book, why it was, then, that three of the four supposedly rightly-guided caliphs were brutally murdered. This is a very odd kind of perfection, to say the least. But, just as the division of labour came and spoiled primitive communism, so did Greek philosophy and other innovations come and spoil the perfect Islamic society. Why perfection should fall apart because of outside influences - could perfection be as imperfect as that? - is a question Qutb does not ask himself.


Throughout his book, one senses his rage. Just as Marx expresses his admiration for the work the bourgeoisie has done in the past, so does Qutb pay tribute to Europe: but both Marx and Qutb are full of hatred. Of course, Qutb would have claimed to be nothing more than a humble instrument of God, expressing God's design for humanity, just as Marx would have claimed that he was merely the mouthpiece of historical inevitability. But all is not humility that claims to be humble. Self-knowledge and self-examination is no more part of Qutb's programme than it is of Marx's.


Qutb's book is obsessed with the achievement of political and social power. There is very little spiritual content in it. He says:
   It is clear, then that a Muslim community cannot be formed or
   continue to exist until it attains sufficient power to confront the
   existing jahili society.

Only the total triumph of Islam (in Qutb's sense) will bring peace to the world, just as all human conflict will end when the classless society is brought about by the final triumph of the proletariat.


The only religious aspect of Qutb's thought is his belief that the Koran is the unmediated word of God, a belief that he does not, because he cannot, justify. For him, the will of God is indisputably known without any need of interpretation, and in fact he knows it. It isn't difficult to see, then, that in the name of the destruction of all political authority and of the lordship of man over man in obedience to God's will, Qutb thinks he ought to be total dictator, and that he is as obsessed with the here and now as any Marxist.


It is the same old story. As Dostoyevsky said, starting out from limitless freedom, we end up with total despotism.
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« Reply #84 on: November 04, 2007, 07:53:01 AM »

Most Muslims Reject Terrorism?
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | 11/2/2007

The controversy over Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week largely centered around the spurious charge that the term “Islamo-Fascism” itself defames all Muslims by suggesting that they are fascists, or support terrorism. Of course, this charge rests on the illogical premise that “Islamo-Fascism” is somehow a different kind of term from “white racism” or “Italian fascism,” which no one has ever taken to suggest that all whites are racists or all Italians fascists. But the real core of the problem is that a discussion of Islamic jihad terrorism and Islamic supremacism in general is supposed to be somehow offensive to the great majority of Muslims who are loyal, patriotic citizens of their respective countries and abhor terrorism. There is no reason why it should be offensive. What’s more, survey after survey reveals that the attachment of these groups to the global jihad is generally stronger than most analysts assume it to be. In January 2007, columnist Michael Freund summed up some disquieting recent survey results: 25% of Muslims in Britain approved of the July 7, 2005 jihad terror bombings in London; 30% said they would rather live under Sharia than in a Western pluralistic society. 44% of Muslims in Nigeria thought suicide attacks were “often” or “sometimes” justified, with only 28% rejecting them in all cases. Roughly 14% of Muslims in France, Britain and Spain approved of suicide attacks against civilian targets, and only 45% of Muslims in Egypt considered terror never justified.
And in an Al-Jazeera survey on September 11, 2006, 49.9% of the respondents avowed that they did indeed support Osama bin Laden. Freund adds: “And the July 2006 global Pew survey found that among Muslims, a quarter of Jordanians, a third of Indonesians, 38% of Pakistanis and 61% of Nigerians all expressed confidence in the mass murderer who founded al-Qaida.”
Freund also notes that “in Israel, the percentages are even more alarming. After Cpl. Gilad Shalit was abducted by Hamas terrorists last summer, a poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center revealed that 77.2% of Palestinians supported the kidnapping, while 66.8% said they would back additional such attacks. More than six out of 10 Palestinians also said they were in favor of firing Kassam rockets at Israeli towns and cities….” And in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, “the Beirut Center for Research and Information found that over 80% of the Lebanese population said they supported Hizbullah.”
Some of the results of the Pew Research Center poll of Muslims in America, released in May 2007, were likewise startling: twenty-six percent of Muslims between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine affirmed that there could be justification in some (unspecified) circumstances for suicide bombing, and five percent of all the Muslims surveyed said that they had a favorable view of Al-Qaeda. Given the Pew Center’s estimate of 2.35 million Muslims in America, and the total of thirteen percent that avowed a belief that suicide bombings could ever be justified, that’s over 180,000 supporters of suicide attacks (subtracting the number of children).
Poll results are no better elsewhere. Much was made in the international media of a July 2007 Pew Research Center of attitudes among Muslims in 47 countries. AP reported that “the percentage of Jordanian Muslims who have confidence in bin Laden as a world leader fell 36 percentage points to 20 percent since 2003 while the proportion who say suicide bombing is sometimes or always justified dropped 20 percent points to 23 percent. Other countries where support for bin Laden declined are Lebanon, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan and Kuwait.” Support for suicide attacks dropped sharply in Lebanon, from 79 percent in 2002 to 34 percent in 2007, and in Pakistan from 41 percent in 2004 to only nine percent in 2007. Among Palestinians it remained high, with only six percent affirming that suicide attacks could never be justified.
These declines are encouraging, but the percentages approving of people and practices we have been endlessly told appeal only to a “tiny minority of extremists” are still uncomfortably high. Clearly the Islamic jihad being waged today by Osama bin Laden and his compatriots all over the globe has great appeal among Muslims, and as bin Laden and other jihadists consistently portray themselves as the pure Muslims who are practicing the true Islam, it is clear that that portrayal is convincing to all too many. For these percentages of approval to drop definitively, peaceful Muslims would have to mount comprehensive efforts to counter the jihad ideology of Islamic supremacism within mosques and Islamic schools all over the Muslim world as well as in the West.
But no one has made any effort to do that.
Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of seven books, eight monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times BestsellersThe Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Religion of Peace?.
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« Reply #85 on: November 07, 2007, 08:12:14 AM »

By NEIL MACFARQUHAR
Published: November 7, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO — About 15 people marched alongside the Muslim float in this city’s notoriously fleshy Gay Pride Parade earlier this year, with various men carrying the flags of Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Turkey and even Iran’s old imperial banner.

While other floats featured men dancing in leather Speedos or women with scant duct tape over their nipples, many Muslims were disguised behind big sunglasses, fezzes or kaffiyehs wrapped around their heads.

Even as they reveled in newfound freedom compared with the Muslim world, they remained closeted, worried about being ostracized at the mosque or at their local falafel stand.

“They’re afraid of the rest of the community here,” said Ayman, a stocky 31-year-old from Jordan, who won asylum in the United States last year on the basis of his sexuality. “It’s such a big wrong in the Koran that it is impossible to be accepted.”

For gay Muslims, change may come via a nascent body of scholarship in minority Muslim communities where the reassessment of sacred texts used to damn homosexuality is gaining momentum.

In traditional seats of Islamic learning, like Egypt and Iran, punishment against blatant homosexual activity, not to mention against trying to establish a gay rights movement, can be severe. These governments are prone to label homosexuality a Western phenomenon, as happened in September when Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, spoke at Columbia University. But far more leeway to dissect the topic exists in places where gay rights are more protected.

As a rule, gay Muslim activists lacked the scholarly grounding needed to scrutinize time-honored teachings. But that is changing, activists say, partly because no rigid clerical hierarchy exists in the West to bar such research.

Nonetheless, gaining acceptance remains such a hurdle that Muslims in the United States hesitate. Imam Daayiee Abdullah, 53, a black convert to Islam, was expelled from a Saudi-financed seminary in Virginia after the school found out he is gay. His effort to organize a gay masjid, or mosque, in Washington failed largely out of fear, he said.

“You have these individuals who say that they would blow up a masjid if it was a gay masjid,” he said. Mr. Abdullah and other scholars argue that there is no uncontested record of the Prophet Muhammad addressing homosexuality and that examples of punishment would surely exist had he been hostile.

Mirroring the feminist school of Islam, gay advocates pursue a holistic interpretation that emphasizes accepting everyone as equally God’s creation.

Most Koranic verses treating same-sex relations are ambiguous, said Omid Safi, an Islamic studies professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “They are talking about an ‘abomination,’” Professor Safi said, “but what an abomination is remains open to interpretation.”

Since the primary Koranic verses used to condemn homosexuality also suggest male rape, the progressive reading is that the verses revile using sex as domination, said Scott Kugle, an American convert and university professor who specializes in the topic. The arguments are not entirely modern; some are drawn from a medieval scholar in Andalusia, once a seat of enlightened Muslim governance, he said.

The classical attitude toward lesbians is even murkier, Mr. Kugle added, because sex was defined as penetration.

Hostility is rooted in the Koranic story of Lot, which parallels the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah. At Al-Tawhid Mosque in San Francisco, the imam, Hassan al-Jalal, a Yemeni with a short beard, printed a sheaf of Koranic verses that he said condemned homosexuals.

“This is the main sin in Islam,” Mr. Jalal said, describing how the town housing Lot’s tribe was lifted high into the sky and then dropped, killing all in the town before they were buried under what is now the Dead Sea. “He sent the flood to clean the earth from AIDS. There were no doctors at that time, but God knew they had a virus.”

All sects mandate capital punishment, he argued, although others differ. “Sunni, Shiite, they all agree that they have to be killed. But who does it? Not me or you, only by law.”

Muslim clerics reject being gay as biologically coded and advise anyone with homosexual stirrings to avoid temptation. They see America as rife with it given practices like open gym showers.

The hostility pushes some gay Muslims to interpret for themselves or to withdraw from the faith. For Rafique, a 56-year-old Southeast Asian Muslim in San Francisco, resolution came through a combination of medieval mystic poetry and individual spiritual efforts endorsed by Sufi Muslim traditions.

Renowned poets wrote odes glorifying handsome boys. Some were interpreted as metaphors about loving God, but some were paeans to gay sex. Rafique and others argue that homosexuality became criminalized only under European colonialism.
=======

“From the 10th to the 14th century, Muslim society used to be a far richer mix of the legal, the rational and the mystic,” said Rafique, an anthropologist. “They looked at sexuality as one aspect of life’s many possibilities, and they saw in it the hope for spiritual insight. I came across this stuff, and it helped me reconcile the two.”

Some mosques with a Sufi orientation extend a rare welcome to gay Muslims.

Ayman, the parade organizer, said his previous life in Jordan was marked by fear. Arrested at 17 after a sexual encounter in a public building, he said the police wrote “manyak,” a homosexual slur, into his file. He denied being gay, but the word resurfaced whenever the police stopped him. He worried that one day it would happen around a relative.

He is convinced that a 22-year-old gay friend who died after a fall from an apartment building was the victim of an “honor” killing meant to clean the family’s reputation. “I still feel like I’m a Muslim; I don’t accept that anyone insults the faith,” said Ayman, who avoids attending mosque. “When I read what it says in the Koran, then I fear Judgment Day.”

A 26-year-old from Saudi Arabia who took the first name Liam after rejecting his faith said that as a teenager he fought his homosexuality by becoming a religious zealot. He eventually accepted his sexuality while at college in Colorado, but moved to the Bay Area because gay life in the kingdom was too depressing.

But a 39-year-old burly, bearded computer consultant who left Saudi Arabia to live in the United States said the cosmopolitan city of Jidda had a thriving gay underground. In other Arab states, he said, it is rare to find men who are both religious and gay, but the high numbers in Jidda made them relax somewhat. “They don’t care about sex and alcohol, but they do avoid pork,” he said.

The consultant, trying to reconcile being gay and Muslim, divides his sins into the redeemable and those warranting hellfire. “Anal sex for either a man or woman is wrong, so when I really think about it, I tell myself not to have sex,” he said, describing a failed four-year experiment with celibacy. “I live with what I am doing, but I don’t want to live in a double standard, I don’t want to go through life unhappy.”
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« Reply #86 on: November 07, 2007, 08:18:49 PM »

There is a weird homoerotic subtext to the islamic culture, arising from the metapsychological pathologies inherent in the theology. Namely the misogynistic alienation from childhood through adulthood.
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« Reply #87 on: December 07, 2007, 08:07:41 AM »

Islam’s Silent Moderates
comments 
By AYAAN HIRSI ALI
Published: December 7, 2007
The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with 100 stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. (Koran 24:2)



IN the last few weeks, in three widely publicized episodes, we have seen Islamic justice enacted in ways that should make Muslim moderates rise up in horror.

A 20-year-old woman from Qatif, Saudi Arabia, reported that she had been abducted by several men and repeatedly raped. But judges found the victim herself to be guilty. Her crime is called “mingling”: when she was abducted, she was in a car with a man not related to her by blood or marriage, and in Saudi Arabia, that is illegal. Last month, she was sentenced to six months in prison and 200 lashes with a bamboo cane.

Two hundred lashes are enough to kill a strong man. Women usually receive no more than 30 lashes at a time, which means that for seven weeks the “girl from Qatif,” as she’s usually described in news articles, will dread her next session with Islamic justice. When she is released, her life will certainly never return to normal: already there have been reports that her brother has tried to kill her because her “crime” has tarnished her family’s honor.

We also saw Islamic justice in action in Sudan, when a 54-year-old British teacher named Gillian Gibbons was sentenced to 15 days in jail before the government pardoned her this week; she could have faced 40 lashes. When she began a reading project with her class involving a teddy bear, Ms. Gibbons suggested the children choose a name for it. They chose Muhammad; she let them do it. This was deemed to be blasphemy.

Then there’s Taslima Nasreen, the 45-year-old Bangladeshi writer who bravely defends women’s rights in the Muslim world. Forced to flee Bangladesh, she has been living in India. But Muslim groups there want her expelled, and one has offered 500,000 rupees for her head. In August she was assaulted by Muslim militants in Hyderabad, and in recent weeks she has had to leave Calcutta and then Rajasthan. Taslima Nasreen’s visa expires next year, and she fears she will not be allowed to live in India again.

It is often said that Islam has been “hijacked” by a small extremist group of radical fundamentalists. The vast majority of Muslims are said to be moderates.

But where are the moderates? Where are the Muslim voices raised over the terrible injustice of incidents like these? How many Muslims are willing to stand up and say, in the case of the girl from Qatif, that this manner of justice is appalling, brutal and bigoted — and that no matter who said it was the right thing to do, and how long ago it was said, this should no longer be done?

Usually, Muslim groups like the Organization of the Islamic Conference are quick to defend any affront to the image of Islam. The organization, which represents 57 Muslim states, sent four ambassadors to the leader of my political party in the Netherlands asking him to expel me from Parliament after I gave a newspaper interview in 2003 noting that by Western standards some of the Prophet Muhammad’s behavior would be unconscionable. A few years later, Muslim ambassadors to Denmark protested the cartoons of Muhammad and demanded that their perpetrators be prosecuted.

But while the incidents in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and India have done more to damage the image of Islamic justice than a dozen cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, the organizations that lined up to protest the hideous Danish offense to Islam are quiet now.

I wish there were more Islamic moderates. For example, I would welcome some guidance from that famous Muslim theologian of moderation, Tariq Ramadan. But when there is true suffering, real cruelty in the name of Islam, we hear, first, denial from all these organizations that are so concerned about Islam’s image. We hear that violence is not in the Koran, that Islam means peace, that this is a hijacking by extremists and a smear campaign and so on. But the evidence mounts up.

Islamic justice is a proud institution, one to which more than a billion people subscribe, at least in theory, and in the heart of the Islamic world it is the law of the land. But take a look at the verse above: more compelling even than the order to flog adulterers is the command that the believer show no compassion. It is this order to choose Allah above his sense of conscience and compassion that imprisons the Muslim in a mindset that is archaic and extreme.

If moderate Muslims believe there should be no compassion shown to the girl from Qatif, then what exactly makes them so moderate?

When a “moderate” Muslim’s sense of compassion and conscience collides with matters prescribed by Allah, he should choose compassion. Unless that happens much more widely, a moderate Islam will remain wishful thinking.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former member of the Dutch Parliament and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of “Infidel.”
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« Reply #88 on: December 25, 2007, 04:44:01 PM »

Muslims send warm Christmas message
December 25, 2007

PARIS -- More than 100 Muslim scholars have addressed warm Christmas greetings to Christians around the world, a message notable both for what it says and the fact that it was sent at all.

The greeting, sent by a group of 138 Sunni, Shiite, Sufi and other scholars who recently proposed a dialogue with Christian leaders, called for peace on Earth and thanked church leaders who have responded positively to their invitation.

Islam is a decentralized faith, with no pope or archbishop who can speak for believers as a group. Individual Muslim clerics previously have exchanged holiday greetings with Christians, but nothing on this scale has been done before.

"Al-Salaamu Aleikum, Peace be upon you, Pax Vobiscum," the greetings began in Arabic, English and Latin. The letter's text is available on the group's website, acommonword.com.

It noted that Christmas came just after the Muslim hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, recalling how the prophet Abraham almost sacrificed his son.

"God's refusal to let Abraham sacrifice his son . . . is to this day a divine warrant and a most powerful social lesson for all followers of the Abrahamic faiths, to ever do their utmost to save, uphold and treasure every human life and especially the lives of every single child," it said.

"May the coming year be one in which the sanctity and dignity of human life is upheld by all," it added. "May it be a year of humble repentance before God and mutual forgiveness within and between communities."

The group, linked to an Islamic research institute headed by Jordanian Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed bin Talal, wants a serious dialogue between Christian and Muslim theologians to help bridge a gulf in understanding between the religions.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-scholars25dec25,1,5275382.story?coll=la-headlines-world
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« Reply #89 on: December 31, 2007, 09:37:00 PM »

Interesting theological exegis , , ,
------------------

Is Voting Permitted in Islam Every year in England, we the Muslims are split on the issue of: “whether it is permissible or not to vote for man made laws” I ask this question as to whether it is permissible to vote for other then Allah’s laws, and does this lead to taghoot or shirk?

Are we only allowed to follow the shariah? The main argument is weather or not we are allowed to participate in this voting process?






Question # q-17034644Date Posted:04/03/2004 In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
The process of voting in non-Muslim democratic countries is not based on religious ideologies neither are elections won and lost on the basis of religion. As such, a candidate that stands up in an election does not promise to implement the laws of Islam or any other religion for that matter.

Normally a candidate promises the public better services and facilities. These services may also be connected to a particular religion, like promising Muslims financial assistance for the construction of Masjids, and so on.

Therefore, to vote a particular candidate or party in non-Muslim countries will be permissible and not considered a sin or Kufr. When one votes for a party, it does not necessarily mean that one agrees completely with their beliefs and ideologies, rather the intention is that the candidate (or party) will be of help to the whole community.

In light of the above, it becomes clear that to vote in itself is not something that is impermissible. However, the following should be kept in mind.

Voting in a way is giving a testimony in favour of the person/party whom one is voting. The way false testimony is a major sin, to vote in favour of a candidate that one knows is not worthy will also be unlawful and a major sin.

Allah Most High says:

“Allah commands you to render back your trusts to those whom they are due.” (Surah al-Nisa, 58)

He also says:

“When you speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned.” (al-An’am, 152)

And:

“And shun the word that is false.” (al-Hajj, 30)

Bearing false testimony has been considered one of the major sins. Imam Dhahabi (may Allah have mercy on him) included bearing false testimony in his famous book al-Kaba’ir, and then related the following Hadith:

“Shall I not inform you of the greatest sins (akbar al-kaba’ir): Associating partners with Allah (shirk), disobedience to parents, bearing false witness and speaking falsehood.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

When one is giving his vote, he is actually giving testimony on the fact that the candidate (or party) is trustworthy in his beliefs and actions, and better than the other candidates.

In a situation where there is no worthy candidate (as in non-Muslim countries, where at least the ideologies and beliefs of the relevant parties are contrary to the teachings of Islam), then the vote should be given to the one who is the better and more trustworthy than the other candidates.

Therefore, to give a vote on the purely basis of personal connections, family relationship, and the like (when one is aware that the one given the vote is not worthy) will be considered impermissible.

Vote should be given to the candidate that one believes will give people their rights, prevent oppression, and so on.

At times, voting becomes necessary. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:

“If people see an oppressor and don’t prevent him, then it is very likely that Allah will include all of them in the punishment.” (Sunan Tirmidhi & Sunan Abu Dawud)

Therefore, if you see open oppression and transgression, and despite having the capability of preventing this oppression by giving your vote, you don’t do so, then in the light of this Hadith you will be sinful.

In another Hadith it is stated:

“If a believer is being humiliated in front of a individual, and he despite having the capability of preventing this humiliation, abstains from doing so, Allah will him humiliate him (on the day of resurrection) in the presence of all the creation.” (Jam al-Fawa’id, 2/51)

In conclusion, voting is not something that is impermissible. If it is thought that a particular candidate or party will be of benefit to the general public in their day-to-day affairs, then the vote should be given to him. And by voting a particular party, it will not be considered that one agrees with all their ideologies and beliefs.

And Allah knows best



Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

http://www.daruliftaa.com/question.a...nID=q-17034644

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« Reply #90 on: January 12, 2008, 10:20:11 AM »

The Lost Archive
Missing for a half century, a cache of photos
spurs sensitive research on Islam's holy text
By ANDREW HIGGINS
WSJ
January 12, 2008; Page A1

-- Munich, Germany

On the night of April 24, 1944, British air force bombers hammered a former Jesuit college here housing the Bavarian Academy of Science. The 16th-century building crumpled in the inferno. Among the treasures lost, later lamented Anton Spitaler, an Arabic scholar at the academy, was a unique photo archive of ancient manuscripts of the Quran.

The 450 rolls of film had been assembled before the war for a bold venture: a study of the evolution of the Quran, the text Muslims view as the verbatim transcript of God's word. The wartime destruction made the project "outright impossible," Mr. Spitaler wrote in the 1970s.

 
Mr. Spitaler was lying. The cache of photos survived, and he was sitting on it all along. The truth is only now dribbling out to scholars -- and a Quran research project buried for more than 60 years has risen from the grave.

"He pretended it disappeared. He wanted to be rid of it," says Angelika Neuwirth, a former pupil and protégée of the late Mr. Spitaler. Academics who worked with Mr. Spitaler, a powerful figure in postwar German scholarship who died in 2003, have been left guessing why he squirreled away the unusual trove for so long.

Ms. Neuwirth, a professor of Arabic studies at Berlin's Free University, now is overseeing a revival of the research. The project renews a grand tradition of German Quranic scholarship that was interrupted by the Third Reich. The Nazis purged Jewish experts on ancient Arabic texts and compelled Aryan colleagues to serve the war effort. Middle East scholars worked as intelligence officers, interrogators and linguists. Mr. Spitaler himself served, apparently as a translator, in the German-Arab Infantry Battalion 845, a unit of Arab volunteers to the Nazi cause, according to wartime records.

During the 19th century, Germans pioneered modern scholarship of ancient texts. Their work revolutionized understanding of Christian and Jewish scripture. It also infuriated some of the devout, who resented secular scrutiny of texts believed to contain sacred truths.

The revived Quran venture plays into a very modern debate: how to reconcile Islam with the modern world? Academic quarrying of the Quran has produced bold theories, bitter feuds and even claims of an Islamic Reformation in the making. Applying Western critical methods to Islam's holiest text is a sensitive test of the Muslim community's readiness to both accommodate and absorb thinking outside its own traditions.

MORE

 
Read the Quran in English and see other languages and readings"It is very exciting," says Patricia Crone, a scholar at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study and a pioneer of unorthodox theories about Islam's early years. She says she first heard that the Munich archive had survived when attending a conference in Germany last fall. "Everyone thought it was destroyed."

The Quran is viewed by most Muslims as the unchanging word of God as transmitted to the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century. The text, they believe, didn't evolve or get edited. The Quran says it is "flawless" and fixed by an "imperishable tablet" in heaven. It starts with a warning: "This book is not to be doubted."

Quranic scholarship often focuses on arcane questions of philology and textual analysis. Experts nonetheless tend to tread warily, mindful of fury directed in recent years at people deemed to have blasphemed Islam's founding document and the Prophet Muhammad.

A scholar in northern Germany writes under the pseudonym of Christoph Luxenberg because, he says, his controversial views on the Quran risk provoking Muslims. He claims that chunks of it were written not in Arabic but in another ancient language, Syriac. The "virgins" promised by the Quran to Islamic martyrs, he asserts, are in fact only "grapes."

 
Ms. Neuwirth, the Berlin professor now in charge of the Munich archive, rejects the theories of her more radical colleagues, who ride roughshod, she says, over Islamic scholarship. Her aim, she says, isn't to challenge Islam but to "give the Quran the same attention as the Bible." All the same, she adds: "This is a taboo zone."

Ms. Neuwirth says it's too early to have any idea what her team's close study of the cache of early texts and other manuscripts will reveal. Their project, launched last year at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science and Humanities, has state funding for 18 years but could take much longer. The earliest manuscripts of the Quran date from around 700 and use a skeletal version of the Arabic script that is difficult to decipher and can be open to divergent readings.

Mystery and misfortune bedeviled the Munich archive from the start. The scholar who launched it perished in an odd climbing accident in 1933. His successor died in a 1941 plane crash. Mr. Spitaler, who inherited the Quran collection and then hid it, fared better. He lived to age 93.

The rolls of film, kept in cigar boxes, plastic trays and an old cookie tin, are now in a safe in Berlin. The photos of the old manuscripts will form the foundation of a computer data base that Ms. Neuwirth's team believes will help tease out the history of Islam's founding text. The result, says Michael Marx, the project's research director, could be the first "critical edition" of the Quran -- an attempt to divine what the original text looked like and to explore overlaps with the Bible and other Christian and Jewish literature.

A group of Tunisians has embarked on a parallel mission, but they want to keep it quiet to avoid angering fellow Muslims, says Moncef Ben Abdeljelil, a scholar involved in the venture. "Silence is sometimes best," he says. Afghan authorities last year arrested an official involved in a vernacular translation of the Quran that was condemned as blasphemous. Its editor went into hiding.

Many Christians, too, dislike secular scholars boring into sacred texts, and dismiss challenges to certain Biblical passages. But most accept that the Bible was written by different people at different times, and that it took centuries of winnowing before the Christian canon was fixed in its current form.

Muslims, by contrast, view the Quran as the literal word of God. Questioning the Quran "is like telling a Christian that Jesus was gay," says Abdou Filali-Ansary, a Moroccan scholar.

Modern approaches to textual analysis developed in the West are viewed in much of the Muslim world as irrelevant, at best. "Only the writings of a practicing Muslim are worthy of our attention," a university professor in Saudi Arabia wrote in a 2003 book. "Muslim views on the Holy Book must remain firm: It is the Word of Allah, constant, immaculate, unalterable and inimitable."

 
Ms. Neuwirth, the Berlin Quran expert, and Mr. Marx, her research director, have tried to explain the project to the Muslim world in trips to Iran, Turkey, Syria and Morocco. When a German newspaper trumpeted their work last fall on its front page and predicted that it would "overthrow rulers and topple kingdoms," Mr. Marx called Arab television network al-Jazeera and other media to deny any assault on the tenets of Islam.

Europeans started to study the Quran in the Middle Ages, largely in an effort to debunk it. In the 19th century, faith-driven polemical research gave way to more serious scientific study of old texts. Germans led the way.

Their original focus was the Bible. Priests and rabbis pushed back, but scholars pressed on, challenging traditional views of the Old and New Testaments. Their work undermined faith in the literal truth of scripture and helped birth today's largely secular Europe. Over time, some turned their attention to the Quran, too.

In 1857, a Paris academy offered a prize for the best "critical history" of the Quran. A German, Theodor Nöldeke, won. His entry became the cornerstone of future Western research. Mr. Nöldeke, says Ms. Neuwirth, is "the rock of our church."

The Munich archive began with one of Mr. Nöldeke's protégés, Gotthelf Bergsträsser. As Germany slid towards fascism early last century, he hunted down old copies of the Quran in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. He took photographs of them with a Leica camera.

In 1933, a few months after Hitler became chancellor, Mr. Bergsträsser, an experienced climber, died in the Bavarian Alps. His body was never given an autopsy; rumors spread of suicide or foul play.

His work was taken up by Otto Pretzl, another German Arabist. He too set off with a Leica. In a 1934 journey to Morocco, he wangled his way into a royal library containing an old copy of the Quran and won over initially suspicious clerics, he said in a handwritten report about his trip.

The Nazis began to use Arabists early in the war when German forces began pushing into regions with large Muslim populations, first North Africa and then the Soviet Union. Scholars were used to broadcast propaganda and to help set up mullah schools for Muslims recruited into the German armed forces.

Mr. Pretzl, the manuscript collector, appears to have worked largely in military intelligence. He interrogated Arabic-speaking soldiers captured in the invasion of France, then, according to some accounts, set off on a mission to stir up an Arab uprising against British troops in Iraq. His plane crashed.

 
Axel Hölper 
Film from the Quran photo archive
Responsibility for the Quran archive fell to Mr. Spitaler, who had helped collect some of the photos. During the war, Mr. Spitaler served in the command offices in Germany and later as an Arabic linguist in Austria, gaining only a modest military rank, records indicate.

After the war, he returned to academia. Instead of reviving the Quran project, he embarked on a laborious but less-sensitive endeavor, a dictionary of classical Arabic. After nearly half a century of work, definitions were published only for words beginning with two letters of the 28-letter Arabic alphabet.

Mr. Spitaler rarely published papers, but was widely admired for his mastery of Arabic texts. A few scholars, however, judged him overly cautious, unproductive and hostile to unconventional views.

"The whole period after 1945 was poisoned by the Nazis," says Günter Lüling, a scholar who was drummed out of his university in the 1970s after he put forward heterodox theories about the Quran's origins. His doctoral thesis argued that the Quran was lifted in part from Christian hymns. Blackballed by Mr. Spitaler, Mr. Lüling lost his teaching job and launched a fruitless six-year court battle to be reinstated. Feuding over the Quran, he says, "ruined my life."

He wrote books and articles at home, funded by his wife, who took a job in a pharmacy. Asked by a French journal to write a paper on German Arabists, Mr. Lüling went to Berlin to examine wartime records. Germany's prominent postwar Arabic scholars, he says, "were all connected to the Nazis."

Berthold Spuler, for example, translated Yiddish and Hebrew for the Gestapo, says Mr. Lüling. (Mr. Spuler's subsequent teaching career ran into trouble in the 1960s when, during a Hamburg student protest, he shouted that the demonstrators "belong in a concentration camp.") Rudi Paret, who in 1962 produced what became the standard German translation of the Quran, was listed as a member of "The Institute for Research on and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Church Life." Despite their wartime activities, the subsequent work of such scholars is still highly regarded.

By the mid-1970s, Mr. Spitaler in Munich was nearing retirement at the university there. He began moving boxes into a room set aside for the dictionary project at Bavaria's Academy of Sciences. His last doctoral student in Munich, Kathrin Müller, who was working on the dictionary, says she looked inside one of the boxes and saw old film. She asked Mr. Spitaler what it was but didn't get an answer. The boxes, she now realizes, contained the old Quran archive. "He didn't want to explain anything," she says.

In the early 1980s, when the archive was still thought to be lost, two German scholars traveled to Yemen to examine and help restore a cache of ancient Quran manuscripts. They, too, took pictures. When they tried to get them out of Yemen, authorities seized them, says Gerd-Rüdiger Puin, one of the scholars. German diplomats finally persuaded Yemen to release most of the photos, he says.

 
Mr. Puin says the manuscripts suggested to him that the Quran "didn't just fall from heaven" but "has a history." When he said so publicly a decade ago, it stirred rage. "Please ensure that these scholars are not given further access to the documents," read one letter to the Yemen Times. "Allah, help us against our enemies."

Berlin Quran expert Ms. Neuwirth, though widely regarded as respectful of Islamic tradition, got sideswiped by Arab suspicion of Western scholars. She was fired from a teaching post in Jordan, she says, for mentioning a radical revisionist scholar during a lecture in Germany.

Around 1990, Ms. Neuwirth met Mr. Spitaler, her old professor, in Berlin. He was in his 80s and growing frail, but remained sharp mentally. He "got sentimental about the old times," recalls Ms. Neuwirth. As they talked, he casually mentioned that he still had the photo archive. He offered to give it to her. "I had heard it didn't exist," she says. She later sent two of her students to Munich to collect the photo cache and bring it to Berlin.

The news didn't spread beyond a small circle of scholars. When Mr. Spitaler died in 2003, Paul Kunitizsch, a fellow Munich Arabist, wrote an obituary recounting how the archive had been lost, torpedoing the Quran project. Such a venture, he wrote, "now appears totally out of the question" because of "the attitude of the Islamic world to such a project."

Information about the archive's survival has just begun trickling out to the wider scholarly community. Why Mr. Spitaler hid it remains a mystery. His only published mention of the archive's fate was a footnote to an article in a 1975 book on the Quran. Claiming the bulk of the cache had been lost during the war, he wrote cryptically that "drastically changed conditions after 1945" ruled out any rebuilding of the collection.

Ms. Neuwirth, the current guardian of the archive, believes that perhaps Mr. Spitaler was simply "sick of" the time-consuming project and wanted to move on to other work. Mr. Lüling has a less charitable theory: that Mr. Spitaler didn't have the talents needed to make use of the archive himself and wanted to make sure colleagues couldn't outshine him by working on the material.

Mr. Kunitzsch, the obituary author, says he's mystified by Mr. Spitaler's motives. He speculates that his former colleague decided that the Quran manuscript project was simply too ambitious. The task, says Mr. Kunitzsch, grew steadily more sensitive as Muslim hostility towards Western scholars escalated, particularly after the founding of Israel in 1948. "He knew that for Arabs, [the Quran] was a closed matter."

Ms. Müller, Mr. Spitaler's last doctoral student, says the war "was a deep cut for everything" and buried the prewar dreams of many Germans. Another possible factor, she adds, was Mr. Spitaler's own deep religious faith. She opens up a copy of a Quran used by the late professor, a practicing Catholic, until his death. Unlike his other Arabic texts, which are scrawled with notes and underlinings, it has no markings at all.

"Perhaps he had too much respect for holy books," says Ms. Müller.

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« Reply #91 on: February 06, 2008, 10:32:07 AM »

Lebanon cleric advises 'modern Shiites'
Dalia Khamissy / Associated Press
The cleric Fadlallah has issued edicts that shocked conservative Muslims around the world.
Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah's liberal fatwas, or edicts, have shocked conservative Muslims around the world.
By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 6, 2008
BEIRUT -- The ayatollah has a simple piece of advice for any Muslim woman being abused by her husband: Hit him back.

"A woman can respond to physical violence inflicted on her by a man with counter- violence as a self-defense measure," Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanon's senior-most Shiite cleric, wrote in a fatwa late last year that shocked conservative Muslims around the world.

Fadlallah long has been considered a leader of the most radical faction of Shiite Muslims in Lebanon. He endorsed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution in Iran and was accused of ordering, or at least encouraging, the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Marine barracks here, a charge he and his supporters have denied. He issued fatwas, or religious edicts, calling on the faithful to resist the United States, and urged Muslims to boycott American products.

But the 72-year-old cleric, who agreed to an interview recently in his South Beirut compound, has toned down his rhetoric in recent years. Instead, he espouses a more modest vision for the faithful than the ambitious agenda set forth by Iran, which considers itself the patron of Shiites worldwide and has been trying to increase its influence throughout the Muslim world.

"I don't see there is a unity in the situation of Shiites in the world," he said.

He leaned forward, his piercing brown eyes becoming animated as he discussed religion, politics and international affairs. "I think the current Iranian president lacks diplomatic skills, and I think he creates problems for Iran," he said of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Fadlallah, whose black turban identifies him as a descendant of the prophet Muhammad, focuses on daily bread-and-butter issues of concern to his followers. Such as parenting.

"One of the general principles in raising children is that parents should not consider their child as part of their possessions," he wrote in a ruling translated and placed on the English section of his website, english.bayynat.org.lb. "Instead, they should consider him God's trust that Allah . . . has put in their hands. This is done by loving the child, listening to him and respecting his mind."

Grand ayatollahs, the highest-ranked clerics in the Shiite hierarchy, have the right to interpret primary religious texts and serve as marja, or source of emulation, for their millions of followers in countries with large Shiite populations such as Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India and Bahrain. Most search for a niche. Khomeini espoused a highly politicized version of Islam; Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Iraq advocates piety, modesty and good deeds.

Fadlallah's fatwas and statements seem more like daytime talk show fodder.

"Sistani is very popular in the Shiite world, but he's not involved in the daily lives of Shiites," said Fadlallah's aide, Hani Abdullah. "This is why Fadlallah is more of a reference for modern Shiites."

On gender issues in particular, he takes positions that raise eyebrows among his conservative counterparts, such as questioning the conventional Islamic prohibition on female judges and challenging the traditional view that a woman's place is in the house and the man's in the workplace.

"The belief that it is disgraceful for the man to manage household tasks is derived from the social culture and not from Islam," he says in a statement on his website. "Personally, I think that no woman would be obliged to bring her social life to a standstill just because she is being occupied with her children."

Also from his website: "Knowledge is a merit for man and woman equally, and the importance of acquiring it is identical to both of them."

A statement from Fadlallah's office said he opposed a man "using any sort of violence against a woman, even in the form of insults and harsh words."

He also has addressed issues such as cloning and plastic surgery.

"Mostly his fatwas are on the side of modernity and progress," said Fawwaz Traboulsi, a Lebanese historian and journalist. "He's very influential, and he's got a lot of money."

His most liberal rulings and attempts to distance Lebanese Shiites from Iran's policies have angered some Shiite clerics close to the Islamic militant group Hezbollah and its leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Fadlallah was once Hezbollah's spiritual leader, but now the two camps compete for donations from wealthy Shiites, who traditionally have given more money to him.

"There's a real rivalry with Nasrallah, who has become both a military and religious leader," Traboulsi said. "Many conservative Hezbollah clerics are reacting against Fadlallah's rulings."

Fadlallah appears to have eased his anti-American stances, even though he and others suspect U.S. operatives were behind an attempt on his life in 1985, apparently as retaliation in the belief that he had ordered the Marine barracks attack. The massive car bomb near his home killed more than 80 people in an apartment block, but he was unhurt.

He is critical of the Bush administration but takes pains to underscore that he's not anti-American. He recently answered a question about astronomy and Ramadan posed by a U.S. Marine, a decision criticized by other clerics. He was among the first religious leaders in the Middle East to condemn the Sept. 11 attacks.

But Fadlallah remains a staunch critic of Israel, once describing the Jewish state as "a conglomerate of people who come from all parts of the world to live in Palestine on the ruins of another people."
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« Reply #92 on: February 08, 2008, 10:20:32 PM »

Wafa Sultan lets rip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up3yuQDAWKQ
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« Reply #93 on: February 26, 2008, 11:53:21 AM »

Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Robert Piggott
Religious affairs correspondent, BBC News

Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The country's powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.


The Hadith is a collection of thousands of sayings reputed to come from the Prophet Muhammad.
As such, it is the principal guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran and the source of the vast majority of Islamic law, or Sharia.


This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation. Not exactly the same, but... it's changing the theological foundations of [the] religion
Fadi Hakura,
Turkey expert, Chatham House

But the Turkish state has come to see the Hadith as having an often negative influence on a society it is in a hurry to modernise, and believes it responsible for obscuring the original values of Islam.

It says that a significant number of the sayings were never uttered by Muhammad, and even some that were need now to be reinterpreted.

'Reformation'
Commentators say the very theology of Islam is being reinterpreted in order to effect a radical renewal of the religion.

Its supporters say the spirit of logic and reason inherent in Islam at its foundation 1,400 years ago are being rediscovered. Some believe it could represent the beginning of a reformation in the religion.


Some messages ban women from travelling without their husband's permission... But this isn't a religious ban. It came about because it simply wasn't safe for a woman to travel alone
Prof Mehmet Gormez,
Hadith expert,
Department of Religious Affairs

Turkish officials have been reticent about the revision of the Hadith until now, aware of the controversy it is likely to cause among traditionalist Muslims, but they have spoken to the BBC about the project, and their ambitious aims for it.

The forensic examination of the Hadiths has taken place in Ankara University's School of Theology.

An adviser to the project, Felix Koerner, says some of the sayings - also known individually as "hadiths" - can be shown to have been invented hundreds of years after the Prophet Muhammad died, to serve the purposes of contemporary society.

"Unfortunately you can even justify through alleged hadiths, the Muslim - or pseudo-Muslim - practice of female genital mutilation," he says.

"You can find messages which say 'that is what the Prophet ordered us to do'. But you can show historically how they came into being, as influences from other cultures, that were then projected onto Islamic tradition."

The argument is that Islamic tradition has been gradually hijacked by various - often conservative - cultures, seeking to use the religion for various forms of social control.

Leaders of the Hadith project say successive generations have embellished the text, attributing their political aims to the Prophet Muhammad himself.

Revolutionary
Turkey is intent on sweeping away that "cultural baggage" and returning to a form of Islam it claims accords with its original values and those of the Prophet.

But this is where the revolutionary nature of the work becomes apparent. Even some sayings accepted as being genuinely spoken by Muhammad have been altered and reinterpreted.

Prof Mehmet Gormez, a senior official in the Department of Religious Affairs and an expert on the Hadith, gives a telling example.

"There are some messages that ban women from travelling for three days or more without their husband's permission and they are genuine.

"But this isn't a religious ban. It came about because in the Prophet's time it simply wasn't safe for a woman to travel alone like that. But as time has passed, people have made permanent what was only supposed to be a temporary ban for safety reasons."
=======

The project justifies such bold interference in the 1,400-year-old content of the Hadith by rigorous academic research.
Prof Gormez points out that in another speech, the Prophet said "he longed for the day when a woman might travel long distances alone".

So, he argues, it is clear what the Prophet's goal was.

Original spirit
Yet, until now, the ban has remained in the text, and helps to restrict the free movement of some Muslim women to this day.


There's also violence against women within families, including sexual harassment... This does not exist in Islam... we have to explain that to them
Hulya Koc, a "vaize"
As part of its aggressive programme of renewal, Turkey has given theological training to 450 women, and appointed them as senior imams called "vaizes".

They have been given the task of explaining the original spirit of Islam to remote communities in Turkey's vast interior.

One of the women, Hulya Koc, looked out over a sea of headscarves at a town meeting in central Turkey and told the women of the equality, justice and human rights guaranteed by an accurate interpretation of the Koran - one guided and confirmed by the revised Hadith.

She says that, at the moment, Islam is being widely used to justify the violent suppression of women.

"There are honour killings," she explains.

"We hear that some women are being killed when they marry the wrong person or run away with someone they love.
"There's also violence against women within families, including sexual harassment by uncles and others. This does not exist in Islam... we have to explain that to them."

'New Islam'
According to Fadi Hakura, an expert on Turkey from Chatham House in London, Turkey is doing nothing less than recreating Islam - changing it from a religion whose rules must be obeyed, to one designed to serve the needs of people in a modern secular democracy.

He says that to achieve it, the state is fashioning a new Islam.
"This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation," he says.

"Not exactly the same, but if you think, it's changing the theological foundations of [the] religion. "

Fadi Hakura believes that until now secularist Turkey has been intent on creating a new politics for Islam.

Now, he says, "they are trying to fashion a new Islam."
Significantly, the "Ankara School" of theologians working on the new Hadith have been using Western critical techniques and philosophy.

They have also taken an even bolder step - rejecting a long-established rule of Muslim scholars that later (and often more conservative) texts override earlier ones.

"You have to see them as a whole," says Fadi Hakura.
"You can't say, for example, that the verses of violence override the verses of peace. This is used a lot in the Middle East, this kind of ideology.

"I cannot impress enough how fundamental [this change] is."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...pe/7264903.stm
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« Reply #94 on: March 03, 2008, 11:10:40 AM »

Worshippers of Death
By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
March 3, 2008; Page A17

Zahra Maladan is an educated woman who edits a women's magazine in Lebanon. She is also a mother, who undoubtedly loves her son. She has ambitions for him, but they are different from those of most mothers in the West. She wants her son to become a suicide bomber.

At the recent funeral for the assassinated Hezbollah terrorist Imad Moughnaya -- the mass murderer responsible for killing 241 marines in 1983 and more than 100 women, children and men in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994 -- Ms. Maladan was quoted in the New York Times giving the following warning to her son: "if you're not going to follow the steps of the Islamic resistance martyrs, then I don't want you."

 
Zahra Maladan represents a dramatic shift in the way we must fight to protect our citizens against enemies who are sworn to kill them by killing themselves. The traditional paradigm was that mothers who love their children want them to live in peace, marry and produce grandchildren. Women in general, and mothers in particular, were seen as a counterweight to male belligerence. The picture of the mother weeping as her son is led off to battle -- even a just battle -- has been a constant and powerful image.

Now there is a new image of mothers urging their children to die, and then celebrating the martyrdom of their suicidal sons and daughters by distributing sweets and singing wedding songs. More and more young women -- some married with infant children -- are strapping bombs to their (sometimes pregnant) bellies, because they have been taught to love death rather than life. Look at what is being preached by some influential Islamic leaders:

"We are going to win, because they love life and we love death," said Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah. He has also said: "[E]ach of us lives his days and nights hoping more than anything to be killed for the sake of Allah." Shortly after 9/11, Osama bin Laden told a reporter: "We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us."

"The Americans love Pepsi-Cola, we love death," explained Afghani al Qaeda operative Maulana Inyadullah. Sheik Feiz Mohammed, leader of the Global Islamic Youth Center in Sydney, Australia, preached: "We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam. Teach them this: There is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid." Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech: "It is the zenith of honor for a man, a young person, boy or girl, to be prepared to sacrifice his life in order to serve the interests of his nation and his religion."

How should Western democracies fight against an enemy whose leaders preach a preference for death?

The two basic premises of conventional warfare have long been that soldiers and civilians prefer living to dying and can thus be deterred from killing by the fear of being killed; and that combatants (soldiers) can easily be distinguished from noncombatants (women, children, the elderly, the infirm and other ordinary citizens). These premises are being challenged by women like Zahra Maladan. Neither she nor her son -- if he listens to his mother -- can be deterred from killing by the fear of being killed. They must be prevented from succeeding in their ghoulish quest for martyrdom. Prevention, however, carries a high risk of error. The woman walking toward the group of soldiers or civilians might well be an innocent civilian. A moment's hesitation may cost innocent lives. But a failure to hesitate may also have a price.

Late last month, a young female bomber was shot as she approached some shops in central Baghdad. The Iraqi soldier who drew his gun hesitated as the bomber, hands raised, insisted that she wasn't armed. The soldier and a shop owner finally opened fire as she dashed for the stores; she was knocked to the ground but still managed to detonate the bomb, killing three and wounding eight. Had the soldier and other bystanders not called out a warning to others -- and had they not shot her before she could enter the shops -- the death toll certainly would have been higher. Had he not hesitated, it might have been lower.

As more women and children are recruited by their mothers and their religious leaders to become suicide bombers, more women and children will be shot at -- some mistakenly. That too is part of the grand plan of our enemies. They want us to kill their civilians, who they also consider martyrs, because when we accidentally kill a civilian, they win in the court of public opinion. One Western diplomat called this the "harsh arithmetic of pain," whereby civilian casualties on both sides "play in their favor." Democracies lose, both politically and emotionally, when they kill civilians, even inadvertently. As Golda Meir once put it: "We can perhaps someday forgive you for killing our children, but we cannot forgive you for making us kill your children."

Civilian casualties also increase when terrorists operate from within civilian enclaves and hide behind human shields. This relatively new phenomenon undercuts the second basic premise of conventional warfare: Combatants can easily be distinguished from noncombatants. Has Zahra Maladan become a combatant by urging her son to blow himself up? Have the religious leaders who preach a culture of death lost their status as noncombatants? What about "civilians" who willingly allow themselves to be used as human shields? Or their homes as launching pads for terrorist rockets?

The traditional sharp distinction between soldiers in uniform and civilians in nonmilitary garb has given way to a continuum. At the more civilian end are babies and true noncombatants; at the more military end are the religious leaders who incite mass murder; in the middle are ordinary citizens who facilitate, finance or encourage terrorism. There are no hard and fast lines of demarcation, and mistakes are inevitable -- as the terrorists well understand.

We need new rules, strategies and tactics to deal effectively and fairly with these dangerous new realities. We cannot simply wait until the son of Zahra Maladan -- and the sons and daughters of hundreds of others like her -- decide to follow his mother's demand. We must stop them before they export their sick and dangerous culture of death to our shores.

Mr. Dershowitz teaches law at Harvard University and is the author of "Finding Jefferson" (Wiley, 2007).
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« Reply #95 on: March 16, 2008, 11:08:15 AM »

A Harvard Prof writes in the NY Times:
=============================

Why Shariah?
By NOAH FELDMAN
Published: March 16, 2008
Last month, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, gave a nuanced, scholarly lecture in London about whether the British legal system should allow non-Christian courts to decide certain matters of family law. Britain has no constitutional separation of church and state. The archbishop noted that “the law of the Church of England is the law of the land” there; indeed, ecclesiastical courts that once handled marriage and divorce are still integrated into the British legal system, deciding matters of church property and doctrine. His tentative suggestion was that, subject to the agreement of all parties and the strict requirement of protecting equal rights for women, it might be a good idea to consider allowing Islamic and Orthodox Jewish courts to handle marriage and divorce.

The practical application of Shariah in most Muslim countries (as here, in this Egyptian courtroom) is in matters of family law.
Then all hell broke loose. From politicians across the spectrum to senior church figures and the ubiquitous British tabloids came calls for the leader of the world’s second largest Christian denomination to issue a retraction or even resign. Williams has spent the last couple of years trying to hold together the global Anglican Communion in the face of continuing controversies about ordaining gay priests and recognizing same-sex marriages. Yet little in that contentious battle subjected him to the kind of outcry that his reference to religious courts unleashed. Needless to say, the outrage was not occasioned by Williams’s mention of Orthodox Jewish law. For the purposes of public discussion, it was the word “Shariah” that was radioactive.

In some sense, the outrage about according a degree of official status to Shariah in a Western country should come as no surprise. No legal system has ever had worse press. To many, the word “Shariah” conjures horrors of hands cut off, adulterers stoned and women oppressed. By contrast, who today remembers that the much-loved English common law called for execution as punishment for hundreds of crimes, including theft of any object worth five shillings or more? How many know that until the 18th century, the laws of most European countries authorized torture as an official component of the criminal-justice system? As for sexism, the common law long denied married women any property rights or indeed legal personality apart from their husbands. When the British applied their law to Muslims in place of Shariah, as they did in some colonies, the result was to strip married women of the property that Islamic law had always granted them — hardly progress toward equality of the sexes.

In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world. Today, when we invoke the harsh punishments prescribed by Shariah for a handful of offenses, we rarely acknowledge the high standards of proof necessary for their implementation. Before an adultery conviction can typically be obtained, for example, the accused must confess four times or four adult male witnesses of good character must testify that they directly observed the sex act. The extremes of our own legal system — like life sentences for relatively minor drug crimes, in some cases — are routinely ignored. We neglect to mention the recent vintage of our tentative improvements in family law. It sometimes seems as if we need Shariah as Westerners have long needed Islam: as a canvas on which to project our ideas of the horrible, and as a foil to make us look good.

In the Muslim world, on the other hand, the reputation of Shariah has undergone an extraordinary revival in recent years. A century ago, forward-looking Muslims thought of Shariah as outdated, in need of reform or maybe abandonment. Today, 66 percent of Egyptians, 60 percent of Pakistanis and 54 percent of Jordanians say that Shariah should be the only source of legislation in their countries. Islamist political parties, like those associated with the transnational Muslim Brotherhood, make the adoption of Shariah the most prominent plank in their political platforms. And the message resonates. Wherever Islamists have been allowed to run for office in Arabic-speaking countries, they have tended to win almost as many seats as the governments have let them contest. The Islamist movement in its various incarnations — from moderate to radical — is easily the fastest growing and most vital in the Muslim world; the return to Shariah is its calling card.

=======

Page 2 of 6)

How is it that what so many Westerners see as the most unappealing and premodern aspect of Islam is, to many Muslims, the vibrant, attractive core of a global movement of Islamic revival? The explanation surely must go beyond the oversimplified assumption that Muslims want to use Shariah to reverse feminism and control women — especially since large numbers of women support the Islamists in general and the ideal of Shariah in particular.

Is Shariah the Rule of Law?

One reason for the divergence between Western and Muslim views of Shariah is that we are not all using the word to mean the same thing. Although it is commonplace to use the word “Shariah” and the phrase “Islamic law” interchangeably, this prosaic English translation does not capture the full set of associations that the term “Shariah” conjures for the believer. Shariah, properly understood, is not just a set of legal rules. To believing Muslims, it is something deeper and higher, infused with moral and metaphysical purpose. At its core, Shariah represents the idea that all human beings — and all human governments — are subject to justice under the law.

In fact, “Shariah” is not the word traditionally used in Arabic to refer to the processes of Islamic legal reasoning or the rulings produced through it: that word is fiqh, meaning something like Islamic jurisprudence. The word “Shariah” connotes a connection to the divine, a set of unchanging beliefs and principles that order life in accordance with God’s will. Westerners typically imagine that Shariah advocates simply want to use the Koran as their legal code. But the reality is much more complicated. Islamist politicians tend to be very vague about exactly what it would mean for Shariah to be the source for the law of the land — and with good reason, because just adopting such a principle would not determine how the legal system would actually operate.

Shariah is best understood as a kind of higher law, albeit one that includes some specific, worldly commands. All Muslims would agree, for example, that it prohibits lending money at interest — though not investments in which risks and returns are shared; and the ban on Muslims drinking alcohol is an example of an unequivocal ritual prohibition, even for liberal interpreters of the faith. Some rules associated with Shariah are undoubtedly old-fashioned and harsh. Men and women are treated unequally, for example, by making it hard for women to initiate divorce without forfeiting alimony. The prohibition on sodomy, though historically often unenforced, makes recognition of same-sex relationships difficult to contemplate. But Shariah also prohibits bribery or special favors in court. It demands equal treatment for rich and poor. It condemns the vigilante-style honor killings that still occur in some Middle Eastern countries. And it protects everyone’s property — including women’s — from being taken from them. Unlike in Iran, where wearing a head scarf is legally mandated and enforced by special religious police, the Islamist view in most other Muslim countries is that the head scarf is one way of implementing the religious duty to dress modestly — a desirable social norm, not an enforceable legal rule. And mandating capital punishment for apostasy is not on the agenda of most elected Islamists. For many Muslims today, living in corrupt autocracies, the call for Shariah is not a call for sexism, obscurantism or savage punishment but for an Islamic version of what the West considers its most prized principle of political justice: the rule of law.

The Sway of the Scholars

To understand Shariah’s deep appeal, we need to ask a crucial question that is rarely addressed in the West: What, in fact, is the system of Islamic law? In his lifetime, the Prophet Muhammad was both the religious and the political leader of the community of Muslim believers. His revelation, the Koran, contained some laws, pertaining especially to ritual matters and inheritance; but it was not primarily a legal book and did not include a lengthy legal code of the kind that can be found in parts of the Hebrew Bible. When the first generation of believers needed guidance on a subject that was not addressed by revelation, they went directly to Muhammad. He either answered of his own accord or, if he was unsure, awaited divine guidance in the form of a new revelation.

With the death of Muhammad, divine revelation to the Muslim community stopped. The role of the political-religious leader passed to a series of caliphs (Arabic for “substitute”) who stood in the prophet’s stead. That left the caliph in a tricky position when it came to resolving difficult legal matters. The caliph possessed Muhammad’s authority but not his access to revelation. It also left the community in something of a bind. If the Koran did not speak clearly to a particular question, how was the law to be determined?

The answer that developed over the first couple of centuries of Islam was that the Koran could be supplemented by reference to the prophet’s life — his sunna, his path. (The word “sunna” is the source of the designation Sunni — one who follows the prophet’s path.) His actions and words were captured in an oral tradition, beginning presumably with a person who witnessed the action or statement firsthand. Accurate reports had to be distinguished from false ones. But of course even a trustworthy report on a particular situation could not directly resolve most new legal problems that arose later. To address such problems, it was necessary to reason by analogy from one situation to another. There was also the possibility that a communal consensus existed on what to do under particular circumstances, and that, too, was thought to have substantial weight.

===========



This fourfold combination — the Koran, the path of the prophet as captured in the collections of reports, analogical reasoning and consensus — amounted to a basis for a legal system. But who would be able to say how these four factors fit together? Indeed, who had the authority to say that these factors and not others formed the sources of the law? The first four caliphs, who knew the prophet personally, might have been able to make this claim for themselves. But after them, the caliphs were faced with a growing group of specialists who asserted that they, collectively, could ascertain the law from the available sources. This self-appointed group came to be known as the scholars — and over the course of a few generations, they got the caliphs to acknowledge them as the guardians of the law. By interpreting a law that originated with God, they gained control over the legal system as it actually existed. That made them, and not the caliphs, into “the heirs of the prophets.”

Among the Sunnis, this model took effect very early and persisted until modern times. For the Shiites, who believe that the succession of power followed the prophet’s lineage, the prophet had several successors who claimed extraordinary divine authority. Once they were gone, however, the Shiite scholars came to occupy a role not unlike that of their Sunni counterparts.

Under the constitutional theory that the scholars developed to explain the division of labor in the Islamic state, the caliph had paramount responsibility to fulfill the divine injunction to “command the right and prohibit the wrong.” But this was not a task he could accomplish on his own. It required him to delegate responsibility to scholarly judges, who would apply God’s law as they interpreted it. The caliph could promote or fire them as he wished, but he could not dictate legal results: judicial authority came from the caliph, but the law came from the scholars.

The caliphs — and eventually the sultans who came to rule once the caliphate lost most of its worldly influence — still had plenty of power. They handled foreign affairs more or less at their discretion. And they could also issue what were effectively administrative regulations — provided these regulations did not contradict what the scholars said Shariah required. The regulations addressed areas where Shariah was silent. They also enabled the state to regulate social conduct without having to put every case before the courts, where convictions would often be impossible to obtain because of the strict standards of proof required for punishment. As a result of these regulations, many legal matters (perhaps most) fell outside the rules given specifically by Shariah.

The upshot is that the system of Islamic law as it came to exist allowed a great deal of leeway. That is why today’s advocates of Shariah as the source of law are not actually recommending the adoption of a comprehensive legal code derived from or dictated by Shariah — because nothing so comprehensive has ever existed in Islamic history. To the Islamist politicians who advocate it or for the public that supports it, Shariah generally means something else. It means establishing a legal system in which God’s law sets the ground rules, authorizing and validating everyday laws passed by an elected legislature. In other words, for them, Shariah is expected to function as something like a modern constitution.

The Rights of Humans and the Rights of God

So in contemporary Islamic politics, the call for Shariah does not only or primarily mean mandating the veiling of women or the use of corporal punishment — it has an essential constitutional dimension as well. But what is the particular appeal of placing Shariah above ordinary law?

The answer lies in a little-remarked feature of traditional Islamic government: that a state under Shariah was, for more than a thousand years, subject to a version of the rule of law. And as a rule-of-law government, the traditional Islamic state had an advantage that has been lost in the dictatorships and autocratic monarchies that have governed so much of the Muslim world for the last century. Islamic government was legitimate, in the dual sense that it generally respected the individual legal rights of its subjects and was seen by them as doing so. These individual legal rights, known as “the rights of humans” (in contrast to “the rights of God” to such things as ritual obedience), included basic entitlements to life, property and legal process — the protections from arbitrary government oppression sought by people all over the world for centuries.

============
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« Reply #96 on: March 16, 2008, 11:10:02 AM »



Page 4 of 6)



Of course, merely declaring the ruler subject to the law was not enough on its own; the ruler actually had to follow the law. For that, he needed incentives. And as it happened, the system of government gave him a big one, in the form of a balance of power with the scholars. The ruler might be able to use pressure once in a while to get the results he wanted in particular cases. But because the scholars were in charge of the law, and he was not, the ruler could pervert the course of justice only at the high cost of being seen to violate God’s law — thereby undermining the very basis of his rule.

In practice, the scholars’ leverage to demand respect for the law came from the fact that the caliphate was not hereditary as of right. That afforded the scholars major influence at the transitional moments when a caliph was being chosen or challenged. On taking office, a new ruler — even one designated by his dead predecessor — had to fend off competing claimants. The first thing he would need was affirmation of the legitimacy of his assumption of power. The scholars were prepared to offer just that, in exchange for the ruler’s promise to follow the law.

Once in office, rulers faced the inevitable threat of invasion or a palace coup. The caliph would need the scholars to declare a religious obligation to protect the state in a defensive jihad. Having the scholars on his side in times of crisis was a tremendous asset for the ruler who could be said to follow the law. Even if the ruler was not law-abiding, the scholars still did not spontaneously declare a sitting caliph disqualified. This would have been foolish, especially in view of the fact that the scholars had no armies at their disposal and the sitting caliph did. But their silence could easily be interpreted as an invitation for a challenger to step forward and be validated.

The scholars’ insistence that the ruler obey Shariah was motivated largely by their belief that it was God’s will. But it was God’s will as they interpreted it. As a confident, self-defined elite that controlled and administered the law according to well-settled rules, the scholars were agents of stability and predictability — crucial in societies where the transition from one ruler to the next could be disorderly and even violent. And by controlling the law, the scholars could limit the ability of the executive to expropriate the property of private citizens. This, in turn, induced the executive to rely on lawful taxation to raise revenues, which itself forced the rulers to be responsive to their subjects’ concerns. The scholars and their law were thus absolutely essential to the tremendous success that Islamic society enjoyed from its inception into the 19th century. Without Shariah, there would have been no Haroun al-Rashid in Baghdad, no golden age of Muslim Spain, no reign of Suleiman the Magnificent in Istanbul.

For generations, Western students of the traditional Islamic constitution have assumed that the scholars could offer no meaningful check on the ruler. As one historian has recently put it, although Shariah functioned as a constitution, “the constitution was not enforceable,” because neither scholars nor subjects could “compel their ruler to observe the law in the exercise of government.” But almost no constitution anywhere in the world enables judges or nongovernmental actors to “compel” the obedience of an executive who controls the means of force. The Supreme Court of the United States has no army behind it. Institutions that lack the power of the sword must use more subtle means to constrain executives. Like the American constitutional balance of powers, the traditional Islamic balance was maintained by words and ideas, and not just by forcible compulsion.

So today’s Muslims are not being completely fanciful when they act and speak as though Shariah can structure a constitutional state subject to the rule of law. One big reason that Islamist political parties do so well running on a Shariah platform is that their constituents recognize that Shariah once augured a balanced state in which legal rights were respected.

From Shariah to Despotism

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But if Shariah is popular among many Muslims in large part because of its historical association with the rule of law, can it actually do the same work today? Here there is reason for caution and skepticism. The problem is that the traditional Islamic constitution rested on a balance of powers between a ruler subject to law and a class of scholars who interpreted and administered that law. The governments of most contemporary majority-Muslim states, however, have lost these features. Rulers govern as if they were above the law, not subject to it, and the scholars who once wielded so much influence are much reduced in status. If they have judicial posts at all, it is usually as judges in the family-law courts.

In only two important instances do scholars today exercise real power, and in both cases we can see a deviation from their traditional role. The first is Iran, where Ayatollah Khomeini, himself a distinguished scholar, assumed executive power and became supreme leader after the 1979 revolution. The result of this configuration, unique in the history of the Islamic world, is that the scholarly ruler had no counterbalance and so became as unjust as any secular ruler with no check on his authority. The other is Saudi Arabia, where the scholars retain a certain degree of power. The unfortunate outcome is that they can slow any government initiative for reform, however minor, but cannot do much to keep the government responsive to its citizens. The oil-rich state does not need to obtain tax revenues from its citizens to operate — and thus has little reason to keep their interests in mind.

How the scholars lost their exalted status as keepers of the law is a complex story, but it can be summed up in the adage that partial reforms are sometimes worse than none at all. In the early 19th century, the Ottoman empire responded to military setbacks with an internal reform movement. The most important reform was the attempt to codify Shariah. This Westernizing process, foreign to the Islamic legal tradition, sought to transform Shariah from a body of doctrines and principles to be discovered by the human efforts of the scholars into a set of rules that could be looked up in a book.

Once the law existed in codified form, however, the law itself was able to replace the scholars as the source of authority. Codification took from the scholars their all-important claim to have the final say over the content of the law and transferred that power to the state. To placate the scholars, the government kept the Shariah courts running but restricted them to handling family-law matters. This strategy paralleled the British colonial approach of allowing religious courts to handle matters of personal status. Today, in countries as far apart as Kenya and Pakistan, Shariah courts still administer family law — a small subset of their original historical jurisdiction.

Codification signaled the death knell for the scholarly class, but it did not destroy the balance of powers on its own. Promulgated in 1876, the Ottoman constitution created a legislature composed of two lawmaking bodies — one elected, one appointed by the sultan. This amounted to the first democratic institution in the Muslim world; had it established itself, it might have popularized the notion that the people represent the ultimate source of legal authority. Then the legislature could have replaced the scholars as the institutional balance to the executive.

But that was not to be. Less than a year after the legislature first met, Sultan Abdulhamid II suspended its operation — and for good measure, he suspended the constitution the following year. Yet the sultan did not restore the scholars to the position they once occupied. With the scholars out of the way and no legislature to replace them, the sultan found himself in the position of near-absolute ruler. This arrangement set the pattern for government in the Muslim world after the Ottoman empire fell. Law became a tool of the ruler, not an authority over him. What followed, perhaps unsurprisingly, was dictatorship and other forms of executive dominance — the state of affairs confronted by the Islamists who seek to restore Shariah.

A Democratic Shariah?

The Islamists today, partly out of realism, partly because they are rarely scholars themselves, seem to have little interest in restoring the scholars to their old role as the constitutional balance to the executive. The Islamist movement, like other modern ideologies, seeks to capture the existing state and then transform society through the tools of modern government. Its vision for bringing Shariah to bear therefore incorporates two common features of modern government: the legislature and the constitution.

The mainstream Sunni Islamist position, found, for example, in the electoral platforms of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Justice and Development Party in Morocco, is that an elected legislature should draft and pass laws that are consistent with the spirit of Islamic law. On questions where Islamic law does not provide clear direction, the democratically chosen legislature is supposed to use its discretion to adopt laws infused by Islamic values.

The result is a profound change in the theoretical structure underlying Islamic law: Shariah is democratized in that its care is given to a popularly elected legislature. In Iraq, for example, where the constitution declares Shariah to be “the source of law,” it is in principle up to the National Assembly to pass laws that reflect its spirit.

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In case the assembly gets it wrong, however, the Islamists often recommend the judicial review of legislative actions to guarantee that they do not violate Islamic law or values. What is sometimes called a “repugnancy clause,” mandating that a judicial body overturn laws repugnant to Islam, has made its way into several recent constitutions that seek to reconcile Islam and democracy. It may be found, for example, in the Afghan Constitution of 2004 and the Iraqi Constitution of 2005. (I had a small role advising the Iraqi drafters.) Islamic judicial review transforms the highest judicial body of the state into a guarantor of conformity with Islamic law. The high court can then use this power to push for a conservative vision of Islamic law, as in Afghanistan, or for a more moderate version, as in Pakistan.

Islamic judicial review puts the court in a position resembling the one that scholars once occupied. Like the scholars, the judges of the reviewing court present their actions as interpretations of Islamic law. But of course the judges engaged in Islamic judicial review are not the scholars but ordinary judges (as in Iraq) or a mix of judges and scholars (as in Afghanistan). In contrast to the traditional arrangement, the judges’ authority comes not from Shariah itself but from a written constitution that gives them the power of judicial review.

The modern incarnation of Shariah is nostalgic in its invocation of the rule of law but forward-looking in how it seeks to bring this result about. What the Islamists generally do not acknowledge, though, is that such institutions on their own cannot deliver the rule of law. The executive authority also has to develop a commitment to obeying legal and constitutional judgments. That will take real-world incentives, not just a warm feeling for the values associated with Shariah.

How that happens — how an executive administration accustomed to overweening power can be given incentives to subordinate itself to the rule of law — is one of the great mysteries of constitutional development worldwide. Total revolution has an extremely bad track record in recent decades, at least in majority-Muslim states. The revolution that replaced the shah in Iran created an oppressively top-heavy constitutional structure. And the equally revolutionary dreams some entertained for Iraq — dreams of a liberal secular state or of a functioning Islamic democracy — still seem far from fruition.

Gradual change therefore increasingly looks like the best of some bad options. And most of today’s political Islamists — the ones running for office in Morocco or Jordan or Egypt and even Iraq — are gradualists. They wish to adapt existing political institutions by infusing them with Islamic values and some modicum of Islamic law. Of course, such parties are also generally hostile to the United States, at least where we have worked against their interests. (Iraq is an obvious exception — many Shiite Islamists there are our close allies.) But this is a separate question from whether they can become a force for promoting the rule of law. It is possible to imagine the electoral success of Islamist parties putting pressure on executives to satisfy the demand for law-based government embodied in Koranic law. This might bring about a transformation of the judiciary, in which judges would come to think of themselves as agents of the law rather than as agents of the state.

Something of the sort may slowly be happening in Turkey. The Islamists there are much more liberal than anywhere else in the Muslim world; they do not even advocate the adoption of Shariah (a position that would get their government closed down by the staunchly secular military). Yet their central focus is the rule of law and the expansion of basic rights against the Turkish tradition of state-centered secularism. The courts are under increasing pressure to go along with that vision.

Can Shariah provide the necessary resources for such a rethinking of the judicial role? In its essence, Shariah aspires to be a law that applies equally to every human, great or small, ruler or ruled. No one is above it, and everyone at all times is bound by it. But the history of Shariah also shows that the ideals of the rule of law cannot be implemented in a vacuum. For that, a state needs actually effective institutions, which must be reinforced by regular practice and by the recognition of actors within the system that they have more to gain by remaining faithful to its dictates than by deviating from them.

The odds of success in the endeavor to deliver the rule of law are never high. Nothing is harder than creating new institutions with the capacity to balance executive dominance — except perhaps avoiding the temptation to overreach once in power. In Iran, the Islamists have discredited their faith among many ordinary people, and a similar process may be under way in Iraq. Still, with all its risks and dangers, the Islamists’ aspiration to renew old ideas of the rule of law while coming to terms with contemporary circumstances is bold and noble — and may represent a path to just and legitimate government in much of the Muslim world.

Noah Feldman, a contributing writer for the magazine, is a law professor at Harvard University and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. This essay is adapted from his book “The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State,” which will be published later this month.

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G M
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« Reply #97 on: March 16, 2008, 11:44:05 AM »

What a steaming pile of....academic "though".  rolleyes

I'll deconstruct it later.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #98 on: March 16, 2008, 01:52:33 PM »

Woof GM:

I am looking forward to it  grin

Marc
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« Reply #99 on: March 16, 2008, 09:02:01 PM »

A Harvard Prof writes in the NY Times:
=============================

Why Shariah?
By NOAH FELDMAN
Published: March 16, 2008
Last month, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, gave a nuanced, scholarly lecture in London about whether the British legal system should allow non-Christian courts to decide certain matters of family law. Britain has no constitutional separation of church and state. The archbishop noted that “the law of the Church of England is the law of the land” there; indeed, ecclesiastical courts that once handled marriage and divorce are still integrated into the British legal system, deciding matters of church property and doctrine. His tentative suggestion was that, subject to the agreement of all parties and the strict requirement of protecting equal rights for women, it might be a good idea to consider allowing Islamic and Orthodox Jewish courts to handle marriage and divorce.

The practical application of Shariah in most Muslim countries (as here, in this Egyptian courtroom) is in matters of family law.
Then all hell broke loose. From politicians across the spectrum to senior church figures and the ubiquitous British tabloids came calls for the leader of the world’s second largest Christian denomination to issue a retraction or even resign. Williams has spent the last couple of years trying to hold together the global Anglican Communion in the face of continuing controversies about ordaining gay priests and recognizing same-sex marriages. Yet little in that contentious battle subjected him to the kind of outcry that his reference to religious courts unleashed. Needless to say, the outrage was not occasioned by Williams’s mention of Orthodox Jewish law. For the purposes of public discussion, it was the word “Shariah” that was radioactive.

**And rightly so. As europe's rapid cultural demise looms before it.**

In some sense, the outrage about according a degree of official status to Shariah in a Western country should come as no surprise. No legal system has ever had worse press. To many, the word “Shariah” conjures horrors of hands cut off, adulterers stoned and women oppressed.

**Funny enough, this is the result of sharia law creating the horrors of hands cut off, adulterers stoned and women oppressed. Go figure.**

By contrast, who today remembers that the much-loved English common law called for execution as punishment for hundreds of crimes, including theft of any object worth five shillings or more? How many know that until the 18th century, the laws of most European countries authorized torture as an official component of the criminal-justice system?

**Well, most people with a basic grasp of history know this. The western world, based in judeo-christian philosophy, evolved secular governments and the concept of human rights and freedoms and legal protections separate from any religious structure, meanwhile sharia law, being based on the quran, ahadith and sunna has very little, if any room for evolution or change.**

As for sexism, the common law long denied married women any property rights or indeed legal personality apart from their husbands. When the British applied their law to Muslims in place of Shariah, as they did in some colonies, the result was to strip married women of the property that Islamic law had always granted them — hardly progress toward equality of the sexes.

**Again, trying to whip the western world for sins of the past while ignoring the brutal oppression of the islamic world of today takes a special sort of dishonesty. Given that under sharia law, a woman is only half a witness in court, can be divorced at will, but can only divorce her husband with a sharia court's approval and can be beaten at will by her husband and in the case of divorce, loses custody of her children, i'm not sure many feminists will cheer sharia law in the west as "progress".**

In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world. Today, when we invoke the harsh punishments prescribed by Shariah for a handful of offenses, we rarely acknowledge the high standards of proof necessary for their implementation. Before an adultery conviction can typically be obtained, for example, the accused must confess four times or four adult male witnesses of good character must testify that they directly observed the sex act.

**And now, reality:
http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAFR440172004?open&of=ENG-2F5
The new Sharia penal codes

The new Sharia penal codes which have been introduced in 12 states in northern Nigeria since 1999, includes death by stoning for behaviour termed as zina the perpetrator of which is defined as "whoever, being a man or a woman fully responsible, has sexual intercourse through the genital [sic] of a person over whom he has no sexual rights and in circumstances in which no doubt exists as to the illegality of the act". Zina was previously punishable by flogging for Muslims under the Penal Code. However, in the States that have introduced new Sharia penal codes, zina now carries a mandatory death sentence if the accused is married, while 100 lashes is the mandatory sentence if the accused is not married. This applies to Muslims only. Of particular interest is that by using the death penalty to regulate sexual behaviour, other rights are being violated, such as the right to be free from discrimination, freedom of expression and association as well as the right to privacy.

"...we cannot imagine or envisage a Nigerian being stoned to death (...) it has never happened. May it never happen."
President Olusegun Obasanjo commenting on the sentence of death by stoning under Sharia penal codes at a public appearance on 1 October 2002.

Amnesty International believes that zina as a criminal offence only for Muslims negates the principle of equality before the law and equal protection of the law. The organization furthermore opposes the criminalization of consensual sexual relations between people over the age of consent. The application of the death penalty for zina offences combined with the gender-discriminating rules of evidence within the Sharia penal codes have meant that women have disproportionately been sentenced to death for zina in northern Nigeria since the introduction of new Sharia penal codes. Amnesty International has raised this concern by campaigning on the cases of Safiya Yakubu Hussaini, Amina Lawal and Fatima Usman. At least 11 death sentences have been handed down since 1999 by Sharia courts in the States of Bauchi, Jigawa, Katsina, Niger and Sokoto and in four of these the convicted are women. Three of these cases concern women accused of zina. Only two men were sentenced for zina in the same period. As of May 2004, three people have lodged appeals against their death sentences and are awaiting dates for a hearing. Two of the women, Safiya Yakubu Hussaini and Amina Lawal, have had their convictions and sentences for zina quashed on appeal. The most recent woman convicted of zina is Fatima Usman who received her death sentence in May 2002 by the Sharia court of Gawu-Babangida, Niger State.
Although at present no-one sentenced to death for zina under the new Sharia penal legislation has yet had their sentence carried out, Amnesty International remains concerned that prescribing the death penalty for the behaviour termed as zina is in violation of international law including Article 6 of the ICCPR, to which Nigeria is a state party, and which states "sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes". The definition of zina de facto recognizes that men have in certain cases, namely marriage, sexual rights over women. This in itself is a violation of the principle of equality between the sexes and results in women in reality having less control over their sex life than men. Other capital offences under the new Sharia penal codes include rape, so called "sodomy", incest and robbery, amongst other.
______________________________________________________________________________
http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/2006/07/012180print.html

July 10, 2006

Will Pakistan ease harsh Sharia rape laws?

As I have noted many times, Islam's evidence laws put victims of rape in Islamic societies at considerable risk. It is good to see that some Pakistanis have noticed this also.

"After TV Debates, Pakistan May Ease Laws on Rape Reporting," from the NY Times, with thanks to DFS:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 8 — The young audience fell into confused silence and then buzzed with whispers after Mir Ibrahim Rahman announced that there was no difference between an apple and an orange.
Mr. Rahman, 28, chief executive of the immensely popular Geo TV network, was speaking last Sunday at a youth conference in Rawalpindi, the garrison city adjacent to the capital, Islamabad. His absurd statement, he immediately made clear, was meant to illustrate the failings of a set of Islamic decrees known collectively as the Hudood Ordinance.

The laws, introduced in 1979 and criticized internationally since, include a clause stating that to prove rape, a woman must have at least four male witnesses. If the woman fails to provide proof, she herself faces the charge of adultery.

"The Hudood Ordinance makes no distinction between rape and adultery," Mr. Rahman explained to his audience. "It is just like saying there is no difference between an apple and an orange."

That flaw, critics say, has put many women behind bars. Of about 6,000 women in Pakistani custody awaiting trial as of March, 4,621 were being held on Hudood violations, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent group. Some 1,300 women awaiting trial were ordered released on Friday, after President Pervez Musharraf allowed bail in nonviolent offenses.

Pakistani society has remained bitterly divided over the laws. Orthodox clergymen have often portrayed the laws as divine ("hudood" refers to punishments in the Koran for adultery and fornication, as well as for consuming alcohol, making false accusations and stealing). Rights advocates have demanded absolute repeal since 1980's. They maintain that the Hudood Ordinance not only negates the rights of women but is also a misinterpretation of Islam.

Now, there are signs that the laws may be, at the least, softened. And Mr. Rahman — who has pressed for public debate over them in television shows, advertising campaigns and personal appearances at seminars, like the one last Sunday — may be a major reason.

Of course, these laws are based on the notorious incident in which Muhammad's wife Aisha was accused of adultery. The brouhaha was settled when Muhammad received a revelation from Allah requiring four witnesses: "Why did they not bring four witnesses to prove it? When they have not brought the witnesses, such men, in the sight of Allah, (stand forth) themselves as liars!" (Qur'an 24:13).

That will be hard to reform.

Posted at July 10, 2006 8:44 AM
****************************************************************************************************

The extremes of our own legal system — like life sentences for relatively minor drug crimes, in some cases — are routinely ignored.

**Do I really need to cover the brutal punishments for the possession of alcohol under sharia law?**

We neglect to mention the recent vintage of our tentative improvements in family law. It sometimes seems as if we need Shariah as Westerners have long needed Islam: as a canvas on which to project our ideas of the horrible, and as a foil to make us look good.

**There is no need for projection. A clear examination of the islamic world's horrors need no exaggeration.**

In the Muslim world, on the other hand, the reputation of Shariah has undergone an extraordinary revival in recent years.

**Yes, this is true. As the global jihad has gained steam since 9/11, the civil movement for imposing sharia on all the nations of the world has gained momentum.**

 A century ago, forward-looking Muslims thought of Shariah as outdated, in need of reform or maybe abandonment. Today, 66 percent of Egyptians, 60 percent of Pakistanis and 54 percent of Jordanians say that Shariah should be the only source of legislation in their countries. Islamist political parties, like those associated with the transnational Muslim Brotherhood, make the adoption of Shariah the most prominent plank in their political platforms. And the message resonates. Wherever Islamists have been allowed to run for office in Arabic-speaking countries, they have tended to win almost as many seats as the governments have let them contest. The Islamist movement in its various incarnations — from moderate to radical — is easily the fastest growing and most vital in the Muslim world; the return to Shariah is its calling card.

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Page 2 of 6)

How is it that what so many Westerners see as the most unappealing and premodern aspect of Islam is, to many Muslims, the vibrant, attractive core of a global movement of Islamic revival?

**Is it because those westerners rightly see the brutal, totalitarianism theocracy inherent in this islamic revival? I'd say yes.**

 The explanation surely must go beyond the oversimplified assumption that Muslims want to use Shariah to reverse feminism and control women — especially since large numbers of women support the Islamists in general and the ideal of Shariah in particular.

**They believe it's "the will of god".**

Is Shariah the Rule of Law?

One reason for the divergence between Western and Muslim views of Shariah is that we are not all using the word to mean the same thing. Although it is commonplace to use the word “Shariah” and the phrase “Islamic law” interchangeably, this prosaic English translation does not capture the full set of associations that the term “Shariah” conjures for the believer. Shariah, properly understood, is not just a set of legal rules. To believing Muslims, it is something deeper and higher, infused with moral and metaphysical purpose.

At its core, Shariah represents the idea that all human beings — and all human governments — are subject to justice under the law.

**Lies, lies, lies. Under sharia, non-muslims are lesser beings. Under sharia, muslims that leave islam are to be killed. Under sharia, a non-muslim can be put to death for killing a muslim, but a muslim cannot be put to death for killing a non-muslim.**

**Under Islamic law, which unlike judeo-christian civilization does not recognize a separation between the religious and secular government. Islam is all controlling, from the personally spiritual to the laws of a society and the nation-state on a geo-political basis.

In fact, “Shariah” is not the word traditionally used in Arabic to refer to the processes of Islamic legal reasoning or the rulings produced through it: that word is fiqh, meaning something like Islamic jurisprudence. The word “Shariah” connotes a connection to the divine, a set of unchanging beliefs and principles that order life in accordance with God’s will. Westerners typically imagine that Shariah advocates simply want to use the Koran as their legal code. But the reality is much more complicated. Islamist politicians tend to be very vague about exactly what it would mean for Shariah to be the source for the law of the land — and with good reason, because just adopting such a principle would not determine how the legal system would actually operate.

Shariah is best understood as a kind of higher law, albeit one that includes some specific, worldly commands. All Muslims would agree, for example, that it prohibits lending money at interest — though not investments in which risks and returns are shared; and the ban on Muslims drinking alcohol is an example of an unequivocal ritual prohibition, even for liberal interpreters of the faith. Some rules associated with Shariah are undoubtedly old-fashioned and harsh. Men and women are treated unequally, for example, by making it hard for women to initiate divorce without forfeiting alimony. The prohibition on sodomy, though historically often unenforced, makes recognition of same-sex relationships difficult to contemplate. But Shariah also prohibits bribery or special favors in court. It demands equal treatment for rich and poor. It condemns the vigilante-style honor killings that still occur in some Middle Eastern countries.

**No it doesn't. Honor killing have a root in islamic theology and are given lenient treatment in sharia courts. I like how the author glosses over the death penalty for homosexuality commanded in the qu'ran.**

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