Archive for the ‘Islamic dissidents’ category

Europe: Muslim Reformers Need Police Protection

September 22, 2017

Europe: Muslim Reformers Need Police Protection, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, September 22, 2017

Seyran Ates, a moderate imam, has received “300 emails per day encouraging me to carry on,” but “3,000 a day full of hate,” some with death threats.

In Germany, it is not the Muslim supremacists, such as those who preach killing homosexuals, who have to live under police protection; it is the Muslims who criticize the supremacists. The only “crime” these concerned Muslims committed was to exercise their democratic right to speak — not in Iran or Syria or Iraq — but in Europe.

These reformers try to keep alive the values of the Enlightenment — freedom of speech, separation of religion and state, equal justice under law — to break through the coerced silence of Islam, in which “blasphemy” is punishable by death. The price, however, has been exile, torture, ostracism, public marginalization, and too often life itself. Where are the “moderate Muslims”? In the Muslim world, they are in prison, in exile, in flight. In Europe, these genuine “moderate Muslims” have to live under police protection. Multiculturalism for them is a prison.

Abdelbaki Essati, the imam the authorities believe was at the center of terrorist attacks in and around Barcelona, was apparently a master of deception — “too polite, too correct“. He was apparently able to deceive European intelligence services by preaching a “moderate” version of Islam, while at the same time, orchestrating deadly jihadist attacks.

Another imam in Europe, Seyran Ates, preaches a genuinely “moderate Islam” but needs around-the-clock police protection.

Ates, training to become an imam, seems to have thought there was no better place than Berlin to inaugurate her mosque, Ibn Rushd-Goethe. It is the first Islamic religious site open to unmarried women, homosexuals, atheists, Sufis, unveiled women — all those people that many fundamentalist Islamists have said they wish to silence or kill.

But after the flashbulbs of photographers came the death threats. Now, six German police officers are needed to protect Ates. She is not new to death threats. She closed her law firm in Kreuzberg (a Turkish district of Berlin) after almost being murdered in a terror attack. The bullet lodged between her fourth and fifth vertebrae. It took her five years to recover from the injury.

A week after the inauguration of “Berlin’s liberal mosque”, its prayer room was virtually empty. The number of faithful was the same as the number of security personnel. Muslims seem afraid to be seen there. Ates has received fatwas and threats from Egypt to Turkey. She says she has received “300 emails per day encouraging me to carry on”, but “3,000 emails a day full of hate”, some with death threats.

Berlin’s Seyran Ates, an imam who preaches a genuinely “moderate Islam”, needs around-the-clock police guards to protect her from fundamentalist Islamists. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Her fate, unfortunately, is not unique. Germany hosts many genuinely “moderate” Muslims who must live under police protection. They are journalists and activists who have challenged terror and radical Islam. Without protection, they would become “moderate martyrs”. Ayaan Hirsi Ali fled to the US after the Netherlands refused to continue protecting her.

In Germany, it is not the Muslim supremacists, such as those who preach killing homosexuals, who have to live under police protection; it is the Muslims who criticize the supremacists. The only “crime” these concerned Muslims committed was to exercise their democratic right to speak — not in Iran or Syria or Iraq — but in Europe.

These reformers try to keep alive the values of the Enlightenment — freedom of speech, separation of religion and state, equal justice under law — to break through the coerced silence of Islam, in which “blasphemy” is punishable by death.

It is they who penetrate that silence. They defend the right to democracy, to an independent judiciary, to education. The price, however, has been exile, torture, ostracism, public marginalization, and too often life itself. Where are the “moderate Muslims”? In the Muslim world, they are in prison, in exile, in flight — when not murdered — as was Salman Taseer, his lawyerbloggers from Bangladesh and countless others. In Europe, these genuine “moderate Muslims” have to live under police protection. Multiculturalism for them is a prison.

Hamed Abdel-Samad, an Egyptian writer and author of the book Islamic Fascism, is protected by the German police. The German sociologist Bassam Tibi has been under police guard for two years for having sponsored a “Euro Islam”: how Muslims might be assimilated in Europe, a concept opposite to the Islamization of Europe that the fundamentalists are trying to accomplish. In an interview with the German magazine Cicero, Tibi admitted his defeat and “capitulation”.

Ekin Deligöz, a representative of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, is under police protection as well, for having asked women to reject the veil as being “a symbol of inferiority and subjection”. Fatma Bläser, a victim of forced marriage and the author of the novel Hennamond, is today protected by police. She travels from school to school among young Muslims to raise awareness. Mina Ahadi, who founded the Council of Former Muslims, is also under day-and-night government protection.

When Turkey’s most courageous journalist, Can Dündar, former editor of the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet — the only Turkish media that expressed solidarity with the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo — left Ankara for Germany, he most likely would never have imagined that he would need police protection in Berlin, as well. In Turkey, the police searched his house for emails and articles; in Berlin, the police have to guard his house against the Muslim fundamentalists who want him dead. In Turkey, they wanted to kill him for criticizing political Islam; Europe is no different.

These are the real “moderate” voices in the Islamic world — unlike many supposed “moderate Muslims” such as Tariq Ramadan, who was recently caught defending female genital mutilation(FGM). These heroic Muslim reformers are far from the Islamic officials of the mainstream Muslim organizations, often funded by oil-rich Islamic dictatorships. Qatar, according to a major enquiry by the French daily Libération, is the main source of funds for the Union of the Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF), the most prominent Islamic umbrella group there. The UOIF also evidently receives funding from Saudi Arabia and “benevolent associations” in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

These brave dissidents, who need our help, have been struggling to uphold values that are the pillars of Europe’s Enlightenment — those the entire West has come to accept. But not Islam.

These men and women have even been compared to heroes of the Enlightenment, such as Voltaire. The French playwright, however, did not have a million enemies who, recognizing him from television, could then plot to behead him.

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

Where Are the Moderate Muslims?

April 27, 2017

Where Are the Moderate Muslims? Prager University via YouTube, April 27, 2017

(This is similar to what Muslim reformers, also known as “Islamophobes”, such as Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and the Clarion Project, which also promotes reform, have been saying. The stats were presented by Clarion Project several years ago. A Muslim reformation will be difficult, will take a long time — so did the Christian reformation — and may not happen. For America, however, I see no alternative for the reasons stated here. — DM)

 

White Liberals Attack Brown Islamic Dissidents

March 28, 2017

White Liberals Attack Brown Islamic Dissidents, Gatestone Institute, Giulio Meotti, March 28, 2017

Self-righteous liberals love “moderate Islam” when it appears under the guise of Tariq Ramadan, whose goal has been summed up by Jacques Jomier: “His problem is not the modernization of Islam, but the Islamification of modernity”. But the same liberals target as agents provocateurs those dissidents trying to modernize Islam. The fatwas of the white liberals hit hard as the violent ones of the Muslim extremists.

*******************************

“[A] section of the Western left has adopted the ideology of the Salafists, Khomeinists and Islamists. It supports their blasphemy codes, and apologias for murder.” — Nick Cohen, The Spectator.

“Thus the defenders of liberty are styled as fascists, while the fanatics are portrayed as victims!” — Pascal Bruckner, Perlentaucher.

“It is putting bounties on the heads of Muslims like Maajid Nawaz, who are opposed to Muslim extremism (…) The document is simply an enemies’ list, of the kind that fascists, Stalinists, and other totalitarian thinkers can’t help producing.” — Lee Smith, Tablet.

“Is the concept of holy war compatible with our ideal of religious toleration? Is it blasphemy—punishable by death—to question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era?” — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wall Street Journal.

Most of the solidarity to French cartoonists under threat has come from even braver — but ostracized — Muslim intellectuals.

At the time of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the literary “Left” stood with the Muslim “anger”, not with the persecuted writer — while all around, translators and publishers were being killed and wounded by the Iranian murderers.

In the global struggle for the confrontation of ideas between the West and political Islam, too often the Western values are represented by Muslim dissidents and downplayed by the liberals who should be safeguarding them. It is an unpleasant spectacle.

“The current situation in Europe is deeply troubling: not only are Muslim women within Europe subject to considerable oppression in many ways, such norms now risk spreading to non-Muslim women who face harassment from Muslim men. One would think that Western feminists in the United States and Europe would be very disturbed by this obvious misogyny. But sadly, with few exceptions, this does not appear to be the case”. — Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

The French daily Le Figaro captured the tragic condition of Muslim dissidents: “Seen as ‘traitors’ by their communities, they are accused by the elites in the West of ‘stigmatizing'”.

Le Point called it “the malediction of the dissident”: “For the European left, a bright danger threatens humanity. This is not terrorism or religious fundamentalism. But dissident intellectuals in the Muslim world”.

This is the meaning of a recent list of fifteen “anti-Islamic extremists,” published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Among them are, for example, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former member of the Dutch parliament and the most famous dissident from Islamic world, and Maajid Nawaz, a British Muslim who founded the Quilliam Foundation to fight radicalism, and who has been a consultant to Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has attacked principled and courageous critics of radical Islamism such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali (left), a prominent ex-Muslim writer, and Maajid Nawaz (right), a moderate practising Muslim writer, radio host and politician. (Images source: Wikimedia Commons)

Nick Cohen, in The Spectator, explained:

“in the liberal orientalist world view the only ‘authentic’ Muslim is a barbarian. A battery of insults fires on any Muslim who says otherwise. They are ‘neo-conservatives,’ ‘native informants,’ and ‘Zionists’: they are as extreme as jihadists they oppose, or, let’s face it, worse…”

In short, according with Cohen, “a section of the Western left has adopted the ideology of the Salafists, Khomeinists and Islamists. It supports their blasphemy codes, and apologias for murder”.

The Wall Street Journal, in an unsigned editorial, attacked the report of the Southern Poverty Law Center: that “as if facing down violent Islamist fanatics isn’t enough, Muslim reformers now have to dodge attacks from the American left”.

Lee Smith, in Tablet, noted:

“Yet now, the SPLC is putting bounties on the heads of Muslims like Maajid Nawaz, who are opposed to Muslim extremism… The document is simply an enemies’ list, of the kind that fascists, Stalinists, and other totalitarian thinkers can’t help producing”.

Nick Cohen called it “the first fatwa of the white left”. But it is not the first. That horrible document belongs to the long “flight of the intellectuals” denounced by Paul Berman: the abandonment of Enlightenment values in the face of threats to freedom of expression.

“It is time to extend our solidarity to all the rebels of the Islamic world, non-believers, atheist libertines, dissenters, sentinels of liberty, as we supported Eastern European dissidents in former times”, French writer Pascal Bruckner said. Most of Western liberals are doing exactly the opposite. Not only are they refusing “to extend our solidarity” to these rebels; instead, they are actually targeting them.

The Director of the Middle East-Mediterranean chair at the Ecole Normale Superieure, and professor at Sciences-Po, Gilles Kepel , just published a book, Fracture, in which he blasts “the intellectuals paralyzed by postcolonial guilt” and the “blindness which leads them to minimize the jihadist risk”. It is what Kepel in the book calls “Islamo-Leftism” (“Islamo-Gauchisme“), which currently targets Muslim dissidents to exclude them from the debate.

The debate reminds one that during the Cold War, when the Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the author of The Gulag Archipelago, was attacked by fellow writers such as Pablo Neruda, a Nobel Prize for Literature laureate and devout communist.

In 2006, a group of 12 writers put their names to a statement in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, warning against Islamic “totalitarianism”. “After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global totalitarian threat: Islamism”, read the appeal. “We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all”. Among the 12 promoters, eight came from the Islamic world. Most of the solidarity to French cartoonists under threat has come from even braver — but ostracized — Muslim intellectuals. In the global struggle for the confrontation of ideas between the West and political Islam, too often the Western values are represented by Muslim dissidents and downplayed by the liberals who should be safeguarding them. It is an unpleasant spectacle.

And what was Islamo-Leftism doing? Busy targeting them. Timothy Garton Ash, a leftist opinion-maker, has asked how much the success of Ayaan Hirsi Ali depends on her beauty, and has defined her “an Enlightenment fundamentalist”: “It’s no disrespect to Ms. Ali to suggest that if she had been short, squat, and squinting, her story and views might not be so closely attended to”.

Similar criticism against Hirsi Ali came from Ian Buruma, a Dutch “radical chic” journalist transplanted to Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Ibn Warraq, another Muslim dissident isolated by the Left, attacked Buruma: “Disgraceful has been Buruma’s vilification of human rights activists, especially his attacks on such heroic figures as Afshin Ellian and Ayaan Hirsi Ali”. Buruma achieves his goals in a most insidious manner: hinting and insinuating.

In the German magazine, Perlentaucher, the French author Pascal Bruckner defended Hirsi Ali from the criticism of Buruma and Garton Ash:

“It’s not enough that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has to live like a recluse, threatened with having her throat slit by radicals and surrounded by bodyguards. She — like the French philosophy professor Robert Redeker who has also been issued death threats on Islamicist websites — has to endure the ridicule of the high-minded idealists and armchair philosophers. She has even been called a Nazi in the Netherlands. Thus the defenders of liberty are styled as fascists, while the fanatics are portrayed as victims! … It is her wilful, short-fused, enthusiastic, impervious side to which Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash object, in the spirit of the inquisitors who saw devil-possessed witches in every woman too flamboyant for their tastes”.

Geert Mak, a Dutch historian, likened the film “Submission”, written by Hirsi Ali, and which cost the life of the Dutch filmmaker, Theo van Gogh, to the Nazi propaganda film, “The Eternal Jew”. According to Mak’s “logic”, Hirsi Ali “stigmatized” Muslims as Joseph Goebbels did Jews. Leon de Winter rightly attacked Mak’s shameful comparison in a column for Volkskrant newspaper:

“If anything can be compared with the propaganda of Goebbels, these are the decapitation videos and anti-Semitic propaganda of Arab satellite stations in Amsterdam West. Mak turns the world upside down. Anne Frank has been abused enough”.

The “Index on Censorship“, in an article by the associate director of the magazine, Rohan Jayasekera, has painted Hirsi Ali as a silly girl who had allowed herself to be manipulated by a white man (van Gogh) in exploitative employment”. The Index on Censorship was founded in 1972 by Stephen Spender in response to a plea from Soviet dissidents facing show trials in Moscow, on the principle that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that the international community has a duty to safeguard. What would people have said of his organization if it had blamed those Soviet writers instead of their persecutors?

Two years ago, Hirsi Ali was even uninvited from Brandeis University, one of the cradles of American academic liberalism that was supposed to celebrate her with an honorary degree. 85 of 350 professors at the Massachusetts university refused to host such a speaker on the Third World and Islam. If one reads what Hirsi Ali would have said on campus that day, the leftist fear of Hirsi Ali it is understandable:

“We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking, where all ideas are welcome and where civil debate is encouraged…. I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women’s and girls’ basic rights globally. And I stand before you as someone who is not afraid to ask difficult questions about the role of religion in that fight. The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect. So I ask: Is the concept of holy war compatible with our ideal of religious toleration? Is it blasphemy — punishable by death — to question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era?”

Dissident ex-Muslims from the Islamic world, who have fled to the West to escape persecution and sectarianism, also see their hosts are “going soft” on their persecutors. A motion in the European Parliament to fund Hirsi Ali’s U.S. security failed to reach a quorum of half the deputies in the 785-member body. She was “abandoned to the fanatics” in Europe’s shameful capitulation to intimidation and threats.

Directors, actors, producers, writers, and film critics, who usually pontificate on everything and side with any minority, all stood silent when Theo van Gogh was murdered in Amsterdam and threats were made against his brave writer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

In the last few months, we have seen many Western feminists, especially on the “left”, standing in defense of burkini. The New York Times ran an article entitled: “At the beach with my burkini“. It is the burkini and the veil, that have become symbols of human rights, and not Hirsi Ali and other Muslim feminists who fight against these religious symbols coerced on women. For many feminists and liberals, submission is demanded only by white male Christian westerners. All minorities, such as Islamic dissidents, who face this enemy are considered provocateurs. Submission of women in the Islamic world? Female mutilation such as that suffered by Hirsi Ali? Much better to rally against Dominique Strauss Khan, the French Socialist sexual predator. Hirsi Ali criticized the Western feminist silence:

“The current situation in Europe is deeply troubling: not only are Muslim women within Europe subject to considerable oppression in many ways, such norms now risk spreading to non-Muslim women who face harassment from Muslim men. One would think that Western feminists in the United States and Europe would be very disturbed by this obvious misogyny. But sadly, with few exceptions, this does not appear to be the case”.

When mullahs in Iran placed a bounty of $2.8 million — recently raised by an additional $600,000 — on the head of a British citizen, the Muslim dissident, Salman Rushdie, for having written a novel, The Satanic Verses, a large part of London’s literary “left” sided with the Ayatollah Khomeini rather than the persecuted writer. The feminist writer Germaine Greer called Rushdie a “megalomaniac, an Englishman with dark skin“. Roald Dahl, the bestselling author of children’s books, defined him a “dangerous opportunist“. The king of the literary spy stories, John Le Carré, called Rushdie an “idiot”. At the time of the fatwa, the literary “Left” stood with the Muslim “anger”, not with the persecuted writer – while all around, translators and publishers were being killed and wounded by the Iranian murderers.

The Algerian writer, Kamel Daoud, in addition to the edicts of Islamic preachers in his country, had to face a far more sinuous menace in France a year ago. Daoud had the courage to break the taboo against criticizing Cologne’s sexual attacks. According to Daoud, Europe welcomes immigrants with visas and material sustenance, but without addressing values. What Cologne showed, says Daoud, is how sex is “the greatest misery in the world of Allah”.

First, twenty leftist academics launched an appeal in Le Monde, where Daoud was accused of a series of ideological crimes, such as “orientalist clichés”, “essentialism”, “psychologizing”, “colonialist paternalism”, which correspond, all together, to an accusation of “racism” and “Islamophobia”. Then a book entitled “Kamel Daoud the Enquête Contre” — signed by Ahmed Bensaada and with a preface of a French journalist, Jacques-Marie Bourget — attacked “these intellectuals in North Africa, who are auxiliaries of the French neo-conservative thinkers” who need “the good negro”, a “native alibi”. Daoud was accused of being an instrument of “neo-colonialist thought”.

“The process of Islamophobia against Kamel Daoud is worthy of the Stalinist era”, wrote at Le Figaro political scientist Laurent Bouvet. In the weekly, Le Point Étienne Gernelle attacked “the fools of the regressive left”. Rafik Chekkat called Daoud a “native informant”, while Olivier Roy, an Islamic scholar, in an article accused Daoud of stigmatizing Muslims: “The machismo and sexual harassment exist all over the world, why isolating this phenomenon among Muslims, instead of trying to counteract all forms? Just because they are Muslims”. A great number of articles in the French press attacked Daoud.

The same treatment was reserved for the deputy editor at the time of Italy’s largest daily, Il Corriere della Sera, the Egyptian journalist Magdi Allam. He was targeted in an appeal signed by two hundred intellectuals, historians and writers, all belonging to the cultural milieu. Allam has also recently been attacked as a “racist” by the liberal Democratic Party in an Italian town which had wanted to honor him with the honorary citizenship:

“They imply that I have a prejudice against immigrants or Muslims and this corresponds to an offense because we speak of racism. I reminded them that I was a true Italian immigrant for reasons of study. They represent me as a terrorist but I am a victim of terrorism and of those who sow intolerance: I have been living under guard escort for 14 years”.

This cowardly interdiction of Muslim liberal voices in the West went ahead with Maryam Namazie, another Islamic intellectual of Iranian origin, was “disinvited” from the University of Warwick, in England, because her lecture could “feed the Islamophobia”. The left-wing press, led by The Guardian, supported the exclusion of Namazie:

“Does the withdrawal of an invitation really amount to censorship? Her words have not been banned, the state has not gagged her. Is Namazie’s capacity to share her ideas diminished if she doesn’t appear in front of 50-odd students? After all, she can still tweet and blog, as she showed over the weekend. If anything, the whole episode has increased her audience”.

Duke University students tried to stop the talk of another Islamic dissident, Asra Nomani, author of “Standing Alone”. In France, the book of the Egyptian writer, Hamed Abdel-Samad, was taken off the market because, according to the self-censoring publisher, Piranha, it would bring “water to the mill of the extreme right”. A Muslim author denouncing “Islamic fascism” was repudiated by the fascist anti-fascist “leftists” because of false “Islamophobia” claims.

Self-righteous liberals love “moderate Islam” when it appears under the guise of Tariq Ramadan, whose goal has been summed up by Jacques Jomier: “His problem is not the modernization of Islam, but the Islamification of modernity”. But the same liberals target as agents provocateurs those dissidents trying to modernize Islam. The fatwas of the white liberals hit hard as the violent ones of the Muslim extremists.

Kuwaiti Writer: The Recent Passing Of The International Religious Freedom Act In The U.S. Indicates That The World Has Had Enough Of Muslim Religious Extremism

January 12, 2017

Kuwaiti Writer: The Recent Passing Of The International Religious Freedom Act In The U.S. Indicates That The World Has Had Enough Of Muslim Religious Extremism, MEMRI, January 12, 2017

(Here is a link to information on the Religious Freedom Act. — DM)

In an article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas, journalist Ahmad Al-Sarraf wrote about the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act recently passed by the U.S. administration. The act, which was signed into law in December 2016, is an amendment to the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which authorizes the U.S. to impose sanctions on foreign countries in response to violations of religious freedom.[1] The amendment broadens the application of the International Religious Freedom Act by specifically extending protection to non-theists as well as those who do not profess or practice any particular religion. [2]

Al-Sarraf wrote that today, after the passing of the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, Arab and Muslims states will be more vulnerable to U.S. sanctions. He added that the passing of the act at this time indicates that the world has had enough of Muslims’ religious extremism and their involvement in terrorist attacks, and called to “end all this madness.” He stated that the law would not have passed had the Muslims countries understood and applied the principles of human rights, and expressed a belief that it would help to promote religious freedom worldwide.

alsarrafAhmad Al-Sarraf (image: Alqabas.com)

“To write is to fulfill a duty and warn [people of dangers], as well as a way to let out steam and express one’s thoughts. Like hundreds of others, we [journalists] warned about underestimating [the danger posed by] religious extremism. I have also demanded many times that school curricula prioritize the teaching of science over the teaching of the humanities – including religion, which has become a common theme in the study of humanistic subjects such as languages, literacy, history and geography. But nobody took heed [of this demand], either out of ignorance regarding the gravity of the problem or out of a desire to please the religious forces that have become [political] parties, such as the [Muslim] Brotherhood, and others.

“We also wrote that governments are making light of religious extremism, which will bring disaster upon us and harm our interests and those of the Arabs and Muslims living in the West. One day the world will lose its patience, and the developed countries will be forced to limit the entry of Muslims or [start] monitoring Muslim residents, barring them from certain professions or sending them back to their countries of origin.

“However, it seems that things progressed even faster than we thought, [for] the U.S. Congress recently passed the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, by means of which the U.S. will force the governments of the world to grant their people freedom of worship, to allow them to build houses of worship as they please, and to refrain from punishing citizens or anyone else for converting from one faith to another or expressing [their] religious beliefs. The law went into effect when U.S. President Barack Obama signed it into law. The meaning of this law is that we in the Muslim countries, and especially the Arab countries, will be more vulnerable to persecution by the U.S. administration. We have poor commerce and industry and a weak healthcare system, and if we stubbornly insist on refraining from developing and improving, we will be exposed to sanctions that we will not be able to endure.

“The new law will no doubt contribute to promoting religious freedom around the world, strengthening minorities, ending religious extremism and reducing sectarianism, even if only gradually. It will also liberate Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews and others from oppression, and prevent them from oppressing others, after religiously-motivated killing, expulsion and discrimination have spread in many countries that were once free of this kind of extremism.

“This is a serious matter, and it would be foolish to respond to this law by saying that we will starve rather than capitulate [to U.S. dictates], or go back to the desert and live on milk and dates. In fact, we must deeply contemplate this matter and realize that the world has had enough of us, of our extremism and of our involvement in most terror operations that take place on a daily basis. It’s time to end all this madness. This law would not have passed in this manner, which many regard as blunt interference in the internal affairs of other countries, had we really understood the essence of human rights in our countries and applied the principles [of human rights] to everyone, without discrimination.”[3]

 

Endnotes:

 

[1] State.gov, January 27, 1998.

[2] Congress.gov, May 16, 2016.

[3] Alqabas.com, December 25, 2016.

Washington-Based Writer Mansour Al-Hadj: Fear Of Trump Presidency Is Overblown; It Is Impossible To Defeat Islamic Terrorism Without Reforming Islam

November 23, 2016

Washington-Based Writer Mansour Al-Hadj: Fear Of Trump Presidency Is Overblown; It Is Impossible To Defeat Islamic Terrorism Without Reforming Islam, MEMRI, November 23, 2016

On November 4, 2016, Mansour Al-Hadj, a liberal Saudi-born journalist living in the U.S.[1], published an article on the liberal Arabic-language website Aafaq.org about the following week’s U.S. presidential election, titled “Trumpophobia – And Why I’m Not Worried About a Trump Presidency.”

Al-Hadj begins his piece by stating that various elements had expressed, in the U.S. media and to him personally, fears of a Trump presidency, casting the candidate as dangerous not only for the U.S. but for global security; as having an uncontrollable desire to use nuclear weapons; as a new Hitler who would turn the U.S. into a Nazi Germany-style racist state; and as similar to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad – since he hinted he would not accept the results of the election unless he won – and to Saddam Hussein. Al-Hadj’s article is a response to these and other statements, which he calls symptoms of “Trumpophobia.”

Although he is a black Muslim Arab, and not a Trump supporter, Al-Hadj wrote, he believes that these fears are overblown, and unwarranted, because the U.S. is a true democracy and its president’s authority is limited, unlike in Arab and Islamic countries. Its system of checks and balances, he wrote, would prevent a President Trump from changing the core values of the country; not only have several American presidents been impeached and forced out one way or another, but Barack Obama, a black man, had been overwhelmingly voted in, twice, despite the claim that the U.S. is fundamentally racist.

Al-Hadj stated that while the “Trumpophobes” persist in accusing Trump of being an Islamophobe, their fear of him is misplaced. However, he stressed, the fear of radical Islam is absolutely warranted, and completely rational – not only on the part of non-Muslims, but for “every peace-loving Muslim” as well. Muslims, he wrote, fear Islam more than anyone else does, because it is they who are the main victims of Islamic terrorism, and it is they who are subject to oppression under Islamic regimes.

Pointing his finger at U.S. Democrats, and particularly the Obama administration, for attempting to obscure Islam’s actual connection to terrorism, in the face of the indisputable proof of such a connection provided by both history and today’s reality, he stressed that Islamic terrorism cannot be eliminated “without reforming Islam and purging it of everything that provides ideological justification for terrorist organizations and streams of political Islam.” He called on the Muslims to establish a global organization representing the entire spectrum of Muslims to deal with interpreting Islam, and for this organization to be the only world body authorized to speak for Muslims.[2]

Al-Hadj concluded by calling on Arabs and Muslims to learn from the democratic experience of the U.S., which, he wrote, entitles any citizen to run for president “in a peaceful democratic atmosphere, in which the only permissible weapon is words,” and enables anyone “to dream of reaching the highest positions with effort and determination, instead of relying on luck, tribal affiliation, wealth, religion, or sect,” as in the Arab and Muslim world.

30796Mansour Al-Hadj (Aafaq.org)

Following are excerpts from Mansour Al-Hadj’s article:[3]

I Don’t Fear A Trump Presidency Because He Cannot Abolish The Basic Values Of The American Nation

“Personally speaking – and despite the fact that I have black skin, come from a Muslim background, speak Arabic, and have an Arab name – I believe that the phenomenon of ‘Trumpophobia’ involves excessive fear, and even though I am not a Trump [supporter,] I do not fear for the fate of the U.S. if this man heads it. I am not worried because I believe the U.S. is a country run by institutions and the president’s authority there is not unlimited as it is in Arab and Islamic countries. [I believe that] Trump can absolutely not cancel the values, achievements and principles of justice, equality, and liberty that form the basis of this nation, whose pillars were established by the founding fathers who meticulously ensured the division and separation of powers. [They did this] so that the people can defend its achievements with the Constitution and government and non-governmental agencies, including the House and Senate, the Supreme Court, civil society organizations, and the judiciary, and while it faces challenges, the FBI still did not hesitate for one second to reopen the investigation into the emails of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton mere days before the election. Clinton could face incarceration if authorities decide that her violations require prosecution and if she is tried and convicted.

“For those who don’t know, the legislative branch in the U.S. can impeach a president, which has happened twice in its history: In 1998 the House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton after his sex scandal involving Monica Lewinsky. The president was tried before the Senate, which decided to acquit him, allowing Clinton to complete his term in office… President Nixon submitted his resignation after the Watergate scandal that involved spying on the Democratic Party before Congress could vote to impeach him.

“While it is apparent that many Americans are losing trust in their nation and are especially fearful of a takeover by white racists, this nation has proven that it deserves respect and esteem, since it has overcome all tests and fears, and succeeded in all challenges. While Arab channels reported on the racism that American blacks suffer from, and while my friends and acquaintances asked me if I was experiencing racial animosity due to my skin color, Americans – whites, blacks, Latinos, Arabs, Africans, and Asians – elected a black president, thus silencing the voices who rejected the possibility of a black man entering the White House and making Obama president. This would not have been possible if whites based their votes on his skin color rather than his positions.”

It Is Muslims Who Should Fear Islam More Than Anyone

“While the ‘Trumpophobes’ do not realize that their fears of his rise to power are unjustified, they insist on accusing him of unjustified fear of Islam, known as ‘Islamophobia.’ The truth is that fear of Islam is justified and rational, not only on the part of Trump and the Americans, but of every peace-loving Muslim who fears becoming a victim of an extremist Muslim martyrdom attacker who believes that murdering civilians in train stations, theaters, soccer stadiums, or dance halls will bring him closer to Allah, grant him a first class ticket to the eternal gardens of Paradise and the right to deflower dozens of heavenly beauties, and allow him to peer into the face of Allah and sit amongst the prophets, affirmers of truth, martyrs, and righteous men whom Allah favored.

“Trump, whether we like it or not, bases his slogans and ideas on his concern for his country and love of it, which is what his fans and supporters clearly see, [while] the anti-Trump media, instead of trying to analyze and criticize his ideas, try in vain to distort [his image] by focusing on his sexual transgressions, inflating statements he’s made about his views of Muslims and taking them out of context, and focusing on leaked statements and recordings of him discussing his attitude towards women… Ashraf Al-Ansari,[4] a member of the Republican Party and one of Trump’s supporters, was a guest on the panel of the show ‘Talking Points’ [on BBC Arabic], and said that Trump does not speak diplomatically like other politicians because he is a visionary, not a politician.

The Truth Must Be Acknowledged: Islamic Terrorism Is Rooted In Islam

“Trump believes that dealing with any problem starts with establishing an accurate definition of that problem, and in the case of Islamic organizations, it relates to the religion on which terrorists base [their actions] – a fact that Democrats in general, and the Obama administration in particular, try to mask by absolving the [Muslim] religion of any responsibility for [terrorism], and placing [responsibility] solely on one or more extremist groups, which they say have no connection to Islam, as Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

“The claim that terrorism is not related to Islam is a claim that historical facts disprove and current reality rejects and exposes as a distortion, since it is an undisputed fact that Islamic heritage is the ideological basis and the fertile ground granting terrorist groups justifications and motives to commit their heinous crimes. It is absurd to say that Islamic terrorism can be defeated without reforming Islam and purging it of everything that provides ideological justification for terrorist groups and streams of political Islam. I grew up in an Islamic environment that believes religion is its most valuable asset, and that the entire world is conspiring to eliminate it, and therefore that the only way to deal with this Western ‘plot’ against Islam is to adhere to the religion and spread it throughout the world, and revive the ancient glory of the [Muslims] ummah by reoccupying Andalusia, conquering Rome, and smashing the cross.

“While we [Muslims] have blackened the pages of our textbooks with the horrors carried out by European imperialism in Asia and Africa, we continue to call our Muslim ancestors’ occupation of other countries ‘Islamic victories.’ I will never forget the shocked faces of attendants at a lecture I gave at a Mosque in Blacksburg [Virginia] on the topic of ‘The Ills of the Islamic World,’ [when I spoke of] the magnitude of the crime committed by [Ottoman Sultan] Mehmed [II] who, after conquering Constantinople, turned the [Byzantine] Hagia Sophia church into a mosque. One attendee said that this was fine so long as most Muslims at the time agreed to turn the church into a mosque. Another attendee recited a hadith attributed to the Prophet [Muhammad], in which he praised the conqueror of Constantinople and said: ‘The best conqueror is he who conquers it [Constantinople], and the best leader is he who leads it.’ Thus, [this man] eliminated any possibility of a rational interpretation of Islam, based on the values of justice, liberty, and equality – [while] many people who defend Islam repeatedly claim that it ensures [these values], and engrains [them] diligently and applies them equally [to everyone], not just to Muslims but to members of other faiths as well.

“The debates that follow any terrorist attack around the world have become a kind of boring TV drama, and everyone knows how it will end before it even begins. In every debate, one side insists that the source of terrorism is ideology rooted in the Islamic heritage, which divides the world between Dar Al-Islam [the Abode of Islam] and Dar Al-Kufr [the Abode of Unbelief], sees Muslims as the ‘loftiest’ creations, and insists that the enemies wish to snuff out the light of Allah… This side insists that when Muhammad and his Companions [carried out] Allah’s verdict against the Jews of the Banu Qurayza [tribe] – as stated in a hadith: ‘Kill their men, capture their women and children, and commandeer their property’ – they committed crimes no different from the crimes committed by ISIS against the Yazidi people. [This side also] insists that the ‘Reformer Imam’ Muhammad bin ‘Abd Al-Wahhab [the founder of Wahhabism] declared jihad against the residents of the Arabian Peninsula because they had drifted away from the religion and violated the tenets of monotheism introduced by the Prophet Muhammad. It also insists that current curricula in [Mecca], the city that Muslims face at least five times a day [when praying], teach students that Shi’ites and Sufis are infidels, and that a person who does not pray must be called upon to repent three times, and later [if he does not repent] he must be killed, and [his body] must not be washed nor wrapped in shrouds nor buried in a Muslim cemetery.  They also teach them that the Jews are the eternal enemies of Muslims and that they, the Muslims, will fight them in the end times, and even the trees and the rocks will stand with [the Muslims] to the point that if a Jew hides behind them, they will direct [the Muslims] to him and say: ‘Oh, Muslim, oh servant of Allah – there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’

“As for the side that defends [Islam], it insists that jihadi groups have nothing to do with Islam and that the Koran forbids unlawful killing and ensures freedom of religion, as is stated in Koran 109:6: ‘For you is your religion, and for me is my religion,’ or Koran 5:32: ‘whoever kills a soul… it is as if he had slain mankind entirely,’[5] and argues that Iblis [Satan] refusing to prostrate before Adam is the best example of freedom of expression and disagreement.[6] Thus, the episodes [in defense and condemnation of Islam] end, leaving the viewer without much more [information] than he had prior to watching and without challenging the beliefs of either those who believe that Islam has no relation to terrorism or those who believe that it is the source of terrorism.

“As stated above, Muslims, who suffer from terrorism and from the oppression of regimes that purport to be Allah’s representatives on earth in order to force His laws on people, fear Islam more than anyone else. In other words, they are the most afflicted by ‘Islamophobia’ … And why wouldn’t they fear Islam when thousands of them became victims of terrorist attacks using explosive vests and car bombs that do not distinguish between a man and a woman or between children and elderly? Why wouldn’t they be afraid when hundreds of them are slaughtered like sheep after being accused of being apostates, Western spies and collaborators, merely for objecting to a backwards group ruling them in the name of the religion?

“I do not exaggerate when I say that any young woman forced to wear a hijab against her will has the right to become afflicted with the disease of ‘Islamophobia,’ and any child has the right to fear Islam if his parents forced him to pray and frightened him using tales of ‘the Bald Serpent’[7] and eternal torment in hell if he neglects his prayers. All those who expressed their opinion on Islam and paid the price for it, such as intellectual Farag Foda[8] and Mahmoud Mohammed Taha[9]… or anyone who was or still is at risk, such as Salman Rushdie, Islam Al-Buhairi,[10] Hamza Kashgari,[11] Turki Al-Hamad,[12] Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd,[13] Fatma Naout,[14] Maajid Nawaz,[15] and many others, have the right to be Islamophobic, since their lives are in the balance. As I tweeted yesterday [November 3], I believe that it is the right of any Shi’ite, Sufi, or Ahmadi, and of any liberal or [Muslim] who does not pray or fast or don a long [traditional] robe or who likes listening to music – [it is the right of any one of them] accused of apostasy and lawlessness to be afflicted with Islamophobia.

“I will never forget the nightmares that plagued me when I stopped praying over 10 years ago, and the fear that gripped me when I awakened terrified and covered in sweat in the middle of the night fearing the Bald Serpent and eternal hellfire.”

Muslims Must Establish A Global Organization To Deal With Interpreting Islam

“In my opinion, the solution… lies in Muslims establishing a global Islamic organization to which all Muslims from all sects, ideologies, and cultures, will send representatives and empower them to deal with anything related to interpreting Islamic heritage, explaining it, and establishing it, so that this [body] will be the only one officially qualified to speak for Muslims. [Establishing] such an organization is the only way Muslims can hope to take back their religion from the hands of the regimes and the groups that use it for their personal interests and use clerics to suppress any voice that proposes positions not in line with their agendas and policies. For more on this, see my article ‘Our Change to Restore Our Islam, The Religion of Peace.’[16]

“In conclusion, I reiterate that I understand the fear that many people have regarding Trump ascending to power, but I believe that the U.S. is not Syria or Iraq, or Germany before the rise of Hitler. [I believe] that instead of being fearful we should cherish the idea that Trump reaching this position – even though many oppose him and accuse him of being insane – proves the greatness of the U.S. and the beauty of its democratic experience. It allows anyone to run for or even become president – whether Trump, or Marco Rubio with his Latino roots, or Ben Carson the African-American, or a woman like Hillary Clinton, or a man with Arab roots like Ralph Nader, or a Jew like Bernie Sanders, or a Mormon like Mitt Romney, or a Catholic like late President John F. Kennedy. This, in a peaceful democratic atmosphere, in which the only permissible weapon is words. Obama’s term will end in a few weeks, and he will return to being a regular citizen who served his country and then passed [the baton] to another person to carry on this great empire’s role in leading the world.

“A quick comparison to our miserable Arab and Islamic world shows that Arabs and Muslims have a lot to learn from this unique experience in human history, rather than fragmenting countries, as happened in Sudan due to [President Omar] Al-Bashir and his Islamic men clinging to the altar and refusing to incorporate others in the regime since 1989 – a period during which the U.S. has seen four presidents, with a fifth on the way. We have a lot to learn from the U.S., which grants us free lessons… in constructing states and societies, peaceful transition of power, the conception of citizenship, work ethic, volunteering and philanthropy, the importance of freedom of expression and equality among all societal groups, and in the right of everyone to dream of reaching the highest positions with effort and determination, instead of relying on luck, tribal affiliation, wealth, religion, or sect [as happens in the Arab and Muslims world].

“As for the phenomenon of Islamophobia, which the CAIR organization [tries to cure] by handing out pills to those it thinks are afflicted with it, [17] [I say that] this is a serious problem, and dealing with it requires more than just an intense effort to defend Islam by calling it a religion of peace and offering pills to [Islamophobes]. [People fear Islam because they feel] they are threatened at any given moment by terrorism merely for being ‘infidels,’ ‘polytheists,’  ‘apostates’ or Shi’ites… or for deviating from tradition in accordance with Koranic verses and the traditions of the Prophet.”

Endnotes:

[1] Mansour Al-Hadj is Director of the MEMRI Reform Project. His previous articles include: MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6118, Liberal Writer Mansour Al-Hadj Proposes Founding An Independent Islamic Organization To Address Root Causes Of Violent Extremism, Promote Peaceful Aspects Of Islam, July 30, 2015; Special Dispatch; Special Dispatch No. 3699, Sooner or Later, the Revolution Will Reach Saudi Arabia, March 24, 2011; Special Dispatch No. 2663, In My Youth, I Was Taught to Love Death, December 1, 2009.

[2] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No.6118, “Liberal Writer Mansour Al-Hadj Proposes Founding An Independent Islamic Organization To Address Root Causes Of Violent Extremism, Promote Peaceful Aspects Of Islam,” June 30, 2015.

[3] Aafaq.org, November 4, 2016.

[4] An Egyptian businessman who lives in the U.S. and goes by the name Ashley Ansara.

[5] The full sentence in the verse is: ‘whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.’

[6] Koran 34:2 states: “And [mention] when We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate before Adam’; so they prostrated, except for Iblis. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.”

[7] According to an unreliable hadith, the Bald Serpent will penetrate the graves of those who neglected prayer and bite them day and night. Alifta.net, the Saudi institution for research and fatwas, fatwa #8689.

[8] A secular Egyptian author and intellectual who supported the separation of religion and state and whose books caused widespread controversy. He was assassinated in 1992 by Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyya.

[9] Sudanese philosopher executed on charges of apostasy in 1985.

[10] A young Egyptian intellectual and researcher and head of the Al-Yawm Al-Sabi’ daily’s Center for Islamic Studies. Al-Buhairi hosted a show on the Al-Kahira wal-Nas satellite channel in which he spoke out boldly against radical Islamic discourse and even criticized Al-Azhar and its head, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb. As a result the show was suspended and he was prosecuted for “offending religions.” In late May, 2015 he was convicted  and sentenced to five years in prison.

[11] A Saudi writer and poet who was arrested in 2012 for posting two tweets that “insulted the Prophet” and was incarcerated for two years without trial.

[12] A Saudi writer who was arrested in 2012 for tweeting that Islam needs to be reformed.

[13] An Egyptian researcher of Islam whose books sparked controversy in the 1990s by calling the Koran a cultural product. After in 1995 a sharia court convicted him of apostasy and forced to divorce his wife, the two fled to the Netherlands where he lived and worked as a university lecturer.

[14] An Egyptian writer who, in January 2016,  was found guilty of insulting Islam in a Facebook post that spoke out against the ritual of slaughter sheep on Eid al-Adha. She was sentenced to a fine and three years in prison.

[15] A British activist, author and journalist of Pakistani origin. In his youth he was a member of the Islamist movement Hizbullah ut-Tahrir, but later in life he renounced Islamism and became an activist against it.

[16] Published in Aafaq.com, July 13, 2015.

[17] This is a reference to a video circulated by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) by as part of its anti-Islamophobia campaign. The video advises Islamophobes to take a pill, Islamophobin, to treat their disease. See youtube.com/watch?v=_s57kPS_gjM.

The unseen war: The Islamist assault on dissidents

October 21, 2016

The unseen war: The Islamist assault on dissidents, Asia Times, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, October 20, 2016

Since September 2001, terrorism has dominated the headlines. But there is a much less discussed form of terrorism — assault on dissidents in which the very systems meant to protect them fail and hand them over to their killers.

The attack on dissidents is robbing families of their loved ones, instilling fear in communities, and obstructing many pathways toward deep reform within the House of Islam. It is long overdue for security forces and governments to modify their policies and stand unwaveringly by the universal human right of free speech.

Last month, Jordanian writer and political activist Nahed Hattar was murdered in cold blood outside a local court for “insulting Islam” by sharing a satirical cartoon on his Facebook page.

2016-09-28t150210z_88909722_s1beudxnneab_rtrmadp_3_jordan-writer-shooting-580x387Relatives and activists cry during the funeral of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, in the town of Al-Fuheis near Amman, Jordan. Photo: REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Hattar was murdered by a “known extremist” cleric as he was facing trial by his own government which opposed his freedom expression. These autocratic and quasi-theocratic governments often light the fuses of radicalism which at times they explode themselves and other times hand over blindly to rogue assassins who they empower.

In Bangladesh, bloggers who question theocracy are slaughtered in broad daylight – this year alone, at least eight dissident bloggers have been murdered. In Pakistan, dissidents and even lawmakers who break rank with the religious establishment are murdered with impunity – often with their own bodyguards tipping off and aiding the killers. When they are not killed, Muslim reformers, dissidents and freethinkers are threatened, stalked and made to live in fear. With the continued advance of Islamic State and those who are inspired by them, the problem is growing.

While some of these cases make headlines, many go unnoticed by the broader public. Worst of all, those who tacitly endorse such crimes are more prevalent than ever. Even in the United States, non-violent Islamists enthusiastically harass reformists on social media and at public events, spotlighting them with slanderous comments, inciting others to hate them, and leaking false personal information about them online.­­

You’d think that the broader society would completely marginalize such malignant actors. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong in many cases.

Nonviolent Islamists who knowingly cause dissidents to be targeted with harassment and threats aren’t just allowed to continue their malicious activities – they are positioned as representatives of the Muslim community in the media and even in the halls of political power, from Washington to London and even at the United Nations. It is when these individuals are granted legitimacy through political and social clout that they become even more dangerous.

For example, in the United States, Islamist groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose leadership has targeted members of the Muslim Reform Movement (including myself) as well as women’s rights and LGBT activists, have trained law enforcement on how to treat Muslims – when they themselves incite hate campaigns against minorities within the Muslim community.

At the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) claims to represent all of the world’s Muslims and even purporting to fight anti-Muslim bigotry. However, the OIC’s ideology and resulting actions – which include seeking to criminalize any speech or art they deem “offensive” to their interpretation of Islam – are exactly what inspire radicals to slit the throats of dissidents. Their governments and attendant systems are the malignant cauldrons that brew the ideas, culture, legalisms, and ideologues that suffocate reform.

The OIC, true to its name, has one purpose and that is to maintain control of the “House of Islam” by Islamists and suppress the diverse voices of anti-Islamist, pro-liberty reformers. Each Islamist regime does both domestically and globally. Domestically, they do so either directly or passive-aggressively by giving militants impunity over the murder of reformers, and globally they do so by making the free world in the West believe that Islamism and its attendant sharia states is the only possible form of Islam.

How can this be stopped? Through the education of the Muslim community as to the nefarious aims of Islamist regimes and their sympathizers; and by holding politicians, the media and national security establishments worldwide accountable for their empowerment of the worst within the Muslim community. While we must pay urgent heed to stopping violent extremism, that is only a tactic among many tried by Islamist movements. We must more importantly engage boldly and take sides in the war of ideas within the “House of Islam.” We must disarm non-violent Islamists as the theocrats they are in their war against dissidents, minorities and truth-sayers.