Posted tagged ‘Muslim Reform Movement’

Modernizers launch a coup within the House of Saud

November 6, 2017

Modernizers launch a coup within the House of Saud, American ThinkerThomas Lifson, November 6, 2017

When President Trump visited Riyadh in May, the discussions must have included a mutual understanding of the changes the Regime has in mind. The US delegation included veteran Saudi-hand Secretary of State Tillerson and economic visionary Wilbur Ross of the Department of Commerce. These are precisely the people a monarch would want to talk to about restructuring his regime to cope with a reality that has changed. A big part of the modernization is entering closer relations with Israel, a natural mutual ally in resisting Iranian Shiites. Purportedly clandestine cooperation is widely in to be underway already.

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

A coup is taking place within the House of Saud, in which a modernizing monarch is grabbing power and taking out rivals.  Forces now under command of the ruler just arrested 11 princes among dozens of others and is launching financial investigations that could lead to serious punishment. In Saudi Arabia, they behead people (at least 157 times in 2015) and amputate a limb off of thieves.  It is widely believed that baksheesh is not unknown in Saudi Arabian business circles, and an “anti-corruption committee” was recently formed.  In other words, the tools are in place to take out any opposition among the powerful, within or outside the royal family.

Bloomberg reports:

Prince Miteb, son of the late King Abdullah, was removed from his post as head of the powerful National Guards.

That’s the first thing you do in coup: grab control of the forces on the ground.

Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was picked up at his desert camp, the senior official said. Authorities did not disclose the evidence that prompted the arrests.

 Prince Alwaleed bin Talal presides over a vast financial empire (estimated $35 billion in 2015):

 Alwaleed is the largest individual shareholder of Citigroup, the second-largest voting shareholder in 21st Century Fox and owns a number of hotels. TIME even called him “Arabian Warren Buffet”.

The second thing you do is take out any potential bankroller of rivals.

It all began a month after the historic visit of President Trump, when 81-year-old King Salman displaced the previous crown prince, who was his nephew, as tradition of succession required,[i] and installed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as effectively the monarch.

MBS, as the Crown Prince is known, is the leader who is launching what modernizers hope will be a Saudi Version of the Meiji Restoration[ii] in Japan, transforming the political economy and culture out of necessity – in order to survive in the modern world system.  The Saudis have practiced religious and cultural isolationism, while their oil allowed the country to avoid the necessity of building an economy that could supply anything else that the rest of the world would be willing to pay for.

The power grab was necessary, because Saudi Arabia has to modernize, and it won’t be pleasant for lots of people, in and out of the royal family. Thanks to fracking and associated technologies, prices are never going to return to $100 a barrel.  The regime itself is at stake because the population is growing and the young have few prospects of employment. The House of Saud almost fell in 1979, when the Grand Mosque in Mecca was seized by Shiite insurgents (The Saudi Shiite minority is concentrated in the oil producing region near Iran) declaring their prophet to be the Mahdi. The entire religious legitimacy of the family is that they are custodians of the holy places of Islam, and yet they had to bring in Pakistanis to retake the holy of holies, the Kaaba.

Source: Wikimedia

They understand that in order to stay in power, they have to deliver change.

When President Trump visited Riyadh in May, the discussions must have included a mutual understanding of the changes the Regime has in mind. The US delegation included veteran Saudi-hand Secretary of State Tillerson and economic visionary Wilbur Ross of the Department of Commerce. These are precisely the people a monarch would want to talk to about restructuring his regime to cope with a reality that has changed. A big part of the modernization is entering closer relations with Israel, a natural mutual ally in resisting Iranian Shiites. Purportedly clandestine cooperation is widely in to be underway already.

Of the people arrested, Alwaleed bin Tala is the most intriguing for Americans thanks to his Twitter sparring with candidate Trump during the election, and for a startling connection unearthed by Jack Cashill more than five years ago in World New Daily.

In late March 2008, on a local New York City show called “Inside City Hall,” the venerable African-American entrepreneur and politico, Percy Sutton, told host Dominic Carter how he was asked to help smooth Barack Obama’s admission into Harvard Law School 20 years earlier.

The octogenarian Sutton calmly and lucidly explained that he had been “introduced to [Obama] by a friend.” The friend’s name was Dr. Khalid al-Mansour, and the introduction had taken place about 20 years prior.

Sutton described al-Mansour as “the principal adviser to one of the world’s richest men.” The billionaire in question was Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

 

Deep currents are being stirred.

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman


[i] This spread power around in the family, allowing for the growth of factionalism within the clan. Now that there is a direct and clear lineage, power can be grabbed at the very top and the rest of the clan brought into line.

[ii] I studied, wrote and taught the Meiji Restoration and realize the many differences in the specifics of the two countries’ situations. No exact parallel is implied.

MBS, Saudi’s reformist crown prince with firm vision

November 5, 2017

MBS, Saudi’s reformist crown prince with firm vision, BreitbartAFP, November 5, 2017

(Please see also, Sweeping Saudi purge exposes broad opposition to Crown Prince’s policies. — DM)

AFP

Riyadh (AFP) – Since his emergence in June as crown prince of the world’s oil superpower, Mohammed bin Salman, 32, has set his sights firmly on economic, social and religious reforms in the ultraconservative kingdom.

The young and dynamic prince, known by his initials MBS, has already overseen the most fundamental cultural and economic transformation in the modern history of the Gulf state, half of whose 31-million population is aged under 25.

At an investor summit in late October, MBS pledged a “moderate” Saudi Arabia, long seen as an exporter of a brand of puritanical Islam espoused by jihadists worldwide.

“We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today and at once,” said the prince, who has sidelined powerful clergy who have long dominated public discourse in Saudi Arabia.

In September, a royal decree said women would be allowed to drive.

Some conservative clerics — who for years staunchly opposed more social liberties for women — have backpedalled and come out in favour of the decree allowing them to drive.

Under the crown prince, the kingdom is also expected to lift a public ban on cinemas and has encouraged mixed-gender celebrations — something unseen before.

The government has also set up an Islamic centre tasked with certifying the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed in a stated bid to curb extremist texts.

The government appears to have clipped the wings of the once-feared religious police — long accused of harassing the public with rigid Islamic mores — who have all but disappeared from big cities.

In tandem with reforms, Prince Mohammed has been shoring up power and over the summer carried out a wave of arrests in a crackdown on dissenters, including influential clerics and some liberals who could block his path.

– Sweeping crackdown –

On the business front, the prince was named head of a new anti-corruption commission, established by royal decree, late Saturday.

Immediately after, 11 princes, including prominent billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, and dozens of current and former ministers were arrested, in a sweeping crackdown seen as consolidating the crown prince’s hold on power.

MBS is the architect of a wide-ranging plan dubbed Vision 2030 to bring social and economic change to Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy.

Among his most prominent positions is chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, which coordinates economic policy. Mohammed also chairs a body overseeing state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

He also holds the post of defence minister more than two years into a Saudi-led military intervention in neighbouring Yemen.

In a dramatic announcement on June 5, Mohammed bin Salman was named to replace his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, as heir to the Saudi throne. He had been second-in-line since early 2015.

Born on August 31, 1985, MBS graduated in law from Riyadh’s King Saud University, and the dark-bearded prince with a receding hairline is the father of two boys and two girls

ANALYSIS: How Saudi Crown Prince’s promise of ‘moderate Islam’ shifts power

October 28, 2017

ANALYSIS: How Saudi Crown Prince’s promise of ‘moderate Islam’ shifts power, Al Arabiya, October 28, 2017

Mohammed bin Salman has pushed forth changes that could usher in a new era for one of the United States’ most important allies. (SPA)

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is charting a new, more modern course for a country known as so conservative.

Since catapulting to power, Mohammed bin Salman has pushed forth changes that could usher in a new era for one of the United States’ most important allies.

He’s introduced musical concerts and movies again and is seen as the force behind the king’s decision to grant women the right to drive as of next year.

When social openings in the kingdom were taking place four decades ago, extremists opposed to the monarchy laid siege to Islam’s holiest site in Mecca.

Prince Mohammed’s agenda is upending the current internal alliances in favor of synchronizing with a more cosmopolitan, global capitalism that appeals to international investors and tourists from all over the world.

Grabbing headlines

The prince grabbed headlines in recent days by vowing a return to “moderate Islam.”

In his sweeping “Vision 2030” plan to wean Saudi Arabia off of its near total dependence on petrodollars, Prince Mohammed laid out a vision for “a tolerant country with Islam as its constitution and moderation as its method.”

Prince Mohammed, used a rare public appearance on stage at a major investor conference in the capital, Riyadh, this week to drive home that message to a global audience.

“We only want to go back to what we were: Moderate Islam that is open to the world, open to all religions,” he said in the ornate grand hall of the Ritz-Carlton. “We will not waste 30 years of our lives in dealing with extremist ideas. We will destroy them today.”

His remarks were met with applause and a front-page article in Britain’s Guardian Newspaper. In expanded remarks to the paper, the 32-year-old prince said that successive Saudi monarchs “didn’t know how to deal with” Iran’s 1979 revolution that brought to power a clerical Shiite leadership still in place today.

That same year Saudi rulers weathered a stunning blow: Sunni extremists laid siege to Islam’s holiest site in Mecca for 15 days. The attack was carried out by militants opposed to social openings taking place at the time, seeing them as Western and un-Islamic.

Indeed, Sunni extremists have used the intolerant views to justify violence against others.

To appease a sizeable conservative segment of the population at home, cinemas were shuttered, women were banned from appearing on state television and the religious police were emboldened.

Much is now changing under the crown prince as he consolidates greater powers and prepares to inherit the throne.

There are plans to build a Six Flags theme park and a semi-autonomous Red Sea tourist destination where the strict rules on women’s dress will likely not apply. Females have greater access to sports, the powers of the once-feared religious police have been curtailed and restrictions on gender segregation are being eased.

Unlike previous initiatives who backed gradual and cautious openings, Prince Mohammed is moving quickly.

More than half of Saudi Arabia’s 20 million citizens are below the age of 25, meaning millions of young Saudis will be entering the workforce in the coming decade. The government is urgently trying to create more jobs and ward off the kinds of grievances that sparked uprisings in other Arab countries where unemployment is rampant and citizens have little say in government.

Finding solutions
The prince has to find solutions now for the problems he is set to inherit as monarch.

“What MBS is doing is a must requirement for any kind of economic reform. Economic reform requires a new Protestant ethic if you will, a new brand of Islam,” said Maamoun Fandy, director of the London Global Strategy Institute.

In other words, Saudi Arabia’s economic reforms require social reforms to succeed.

Meanwhile, Prince Mohammed still needs public support from some controversial clerics in order to position his reforms as Islamic and religiously permissible.

These clerics, many of whom had spoken out in the past against women working and driving, appear unwilling or unable to publicly criticize the moves.

In Saudi history and society, the king holds final say on most matters and the public has shown it is welcoming the changes.

France: The New Collaborators

October 20, 2017

France: The New Collaborators, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, October 20, 2017

Under the assault of radical Islam, French civilization is eroding from within. And there are now large parts of French culture which are openly adding water to the mill of Islam. These have been just called by Le Figaro, “agents of influence of Islam”. Intellectuals, journalists, politicians, those who consider the Muslims “the new oppressed”.

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

“They are those who believe that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and love and do not want to hear about an Islam of war, intolerance and hatred”. — Michel Onfray, Le Figaro.

Le Figaro just devoted an entire issue to Muslim women in France who are trying to fight radical Islam. They are journalists, activists and writers who want equality between men and women, freedom of expression and sexual freedom. These Muslims clearly care more about the French Enlightenment than many non-Muslims who advocate appeasing Islamists.

In short, France needs to start fostering its side of this cultural war. Even if it is too late to recover all of the lost ground, if France does not start immediately but just limits itself to “manage” this “state of emergency”, the lights turned off will not be only those of the Eiffel Tower, as happens after every terror attack, but also the lights of one of the greatest civilizations that history ever gave us.

A few days ago Abdelkader Merah, the brother of the Islamic terrorist who gunned down four Jews in Toulouse in 2012, went on trial, charged with complicity in terrorism. “Beginning in 2012, we entered an age of terrorism, where before we believed ourselves protected; it was a turning point in French history”, said Mathieu Guidere, a professor of Islamic studies in Paris.

Since then, France has faced severe challenges by Islamic fundamentalists in Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron is now trying to manage a terrible situation: some 350 Islamic terrorists currently sit in prisons; 5,800 are under police surveillance; an additional 17,000 have been classified as a “potential threat”, while since 2015, more than 240 lives have been lost to jihadi terrorists.

It seems that France has decided to accept what it might see as unavoidable: the Islamic takeover of parts of the country. This view is reflected in the very idea of a “state of emergency”. France’s lower house of parliament just passed a new anti-terrorism law, taking measures which have been in place for two years under a previous “state of emergency” and enshrining them into law.

After the murderous January of 2015 attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Macron’s predecessor, President François Hollande, officially declared that “France is at war“. Until now, however, the war has been fought only on one side, by the Islamic fundamentalists.

Although some scholars, such as Gilles Kepel, estimate that a “civil war” could break out in the future, there is a more realistic scenario: a country split along demographic and religious lines — the secular French republic vs. the Islamic enclaves, the “French 100 Molenbeeks“, from the name of Brussels’ jihadist nest.

France used to be regarded as a jewel of civilization. One of France’s great intellectuals, Alain Finkielkraut, recently said: “France has become for me a physical country, since its disappearance has entered into the order of the possibilities”. Finkielkraut, a member of French civilization’s holiest shrine, the Académie Française, was not thinking about the physical disappearance of French bakeries, boutiques or boulevards; he seemed rather to mean the disappearance of France as the capital of Western culture.

Under the assault of radical Islam, French civilization is eroding from within. And there are now large parts of French culture which are openly adding water to the mill of Islam. These have been just called by Le Figaro, “agents of influence of Islam”. Intellectuals, journalists, politicians, those who consider the Muslims “the new oppressed”.

The French essayist Michel Onfray recently called them “the new collaborators”, like the French who stood with the Nazis:

“They are those who believe that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and love and do not want to hear about an Islam of war, intolerance and hatred… The collaborator wants to see only the first [type of] Islam by believing that the second has nothing to do with Islam. These collaborators are the Islamo-leftists”.

And they are winning the cultural war.

How can France prevent an Islamic takeover of parts of the country with fatal metastases for the entire European continent? “In order to disarm terrorists, we must disarm consciences”, Damien Le Guay just wrote in a new book, entitled La guerre civile qui vient est déjà là (“The Coming Civil War Is Here Already”).

France needs to stop talking with “non-violent Islamists”, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and instead to speak with the true liberal reformers, the internal dissidents of Islam. The daily newspaper Le Figaro recently devoted an entire issue to Muslim women in France who are trying to fight radical Islam. They are journalists, activists and writers who want equality between men and women, freedom of expression and sexual freedom. These Muslims clearly care more about the French Enlightenment than many non-Muslims who advocate appeasing Islamists.

France also needs to close its borders to mass immigration and select new arrivals on the basis of their willingness to retain the present culture of France, and to abandon multiculturalism in favor of respect for a plurality of faiths in the public space. That means rethinking the phony French secularism, which is aggressive against Catholicism but weak and passive with Islam.

France needs to close the Salafist mosques and ban the preaching of radical imams who incite Muslim communities against the “infidels” and urge Muslims to separate from the rest of the population.

France needs to prevent the arrival of propaganda from the dictatorial regimes of the Middle East: their mosques, satellite channels, pamphlets, libraries and books.

France needs ban polygamy; Islamic law, sharia; female genital mutilation (FGM); Islamic supremacism and forced marriages.

France needs to tighten its alliance with Israel, the one outpost of Western culture in a region that has rejected it. Israel is the West’s only true ally in an area that is collapsing under the weight of radical Islam.

France needs to protect and renovate its Christian treasures. A few weeks ago, the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris promoted a fundraising project to save the building from decaying. The French authorities need to play their part and not forsake France’s Christian heritage. France needs to send Islamists the message that France is a secular country, but not a de-Christianized one.

France needs to protect its Jewish community, which in ten years has lost 40,000 people who fled the country as a result of anti-Semitism met with indifference.

France needs to strengthen Western culture at schools, museums, universities and publishing houses: Enlightenment, as the foundation of freedom of conscience, expression and religion, separation of religion and state; and the Judeo-Christian tradition as the root of all the great achievements of European culture.

France needs to demand reciprocity. The right to build a mosque in France should be linked to the right of Christians in the Middle East to practice their faith: a mosque for a church. France has the political and diplomatic connections in North Africa and Middle East to impose this reciprocity. What is lacking is any political will.

In short, France needs to start fostering its side of this cultural war. Even if it is too late to recover all of the lost ground, if France does not start immediately but just limits itself to “manage” this “state of emergency”, the lights turned off will not be only those of the Eiffel Tower, as happens after every terror attack, but also the lights of one of the greatest civilizations that history ever gave us.

(Image source: Falcon® Photography/Wikimedia Commons)

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

Saudi women ‘thank God’ for end to driving ban

September 28, 2017

Saudi women ‘thank God’ for end to driving ban, Israel Hayom, September 28, 2017

(Old Chinese proverb: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — DM)

A woman drives a car in Saudi Arabia. Archives: Reuters

Women will be allowed to obtain licenses without the permission of a male relative.

A muted response from Saudi Arabia’s clergy, which has long backed the ban, suggested power shared between the Al Saud dynasty and the Wahhabi religious establishment could be shifting decisively in favor of the royals.

Many younger Saudis regard Prince Mohammed’s ascent as evidence their generation is taking a central place in running a country whose patriarchal traditions have for decades made power the province of the old and blocked women’s progress.

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

Saudi Arabian women rejoiced at their new freedom to drive on Wednesday, with some taking to the roads even though licenses will not be issued for nine months.

Hundreds of others chatted with hiring managers at a Riyadh job fair, factoring in the new element in their career plans: their ability to drive themselves to work.

“Saudi Arabia will never be the same again. The rain begins with a single drop,” Manal al-Sharif, who was arrested in 2011 after a driving protest, said in an online statement.

King Salman announced the historic change on Tuesday, ending a conservative tradition which limited women’s mobility and was seen by rights activists as an emblem of their suppression.

Saudi Arabia was the only remaining country in the world to bar women from driving.

At the jobs fair, Sultana, 30, said she had received four job offers since graduating from law school two years ago but turned them down because of transport issues.

“My parents don’t allow me to use Uber or Careem, so one of my brothers or the driver would need to take me,” she said, referring to dial-a-ride companies.

“I’m so excited to learn how to drive. This will be a big difference for me. I will be independent. I won’t need a driver. I can do everything myself.”

She plans to start taking driving lessons when her family travels abroad for vacation.

Other women weren’t waiting. Internet videos showed a handful of women driving cars overnight, even though the ban has not been officially lifted.

The move represents a big crack in the laws and social mores governing women in the conservative Muslim kingdom. The guardianship system requires women to have a male relative’s approval for most decisions on education, employment, marriage, travel plans and even medical treatment.

The new initiative recalls previous modernizing milestones that unnerved conservatives at first but were eventually accepted, such as the 1960s start of state education for girls and the introduction of television.

The decree is expected to boost the fortunes of 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has ascended to the heights of power in the kingdom with an ambitious domestic reform program and assertive foreign policy.

He said letting women drive is a “huge step forward” and that “society is ready.”

“This is the right time to do the right thing,” he told reporters. Women will be allowed to obtain licenses without the permission of a male relative.

A muted response from Saudi Arabia’s clergy, which has long backed the ban, suggested power shared between the Al Saud dynasty and the Wahhabi religious establishment could be shifting decisively in favor of the royals.

Many younger Saudis regard Prince Mohammed’s ascent as evidence their generation is taking a central place in running a country whose patriarchal traditions have for decades made power the province of the old and blocked women’s progress.

Sharif, the activist, described the driving ban’s removal as “just the start to end long-standing unjust laws [that] have always considered Saudi women minors who are not trusted to drive their own destiny.”

A driving instructor at a government-run center said women called all day to inquire about registering a license, but he had received no instructions yet from the government.

Um Faisal, a mother of six, said her daughters would get licenses as soon as possible.

“Years ago, there wasn’t work outside the house. But today women need to get out and go places. This generation needs to drive,” she said, clad in a long black abaya.

The Saudi ambassador to Washington said on Tuesday women would not need their guardians’ permission to get a license, nor to have a guardian in the car when driving.

In a country where gender segregation has been strictly enforced for decades in keeping with the austere Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam, the decree means women will have regular contact with unrelated men, such as fellow drivers and traffic police.

Other rules have loosened recently, with the government sponsoring concerts deemed un-Islamic by clerics, allowing women into a large sports stadium for the first time and permitting them to dance beside men in a central Riyadh street over the weekend.

Amnesty International welcomed the decree as “long overdue” but said there was still a range of discriminatory laws and practices that needed to be overturned.

That risks inflaming tensions with influential Wahhabi clerics with whom the ruling Al Saud has enjoyed a close strategic alliance since the kingdom’s founding.

The state-backed Council of Religious Scholars expressed support for the king’s decree. Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, who has repeatedly opposed women working and driving and said letting them into politics may mean “opening the door to evil,” has yet to comment.

On that note, meanwhile, a Saudi woman was named to a senior government post for the first time, authorities said on Wednesday.

Eman Al-Ghamidi was given the post “as part of plan to boost the number of females in leadership positions in line with Vision 2030,” the Center for International Communication at the Ministry of Culture and Information said in a statement.

The Saudi government has said Vision 2030, a vast plan of economic and social reforms, will raise women’s share of the labor market to 30% from 22% currently.

Still, some men expressed outrage at the about-face by prominent clerics, who in the past have sometimes justified the driving ban by saying women’s brains are too small or that driving endangered their ovaries.

“Whoever says this is permitted is a sinner. Women driving means great evils and this makes them especially sinful,” one Twitter user wrote.

Kawthar al-Arbash, a member of the Shura Council, a government advisory body, acknowledged that resistance, saying: “That’s how things go. Everything new is accompanied by fears.”

Lori Boghardt, a Gulf specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the change is yet another sign that the crown prince is intent on adopting social reforms that will transform the kingdom.

“Today it’s especially clear that this includes moves that’ve long been thought of by Saudis as politically risky,” she said.

Aziza Youssef, a professor at King Saud University and one of Saudi Arabia’s most vocal women’s rights activists, said, “I am really excited. This is a good step forward for women’s rights.”

Speaking to The Associated Press from Riyadh, she said women were “happy” but also that the change was “the first step in a lot of rights we are waiting for.”

Zuhdi Jasser: Apologists for Radical Islam ‘Coddle the Muslim Community, Use Them for Identity Politics’

June 8, 2017

Zuhdi Jasser: Apologists for Radical Islam ‘Coddle the Muslim Community, Use Them for Identity Politics’, BreitbartJohn Hayward, June 8, 2017

(If there is a successful Muslim reformation, it will start — and probably end — in America. I have serious doubts that it will happen in the near future even in America. — DM

“The Islam that I believe in and teach my kids is a personal faith. It’s not up to the government. It’s not up to the imam who is the teacher. I can talk to five, six imams and then make up my seventh decision, some different decision.”

“Remember, what people read as the Koran is interpretation. The only thing that is Koran is the Arabic. The battle over interpretation is, what are the original words in Arabic? How do we actually define them? Many of them are fake and intentionally misleading interpretations,” he argued.

“The others that are about wars and battles, we need to separate and say, ‘You know what? Maybe it made sense in 620, 625 C.E., but we need to circumscribe those and say we no longer apply to today.’ You have to separate the historical part of the passages from applies to today,” he advised. “Muslims have done that with the rejection of polygamy that’s permitted, with the rejection of the cutting of hands for stealing, things like that. There’s a way to separate those things, and other ways to reinterpret.”

“There are modern ways to reinterpret the exact same words in a non-Salafi, non-Wahabbi, more modern liberal way while staying true to the authenticity of the script,” he stressed, referring to two schools of Islam that reject modernization and insist on highly literal interpretations of the Koran.

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

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, joined SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily to talk about the aftermath of the London Bridge terror attack, and the future of Britain’s struggle against radical Islamic terrorism.

Kassam commiserated with Jasser about the difficulties of being a Muslim reformer in a media environment where stern criticism of Islam, even from Muslims, is treated like racism.

Jasser said apologists for Islam’s excesses were “basically doing takfir on national television,” using the Muslim term for disinformation.

“My response is, I’m proud not to be part of their Islamist community, but these guys talk about Muslims like we’re a gang,” he said. “Like they own the gang, and we can’t participate, when in fact they want to shut down free speech, they want to deny that we’re a diverse community.”

“When people say ‘why do these radical attacks keep happening?’ it’s because the free world refuses to treat Muslims like adults,” said Jasser. “They want to coddle the Muslim community, use them for partisan purposes and identity politics, and ignore all of the signs and precursors of radicalization – which are, by the way, the signs are hallmarks of the principles of our free society.”

“Equality of men and women, respect for free speech, a denial of conspiracy theories, ownership of who we are – all of these principles, which are basic principles of human rights, in order to coddle Muslims they allow the Islamic supremacists, the sharia supremacists to speak for our community,” he elaborated.

“Meanwhile, they are basically telling Muslims like myself who love America, who want to stand up for our country, ‘Oh, go sit at the back of the bus. You don’t deserve any recognition. We’re going to let the men with the long beards and the apologists basically speak for your community.’ It’s bigoted. It is them who are the bigots. We are being told we don’t love our faith, when in fact it’s the tough love of Muslims like myself that really, I believe, should be honored in a free society,” said Jasser.

Kassam asked if the wave of terrorist attacks was a direct result of allowing Islamists and their apologists to “dominate the conversation” at the expense of reformists like Jasser, sometimes equating reformist criticism with apostasy.

“It definitely is,” Jasser replied. “ISIS, the Islamic State, is not only ISIS. Every one of the Islamic states of the 56 Muslim-majority countries that form the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is based on a sharia state platform. That sharia state basically says that you need to follow the laws as determined by the clerics who define what is and is not Islam, what is and is not permitted speech. If you don’t fit in that construct, then you are not a Muslim. Therefore, how do you control that state? You control it by limited free speech and rejecting those who fall outside the confines of their theocracy.”

“People need to understand, political Islam’s goal is not to dominate Muslim-majority countries, but to evangelize, spread their ideas globally and defeat secular states, defeat non-Muslim states,” he warned. “They divide the world into the land of Islam and the land of War.”

“We in the West, by virtue of not evangelizing liberty, being offensive in pushing back – not only against terror, which is a symptom, but against the theocratic ideology of political Islam – are being sheepish. Appeasing, if you will. By not pushing for our ideas of universal human rights, we have been basically unarmed, and we’re starting to see a sonic boom of the lack of assimilation,” he said.

“Those within our society that are Islamists reject who we are. When Britain looks and says wow, there’s almost more jihadis from Britain going to Syria than there are Muslims loving Britain and serving in their own military – just look at the numbers. It should be 99 percent for one, serving in the British military, versus going to jihad. It is almost 50 to 50. That is why we’re losing this war,” said Jasser.

Kassam asked how adherents of a Westernized Muslim could reconcile themselves to the portions of Koranic doctrine that conflict with Western ideals, such as freedom of speech.

“That’s a great question, especially now in this month of Ramadan where we fast and reflect, and seek atonement and humility,” Jasser replied. “The Islam that I believe in and teach my kids is a personal faith. It’s not up to the government. It’s not up to the imam who is the teacher. I can talk to five, six imams and then make up my seventh decision, some different decision.”

“Remember, what people read as the Koran is interpretation. The only thing that is Koran is the Arabic. The battle over interpretation is, what are the original words in Arabic? How do we actually define them? Many of them are fake and intentionally misleading interpretations,” he argued.

“The others that are about wars and battles, we need to separate and say, ‘You know what? Maybe it made sense in 620, 625 C.E., but we need to circumscribe those and say we no longer apply to today.’ You have to separate the historical part of the passages from applies to today,” he advised. “Muslims have done that with the rejection of polygamy that’s permitted, with the rejection of the cutting of hands for stealing, things like that. There’s a way to separate those things, and other ways to reinterpret.”

As a much more delicate example, Jasser noted there is a passage in the Koran about the permissibility of beating women, but he suggested it could be reinterpreted in a modern context as “going on strike” (i.e. separating from her) instead of physically “striking” her.

“There are modern ways to reinterpret the exact same words in a non-Salafi, non-Wahabbi, more modern liberal way while staying true to the authenticity of the script,” he stressed, referring to two schools of Islam that reject modernization and insist on highly literal interpretations of the Koran.

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)