Bill Warner: Moderate Muslims Cannot Save Us

moderate_radical-islamPolitical Islam, by Bill Warner, Sept. 7, 2016:

It is frequently said that moderate Muslims can solve the problem of jihad and terror. Everyone has met nice Muslims, some of whom are willing to admit that Islam has problems and may even say that Islamic State is bad. Moderate Muslims are nice people who come to interfaith events, interviews and talks at schools and churches. Moderate Muslims even tell us that they are the real victim, not the Kafir.

Here is the problem—Islam cannot be changed by anybody, moderate or not. Islam is the civilizational doctrine found in the Koran, Sira and Hadith. Nobody can change the Sunna and the Koran. Their words are eternal, perfect and universal. Nobody can change Islam. It is fixed and frozen by its unalterable doctrine.

What we call moderation is simply ignoring the violence and hate. But the jihad cannot be removed, it can only be denied by ignoring it. A moderate has the same Allah and Mohammed that a jihadist has.

Moderate Islam is Islam light, Islam ignored. Islam changes Muslims; Muslims can only choose not to practice the dark side of Islam, but they cannot change it or get rid of it. Islamic doctrine is fixed, eternal, unchangeable and forever.



For reformist Muslims like Raheel Raza, who recently spoke at the Act for America 2016 conference, Islamic doctrine is interpreted by leaving all objectionable verses out as “only applicable in the 7th century”.  One current effort underway by the reform movement is to create a Quran only Islam. The problem is, how do you convince millions of Muslims and the authorities of Islam at Al Azhar University that this is legitimate? And how do you come up with a peaceful interpretation of Quran 9:29: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humiliated.”

For a discussion on why it is impossible to reform Islam without essentially creating a new religion read CounterJihad’s recent piece by Immanuel Al-Manteeqi:

A Woman Under Sharia: 8 Reasons Why Islamic Law Endangers Women

Here is the relevant excerpt:

Conclusion and a Possible Pathway for Reform.

…Now, the job of Western leaders and those in the intelligence community is to educate themselves about the underlying religious motivations of Islamists (and not censor talk about Islam in willful blindness). Muslim reformers, on the other hand, are tasked with the more difficult job of reforming Islam,and rejecting interpretations or Islamic source texts that are at odds with contemporary Western and egalitarian values.

Muslim reformers need to focus on cultivating a peaceful and tolerant Islam, one that bestows a much higher place to women than traditional Islam, and one which is not a prisoner to the above- interpretations or source texts.

However, as mentioned above, Muslim reformers should not just dismiss problematic stories like that of Ṣafiyya as ahistorical or unislamic whilst simultaneously accepting other material in the same earliest sources as being historical and Islamic. This is unlikely to convince any Muslim with a proclivity to the less palatable interpretations of Islam, and certainly not those who are intimately familiar with the source texts.

These Muslims, especially the non-Western ones, will immediately indict the Muslim reformer as succumbing to Westernizing influences in his/her understanding of Islam. They will challenge the reformer to explain why what he/she happens to find unpalatable in the sources is ahistorical or unislamic, and why what he/she finds palatable is historical or Islamic. The reformer will very likely be unable to provide a satisfactory answer here.

So Muslim reformers need a way to reform Islam without playing fast and loose with the source texts, an endeavor which is bound to fail (the proof of this is that so far it has failed miserably). Now, the reformation of Islam is a burden that moderate Muslims must carry themselves—reform cannot be imposed from outside the Muslim umma, but must arise naturally and organically within it. In a word, it is for Muslims themselves to go about the very difficult task of reforming Islam.

That being said, I suggest that one promising pathway of reform, at least one that is much more promising than cherry-picking what to believe in the early sources, is the methodology that is advocated by Ahmad Ṣubḥī Manṣūr, an Egyptian graduate of al-Azhar. Manṣūr is a prominent Muslim reformist who is a former Azharī PhD graduate and Azharī professor.

His reformist agenda is very simple: Islam should be based on the Qur’ān alone. To this end, he has written a whole book entitled al-Qur’ān wa Kafa (“the Qur’ān is Sufficient”) wherein he defends the Qur’ān-only view, of which he is currently and incontrovertibly the number-one proponent.

Manṣūr believes that the extra-Qur’ānic Islamic sources, written as they were many generations after Muhammad’s death, are historically unreliable, and are a byproduct of a later sectarian milieu with concerns that were alien to the time of Muhammad and the Qur’ān.[31] Indeed, he describes much of the unpalatable material found in the ahādīth as “garbage.”

An upshot of his view is that many of the unpalatable teachings in mainstream Islam are not found in the Qur’ān, but in the extra-Qur’ānic sources, and so will be eliminated from his version of Islam. Examples of unpalatable doctrines or events that are not found in the Qur’ān but are present in the extra-Qur’ānic sources are as follows: the view that women make up most of hellfire and are lacking in faith and intelligence; the view that apostates should be killed; the stories that Muhammad enslaved women and had (ostensibly non-consensual) sexual relations with some female captives; the view that Muhammad wanted Jews and Christians expelled from the Arabian peninsula; the view that people should be fought until they believe in Allah and Muhammad’s prophethood, etc.

It must be noted that the view that Islam should be based solely on the Qur’ān and not on the extra-Qur’ānic sources is not something that is completely without intellectual merit. The extra-Qur’ānic sources of Islam are in fact written long after Muhammad’s death and contradict each other on many important points. That a ḥadīthin Sahih al-Bukhari has Muhammad saying that whoever changes his (Islamic) religion should be killed is hardly good evidence that Muhammad said such a thing.

Furthermore, eminent Western (non-Muslim) scholars of Islam, like Gabriel Said Reynolds of the University of Notre Dame, consider the extra-Qur’ānic Islamic sources, viz., the sīyar (plural ofsīra), tafasīr (plural of tafsīr), and aḥadīth (plural of ḥadīth), to be historically unreliable for constructing the context of the Qur’ān, or giving us accurate information about Muhammad.[32] He views many of the extra-Qur’ānic stories as being Midrashic interpretations of enigmatic Qur’ānic verses that should be read as secondary literature rather than as historical accounts.

All this being said, the putative reformist pathway of Manṣūr is not without its demerits. First, the Sunna (or way of Muhammad) is firmly entrenched in early Islam and many Muslims would see a Qur’ān-only Islam as being very foreign from their understanding of the religion. And they would be correct. Qur’ān-only Islam is an alien form of Islam, after all, most of Islamic praxis today is based not on the Qur’ān but  on the extra-Qur’ānic sources (particularly the aḥadīth); for example, the obligation to pray five times a day is not something that is taught in the Qur’ān, but in the extra-Qur’ānic source materials.[33] So in one sense, a Qur’ān-only Islam is arguably a different religion than the mainstream Islam that is practiced today. [emphasis added]

Second, most scholars of Islam, whether Muslim scholars in Muslim countries, orientalist scholars, or otherwise, do believe that while the earliest extra-Qur’ānic Islamic sources are embellished, even to a high degree, they nevertheless retain a solid core of historical truth. Scholars like Reynolds are, as he himself notes, in the minority here. Orientalists still follow the methodology of the great Islamicist, Theodore Noldeke (1836 – 1930), which is different from the traditional Muslim approach to the sources only insofar as it utilizes a more critical approach.[34]

Third, while the Qur’ān-only approach does eliminate many things that are unpalatable to a Western audience, one is still left with apparently unpalatable verses in the Qur’ān. Some Qur’ānic verses, like the ones mentioned earlier in this article, will need to be explained by Muslim reformers. However, given that the Qur’ān is, as the Islamicist F.E., Peters notes, “a text without a context,”[35]there is much room for interpretive maneuvering.[36]

All things being equal, the less that is known about the context of an ancient text, the greater the plausible interpretations of the text. This gives Qur’ān-only Muslims much greater leeway in explaining the prima facie unpalatable verses than Christians and Jews have in explaining away the violent or unpalatable elements in the Old Testament (the context of which are quite clearly stated in the text itself).

This is just one of a few putative approaches that Muslim reformers can adopt in order to combat certain religious doctrines that are not compatible with an egalitarian and Western ethic. Whatever the path that Muslim reformers take, it will certainly be an uphill battle for them. Manṣūr himself was tried by an Azharī tribunal and expelled from the University in 1987. And after being on the receiving end of many death threats for his unorthodox views, he sought political asylum in the United States and was granted it in 2002.

More recently, a young reformist, Islam al-Buhayrī, was imprisoned by ʿAbd al-Fatah al-Sisi’s “secular” Egyptian government for his vociferous efforts to reject much of what is unpalatable in the mainstream Islamic tradition. Likewise, Sayyid Al-Qumni is currently being taken to court in Egypt for his allegedly blasphemous reformist views. These courageous reformers are leading the drive towards reforming Islam, but when it comes to women under sharia, Muslim women themselves should be more proactive and they should take the lead in demanding equal treatment.

As can be seen from the above, there is much in the Islamic source texts that is not compatible with contemporary Western conceptions of the equality of man and woman. However, there are possible pathways for reforming these elements of Islam. And reformists who apply an intellectually consistent methodology, people like Dr. Manṣūr, should be encouraged.

Why Politicians Pretend Islam Has No Role in Violence

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
March 9, 2015

Prominent non-Muslim political figures have embarrassed themselves by denying the self-evident connection of Islam to the Islamic State (ISIS) and to Islamist violence in Paris and Copenhagen, even claiming these are contrary to Islam. What do they hope to achieve through these falsehoods and what is their significance?

First, a sampling of the double talk:

President Barack Obama tells the world that ISIS “is not Islamic” because its “actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith.” He holds “we are not at war with Islam [but] with people who have perverted Islam.”


Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama agree that violence perverts Islam.

Secretary of State John Kerry echoes him: ISIS consists of “coldblooded killers masquerading as a religious movement” who promote a “hateful ideology has nothing do with Islam.” His spokesperson, Jen Psaki, goes further: the terrorists “are enemies of Islam.”

Jeh Johnson, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, assents: “ISIL is [not] Islamic.” My favorite:Howard Dean, the former Democrat governor of Vermont, says of the Charlie Hebdo attackers, “They’re about as Muslim as I am.”

Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont, has declared himself a Muslim?

Europeans speak identically: David Cameron, the Conservative British prime minister, portrays ISISas “extremists who want to abuse Islam” and who “pervert the Islamic faith.” He calls Islam “a religion of peace” and dismisses ISIS members as not Muslims, but “monsters.” His immigration minister, James Brokenshire, argues that terrorism and extremism “have nothing to do with Islam.”

On the Labour side, former British prime minister Tony Blair finds ISIS ideology to be “based in a complete perversion of the proper faith of Islam,” while a former home secretary, Jack Straw, denounces “the medieval barbarity of ISIS and its ilk” which he deems “completely contrary to Islam.”

Across the channel, French president François Hollande insists that the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher criminals “have nothing to do with the Muslim faith.” His prime minister, Manuel Valls, concurs: “Islam has nothing to do with ISIS.”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte echoes the same theme: “ISIS is a terrorist organization which misuses Islam.” Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a left-wing German politician, calls the Paris murderers fascists, not Muslims. From Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agrees: “Extremism and Islam are completely different things.”

This is not a new view: for example, prior U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also aired their insights about what is and is not Islam, though less assertively.

Summarizing these statements, which come straight out of the Islamist playbook: Islam is purely a religion of peace, so violence and barbarism categorically have nothing to do with it; indeed, these “masquerade” and “pervert” Islam. By implication, more Islam is needed to solve these “monstrous” and “barbaric” problems.

But, of course, this interpretation neglects the scriptures of Islam and the history of Muslims, steeped in the assumption of superiority toward non-Muslims and the righteous violence of jihad. Ironically, ignoring the Islamic impulse means foregoing the best tool to defeat jihadism: for, if the problem results not from an interpretation of Islam, but from random evil and irrational impulses, how can one possibly counter it? Only acknowledging the legacy of Islamic imperialism opens ways to re-interpret the faith’s scriptures in modern, moderate, and good-neighborly ways.

Why, then, do powerful politicians make ignorant and counterproductive arguments, ones they surely know to be false, especially as violent Islamism spreads (think of Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, and the Taliban)? Cowardice and multiculturalism play a role, to be sure, but two other reasons have more importance:

First, they want not to offend Muslims, who they fear are more prone to violence if they perceive non-Muslims pursuing a “war on Islam.” Second, they worry that focusing on Muslims means fundamental changes to the secular order, while denying an Islamic element permits avoid troubling issues. For example, it permits airplane security to look for passengers’ weapons rather than engage in Israeli-style interrogations.

According to non-Muslim politicians these Taliban members have nothing to do with Islam.

My prediction: Denial will continue unless violence increases. In retrospect, the 3,000 victims of 9/11 did not shake non-Muslim complacency. The nearly 30,000 fatalities from Islamist terrorism since then also have not altered the official line. Perhaps 300,000 dead will cast aside worries about Islamist sensibilities and a reluctance to make profound social changes, replacing these with a determination to fight a radical utopian ideology; three million dead will surely suffice.

Without such casualties, however, politicians will likely continue with denial because it’s easier that way. I regret this – but prefer denial to the alternative.

Mr. Pipes (, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2015 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

March 9, 2015 addendum: For many more details on the cases cited here, see my weblog entry “Islam vs. History” at



Also see:

Defeat Jihad Summit panel debates the use of ‘qualifiers’ when referring to Islam


CJR: The perennial debate over use of qualifiers such as radical, extremist or even fundamentalist to describe Islam is brought up by the intrepid Diana West at the Center for Security Policy’s Defeat Jihad Summit. Diana West believes that we are in fact abiding by Islamic blasphemy laws when we say “radical” Islam rather then just Islam.

Stephen Coughlin comes at this from a military intelligence perspective which seeks to define just what the Islamic threat doctrine is so that we can “orient on the enemy”.  He explains that he chooses to refer to The Reliance of the Traveller shariah manual because it represents the sanctioned views of A Azhar, the OIC and the American Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore it represents the prevailing view of Sunni Islam and can be said to be Islam…not radical Islam. Coughlin then says something very interesting that needs to be highlighted. He refers to the tactic of using qualifiers in order to “bring people along”. In other words, some counter jihadists, especially those who are working in the political arena, choose to use qualifiers in order to soften the message for politically correct ears, including moderate Muslims.

Following Coughlin, David Yerushalmi speaks to the legal issues of trying to reform shariah law with an explanation of Fiqh and what it would take to overturn articles of Islamic jurisprudence developed over thousands of years as Islamic reformers such as Zuhdi Jasser and Egyptian President Al Sissi are advocating.

Debra Burlingame then speaks to the quandry of Moderate Muslims who have no safe place to express their views. Andrew McCarthy and Fred Fleitz believe it is important to reach out to Moderate Muslims and enlist their help.

I think a general consensus was reached that it is not necessary to address what the true Islam is if you can identify as the enemy those Muslims who subscribe to the Islamic Threat Doctrine of Shariah. John Guandolo gets down to law enforcement brass tacks and asserts that we need to start prosecuting those in high positions who are aiding and abetting terrorists. While John Guandolo did not agree that moderate Muslim outreach is producing results, he asserted that counter jihadists do not have to agree on everything in order to work together. I heartily agree.

Watch the debate which goes from 5:03 to about 5:38 in the video.  I’ve set the video to begin with Diana West  but if for some reason that changes just move the progress bar with your cursor:



Here are some clips of the Summit now available at securefreedom:

Michael Mukasey at Defeat Jihad Summit


Gen. Jerry Boykin at Defeat Jihad Summit


Gov. Bobby JIndal at Defeat Jihad Summit


Rep. Scott Perry at Defeat Jihad Summit


Rep. Mike Pompeo at Defeat Jihad Summit


Rep. Steve King at Defeat Jihad Summit


Andrew McCarthy at Defeat Jihad Summit


Pete Hoekstra at Defeat Jihad Summit


Newt Gingrich at Defeat Jihad Summit


Nonie Darwish



Does Moderate Islamic Ideology Exist?

tawfikNewsmax, By Tawfik Hamid, Sep. 10, 2014:

One of the guiding principles of the Islamic State is that Muslims must fight non-Muslims all over the world and offer them the following choices: Join, pay a humiliating tax called “jijya,” or to be killed. This violent principle was the basic doctrine that justified the Islamic conquests by the early Muslims.

After recent savagery by ISIS and other militant groups around the world, the following question inevitably is raised: Is it possible to be a follower and not adhere to that mandate?

In other words, if a young Muslim became very religious, is there an approved Islamic theological source or interpretation that clearly contradicts such a principle or at least teaches it in a different way, for example, contextualizing it in time and place?
The sad answer is: No.

Typically, there are five sources for Islamic law. These are: the Koran — the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (such as Sahih Al-Buchakry), the actions of the disciples of Mohamed (Sahaba), the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and the Tafseer or Interpretations of the Koran.

If a young Muslim whether the Islamic State is adhering to doctrine, the following shocking results would arise.

The literal understanding of the Koran 9:29 can easily be used to justify what extremists are doing.  “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humiliated.”

The following Sahih (authentic) Hadith in Al-Buchakry also supports violent ideology.
“Muhammad said: “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: La ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and whoever said No God other than, Allah will save his property and his life from me.”

If the same young Sunni Muslim felt uncomfortable with the literal interpretations of such text a search for an answer in the actions of the Sahaba might ensue. Sadly, the Sahaba or Disciples of Muhammad were the ones who used such a principle to justify the Islamic conquests and subjugating non-Muslims to Islam.

The fourth source for Islamic law is the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence namely, Al-Shafeii, Al-Hanbali, Al-Hanafi, and Al- Maleki. These schools, without a single exception, support the principle that Muslims must fight non-Muslims and offer them the dire choices.

The fifth, and final hope for one searching for a different understanding of Koran 9:29 is to find an interpretation (or commentary) that interprets it differently.

A basic research on almost all approved interpretation for the Quran support the same violent understanding. More than leading 25 different approved Koran Interpretations that are usually used by Muslims to understand the Koran unambiguously support the violent understanding of the verse.

Saying that “Islam is the religion of peace” or condemning radicals as being “un-Islamic” without condemning the principle that Muslims must fight non-Muslims to subjugate them to Islam, is not just hypocritical, it is counterproductive as it hides the true cause of the problem and impedes the efforts to solve it.

It also dangerously ignores the seriousness of the problem. Similarly, not calling the “Islamic State” the Islamic State (to avoid using the word Islamic) as suggested by some Islamic scholars is not going to change the painful fact that ISIS is using an approved and unchallenged principle of the Islamic theology. Such scholars need to work on providing peaceful alternatives to the current violent theology instead of asking the world not use the label Islamic State.

There are many moderate Muslims; however, until the leading Islamic scholars provide peaceful theology that clearly contradicts the violent views of the Islamic State, the existence of moderate “Islam” must be questioned.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of “Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam.” Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.

Moderate Islam Is Multiculturalism Misspelled

Koran (3)by Daniel Greenfield:

I have been searching for moderate Islam since September 11 and just like a lost sock in the dryer, it was in the last place I expected it to be.

There is no moderate Islam in the mosques or in Mecca. You won’t find it in the Koran or the Hadiths. If you want to find moderate Islam, browse the newspaper editorials after a terrorist attack or take a course on Islamic religion taught by a Unitarian Sociologist wearing fake native jewelry.

You can’t find a moderate Islam in Saudi Arabia or Iran, but you can find it in countless network news specials, articles and books about the two homelands of their respective brands of Islam.

You won’t find the fabled land of moderate Muslims in the east. You won’t even find it in the west. Like all myths it exists in the imagination of those who tell the stories. You won’t find a moderate Islam in the Koran, but you will find it in countless Western books about Islam.

Moderate Islam isn’t what most Muslims believe. It’s what most liberals believe that Muslims believe.

The new multicultural theology of the West is moderate Islam. Moderate Islam is the perfect religion for a secular age since it isn’t a religion at all.

Take Islam, turn it inside out and you have moderate Islam. Take a Muslim who hasn’t been inside a mosque in a year, who can name the entire starting lineup of the San Diego Chargers, but can’t name Mohammed’s companions and you have a moderate Muslim. Or more accurately, a secular Muslim.

An early generation of Western leaders sought the affirmation of their national destinies in the divine. This generation of Western leaders seeks the affirmation of their secular liberalism in a moderate Islam.

Even if they have to make it up.

Without a moderate Islam the Socialist projects of Europe which depend on heavy immigration collapse. America’s War on Terror becomes the endless inescapable slog that the rise of ISIS has once again revealed it to be. Multiculturalism, post-nationalism and Third World Guiltism all implode.

Without moderate Muslims, nationalism returns, borders close and the right wins. That is what they fear.

If there is no moderate Islam, no moderate Mohammed, no moderate Allah, then the Socialist Kingdom of Heaven on Earth has to go in the rubbish bin. The grand coalitions in which LGBT activists and Islamists scream at Jews over Gaza aren’t the future; they’re the Weimar Republic on wheels.

Flash back to Obama in his tan suit wearily saying that he has no strategy for ISIS. The original plan was to capture Osama alive, give him a civilian trial, cut a deal with the moderate Taliban and announce the end of the War on Terror before the midterm elections.

So much for that.

Moderate Islam is a difficult faith. To believe in it you have to disregard over a thousand years of recorded history, theology, demographics and just about everything that predates 1965. You have to ignore the bearded men chopping off heads because they don’t represent the majority of Muslims.

Neither does Mohammed, who did his own fair share of headchopping.

The real Islam is a topic that non-Muslims of no faith who hold sacred only the platitudes of a post-everything society are eager to lecture on without knowing anything about it.

Their Islam is not the religion of Mohammed, the Koran, the Hadiths, the Caliphs or its practitioners in such places as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq or Indonesia. Their Islam is a religion that does not exist, but that they fervently believe must exist because without it their way of life is as doomed as the dodo.

Read more at Frontpage

The False Dichotomy: Moderate Muslims vs. Radicals

islam-will-dominate-the-world-450x319by :

The liberal mainstream media has long portrayed the picture of moderate (good) Muslims versus extremist Muslims. This narrative has been institutionalized in the thinking of Western Muslim scholars who advocate for Islam as well. This has led to the thought that Islam is an ideology and religion of peace, because a majority of Muslims fall in the category of moderate or good Muslims.

If we analyze this dichotomy in-depth, the reality of this phenomenon on the ideology of Islam can become clear. Besides analytical and theoretical frameworks, I will also draw on my own experience growing up in the Muslim world.

We were taught in school that the Qur’an has descended, word for word, from the creator Allah, through Muhammad. This is accepted throughout the entirety of the Islamic word. If we take this speculation as accurate information of Islam, then every Muslim is supposed to follow Allah’s verses exactly in order to be a good Muslim and to be considered a representative of the real ideology and religion of Islam.

Secondly, if we take the assumption that the Qur’an is made up of Allah’s words as accurate, then Qur’anic verses should be followed for eternity, as long as human beings exist in this universe. No changes are allowed to Allah’s rules and words because Allah, as Muslims say, is perfect and his knowledge is absolute, as a result, his words cannot be relative and every word he utters or reveals should apply in any time of human history.

In fact, even Muhammad himself repeatedly said two things a Muslim should follow are the Qur’an (words of Allah) and the Hadith (Muhammad’s teachings).

Considering this information and based on these standards, a true Muslim, who represent the real Islam, should be the one who follows and obeys Allah’s words (from the Qur’an) completely.  As a result, anyone who ignores some of the rules is not, and cannot be, considered a reflection of Islam, a good Muslim, or even a Muslim. Accordingly, Allah’s words and rules are not a basket of vegetable to choose from, meaning that one cannot obey some orders and disregards others.

In this concept, the whole dichotomy of a good Muslim as opposed to an extremist as portrayed by the mainstream liberal media must be altered. By this definition, real, true, and good Muslims who represent Islam, are people such as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ayatollah Khomeini (the founder of Iran’s political theocracy), Osama Bin Laden, Hassan Nasrullah (the leader of Hezbollah), Ayman Alzawaheri, Hasib Hussein, Mahmoud Ahmadinjead, and the likes, because they follow the Qur’an and Allah’s social and legal rules word for word. All these people who committed crimes against humanity will be considered to be the real Muslims, representing the actual ideology of Islam, Qur’an, Allah’s words, and Muhammad’s teachings because they follow the rules of Islam.

Read more at Front Page

Why ‘Moderate Islam’ is an Oxymoron

By Raymond Ibrahim:

At a time when terrorism committed in the name of Islam is rampant, we are continuously being assured—especially by three major institutions that play a dominant role in forming the Western mindset, namely, mainstream media, academia, and government—that the sort of Islam embraced by “radicals,” “jihadis,” and so forth, has nothing to do with “real” Islam.

quran (1)“True” Islam, so the narrative goes, is intrinsically free of anything “bad.”  It’s the nut-jobs who hijack it for their own agenda that are to blame.

More specifically, we are told that there exists a “moderate” Islam and an “extremist” Islam—the former good and true, embraced by a Muslim majority, the latter a perverse sacrilege practiced by an exploitative minority.

But what do these dual adjectives—“moderate” and “extremist”—ultimately mean in the context of Islam?  Are they both equal and viable alternatives insofar as to how Islam is understood?  Are they both theologically legitimate?  This last question is particularly important, since Islam is first and foremost a religious way of life centered around the words of a deity (Allah) and his prophet (Muhammad)—the significance of which is admittedly unappreciated by secular societies.

Both terms—“moderate” and “extremist”—have to do with degree, or less mathematically, zeal: how much, or to what extent, a thing is practiced or implemented.  As Webster’s puts it, “moderate” means “observing reasonable limits”; “extremist” means “going to great or exaggerated lengths.”

It’s a question, then, of doing either too much or too little.

The problem, however, is that mainstream Islam offers a crystal-clear way of life, based on the teachings of the Koran and Hadith—the former, containing what purport to be the sacred words of Allah, the latter, the example (or sunna, hence “Sunnis”) of his prophet, also known as the most “perfect man” (al-insan al-kamil).   Indeed, based on these two primary sources and according to normative Islamic teaching, all human actions fall into five categories: forbidden actions, discouraged actions, neutral actions recommended actions, and obligatory actions.

In this context, how does a believer go about “moderating” what the deity and his spokesman have commanded?    One can either try to observe Islam’s commandments or one can ignore them: any more or less is not Islam—a word which means “submit” (to the laws, or sharia, of Allah).

The real question, then, is what do Allah and his prophet command Muslims (“they who submit”) to do?  Are radicals “exaggerating” their orders? Or are moderate Muslims simply “observing reasonable limits”—a euphemism for negligence?—when it comes to fulfilling their commandments?

In our highly secularized era, where we are told that religious truths are flexible or simply non-existent, and that any and all interpretations and exegeses are valid, the all-important question of “What does Islam command?” loses all relevance.

Hence why the modern West is incapable of understanding Islam.

Indeed, only recently, a Kenyan mosque leader said that the Westgate massacre, where Islamic gunmen slaughtered some 67 people, “was justified.  As per the Koran, as per the religion of Islam, Westgate was 100 percent justified.” Then he said: “Radical Islam is a creation of people who do not believe in Islam. We don’t have radical Islam, we don’t have moderates, we don’t have extremists. Islam is one religion following the Koran and the Sunna” [emphasis added].

Note his point that “Radical Islam is a creation of people who do not believe in Islam,” a clear reference to the West which coined the phrase “radical Islam.”  Ironically, the secular West, which relegates religious truths to the realm of “personal experience,” feels qualified to decide what is and is not “radical” about Islam.

Consider one example: Allah commands Muslims to “Fight those among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth [i.e., Islam], until they pay the jizya [tribute] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued”  [Koran 9:29].

How can one interpret this verse to mean anything other than what it plainly says?  Wherein lies the ambiguity, the room for interpretation?  Of course there are other teachings and allusions in the Koran that by necessity lend themselves over to the fine arts of interpretation, or ijtihad.  But surely the commands of Koran 9:29 are completely straightforward?

In fact, Muhammad’s 7th century followers literally acted on this and similar verses (e.g., 9:5), launching the first Muslim conquests, which saw the subjugation of millions of Christians, Jews, and others, and the creation of the “Muslim world.”  Such jihadi expansion continued until Islam was beaten on the battlefield by a resurgent West some two or three centuries ago.

Read more at CBN with video

Can Muslim Activism Be Done Right?

kr-450x337By :

In an interesting and presumably comforting article recently posted on this site, titled Muslim Activism Done Right, Michael Volpe draws our attention to a new Canadian advocacy group, Progressive Muslims Institute Canada (PMIC). Anti-extremist, amenable to secular values and politically communal, PMIC seeks to counter the theological summons to jihad and the spirit of antisemitic hatred embraced by its majoritarian co-religionists, and to establish friendly working relations with the Jewish community. Volpe understands this new project as a welcoming sign and harbinger of the future, suggesting the hope for a gradual reconciliation between heretofore antagonistic groups and the restoration of both sanity and the desire for social peace within the Muslim collective.

According to the Director General of the PMIC, Tahir Gora, the Institute “strongly denounces all forms of extremism and terrorism in the name of Islam” and promotes “gender equality…liberal, progressive and secular values among Muslims, and believes in a clear separation between religion and state.” Jewish organizations like the The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), whose concern with interfaith outreach trumps Jewish security, and B’nai B’rith have enthusiastically applauded such initiatives. And of course, developments like PMIC are a far sight better than jihadist savagery and orthodox adherence to the basic Islamic texts.

But there is a real problem here that Volpe’s article refuses to acknowledge. What these “moderates” or enlightened Muslims are proposing, however laudable, has little to do with mainstream Islam, whose fundamental scriptures cannot be rewritten on pain of apostasy and execution. Any scrupulous reading of the Koran and the attendant canonical and jurisprudential literature should make it amply clear that injunctions to slaughter, conquest, oppression and domination are inscribed in the faith. No attempt at what is euphemistically called “re-interpretation” or “contextualizing” can be expected to gain even modest traction in the larger Muslim world.

Efforts like those advanced by PMIC are doomed to fail. They cling precariously to a comparatively few benign tropes in the earlier, Meccan portion of the Koran, which are in any case subject to the principle of abrogation (Nasikh/Mansukh) and replacement by the later, more ruthless and bloodthirsty passages in the Medinian Koran. The “activists” are incubating an entirely new religion, an ostensible form of Islam that is no longer Islam but something closer to, perhaps, the inoffensiveness of Bahá’i, which is vaguely related to Shi’a Islam but essentially independent of it and condemned by both Sunni and Shi’a asharaam (sinful, unclean, forbidden).

Scrub the propulsion toward imperial ferocity from the bedrock tenets of Islam, separate mosque from state, eliminate the doctrine of violent jihad and advocate for gender equality, and what you come up with is a fantasy exercise, that is, an Islam divorced from its historical and present reality. It would comprise a body of doctrine completely alien to the rules, beliefs, usages and commands associated with the legacy of Mohammed. Contrary to the pious and uninformed sentiments of the liberal intelligentsia, Islam is not a religion of peace. As Charlie Daniels writing for CSN News asks, “What kind of religion and what kind of god advocates the wholesale slaughter of ordinary citizens, what kind of clergy send young men to a gruesome death promising them a place in some male-dominated sensuous paradise where they will while away the eons in the arms of multiple virgins?” A few small activist groups stippling the vast Islamic landscape will not do much in the way of terraforming a world.

The fact is, unfortunately, that Islam cannot be reformed if it is to remain Islam. The apostles of secular values, interfaith communion, and reconciliation with the infidel are, as Muslims, in denial of the proscriptions and prescriptions of the faith they continue to profess. Their approach, writes Mark Durie at The Gatestone Institute, “must at the very least honestly acknowledge Islam’s traditions of commentary on the Koran, and explain how a large number of violent texts might be viewed in a more liberating light.” But as Durie goes on to show in meticulous and irrefutable detail, explicit calls for violence as the religious obligation of every believer simply cannot be explained away. Context is no “silver bullet against violent texts.”

Read more at Front Page

Reflections on My Muslim Ex-Friends

ex_edited-2-350x350By David Solway:

Some of my best friends are Muslims. Or rather, some of my best friends were Muslims—not that they are no longer Muslims but that they are no longer my friends.

The problem I had over years of friendship had to do with certain personal attributes which I value highly, namely, consistency and the ability to recognize facts. My friends were good men who believed in Western democratic values, in selective immigration policies based on the possession of needed skills that would contribute to both society and the economy, in the necessity for Muslim (and all) immigrants to assimilate into the heritage culture, and in customary methods of education and a traditional curriculum; they rejected the utter folly of multiculturalism as it is practiced in Canada. At the same time they were staunch adherents of Islam as they understood it and swore by the distinction between Islam and Islamism, between genuine Muslims and radical Islamists, a distinction characterized, they claimed, by an unbridgeable divide.

I enjoyed a positive and warm relation with two of these men in particular. Both are published authors. Both are much in the limelight, reviewed and interviewed in many different places, for defending the liberal society they find superior to any other. And both are under a fatwa issued by their less tolerant brethren. And yet one of these valiant combatants considers Mohammed to be the perfect man whom Muslims should strive to emulate, is not well versed in the complex history of the Middle East, and entertains a corrosive skepticism about Israel. The other, while regarding his jihadist co-religionists as barbarians, yet argues that the atrocities associated with the development and diffusion of Islam should be historically contextualized, that the doctrinal heart of Islam is untarnished by events, and that the faith has not been properly interpreted by those who, he feels, wantonly abuse it. He believes that Islam blossomed under Mohammed as a spiritual quest, ignoring completely the historical fact that the Prophet was also a conquering warlord who engaged in raids for booty and committed bloody and indiscriminate acts of slaughter.

My two ex-friends reminded me of Irshad Manji who, in The Trouble with Islam Today, anatomizes everything that is wrong with her religion but makes a passionate case for its reform, including the revival of the faculty of ijtihad (independent thinking and counsel). It is hard to take her argument seriously. After 1400 years of nearly unchecked imperial conquest, with a holy book brimming with commandments to kill, mutilate, tax and enslave those it denominates as “infidels,” with hardline clerics in control of dogma today, and with terrorist regimes intent on bringing the West to its knees, can one credibly argue that Islam is even remotely susceptible to wide-scale, peaceful renovation? Moreover, reform would entail the gutting of myriad canonical texts, including the Koran, the Hadith and the five schools of Sunni and Shia jurisprudence, leaving nothing but a rump scriptural archive. Plainly, under the aegis of “reform,” Islam would cease to exist.

My own trouble with Islam, and the reason for calling it quits with my former friends, involved precisely what I understand as the immutable or essentialist nature of Islam. This nature prevails despite the historical nuances, the times when the faith was less oppressive than at other times (e.g., the Abbasid dynasty of early ninth century Baghdad), and the existence of comparatively enlightened movements like the eighth-and-ninth century Mu’tazalites, who fought for the primacy of reason, man’s free will, and the moral responsibility of the individual. The Mu’tazalites, be it noted, were decisively crushed in the tenth century by the fundamentalist Ash’arite sect, after which, as the latter’s leading theologian al-Ghazali wrote in his perennially influential The Incoherence of the Philosophers, “the gate of ijtihad is closed.” And it has been closed ever since. Additionally, we should keep in mind that although the Mu’tazalites believed that the Koran was a divinely created text, contingent upon the circumstances of its revelation, and not, as the Ash’arites claimed, co-existent with Allah and therefore fixed eternally, it nevertheless could not be transformed into something it was not.

Read more at Front Page

For an opposing view see “Recommended Reading: Islam and Islamism” (

My Name is Bosch and I’m a Recovered Muslim

bosch1By Bosch Fawstin:

Author’s note: This was originally published in Dec. 2011 in Front Page Magazine and it was the most popular piece I’ve written until this piece of mine. I’m a cartoonist, so the only essays I write are ones that I cannot express in any other way but words, and here- in light of the latest Jihad attack in London, and the latest “Islam vs “Islamism”” debate going on- is what I think is my most comprehensive piece on Islam, Muslims & Jihad.

My name is Bosch and I’m a recovered Muslim.

That is, if Muslims don’t kill me for leaving Islam, which it requires them to do. That’s just one of the reasons I’ve been writing and drawing against Islam and its Jihad for a number of years now. But fortunately for us, Islam hasn’t been able to make every Muslim its slave, just as Nazism wasn’t able to turn every German into a Nazi. So there is Islam and there are Muslims. Muslims who take Islam seriously are at war with us and Muslims who don’t aren’t.

But that doesn’t mean we should consider these reluctant Muslims allies against Jihad. I’ve been around Muslims my entire life and most of them truly don’t care about Islam. The problem I have with many of these essentially non-Muslim Muslims, especially in the middle of this war being waged on us by their more consistent co-religionists, is that they give the enemy cover. They force us to play a game of Muslim Roulette since we can’t tell which Muslim is going to blow himself up until he does. And their indifference about the evil being committed in the name of their religion is a big reason why their reputation is where it is.

So while I understand that most Muslims are not at war with us, they’ve proven in their silence and inaction against jihad that they’re not on our side either, and there’s nothing we can say or do to change that. We just have to finally accept it and stop expecting them to come around, while doing our best to kill those who are trying to kill us.

Another problem with Muslims who aren’t very Muslim is that they lead some among us to conclude that they must be practicing a more enlightened form of Islam. They’re not. They’re “practicing” life in non-Muslim countries, where they are free to live as they choose. But their “Islam” is not the Islam. There’s no separate ideology apart from Islam that’s being practiced by these Muslims in name only, there’s no such thing as “Western Islam”.

Non-observant Muslims are not our problem, but neither are they the solution to our problem. Our problem is Islam and its most consistent practitioners. There is nothing in Islam that stays the hand of Muslims who want to kill non-Muslims. If an individual Muslim is personally peaceful, it’s not because of Islam, it’s because of his individual choice, which is why I often say that your average Muslim is morally superior to Mohammad, to their own religion. The very rare Muslim who helps us against Jihad is acting against his religion, but that doesn’t stop some among us from thinking that his existence somehow means that he represents more than himself.

The only reason we’re talking about Islam is because it doesn’t mean peace. Islam wasn’t hijacked by a “small minority of extremists” on 9/11, it was hijacked by a very small minority of moderates whose embarrassment in being associated with such an immoderate religion leads them to engage in moderate truth telling about it, proving their irrelevance as allies.

In addition to these politically active moderates, when you see well-assimilated Muslims in the West, you’re not seeing Islam in action, you’re seeing individuals living up to the old adage, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. They’re essentially post-Islamic Muslims who have rejected Islamic values and have embraced Western ones. But since the process of their assimilation was implicit – as it happened naturally by their exposure to Western, i.e., pro-life, values – both Muslims and non-Muslims alike prefer to generously give Islam some credit for it. But a good Muslim, by our standards is a bad Muslim by Islamic standards. Objectively good human beings, who identify themselves as Muslim, give Islam a good face, one far better then it deserves. This only gives us a false impression about what it is we’re facing, with just another excuse not to face it. And this leads to our acceptance into our culture of stealth jihadists who have figured out how to say what we want to hear, while they scheme behind the scenes to further Islamize the West.

Read more at Front Page


The Incontrovertible Dead-End of Islam Revisited

20121006_MAP003_0Islam is nothing if not a political ideology. The first time Mohammad raised his sword to forcibly convert men to Islam, and abandoned persuasion, that was the inauguration of political Islam. It has not changed since then. Force, coercion, slavery, death, and submission are the sole hallmarks of Islam.

By Edward Cline:


The following is a revised and expanded version of “The Incontrovertible Dead-End of Islam,” which first appeared on October 30th, 2010. The revision and expansion are prompted by a May 13th, 2013 article by Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, “Islam vs. Islamism,” which also appeared in the Washington Times on May 13th. His article reflects a troubling central premise of alleging a necessary distinction between Islam and “Islamists,” that is, between ordinary, non-violent Muslims and their violent, “extremist” or “radical” brethren.

Pipes opens with a reference to the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15thand the foiled attack on the Canadian rail link to the U.S.:

What motives lay behind last month’s Boston Marathon bombing and the would-be attack on a VIA Rail Canada train?

Leftists and establishmentarians variously offer imprecise and tired replies – such as “violent extremism” or anger at Western imperialism – unworthy of serious discussion. Conservatives, in contrast, engage in a lively and serious debate among themselves: some say Islam the religion provides motive, others say it’s a modern extremist variant of the religion, known as radical Islam or Islamism.

As a participant in the latter debate, here’s my argument for focusing on Islamism.

His argument proposes a false dichotomy between Islam and “Islamists,” that is, between Muslims who wage violent jihad on the West and even amongst themselves for sectarian reasons, and those who don’t.

Islam is the fourteen-century-old faith of a billion-plus believers that includes everyone from quietist Sufis to violent jihadis. Muslims achieved remarkable military, economic, and cultural success between roughly 600 and 1200 C.E. Being a Muslim then meant belonging to a winning team, a fact that broadly inspired Muslims to associate their faith with mundane success. Those memories of medieval glory remain not just alive but central to believers’ confidence in Islam and in themselves as Muslims.

Major dissonance began around 1800, when Muslims unexpectedly lost wars, markets, and cultural leadership to Western Europeans. It continues today, as Muslims bunch toward the bottom of nearly ever index of achievement. This shift has caused massive confusion and anger. What went wrong, why did God seemingly abandon His faithful? The unbearable divergence between pre-modern accomplishment and modern failure brought about trauma.

Muslims have responded to this crisis in three main ways. Secularists want Muslims to ditch the Shari’a (Islamic law) and emulate the West. Apologists also emulate the West but pretend that in doing so they are following the Shari’a. Islamists reject the West in favor of a retrograde and full application of the Shari’a.

These paragraphs astounded me. The first one glosses over the conquest of the Middle East and North Africa which necessitated forced conversion, butchery, and slavery. Remarkable military successes, indeed. But for their defeat at the Battle of Tours, the “Islamists” would have carved out a huge empire in Europe. What economic accomplishments? The period he cites spans the economically stagnant Dark Ages and early Western Medieval periods. Cultural successes? Other than a certain architectural style, translating some Aristotle and other ancient thinkers – whose works Islam subsequently rejected – I can’t recall any great symphonies, artwork, or literature Islam produced in those six hundred years.

“Major dissonance” within Islam began over who was going to be Mohammad’s official successor in the 630’s. Thus the interminable conflicts between Sunnis and Shi’ites and other splintering sects of Islam. Islam never had any “cultural leadership.”

Secularist Muslims may want Islam to ditch Sharia law but only at the risk of being deemed apostates and of their deaths. Apologist Muslims feign a hypothetical reconciliation between Sharia and Western concepts of freedom, and demand the incorporation of Sharia into Western law. “Islamists,” however, are consistent with their creed, know that it is“retrograde” and primitive, and wage jihad to achieve that end.

Raymond Ibrahim, associate director of the Middle East Forum, on October 28, 2010, however, published an article, “Offensive Jihad: The One Incontrovertible Problem with Islam,” also in the Middle East Form (October 28, 2010), which seems to be at fundamental odds with Pipes’ article. Ibrahim’s article addresses one of the fundamental problems of and with Islam, one which I have continually stressed: jihadJihad is a core tenet in what is a codified system of irrationalism that cannot be “reformed” without obliterating Islam as a distinct religious creed. Remove the belligerent jihadist commands from the Koran and Hadith to wage jihad, for example, and it would cease to be Islam, not only in Muslim minds but in non-Muslim, as well.

There would, of course, remain a host of other irrational assertions and imperatives, such as the sanctioning of wife-beating and the murder of apostates and the like, which constitute, after some astounding mental gymnastics by Islamic clerics and scholars, the byzantine and illogical underpinnings and text of Sharia law. The jihadist elements of Islam, however, are easily transmutable into a political policy, which is conquest of all non-Muslim or infidel governments and societies and their submission to Sharia. That makes it an ideological doctrine. Muslims are either obliged to wage jihad, or they are not. Mohammad and Muslim scholars say they are. End of argument, so far as Koranic interpretation goes, and that interpretation is biased towards the literal.

Reading the debates about what Islam’s mission is and the role of jihad in it and what they truly “mean,” I am always reminded of H.L. Mencken’s observation on religious zealotry: “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” Islam is a puritanical creed that makes no allowances for either infidels or apostates or its adherents. I cannot believe that beneath the pious exterior of any person who would be seduced by Islam is not a seething, percolating envy of men who are indeed free, an envy easily and maliciously transfigured into violent jihad.

This policy is operative and underway today in Western nations with varying degrees of success, and it is making progress only by default. Islam is strong only because the West’s defenders are emasculated by multiculturalist premises and a general disinclination to condemn any religion. Aggravating the problem is an unadmitted but general fear in tolerance-obsessed pragmatists of “offending” Muslims, who might start rioting and demonstrating again, claiming discrimination, defamation, and disrespect, and etc., none of it spontaneous but clearly organized and orchestrated by so-called “radicals.”

I was initially impressed by Ibrahim’s quotation from an entry on jihad in the Encyclopedia of Islam, which is an admission that “Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad can be eliminated” – until I realized that it could just as well mean that, after a global caliphate has been established, there would be no more justification for violentjihad. Every nation would by then be conquered, recalcitrant infidels slain, enslaved, or reduced to dhimmitude, and Sharia made the law of every land.

In short, after all the killing, enslaving, and oppression, jihad would be wrong!!

But, if Islam is completely” made over” in the sense of reforming it, what would be left of Islam that virtually any other creed could not claim as its fundamental tenets, as well? And to” make over” Islam, its principal font of “kilman” or wisdom, the objectionable and barbaric Mohammad, would need to be dispensed with. He is a role model for killers and tyrants and other psychopathic individuals. Remove that one critical link of the irrational and arbitrary in Islam, and all the other links fall to the floor or dissolve into nothingness.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Radicals Moderates and Islamists

angry-muslimsBy Daniel Greenfield:

The radical-moderate continuum that has defined the dialogue on Islam in the War on Terror is not an authentic perspective, it is an observer perspective.

To the Western observer, a suicide bomber is radical, a Muslim Imam willing to perform gay weddings is moderate and the Muslim Brotherhood leader who supports some acts of terror, but not others, is moderately radical or radically moderate.

These descriptions tell us nothing about Islam or about what Muslims believe, but do tell us a great deal about its observers and what they believe. They turn Islam into inkblots that reveal more about the interpreter than the splotch of ink being interpreted.

Muslims are not radical or moderate. The radical-moderate continuum is how liberal countries rate individuals and countries to decide how well they will harmonize with the national and international consensus. Even if that consensus only exists in their own mind. The label of moderate does not mean a rejection of violence. Otherwise it could hardly be applied to the Muslim Brotherhood. What it means is a willingness to collaborate with Western governments and progressive organizations.

The radical-moderate labels are useful for liberals, but useless for anyone who wants to asses reality. It is tied into a number of false notions that are necessary for maintaining the status quo of liberal democracies. Notions such as the equal moral stature and interchangeability of all religions and peoples are key to running a liberal democracy, but they make it impossible to have a rational conservation about Islam.

In liberal democracies, no one really discusses Islam as a religion. That discussion is preemptively aborted by the defense of the general category of religion. To criticize Islam is to challenge the category of protection for all religions, much as to attack Communism during the Cold War was to attack the First Amendment.

The general category makes it necessary to subdivide the specific religion or ideology into a moderate majority and a tiny minority of extremists. This categorization tells us nothing about Islam and everything about the political and intellectual classes that refuse to rationally discuss it.

Islam is neither moderate nor extreme. It simply is. Extremism and moderate are an observer perspective. That does not mean that Islam is all one thing, an impermeable block. But the one thing that it is not, is liberal.

Liberal Islam is secular Islam, in the same way that liberal Christianity and liberal Judaism are both secularized in their subservience to liberal values. There are indeed secular Muslims out there, but they are a tiny minority of secularists even in the secular West. Their influence is minimal. And it likely would be minimal even if the Saudis weren’t spending fortunes in oil money to control the expressions of Islam in the West.

Even these secular Muslims are not necessarily non-violent. What they lack is the broader worldview of Islamic nationalism, that some label Islamism. They will support Arab Nationalist terrorism, which defines peoples by nation, rather than the Islamic Nationalism, which defines them by religion.

Islamic nationalism is not a religion. Nor is it a separate branch of Islam. It is influenced by movements within Islam, but those movements are largely reformist efforts aimed at returning to a more uncompromised Islam. And it is not limited to these movements. The majority of Muslims identify with Islamic nationalism to some degree.

Islamism is simply the political implementation of Islam which is already political. Islamism does not politicize an apolitical religion, it applies a political religion to politics. And most Muslims support that for the simple reason that they are Muslims and Islam is their religion. They may quibble over some of the details and they may be fooled by some smooth talk, but the same may be said of many supporters of National Socialism and Bolshevism. What matters is not whether every single German who thought Hitler had some good ideas supported the concentration camps or whether every single Communist supported the Gulags. Certainly not all did. What matters is that they supported the systems and leaders that made those things possible even when the warning signs were there.

muslim rageNo Islamist movement represents a complete break with Islam. Not even a partial break. The greatest stressors that Islamic terrorist groups impose on their religious codes is the treatment of other Muslims as infidels. And that alone is a telling statement about the tolerance for interfaith violence in their religion. It isn’t war that stresses Islamic codes, it’s internecine warfare.

Western observers may label those who identify with Al Qaeda as extremists and those who identify with the Muslim Brotherhood as moderates, but these are cosmetic differences. Islamist organizations are not a separate religion. They are the practical implementation of the religion. If we are to have a truer continuum, it would run from secular to religious, rather than moderate to extremist.

What makes Islamists dangerous are not their means, such as flying planes into skyscrapers, but their ends, which involve a global theocracy that reduces non-Muslims to enemies and slaves. Whether this end is accomplished through bombs or elections makes little difference. Hitler and Stalin would be no different whether they won elections or seized power by force. Not so long as their ends involved war, mass slavery and genocide.

The trouble with Islamic nationalism is Islam. There is no way of getting around that. Terrorism is an aspect of the problem. But the problem is a violent system that views the lives of non-Muslims and dissenting Muslims as worthless.

When Muslim terrorists set off bombs in Boston, Mumbai, Jerusalem or anywhere else, what they are really communicating is not some passionate grievance, but an ideology that has no regard for the lives of non-Muslims. That same message is communicated by the treatment of Western prisoners in Dubai or the treatment of Western hostages in Nigeria. It is a message rooted in the xenophobia of the Koran and it is a warning of the system that these acts of oppression and terror are intended to build.


Islamism won in the Arab Spring. It won the Western Diaspora. The idea that we can detach Islam from its political application by branding its political application extremist has failed. The two are intertwined. We cannot weaken Islamism except by weakening Islam, economically, militarily and demographically.

Read more

Islam Vs. Islamism: A Case for Wishful Thinkers


By Walid Shoebat:

“Our killer question is ‘How do you propose to defeat Islamism?’ Those who make all Islam their enemy not only succumb to a simplistic and essentialist illusion but they lack any mechanism to defeat it.”

This is what historian and Middle East analyst Daniel Pipes asks [1] in his recent Washington Times article.

To support his argument, Pipes makes an unsubstantiated claim [2] that a majority of Muslims are moderate and that Islamism is only,

supported by 10-15 percent [2] of Muslims…

So how and why did he come up with such numbers? Pipes uses different studies and surveys about which he himself confesses [2]: “These ambiguous and contradictorypercentages lead to no clear, specific count of Islamists.” Why then use such statistics? It is only to serve the major argument he made in my first paragraph.

And there are more “confessions.” Pipes writes: “Out of a quantitative mish-mash, I suggested just three days after 9/11 [3] that some 10-15 percent of Muslims are determined Islamists.” This is in itself contradictory and is even absolutely nonsense mathematically as he clearly admits. To further support this conservative number, Pipes adds:

 Indonesian survey and election results led R. William Liddle and Saiful Mujani [4] in 2003 to conclude that the number of Islamists “is no more than 15 percent of the total Indonesian Muslim population.”

He did this while he ignored his other statement:

In contrast, a 2008 survey of 8,000 Indonesian Muslims by Roy Morgan Research [5] found 40 percent of Indonesians favoring hadd criminal punishments (such as cutting off the hands of thieves) and 52 percent favoring some form of Islamic legal code.

So here we have 52% of Indonesians are extremists, not 15%.


Yet even that doesn’t determine the correct percentages to separate Muslims from Islamists. To say that “views on 9/11″ or “supporting Hadd” (Islamic punishment) is the yardstick to measure the percentages is also absurd and mathematically false. What if a Muslim doesn’t support 9/11 or Hadd but supports the idea that it takes two women in a court of law to equal the testimony of a man? Will Pipes count him as a moderate Muslim or an extremist Islamist? If he chooses “moderate,” then Pakistan got it right. No matter what Pipes chooses, it debunks all his unsubstantiated claims about moderate Islam.

What if a Muslim couldn’t care less about Sharia, jihad, and 9/11, yet he kills his sister for marrying a Jew? Is he a “Muslim” or is he an “Islamist”?

And what if we even use terrorism as a yardstick as Pipes prefers; in Saudi Arabia and across the Muslim world, you have many who do not support al-Qaeda. Are these then counted as moderates? In Pipes’ view the answer is “yes.” But this is false. Last week I had an exchange with Sheikh Faisal Al-Harbi, who chastised me on such issues,stating that his clan (Al-Harbi) would not support terrorism. Indeed, on his clan’s official website [7] they denounce al-Qaeda, adding:

Jihad for the sake of Allah is to go to war with the infidels and the polytheists to remove these and enforce Unitarianism. That is after inviting them to Islam and they reject the invitation (Da’wa). This Jihad is then organized and supervised by the Imam.

That cannot be placed in the moderate Islam camp. In light of this and my other arguments, Pipes’ percentages are escalating dramatically.

The true number for Islamists is 100%. Here, let me add more beef to my claim. What if a Muslim denounces today’s jihad, sharia, Islamic state and all? Is he then moderate?

Read more at PJ Media


The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch weighs in on the debate:

As made clear in our FAQ, the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch was created as part of an ongoing effort to track and an analyze the activities of the Global Muslim Brotherhood that we define as “global network of individuals and organizations that developed as Muslim Brotherhood members dispersed to other countries while fleeing the periodic crackdowns on the organization in Egypt.” The GMBDW considers the Muslim Brotherhood, in all its manifestations, to be both the wellspring as well the most important ongoing influence on Islamism in the world today. Therefore, in line with what Dr. Pipes has written, we want to reassert that the GMBDW also makes the distinction between Islam the religion and Islamism which we would characterize as even a greater threat to Muslim-majority nations than it is in the West.

That said, the GMBDW does take issue with one passage in Dr. Pipe’s otherwise salutary article.

He writes:

Those who make all Islam their enemy not only succumb to a simplistic and essentialist illusion but they lack any mechanism to defeat it. We who focus on Islamism see World War II and the Cold War as models for subduing the third totalitarianism. We understand that radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution. We work with anti-Islamist Muslims to vanquish a common scourge. We will triumph over this new variant of barbarism so that a modern form of Islam can emerge.

We are not convinced that that World War II and/or the Cold War are appropriate models for taking on modern Islamism as we do not believe that Islamism can productively be analyzed in these terms. Therefore, those that adopt such models run the risk of advocating inappropriate strategies for taking on the problem. Further elaboration of this theme involves a degree of complexity and will have to wait for future analysis.


Islam vs. Islamism, again

4262329508_45b1258d1b_zBy Robert Spencer:

This is a familiar controversy to longtime Jihad Watch readers; in November 2011 I published an article in National Review responding to a piece by Andy McCarthy and criticizing the Islam/Islamism distinction for obscuring the fact that doctrines of warfare and subjugation are found in Islam’s core texts.

I’ve long rejected the term “Islamist” for reasons I explained in that piece: “…the distinction is artificial and imposed from without. There are not, in other words, Islamist mosques and non-Islamist mosques, distinguishable from one another by the sign outside each, like Baptist and Methodist churches. On the contrary, ‘Islamists’ move among non-political, non-supremacist Muslims with no difficulty; no Islamic authorities are putting them out of mosques, or setting up separate institutions to distinguish themselves from the ‘Islamists.’ Mevlid Jasarevic [a jihadist in Sarajevo] could and did visit mosques in Austria, Serbia, and Bosnia without impediment before he started shooting on Friday; no one stopped him from entering because he was an ‘Islamist.'”

And so to say we must work with ordinary Muslims while eschewing collaboration with Islamists is not precisely a distinction without a difference, but a distinction that is practically imperceptible and, in many cases, in fact not there at all.

This is not to say that Islam can never be reformed. Many strange things have happened in history: events that no one 100 or 50 or sometimes even 10 years before they happened would have or could have predicted. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, but in 1986 and 1987 there were still plenty of learned analysts all over the airwaves and in the corridors of power in Washington talking about how we were going to have to deal with the Soviet Bloc for generations to come. So I will never say that something can never happen. But we have to recognize fully and honestly the obstacles in the way of it happening so as to make a truly realistic assessment of the situation we’re in, and apply remedies that are most likely to work, as well as to accord with our own fundamental principles.

This piece by Daniel Pipes has stirred up some controversy already; Pamela Geller comments here; Andrew Bostom weighs in here; and Walid Shoebat here.

“Islam and its infidels,” by Daniel Pipes in the Washington Times, May 13:

What motives lay behind last month’s Boston Marathon bombing and the would-be attack on a Via Rail Canada train?Leftists and establishmentarians variously offer imprecise and tired replies — such as “violent extremism” or anger at Western imperialism — unworthy of serious discussion. Conservatives, in contrast, engage in a lively and serious debate among themselves: some say Islam the religion provides motive; others say it’s a modern extremist variant of the religion, known as radical Islam or Islamism.

As a participant in the latter debate, here’s my argument for focusing on Islamism.

Those arguing for Islam itself as the problem (such as Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali) point to the consistency from Muhammad’s life and the contents of the Koran and Hadith to current Muslim practice. Agreeing with Geert Wilders’ film “Fitna,” they point to striking continuities between Koranic verses and jihad actions. They quote Islamic scriptures to establish the centrality of Muslim supremacism, jihad and misogyny, concluding that a moderate form of Islam is impossible. They point to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deriding the very idea of a moderate Islam. Their killer question is “Was Muhammad a Muslim or an Islamist?” They contend that we who blame Islamism do so out of political correctness or cowardliness.

To which, we reply: Yes, certain continuities do exist, and Islamists definitely follow the Koran and Hadith literally. Moderate Muslims exist, but lack Islamists’ near-hegemonic power. Mr. Erdogan’s denial of moderate Islam points to a curious overlap between Islamism and the anti-Islam viewpoint. Muhammad was a plain Muslim, not an Islamist, for the latter concept dates back only to the 1920s. And no, we are not cowardly but offer our true analysis.


Not only do moderate Muslims “lack Islamists’ near-hegemonic power”; they also lack the justification in the Qur’an and Hadith that Islamic jihadists always point to in order to gain recruits among peaceful Muslims, as well as to justify their actions. And this is a key point: if Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (both, not incidentally, ex-Muslims) are right that there is a “consistency from Muhammad’s life and the contents of the Koran and Hadith to current Muslim practice,” and they most certainly are, as Daniel Pipes apparently acknowledges when he says that “certain continuities do exist, and Islamists definitely follow the Koran and Hadith literally,” then attempts to prescind from Qur’anic literalism in order to reform Islam and create a more peaceful version of the faith will always be challenged by the literalists (who are and have always been the mainstream in Islam) as heretics and apostates.

Read more at Jihad Watch


Al-Ghasali: Photo source: Die Welt

Al-Ghasali: Photo source: Die Welt

By Tiffany Gabbbay:

After turning away from Islam and becoming an atheist, young blogger Kassim al-Ghasali became a target in his native Morocco. Following a string of death threats, he sought political asylum in Switzerland, where he now lives and continues to embrace ideals of freedom and tolerance.

Ever-outspoken in his beliefs, al-Ghasali presented a speech at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy in February. Speaking to the German-language news outlet Die Welt following the event, the young Moroccan shared his views (a translation of the full interview can be found in the Gates of Vienna blog), on the Arab Spring, why he believes Islam cannot be reformed in the same way that Christianity was, and why moderate Muslims should admit that “terror and violence” — or more pointedly, “unmitigated horror” — is part of the Koran.

Al-Ghasali also poignantly added that the Koran is a “politically and historically-determined book and not the word of Allah” and that Islam cannot be reformed as its tenets are anathema to Western enlightenment, which helped to reform Christianity [emphasis added].

In my opinion, there can be no reformation or enlightenment in Sunni or Shiite Islam, because there is no church to be reformed,” al-Ghasali explained to Die Welt.

“In Islam, we are subject to the power of a sacred book and the instructions it gives. Identity and understanding of self come from the Quran. If Muslims could use their reason without the instructions of a book which is recognized as the Word of God, then we could talk about enlightenment. But today most Muslims are against the ideas of the Western Enlightenment.

Read more at The Blaze


Zuhdi Jasser and Robert Spencer debate Islamic reform: