No, the Problem in London Is Not ‘Islamist Extremism’

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street, June 4, 2017. (Reuters photo: Kevin Coombs)

Islamists want to impose sharia law on the West — which means all Islamists are ‘extremists.’

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, June 5, 2017:

The Western schizophrenia about radical Islam is on full display in Britain, in the aftermath of the latest jihadist atrocity, the third in just the past three months.

Three terrorists rammed a van into a crowd on London Bridge and then went on a stabbing rampage, brutally assaulting pedestrians while braying that each blow was struck “for Allah.” A duly outraged Theresa May donned her prime-minister hat to announce that her government is “leading international efforts to take on and defeat the ideology of Islamist extremism around the world.” She also slipped on her amateur-imam cap, adjusted her rose-tinted glasses, and proclaimed that “Islamist extremism” is an ideology

that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism. It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy, and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam.

And what right-thinking Western politico’s post-mass-murder speech would be complete without May’s insistence that this ideology is — all together now! — “a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.”

Sigh.

What does Theresa May know about Islam such that she can decide what is a perversion of it? Precious little, I’d wager. Otherwise, she’d not babble on about “Islamist extremism,” a term right out of the Department of Redundancy Department.

If you are an Islamist in the West, you are, by definition, an extremist. An Islamist is a Muslim who believes Islam requires the imposition of sharia, Islam’s ancient, totalitarian societal system and legal code.

“Islamist” is a term we in the West use in the hope that, because there are Muslims who are tolerant, pro-Western people, it must not be inevitable that Islam itself — or at least some interpretations of Islam — will breed the fundamentalist, literalist, supremacist construction of Islam.

It may be a grave error to adopt this hope, especially since it has been elevated into seemingly incorrigible policy. Does the incontestable existence of moderate Muslim individuals necessarily translate into a coherent, viable doctrine of moderate Islam? Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to take just one very influential Muslim leader, says no: The West’s invocation of “moderate Islam” is “ugly,” he counters, because “Islam is Islam, and that’s it.” Erdogan is a close ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Islamist organization. If he’s right that there’s just one true Islam, rest assured that it’s not friendly to the West. Erdogan describes the Western call for Muslim migrants to assimilate in their new European societies as “a crime against humanity.”

Meanwhile, many students of Islam observe that its aggressiveness, intolerance of non-Muslims, and subjugation of women are indisputably rooted in Islamic scripture. Wherever there is Islam, they maintain, there will inevitably be Islamists; and when those Islamists reach a critical mass of population (which can be considerably less than 50 percent), there will inevitably be sharia activism.

They may be right. I don’t want them to be . . . but hope is not a national-security strategy — even if it has been the West’s national-security strategy for a quarter-century.

Obviously, there are gradations of extremism. Some Islamists are violent jihadists. Some support violent jihadists but eschew violence themselves. Some may reject violence (or at least say they do) and claim to seek sharia imposition only by peaceful persuasion. Some may lie about their intentions, pretending to oppose both violence and the imposition of sharia, or pretending that sharia is really moderate, peaceful, and perfectly compatible with Western notions of freedom, democracy, and human rights. But they all want sharia. If you are a Muslim who wants British law supplanted by Islamic law, that is not a moderate position, even if you’re not prepared to drive a van into a crowd of infidels over it. If that’s where you’re coming from, you are a Muslim extremist — an Islamist.

To speak of “Islamist extremists” is either gibberish or a form of political correctness designed to conceal a position one knows makes no sense but feels compelled to take anyway. Since I believe Prime Minister May is no dolt, I am betting on the latter: She is using “Islamist extremist” as code for “terrorist,” even though she knows, deep down, that this makes no sense — i.e., it is inconsistent with her correct insistence that the violence that aggrieves Britain is ideologically motivated.

Jihadist terrorists do not kill wantonly. They kill for a purpose: namely, to impose sharia. The ideology that motivates them does not endorse violence for its own sake. It reflects what Islam takes as the divine imperative that life be lived under the strictures of sharia. That is the ideology.

The problem that Mrs. May has is that it is an ideology shared by many Muslims who are not terrorists. Britain, like many in America, wants to embrace these Muslims as “moderates,” notwithstanding their hostility to Western society and law. May would prefer not to connect the dots that tell us these Muslims, even if not jihadists themselves, are pillars of the ideological support system in which jihadism thrives — they are, as some have aptly put it, the sea in which the jihadist sharks swim, and without which the sharks could not survive.

It is not merely al-Qaeda or the Islamic State that says Islam is incompatible with the Western understanding of human rights. In 1990, the 57 member-governments of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (now renamed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation) issued the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. These representatives of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims took this action precisely because Islam could not be content with the so-called Universal Declaration of Human Rights promulgated in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly. The latter is incompatible with the two key provisions of the Cairo Declaration: Articles 24, which states: “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah”; and Article 25, which adds: “The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.”

The Western understanding of freedom and democracy holds that people have a right to govern themselves. We draw a line between the secular and the sacred, rejecting the establishment of a state religion. To the contrary, as explained by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, perhaps the world’s most influential Sunni sharia scholar, “secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society,” because “the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari’ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions.” Qaradawi elaborated (in his book, How the Imported Solutions Disastrously Affected Our Ummah), “Islam is a comprehensive system of workship (Ibadah) and legislation (Shari’ah).” Thus: “The call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam. Its acceptance as a basis for rule in place of Shari’ah is downright apostasy.”

Lest we forget, apostasy from Islam is a capital offense in Islamic law. It is punished as such not just by terrorist organizations but by governments in Muslim-majority countries. In the Middle East, at least, sharia is not extremist Islam. It is Islam.

Pace Prime Minister May, it is not “Islamist extremism” that “claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam.” This is a conceit of leading Islamic scholars and governments. One need not agree with them or concede that theirs is the only interpretation of Islam. But one should grant that their interpretation is no perversion — and that they just might know a lot more about the subject than non-Muslim politicians in the West.

Mrs. May is half right. We are confronted by an ideology. But it is sharia supremacism, the belief that Islamic law must be imposed on society. To limit our attention to violent jihadists is to remain willfully blind to what inspires the jihadists. That is what has to be confronted, if we have the stomach for it.

Where Are the Moderate Muslims?

Published on Apr 27, 2017 by PragerU

After every terrorist attack, politicians and pundits reassure us that the atrocity does not represent mainstream Islam and certainly doesn’t reflect the true beliefs of the “moderate Muslim majority.” But how many moderate Muslims are there? And what exactly does “moderate” mean? Hussein Aboubakr, who was raised as a Muslim in Egypt, explains, and asks an important question: where are all the moderate Muslims that politicians and the media talk about?

***

Published on Jun 15, 2016 by Acts17Apologetics

http://www.answeringmuslims.com
Islam is in the headlines almost every day now, and it’s rarely for something positive. Moderate Muslims are distancing themselves from the actions and teachings of those who commit violence in the name of Allah. In this video, David Wood has three questions for moderate Muslims.

The Moderate Muslim Majority Myth

mod

Front Page Magazine, by William Kilpatrick, October 17, 2016:

The head of Britain’s M-16 recently told a panel of intelligence officers that jihad terror “will certainly be with us for our professional lifetimes.” Which prompts a question. How can that be so when we are repeatedly assured that extremists are only a tiny minority and that the vast majority of Muslims are moderates? Why should it take a lifetime to defeat such a small number?

Perhaps it’s time to revisit the assumption that the vast majority of Muslims are moderate. It’s true, of course, that the vast majority of Muslims are not engaged in terrorist activities, but that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily moderate.

Not currently killing people is a poor gauge of moderation. A better gauge would be to determine the potential for turning to violence in a given population. The fact is, we do have such a gauge. It’s the belief system that one adheres to. If beliefs do have consequences, it’s legitimate to ask if there is something about the Islamic faith that predisposes to violence.

The evidence suggests that Islam does not encourage moderation. The Pew Global Survey of Muslim Attitudes show that the majority of Muslims in Muslim countries support practices we would consider to be extreme–amputation for theft, stoning of adulterers, and the execution of apostates.

All of the above are sanctioned in the Koran, the Hadith (the sayings of Muhammad), and the Islamic law books. The reason you get so much violence in the Muslim world is that Allah commands it. Ever since 9/11, we in the West have wondered, “why do they hate us?” Well, a recent issue of Dabiq, the official magazine of the Islamic State, provides the answer: “We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah.” That, contends the author, is their main grievance. We (non-Muslims) are infidels, and we have to be fought because that is what Allah wants. Read through the Koran and you will quickly see that Allah has nothing but disdain for unbelievers.

The other reason for Islamic terrorism is that the chief role model for Muslims is a man named Muhammad–a warlord who engaged in almost constant jihad against his neighbors. In Islam, he is considered the perfect man—the one whom Muslims are supposed to emulate. If role models are as important as Americans seem to believe, we shouldn’t be surprised at the consequences that follow when 1.6 billion people take Muhammad as their model.

Some readers might object that such talk is provocative–that if you say these things out loud, it will only serve to drive the moderate Muslims into the radical camp. But that argument is itself evidence that Islam is not a moderate faith. If the moderates can be so easily driven into the arms of the radicals, it must be a relatively short drive. We don’t worry that insults to Christianity or even to Jesus are going to turn moderate Christians into bomb-throwing radicals. Why do we worry that Muslims can be so easily radicalized? The difference is that Islam is not a peaceful religion and was never meant to be one.

The vast majority of Muslims can be considered moderate in the sense that they refrain from killing. But that does not mean that none of them have sympathy for terrorists. A Muslim may be personally averse to killing, but may, nevertheless, be willing to lend moral or financial support to those who do kill. Or he may simply look the other way.  A poll taken in the UK last year revealed that two-thirds of British Muslims would not report a terrorist to the police. An informal survey taken in Molenbeek shortly after thirty people were killed at the Brussels airport found that ninety percent of Muslim teens considered the terrorists to be heroes.

In the West Bank and in Gaza, terrorists are also widely regarded as heroes and martyrs. City streets, squares and parks, are named in their honor, and children are encouraged to follow their example.  Much as Catholics honor saints for their devotion, Palestinians hold the martyrs in high esteem for their willingness to do what the majority are reluctant to do—namely, to sacrifice all for Allah.

Given the potential that exists in the Muslim world for turning to violence, or for supporting those who do, we should not take much comfort in the fact that most Muslims, most of the time are simply going about their business. For many, that daily routine will include studying the Koran, and perhaps entertaining doubts about one’s own worthiness when compared to the martyrs and the mujahideen.

It’s not wise to get too comfortable with the notion that the vast majority of Muslims are moderate. A significant portion of that majority may simply be working up the courage to join the highly honored minority.

William Kilpatrick is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad (Regnery Publishing). For more on his work and writings, visit his website, turningpointproject.com.

Washington State Mall Shooter May Not Be a Jihad Terrorist

cascade-mall-shooting-arcan-cetin

Front Page Magazine, by Robert Spencer, Sept. 27, 2016:

The evidence is scant that Arcan Cetin, a Muslim migrant from Turkey, murdered five people in Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington last Friday night in the name of jihad and Islam, but the evidence that does exist is striking. Amid his busy online activity, Cetin posted admiration for the Islamic State caliph al-Baghdadi and Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei and a call for Muslims to repeat “SubhanAllah” multiple times.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which someone who did not have jihad sympathies would post anything positive about Baghdadi or Khamenei, but the problem in Cetin’s case is that these references come without any supporting context. Dahir Adan, who stabbed nine people in a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota last week, had a sparse social media presence, but did take the time to list the Qur’an as his favorite book on his Facebook page. Cetin, who by contrast was all over social media, never speaks about Islam or jihad – except in the posts about Baghdadi and Khamenei, and the “SubhanAllah” post.

And so NBC News reported that “when asked on Sunday whether they could rule out terrorism as a motive, Mount Vernon police Lt. Chris Cammock said no.” It couldn’t be ruled out, but there was no initial indication that Arcan Cetin was a hardcore true believer a la Orlando jihad mass murderer Omar Mateen, who called 911 in the midst of his massacre to declare his allegiance to the Islamic State and repeatedly proclaimed that his murders were for Allah.

But Cetin could be something even worse. CBS News reported that he “was described by those who knew him as ‘creepy’ and a ‘bully,’ and he had a handful of arrests for assaulting his stepfather, as well as a DUI.” He was “reportedly ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation in August 2015, and that was completed as of March 2016.”

He scared at least one neighbor: “Amber Cathey, 21, lived in an apartment next to Cetin for the past three months and said she was so frightened by him that she complained to apartment management and kept a stun gun handy. Cathey said she blocked him on Snapchat after he sent her a photo of his crotch. ‘He was really creepy, rude and obnoxious,’ Cathey said.”

A high school classmate recalled that Cetin “was very hurtful towards girls. He would sexually harass them. And bully a lot of them.”

So Cetin had a history of violent, abusive behavior, and sexually harassed women. Not coincidentally, he comes from a cultural that sanctifies violent, abusive behavior, particularly toward women: “Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because Allah has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them” (Qur’an 4:34). The Qur’an also teaches that Infidel women can be lawfully taken for sexual use (cf. its allowance for a man to take “captives of the right hand,” 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59) The implication there is that if women do not cover themselves adequately with their outer garments, they may be abused, and that such abuse would be justified.

Arcan Cetin may not have known or cared about any of those Qur’an passages. But he may have lived in an environment in which such attitudes were taken for granted. Ex-Muslim cartoonist Bosch Fawstin has recounted how, even growing up in a secular, non-observant Muslim household, anti-Semitism and misogyny were commonplace and taken for granted. Even though no one in the house was particularly devout, no one thought to question the bedrock assumptions that Jews were evil and women were inferior.

If that is the kind of household Arcan Cetin, another apparently secular Muslim, grew up in, he and people like him should concern authorities even more than people like Omar Mateen and the San Bernardino killers, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Mateen, Farook and Malik were all devout and observant Muslims; Cetin, at least as far as we know right now, was not. When devout, observant Muslims who believe that the supreme being has ordered them to “kill them wherever you find them” (cf. Qur’an 2:191, 4:89, 9:5) end up doing so, it should surprise authorities who aren’t thoroughly sold out to politically correct fantasies. When, on the other hand, someone like Arcan Cetin goes jihad, his actions show that the violent jihad option is a live one even for the “moderate,” secularized Muslims upon which Western authorities are staking the future of the free world.

Arcan Cetin shows that even thoroughly assimilated Muslims who love video games and kidding around with non-Muslim friends on social media still retain a good many Islamic cultural attitudes that are incompatible with Western culture, and, at times of personal crisis, may pick up a rifle and start shooting.

This is a case that proponents of the massive Muslim migrant influx into the West should ponder. But they won’t.

Also see:

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.

***

CJR:

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.

UTT Historical Throwback: Al Qaeda’s Abdurahman Alamoudi Advised Two U.S. Presidents

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, Aug.24, 2016:

Abdurahman Alamoudi was considered the “pillar of the Muslim community” in Washington, D.C.

Abdurahman Alamoudi

Abdurahman Alamoudi created and/or led nearly two dozen of the largest Islamic organizations in North America, was a “Good Will Ambassador” for the U.S. Department of State, created the Muslim Chaplain program for the Department of Defense, worked with the Department of Education to determine what went into American public school texts discussing Islam, and met with U.S. leaders across the spectrum.

Alamoudi2

And Abdurahman Alamoudi was a financier for Al Qaeda.

Alamoudi was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport in 2003 with $340,000 cash he got from the Libyan government for the global jihad.  He said he found it outside his hotel room.  He was extradited to the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) where he pled guilty to an 18 count indictment.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s press release dated July 14, 2005 stated:

“In 2003, MIRA (Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia) and (Al Qaeda affiliate Saad al) Faqih received approximately $1 million in funding through Abdulrahman Alamoudi. According to information available to the U.S. Government, the September 2003 arrest of Alamoudi was a severe blow to al Qaida, as Alamoudi had a close relationship with al Qaida and had raised money for al Qaida in the United States. In a 2004 plea agreement, Alamoudi admitted to his role in an assassination plot targeting the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and is currently serving a 23 year sentence.”

Alamoudi was also caught on video in 1999 speaking adjacent to the White House grounds publicly declaring he is a fan of Hamas and Hizbollah – both designated terrorist organizations – to the loud cheer of the Muslims attending.  It should be noted this behavior did not get him fired from his positions inside the U.S. government.

Let’s review:  Abdurahman Alamoudi was the Islamic advisor to President Clinton and then went on to work with the Bush administration.  Alamoudi created the Muslim Chaplain Program at the DoD, worked as a Good Will Ambassador for the State Department, was widely recognized as a “moderate Muslim,” had unfettered access to the highest levels of power in our government, publicly pronounced his support of terrorist organizations and was an Al Qaeda financier who plotted with two UK-based Al Qaeda operatives to kill Saudi Crown prince Abdullah, who went on to become King Abdullah.

[Note:  The U.S. government also considered Imam Anwar al-Awlaki a “moderate Muslim” and he gave presentations at the Pentagon, the U.S. Capital, and worked with government officials.  That lasted right up until he was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011.]

Many of the Muslim chaplains assigned by Alamoudi are still working with our military.  The numerous Islamic organizations that Alamoudi created and led, and the individuals who worked with him providing material support to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood, can still be found walking the streets of Washington, D.C., the halls of Congress, working with the national security staffs, and elsewhere in America.

This dangerous pattern of our leaders and our media lifting up and proclaiming leaders in the Islamic community “prominent moderate Muslims” continues today.

Funny how so far they all turn out to be terrorists.

UK: Clerics Who Threaten Reformers and Praise Murderers

Gatestone Institute, by Douglas Murray, August 22, 2016:

  • Anjem Choudary has gone to jail. He was the most visible part of the problem. But he was not the greatest or deepest problem in this area. That problem is shown when two extremist clerics with pre-medieval views come to Britain they are welcomed by an ignorant British establishment.
  • “These people teach murder and hate. For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in. Why are they allowing people [in] that give fuel to the fire they are fighting against?” — Shahbaz Taseer, the son of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who was murdered for opposing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
  • “They have got hundreds of thousands of followers in the UK,” the imam of the Madina Mosque and Islamic Centre in Oldham, Zahoor Chishti, said of the two clerics.

The conviction of radical Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary — the most prominent extremist in Britain — has been widely welcomed in the UK. For years his followers and he have infuriated the vast majority of the British public (including most British Muslims) with their inflammatory and hate-filled rhetoric. They have also provided a constant stream of people willing to follow through the words with actions. More people around Choudary have been convicted of terrorism offences in the UK than any other Islamist group — including al-Qaeda.

But Choudary’s conviction for encouraging people to join ISIS should not be greeted as though that is the end of a matter.

The conviction of radical Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary (centre) — the most prominent extremist in Britain — has been widely welcomed in the UK.

Last week we noted here how, after the murder of an Ahmadiyya Muslim in the UK at the hands of another Muslim, some Muslims are “more Muslim than others” and that those outside a particular theological group can be killed is not an idea held only by the murderer. It is an idea with a significant following in the UK Muslim community, as well as among Muslims worldwide. A recent test of this issue was the execution in January this year in Pakistan of Mumtaz Qadri. This was the man who murdered Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province in Pakistan. Taseer had opposed the strict blasphemy laws which operate in his country. In Qadri’s eyes, Taseer was an apostate for even thinking of watering down the blasphemy laws that jihadists and Islamists such as the Taliban wish to preserve. And so Qadri killed the governor.

Of course one would like to think that everyone could unite in condemning the actions of a man such as Mumtaz Qadri. What is striking is how many people fail to do so, and how many Muslim clerics and religious leaders — even in the West — not only fail to do so but have been open in their praise of Qadri and their condemnation of Pakistan for putting him to death. Prominent among the latter group is the imam of the largest mosque in Scotland — the Glasgow central mosque.

This past month, however, an even more significant event occurred. In July, two Pakistani clerics started a tour of the UK. Their seven-week expedition, called “Sacred Journey,” goes on until September 4, and includes appearances in Oldham, Rochdale, Rotherham and the Prime Minister’s own constituency of Maidenhead. One of the first things that Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman did when they arrived in the UK was to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop welcomed them in Lambeth Palace and claimed that the meeting would strengthen “interfaith relations,” as well as address “the narrative of extremism and terrorism.” One wonders how far the Archbishop got in this task?

If there is a “narrative of extremism and terrorism,” Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman can take some serious credit for the fact. Both men took an enthusiastic stand in Pakistan in support of Mumtaz Qadri. That is, they supported the murderer of a progressive Pakistani official. Listen here, for instance, to Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman delivering a hysterical speech in support of Mumtaz Qadri while his fellow cleric, Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman, looks on approvingly from the platform.

Here is Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman whipping up the vast crowd of mourners after the funeral of Mumtaz Qadri in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. During his speech he repeatedly refers to Qadri as ashaheed [martyr]. Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral, and afterwards rioted, chanting slogans such as “Qadri, your blood will bring the revolution” and “the punishment for a blasphemer is beheading.”

After Qadri’s execution, Haseeb ur Rehman said on social media “Every person who loves Islam and Prophet is in grief for the martyrdom of Mumtaz Qadri.”

So what are two clerics who approve of murdering reformers and mourn the death of fanatics and assassins doing touring the UK? Shahbaz Taseer, the son of the Salman Taseer, is among those who has criticised the UK authorities for allowing the two men into the country. “These people teach murder and hate,” he has said.

“For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in. It’s countries like the UK and the US that claim they are leading the way in the war against terror [and] setting a standard. Why are they allowing people [in] that give fuel to the fire they are fighting against?”

“They have got hundreds of thousands of followers in the UK,” the imam of the Madina Mosque and Islamic Centre in Oldham, Zahoor Chishti, said of the two clerics. Chishti denied that the event was organised by his mosque and said that he was not aware of the views of the speakers. “When I found out I was upset. I think it was really upsetting and wrong. They come to the UK every year and give messages of love, so that’s why they’re booked on that basis.’

Elsewhere, the “Sacred Journey” tour has already thrown up another interesting connection. Mohammed Shafiq runs a one-man outfit called the “Ramadan Foundation” in the UK, and is regularly called upon by the British media. He appears to be viewed as a “moderate” Muslim because he has been outspoken in opposition to the mass rape of children by gangs of Muslim men. Despite this heroism, his own liberal credentials (not least as a member of the Liberal Democrat party) have often come into question. Several years ago, for instance, when the Liberal Democrat candidate and genuine anti-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz re-Tweeted an innocuous cartoon from the “Jesus and Mo” series, Shafiq was among those who tried to get up a lynch-mob against Nawaz. Shafiq wrote on social media that Nawaz was a “Ghustaki Rasool,” Urdu for “defamer of the prophet.” He warned that he would “notify Islamic countries.” Shafiq angrily denied that these and other messages constituted incitement against Nawaz.

But now, on the visit of two clerics to the UK who applaud and mourn Mumtaz Qadri, where is Mohammed Shafiq to be found? Why, warmly greeting the cleric who praises the murderers of reformers and glad-handing with the terrorist-apologists and blasphemy lynch-mob, of course.

Almost everyone in Britain is pleased that the loudmouth Anjem Choudary has gone to jail. Like the hook-handed cleric Abu Hamza before him, Choudary was — as a case — almost too easy. He was the most visible part of the problem. But he was not the greatest or deepest problem in this area. That problem is shown when two extremist clerics with pre-medieval views come to Britain, they are welcomed by an ignorant British establishment. The problem is shown when they tour mosques, they do so to packed houses because they have “hundreds of thousands” of followers of Pakistani origin in the UK. The problem is shown when you scratch the surface of one of the self-proclaimed “moderates” like Mohammed Shafiq and discover that he is happy to pal around with the people who threaten reformers and praise murderers.

That is the problem for British Islam in a nutshell. And that is a problem we still remain woefully unable to confront.

Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England.

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