Imam Tawhidi’s Twitter handle: @Imamofpeace
Mufassil Islam – @mufassili
The government must vet aliens for sharia-supremacist ideology.
National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy — February 11, 2017
‘Do you think Islam needs reform?”
Wouldn’t it be interesting, wouldn’t it get us to the crux of the immigration debate, if our best news anchors — I’m looking at you, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier — would put that question to every major politician in Washington?
Instead, the press is asking not just the wrong question but one that utterly misses the point, namely: “How many terrorist attacks have been committed by immigrants from this handful of Muslim-majority countries?” It is the same wrong question posed by the imperious federal judge in Seattle who suspended President Trump’s temporary travel ban on aliens from those countries — seven of them. It is the same wrong question that animated the incorrigible Ninth Circuit appeals court in upholding this suspension — and intimating along the way that Trump, and by implication all who fear for the future of our country, are anti-Muslim bigots crusading against religious liberty (the Ninth Circuit being notoriously selective when it comes to protecting religious traditions).
Does the Trump administration realize it’s the wrong question? I wonder. Instead of attacking the question’s premise, the administration undertakes to answer it. It seems not to grasp that the security argument is not advanced, much less won, by compiling a list of terrorist plots.
Let’s try this again.
Islam does need reform. This is critical to our national security for two reasons that bear directly on the question of which aliens should, and which should not, be allowed into our country.
First, reform is essential because the broader Islamic religion includes a significant subset of Muslims who adhere to an anti-American totalitarian political ideology that demands implementation of sharia — Islamic law. This ideology and the repressive legal code on which it rests are not religion. We are not talking about the undeniably theological tenets of Islam (e.g., the oneness of Allah, the acceptance of Mohamed as the final prophet, and the Koran as Allah’s revelation). We are talking about a framework for the political organization of the state, and about the implementation of a legal corpus that is blatantly discriminatory, hostile to liberty, and — in its prescriptions of crime and punishment — cruel.
Islam must reform so that this totalitarian political ideology, sharia supremacism (or, if you prefer, “radical Islam”), is expressly severable from Islam’s truly religious tenets. To fashion an immigration policy that serves our vital national security interests without violating our commitment to religious liberty, we must be able to exclude sharia supremacists while admitting Muslims who reject sharia supremacism and would be loyal to the Constitution.
Second, sharia supremacists are acting on a “voluntary apartheid” strategy of gradual conquest. You needn’t take my word for it. Influential sharia supremacists encourage Muslims of the Middle East and North Africa to integrate into Western societies without assimilating Western culture. The renowned Muslim Brotherhood jurist Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who vows that “Islam will conquer Europe, conquer America,” urges Muslim migrants to demand the right to live in accordance with sharia. Turkey’s sharia-supremacist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, admonishes that pressuring Muslims to assimilate is “a crime against humanity.” The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim governments that purports to speak as a quasi-caliphate, promulgated its “Declaration of Human Rights in Islam” in 1990 — precisely because what the United Nations in 1948 presumptuously called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is neither “universal” nor suitable to a sharia culture.
Voluntary apartheid does not require insinuating terrorists into migrant populations. It requires insinuating assimilation-resistant migrant populations into Western countries. Those populations form sharia-supremacist enclaves, which (a) demand the autonomy to conduct their affairs under Islamic law as a challenge to the sovereign authority of the host country, and (b) become safe havens for incitement, radicalization, paramilitary training, fundraising, and jihadist conspiracy — the prerequisites for terrorism.
The problem is not that our “See No Islam” policies may be letting some small percentage of trained terrorists into the country (although that is certainly a problem). The main problem is that we are creating the conditions under which anti-American enclaves can take root, the Constitution can be undermined, and today’s young Muslim teenager becomes tomorrow’s radicalized jihadist.
We cannot grapple with these challenges if we are intimidated into silence by such questions as whether a “Muslim ban” is being proposed; whether heightened scrutiny would be tantamount to a “religion test”; how many refugees or aliens from this or that Muslim-majority country have been charged with terrorism crimes; whether Muslims would be disproportionately affected by immigration exclusions; and whether a ban on a few Muslim-majority countries can be justified if most Muslim-majority countries are exempted.
Such questions are designed to make vetting Muslims seem inconceivable. They are meant to exhaust you into conceding: “If we have to fret so mightily about the potential impact of immigration laws against Muslims, how could we possibly contemplate examining Muslims directly to sort out sharia supremacists from pro-American Muslims?” You are to pretend that there is no obvious subset of Muslims who are hostile to our country. You are to assume that screening for hostile Muslims would be illegal because to ask about Islam would offend religious liberty — but because you know there are hostile Muslims, you silently hope the authorities have figured out some sneaky, roundabout way to screen for them without appearing to screen for them.
Enough of that. We need to move beyond the “are we targeting Muslims” nonsense and get to the critical question: How do we embrace our Islamic friends while excluding our sharia-supremacist enemies?
Here’s a suggestion: Bring our Muslim friends, loud and proud, into the process.
The only people who may have more interest than we do in Islamic reform are Islamic reformers: courageous Muslims who embrace American constitutional principles of liberty and equality. And at great risk to themselves: Under the supremacist view of sharia, those who depart from Islamic-law principles set in stone a millennium ago are apostates, subject to the penalty of death. You’re not supposed to question that, though, because it’s, you know, “religion.”
How about we stop consulting with the Muslim Brotherhood and other sharia supremacists who tell us Islam is just fine as is, even as its aggressions mount? How about we bring the reformers very publicly into the vetting process, to help the administration tell the good guys from the bad guys? To help the administration show that it is not Muslims but anti-American totalitarians that we seek to exclude.
It is the reform Muslims who tell us that Islam can separate sharia from spiritual life and that pro-Western Muslims do exactly that. It is the sharia supremacists who are outraged by the very suggestion that reform is possible, let alone necessary. If we continue taking our cues from the latter, it means that their noxious political ideology is part and parcel of Islam, and therefore that screening to keep that ideology out of our country is a violation of First Amendment religious liberty.
In other words, if you’re unwilling to say that Islam needs reform, then we can’t vet . . . and we are doomed. On the other hand, if Islam does need reform, isn’t it imperative that we identify the Muslims who resist reform — the sharia supremacists who seek not to join but to radically change our free, constitutional society?
— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.
When it comes to Islam, there is a similar world that has been created. In this world there are two teams involved, of differing sizes and membership, and interacting at different times and places. The large team consists of a group of non-Muslims who know little if anything about Islam, generally wish with all of their hearts that it is a “Religion of Peace,” seem to prefer any presentation that will support that wish, and frown on anyone who expresses skepticism about that wish during the presentation, or afterwards. The small team usually consists of one Muslim making a presentation that largely fulfills the wish of the large team. The accuracy of the presentation is not questioned because the presenter has already established his credentials simply by being a Muslim.
In this world of Fantasy Islam, the presenter is able to create his own version of Islam, react with patronizing sympathy or condescending dismissiveness toward any non-Muslim who questions his version, and knows that the majority of his audience will support him in maintaining the comfort of this fantasy.
Since the make-up of the large team changes regularly and this team is the more passive of the two, let’s look at two of the individuals who have appeared on the small team:
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, MD
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is the Muslim Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). He is well-known as a proponent of reforming and modernizing Islam, and for years has been a guest on countless television and radio programs. Unfortunately, for years Jasser has also played Fantasy Islam.
Mickelson in the Morning
We can go back to October 11, 2010 when Jasser was on a major Iowa radio station with host Jan Mickelson here. During the interview, Jasser said he didn’t believe that Muhammad had really spoken what was in the hadith about killing a Jew hiding behind every stone (Time: 17:58). Here is that hadith:
Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight against the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.'”
Sahih Al-Bukhari, No. 2926
The collection of hadiths by Al-Bukhari has been considered by Muslim scholars to be the most authoritative collect of hadiths since the 9th Century. Jasser simply has no doctrinal basis for dismissing Al-Bukhari.
Later in the same program, Jasser talked about the Verse of the Sword in the Koran (Time: 24:09 and 26:20). He said that this verse only referred to a specific battle against a specific tribe and applied only to 623 AD; it no longer had any relevance today. Here is that verse:
Then when the Sacred Months have passed, then kill the Mushrikun wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every ambush. But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism] and perform As-Salat (the prayers), and give Zakat (obligatory charity), then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Chapter 9, Verse 5
Where did he come up with 623 AD? 9:5 was among the verses from Chapter 9 that were revealed in early 631 AD. And these verses were not related to a specific battle or to a specific tribe, but rather directed toward all non-Muslims (Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), pp. 617-619; The History of al-Tabari: The Last Years of the Prophet, pp. 77-79; and Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 4, pp. 370-376).
There is no basis in Islamic doctrine for Jasser’s assertion that 9:5 has no relevance today. His assertion ignores the facts that Muslims believe the Koran consists of the eternal words of Allah, and Chapter 9 of the Koran was the last chapter to be “revealed” to Muhammad. Consequently, the commands found in Chapter 9 are the final, eternal words of Allah on the matters addressed in that Chapter.
Over the years Jasser has continued playing Fantasy Islam. He was interviewed on a segment of theAbraham’s Tent radio program, which was aired on September 29, 2014. In this interview he made his standard assertion that 5:51 of the Koran, which commands Muslims not to be friends with Jews and Christians, had been intentionally misinterpreted (Time: 25:38). Here is that verse:
O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliya’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya’, then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers and unjust).
Jasser claimed that Auliya’ really meant “legal representatives.” He said this verse simply meant that when it came to picking such a representative, Muslims should pick someone who understands the legalisms in Islam, meaning a Muslim, and not somebody of another faith. It had nothing to do with prohibiting Muslims from being friends with Jews and Christians.
Once again Jasser is flying in the face of Islamic doctrine. As I pointed out in an earlier article, in 5:51 Allah commands Muslims not to be friends with Jews and Christians. And, as I also pointed out in that article, this understanding is supported by five modern translations of the Koran; the messages of additional verses of the Koran; five authoritative Koran commentaries, written at different times between circa 900-1995 AD; and the teachings of Muhammad.
Jasser also expressed the basis for his Fantasy Islam: “Every Muslim has the right to interpret their faith.” (Time: 29:11). This too flies in the face of Islamic doctrine, e.g.:
Muhammad bin Jarir reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Prophet said, ‘Whoever explains the Qur’an with his opinion or with what he has no knowledge of, then let him assume his seat in the Fire.’
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 1, pp. 32-33
In this interview Jasser suggested that 5:38 of the Koran, which commands amputation for theft, was “metaphorical” and “not literal” (Time 54:25). Here is that verse:
And (as for) the male thief and the female thief, cut off (from the wrist joint) their (right) hands as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.
Not only is this verse not a metaphor, it is explicit in commanding the amputation of hands for theft. In addition, Muhammad, who is the example of conduct for Muslims, ordered the hands of many thieves to be cut off; he even said he would cut off the hand of his favorite daughter if she committed theft (Sahih Al-Bukhari, No. 4304).
A Battle for the Soul of Islam
In 2013 the paperback edition of Jasser’s widely acclaimed book A Battle for the Soul of Islam was published. After reading only the eleventh chapter, “How the Qur’an is Misinterpreted,” I decided not to read the rest of the book.
Jasser’s version of Fantasy Islam is best epitomized in this eleventh chapter with the following statement he wrote on p. 252:
Nowhere in the Qur’an does God tell Muslims that they must repeat and thus emulate the Prophet Muhammad’s role and actions as a military or governmental leader.
This statement is immediately repudiated by 33:21 of the Koran:
Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.
There are no limitations here on the circumstances in which Muhammad is to be considered a good example. In fact, this verse was actually “revealed” as a result of Muhammad’s military leadership and the example he set for his Muslim warriors during the Battle of the Trench in 627 (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 7, p. 658; Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, p. 900; Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas, p. 546; and Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 4, p. 374).
Since 33:21 is a verse that counters Jasser’s Fantasy Islam, he has apparently decided to deny it, which means he has apparently also decided to ignore this warning from his prophet Muhammad:
Sunan Ibn Majah, No. 2539