Is a meaningful reformation of Islam possible? Probably not soon, but there have been indications that it may eventually come.
The first video in this article features an attractive Saudi television hostess opining that Islam has everything to do with terrorism and that adherents to the “religion of peace” should be ashamed.
Please note the absence of traditional Muslim female garb — on a Saudi television program.
Saudi journalist and TV host Nadine Al-Budair recently criticized the “hypocrites” who say that the terrorists “do not represent Islam or the Muslims.” After the abominable Brussels bombings, “it’s time for us to feel shame and to stop acting as if the terrorists are a rarity,” she said, in an address that aired on the Saudi Rotana Khalijiyah TV on April 3. “Why do we shed our own conscience?” she asked. “Don’t these perpetrators emerge from our environment?” [Emphasis added.]
In 2014, Reporters Without Borders describes the government as “relentless in its censorship of the Saudi media and the Internet”, and ranked Saudi Arabia 164th out of 180 countries for freedom of the press.
Might recognition of the Islam-terrorism nexus be a step toward the moderation of Islam?Apparently, the censors let Ms. Al-Budair message get through. Why?
Writing in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai, Ms. Al-Budair
asks how Muslims would react if western youths acting in the name of Christ blew themselves up in their midst. She also slams Muslim attempts to absolve themselves of guilt by saying that terrorists do not represent Islam, calling such disclaimers “pathetic.” [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
Taking the largest acts of terror from the last couple of decades, Al-Budair . . . wonders what would have happened if they had been perpetrated in the Arab world. Citing terrorist groups like the Islamic states desire to impose 7th century Sharia law, Al-Budair writes,
Imagine a Western youth coming here and carrying out a suicide mission in one of our public squares in the name of the Cross. Imagine that two skyscrapers had collapsed in some Arab capital, and that an extremist Christian group, donning millennium-old garb, had emerged to take responsibility for the event, while stressing its determination to revive Christian teachings or some Christian rulings, according to its understanding, to live like in the time [of Jesus] and his disciples, and to implement certain edicts of Christian scholars.
She asks readers to imagine a world in which Christians call Muslims “infidels” and pray that God will eliminate them all. She continues by conjuring an Arab world that grants foreigners visas, citizenship, jobs, free education, and healthcare, and then asks what would happen if one of those foreigners killed Arabs indiscriminately.
Self-criticism in Arab world
Ms. Al-Budair is not the only Muslim in an Islamic nation calling for recognization of the Islam-terrorism nexus and arguing that change is necessary.
Here are excerpts from Arab media criticising popular views of Islam and terror.
In an article titled “We Have Failed Indeed,” the editor of the London-based Saudi daily Al-Hayat, Ghassan Charbel, attacked the Arabs and Muslims for sowing destruction and fear in the very same European countries that had agreed to take them in after they had fled their failed countries. Charbel argued that the Arabs and Muslims had not managed to build states and citizens that could integrate into the modern world, and that they must recognize their failure and start from scratch. He wrote: “Are we [the Arabs and Muslims] simply part of this world, or are we perhaps an explosive charge implanted in [this world’s] entrails? Are we a normal neighborhood in the global village, or are we maybe a neighborhood of suicide bombers in [that village]? Are these massacres that move [from place to place] aimed at annexing the Arab and Muslim communities in the West to the lexicon of slaughter and suicide? Are we part of the world’s present and future, or are we a dark tempest that seeks to send [the world] back to the caves that it abandoned when it chose the path of progress and human dignity? [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
“This is the truth that can no longer be concealed or condoned. We have failed at building a normal state – a state that lives within its borders. a state of institutions that strives its utmost to obtain progress and development and provide its citizens with work opportunities and involvement, a state that cooperates with its neighbors and the world without being panic-stricken or fettered by spite. We have also failed to build a normal citizen, [one] who belongs to the current stage of development in a rapidly developing world. [Emphasis added.]
Tareq Masarwa, a writer for the official Jordanian daily Al-Rai, criticized how some Arabs are attempting to justify terrorist attacks by claiming that European countries are racist and marginalize Muslims. He wrote: “… [According to] some analyses [of the Brussels attacks,] the terrorists grew up in the outskirts of European cities and were angry at being marginalized! We hear these same excuses here. However, other analyses responded [to these claims] with a wise comparison: They [the Muslim terrorists in Europe] chose terrorism. Otherwise, why aren’t there millions of [South] American terrorists in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, since they too are poor and grew up in the outskirts of big cities?! According to another analysis, Europe does not give immigrants from North Africa, and specifically from Africa itself, the same opportunities that it gives European immigrants. This constitutes a justification of terrorism, since Europe gives the immigrant the opportunity for a free education, and thousands of Jordanians have attended French and German universities for free… and had an easy time becoming citizens of those countries… How are France, Sweden, Germany, and Belgium expected to promote immigrants who are illiterate? And under what social conditions can a 10-person Arab or African family [hope to] exist?! [Emphasis added.]
“It is shameful that we demand that the world treat us justly as we drive away our sons by killing them, imprisoning them, or failing to provide them with proper education, healthcare, and employment, and with a dignified life. The sight of people flocking to Europe’s borders, including Syrians, Iraqis, Kurds, Afghans, and Iranians, is heartbreaking, especially when they are carrying their children or pushing them in front of them – but all we do is curse the Europeans as racists who hate Muslims and foreigners, and consider it our right to murder them in their airports, trains, and theaters. [Emphasis added.]
“Did the Europeans take over our countries? Yes. But they left over 50 years ago, and we now call on them to bring down our tyrants, and accuse them of dragging their feet [on this issue].
“Terrorism is a crime, and justifying it is an even worse crime. What is happening in the cities of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, and Tunisia is terrorism, and we are responsible for its formation, its arming, and its funding. It is pointless to justify the murder of Europeans and Americans out of a desire to justify our own crimes.” [Emphasis added.]
Kuwaiti writer and author Khalil ‘Ali Haidar wrote in the Bahraini daily Al-Ayyam that the Muslims are not doing enough against terrorism and are shirking their responsibility for it. He wrote: “What are we doing here in our countries, or in Western countries in Europe and America, while these terrible blows of terrorism land on us and them, one after the other? … In fact, we do not know how to act against these terrorists. Is it sufficient that following each of these terrorist actions, which take place in merciless rapid succession and are all perpetrated by young Muslims… that we say ‘they aren’t Muslims’ and ‘they do not represent true Islam’ and are misguided khawarij and apostates? And will the world be satisfied with [such statements]?
“Is it normal that while terrorism succeeds in recruiting hundreds and even thousands of Muslims, we are satisfied to persuade ourselves that their numbers ‘are still negligible’ compared to the global Muslim population? Must the number of terrorists swell to tens or hundreds of thousands before we realize that a thunderous pounding torrent [is headed] towards us, and that this means that we must stop, convene, and give intellectuals the freedom to examine the reasons [for this] and the freedom to publish the results of their studies? [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
“The religious culture of the Islamic world during this era is afflicted with innumerable ills. We turn the world upside down over various matters, such as an article that offends us, or issues regarding the niqab, Halal meat, Christians using the word Allah – which Muslims in Malaysia, for instance, claim as their exclusive right. [Furthermore,] many leaders of Pakistani and other immigrant [groups] expend all their efforts in the sectarian campaign against the Ahmadi movement, to the point where they have no time to examine this terrorist urge among their young people, including among the educated, engineers and [other] experts. [Emphasis added.]
“Unfortunately, the Muslims do not yet unanimously condemn ISIS. Some Muslims praise them [ISIS members], think the media wrongs them, and join them at the first opportunity, and even carry out the first suicide mission they are offered anywhere in the world!
“One reason for the immaturity of Muslim young people in Britain, France, and the U.S. is that the leadership of the religious institutions, and all religious activity, still remain in the hands of Arab, Pakistani and other activists and leaders who have fled to the West [and continue to] support political Islam parties. These leaders may not [themselves] carry out terrorist attacks, but they also do not truly take a stand against the terrorist religious culture. Moreover, most of their writings, ideas, and strategic positions regarding an Islamic system and the caliphate state share [this religious culture]. [Emphasis added.]
“We say that ‘terrorism has no religion and no homeland.’ But we must confront the fact that most terrorist attacks in the Arab and Muslim world itself are not carried out by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Ahmadis, or Baha’is – but by Muslims and the sons and daughters of Muslims. Some are not satisfied with carrying out their crimes in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia, but carry them out in Western countries. And even if they believe that terrorism in Europe and the U.S. is justified because of [these countries’] ‘colonialist past’ and ‘hostile positions’ against the Arabs and Muslims – of what crimes are the Egyptians, Iraqis, Afghans, and Nigerians guilty? Do those countries also have shameful colonialist pasts?” [Emphasis added.]
Islam in Obama’s America
There are also Muslim and former Muslim critics of Islam and its unfortunate teachings in Obama’s America, but their voices tend to be drowned out by Obama’s CAIR-Hamas-Muslim Brotherhood-linked friends. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim, is perhaps the best known.
I have written extensively about her and her quest for an Islamic reformation, most recently here. Here is one of the Honor Diaries videos of which she is the executive producer. It deals with the Islamic concept of Honor and how it constrains women.
Here, in contrast, is an “Islam is good the way it is” reaction.
As I noted here,
Along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Azeezah Kanji — the featured speaker in the above video — has been very active in disparaging Honor Diaries. Like CAIR, she has ties to the Obama White House and was named a “Champion of Change” by the White House in 2011. What changes in Islam does Ms. Kanji champion? None, apparently, of those intrinsic to it.
And here is a video about the White House reaction to the “folks” in the video embedded immediately above.
Last month, Imam Obama visited a Muslim Brotherhood related mosque.
When Barack Obama visited the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Society of Baltimore on Wednesday, he said: “The first thing I want to say is two words that Muslim Americans don’t hear often enough: Thank you.”
While Obama has been President, Muslims have murdered non-Muslims, avowedly in the cause of Islam, at Fort Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, and San Bernardino, and attempted to do so in many, many other places. Imagine if armed Baptists screaming “Jesus is Lord” had committed murder, and explained that they were doing so in order to advance Christianity, in four American cities, and had attempted to do so in many others. Imagine that those killers were supporters of a global Christian movement that had repeatedly called for attacks on U.S. civilians and declared its determination to destroy the United States.
Imagine how incongruous it would be in that case for the President of the United States to visit a church and say: “The first thing I want to say is two words that Christian Americans don’t hear often enough: Thank you.” And imagine how unlikely it would be that Barack Obama would ever have done that. [Emphasis added.]
But his visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore . . . he signaled yet again to the world (and worldwide jihadis) that in the U.S., Muslims are victims, victims of unwarranted concern over jihad terror, and thus that concern is likely to lessen even more, as Obama dismantles still more of our counter-terror apparatus. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
“If we’re serious about freedom of religion — and I’m talking to my fellow Christians who are the majority in this country — we have to understand that an attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths.”
Once again Obama felt free to scold and admonish Christians, but said nothing about Muslims in the U.S. needing to clean house and work for real reform that would mitigate jihad terror. And his premise was false: there is no attempt to restrict Muslims’ freedom of religion. Donald Trump hasn’t called for that; nor has Ben Carson or any serious analyst. But the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) (a representative of which accompanied Obama to the mosque Wednesday) and other Islamic advocacy groups have consistently charged that counter-terror efforts and attempts to restrict the political, supremacist and authoritarian aspects of Sharia that are at variance with Constitutional principles were tantamount to restricting Muslims’ religious freedom. [Emphasis added.]
Now the President of the United States has endorsed their false narrative, which will only further stigmatize initiatives to understand the jihadis’ ideology and counter it effectively. He further criticized those who dare to suggest that Islam might have something to do with Islamic terrorism by criticizing those who say that the U.S. is at war with Islam: “That kind of mind-set helps our enemies,” he intoned. “It helps our enemies recruit. It makes us all less safe.” [Emphasis added.]
In Heretic, Hirsi Ali stated that there is a unique role for the West in the reformation of Islam.
Whenever I make the case for reform in the Muslim world, someone invariably says: “That is not our project— it is for Muslims only. We should stay out of it.” But I am not talking about the kind of military intervention that has got the West into so much trouble over the years. For years, we have spent trillions on waging wars against “terror” and “extremism” that would have been much better spent protecting Muslim dissidents and giving them the necessary platforms and resources to counter that vast network of Islamic centers, madrassas, and mosques which has been largely responsible for spreading the most noxious forms of Islamic fundamentalism. For years, we have treated the people financing that vast network— the Saudis, the Qataris, and the now repentant Emiratis— as our allies. In the midst of all our efforts at policing, surveillance, and even military action, we in the West have not bothered to develop an effective counternarrative because from the outset we have denied that Islamic extremism is in any way related to Islam. We persist in focusing on the violence and not on the ideas that give rise to it. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
Why the Tide Is Turning
Three factors are combining today to enable real religious reform:
• The impact of new information technology in creating an unprecedented communication network across the Muslim world.
• The fundamental inability of Islamists to deliver when they come to power and the impact of Western norms on Muslim immigrants are creating a new and growing constituency for a Muslim Reformation.
• The emergence of a political constituency for religious reform emerging in key Middle Eastern states.
Together, I believe these three things will ultimately turn the tide against the Islamists, whose goal is, after all, a return to the time of the Prophet— a venture as foredoomed to failure as all attempts to reverse the direction of time’s arrow.
. . . .
In November 2014, an Egyptian doctor coined an Arabic hashtag that translates as “why we reject implementing sharia”; it was used five thousand times in the space of twenty-four hours, mostly by Saudis and Egyptians. In language that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, a young Moroccan named Brother Rachid last year called out President Obama on YouTube for claiming that Islamic State was “not Islamic.”[Emphasis added.]
Here is the referenced video:
Finally, here’s a video of a Hirsi Ali interview shortly after the San Bernardino attack.
Among other key teaching points she elaborated upon in the video is the Islamist concept “don’t ask questions. Don’t ask why Mohamed wants us to do or to refrain from doing certain things. To question is evil. Just obey.” Only when she went to the Netherlands did she encounter the concept of critical thinking. What can we, in the United States, do to promote critical thinking among Muslims? We are doing little, if anything, now. Indeed, Obama’s America discourages it by affiliating with CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood related groups.
Meanwhile, the Islamic University of Minnesota is among the American “academic” institutions promoting age-old, “radical” Islam.
It is run by a man who used a recent sermon to invoke a Hadith commonly espoused by Muslim terrorists to kill Jews for causing “corruption in the land.” Waleed Idris al-Meneesey also has written that Muslims should place sharia law above “man-made” law.
. . . .
“The Prophet related that in the Last Days his Umma [people] would fight the Jews, the Muslims East of the Jordan River, and they [the Jews] west of [the Jordan River] … Even trees and stones will say: O Muslim, this is a Jew behind me, kill him, except for Gharqad trees, the trees of the Jews. Because of this they plant many of them…” [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
Al-Meneesy, the IUM’s president and chancellor, also serves as an imam at a Bloomington, Minn. mosque where at least five young men left the United States to fight with terrorist groups al-Shabaab and ISIS.
. . . .
IUM also professes to serve as the official representative of Sunni Islam’s most important institution – Al-Azhar University, which has grown increasingly radical – in the U.S. and Canada. Al-Azhar officials have refused to condemn the Islamic State (ISIS) as apostates and heretics. According to Egypt’s Youm 7, IUM’s curriculum, offered to American students, endorses many practices used by ISIS. These include: “[K]illing a Muslim who does not pray, one who leaves Islam, prisoners and infidels within Islam [those who do not have a clearly specified creed or sect]. [It also allows] gouging their eyes and chopping off their hands and feet, as well as banning the construction of churches and discriminating between Muslims and Ahl al-Kitab [Christians and Jews], and insulting them at times.” [Emphasis added.]
Al-Azhar University was where Obama delivered a major address on the beauties of Islam in 2009. The text of His remarks is at the link.
America should be in a good position to promote an Islamic reformation. Europe has descended deep into the realm of multiculturalism and until she comes to her senses, it won’t happen there. It isn’t happening in Obama’s America due to the reluctance to associate Islam with terrorism and numerous human rights violations. It most likely won’t as long as Imam Obama remains in office. It’s futile to expect or even to hope that it will.
Due to Obama and His people, America is not safe from Islamic terror.
Cox Washington News Bureau reported that there were no fewer than 73 airport workers with possible terror ties, working at airports including Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, Logan Airport in Boston, Orlando International Airport in Florida, Memphis International Airport in Tennessee, and others.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson this week set the record straight: “It’s not that they’re suspected terrorists. It’s that they hadn’t been vetted through all available databases. We have since corrected that problem and the cases have been resolved.”
There are just a few little problems:
Presumably Johnson and his team have consulted their extensive database of card-carrying Islamic State members, and have diligently compared it to their list of airport employees, and have removed those who appeared on both lists. The only problem with this scenario, of course, is that there is no such database, or anything comparable to it. There is simply no database that Johnson could consult that would enable the Department of Homeland Security to remove everyone with terror ties from airport jobs. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
[T]he Obama administration is bound as a matter of policy to ignore and deny the terrorists’ motivating ideology – so how can it vet for it? This goes back to October 19, 2011, [when] Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates, wrote a letter to John Brennan, who was then the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism. The letter was signed not just by Khera, but by the leaders of virtually all the significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the CAIR, ISNA, MAS, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA; and MPAC. [Emphasis added.]
The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam,” and emphasized that this was an issue of the utmost importance: “The seriousness of this issue cannot be overstated, and we request that the White House immediately create an interagency task force to address this problem, with a fair and transparent mechanism for input from the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities, including civil rights lawyers, religious leaders, and law enforcement experts.”
Mr. Brennan saluted and said “Yes, Maam!”
Brennan assured Khera that all her demands would be met: “Your letter requests that ‘the White House immediately create an interagency task force to address this problem,’ and we agree that this is necessary.” He then detailed other specific actions being undertaken, including “collecting all training materials that contain cultural or religious content, including information related to Islam or Muslims.” In reality this material wouldn’t just be “collected”; it would be purged of anything that Farhana Khera and others like her found offensive—that is, any honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use Islamic teachings to justify violence. Brennan assured Khera that he saw the problem just as she did, and that remedies were being implemented quickly. . . . [Emphasis added.]
Some Muslims in Arab countries have been candid about the Islam-terror nexus. So have some reformist Muslims and former Muslims in America. Donald Trump also has a realistic perception of the Islam-terror nexus and might provide support for those seeking its reformation. I hope he has a chance to do it.