Whether Islam will eventually be reformed is an open question. The topic is much discussed by Muslims, a few of whom favor reformation and more of whom oppose it. The issue is important for America, and indeed the free world in general. There is little that non-Muslims can do to assist a reformation beyond recognizing the substantial differences between moderate and radical (mainstream) Muslims, supporting the former and purging the latter. Please don’t conflate the cops with the killers.
Reformation of Islam
Here’s are comments by an American Muslim reformer, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser
In the following December 2015 video, the Fox News host misrepresented Donald Trump’s position as banning “all” Muslims, apparently permanently. Trump’s proposal was to ban Muslims until we can vet them adequately. Dr. Jasser agreed that Muslims advocating Islamist political ideology should be banned and that we should temporarily ban them all until we can distinguish moderate Muslims from “radical” Muslims. His suggestions for vetting Muslims included cessation of reliance on the Council on American – Islamic Relations (CAIR), et al, which are on the side of the Islamists.
An article by Raymond Ibrahim delves into Muslim perceptions of moderate vs. “radical” (i.e., mainstream) Islam and posts these views, as articulated by Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Khadr, an Islamist. Dr. Khadr stated,
“Islamic researchers are agreed that what the West and its followers call ‘moderate Islam’ and ‘moderate Muslims’ is simply a slur against Islam and Muslims, a distortion of Islam, a rift among Muslims, a spark to ignite war among them. They also see that the division of Islam into ‘moderate Islam’ and ‘radical Islam’ has no basis in Islam — neither in its doctrines and rulings, nor in its understandings or reality. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
Among the major distinctions (translated verbatim) made in Khadr’s article are:
- Radicals want the caliphate to return; moderates reject the caliphate.
- Radicals want to apply Sharia (Islamic law); moderates reject the application of Sharia.
- Radicals reject the idea of renewal and reform, seeing it as a way to conform Islam to Western culture; moderates accept it.
- Radicals accept the duty of waging jihad in the path of Allah; moderates reject it.
- Radicals reject any criticism whatsoever of Islam; moderates welcome it on the basis of freedom of speech.
- Radicals accept those laws that punish whoever insults or leaves the religion [apostates]; moderates recoil from these laws.
- Radicals respond to any insult against Islam or the prophet Muhammad — peace and blessing upon him — with great violence and anger; moderates respond calmly and peacefully on the basis of freedom of expression.
- Radicals respect and revere every deed and every word of the prophet — peace be upon him — in the hadith; moderates do not.
- Radicals oppose democracy; moderates accept it.
- Radicals see the people of the book [Jews and Christians] as dhimmis[barely tolerated subjects]; moderates oppose this [view].
- Radicals reject the idea that non-Muslim minorities should have equality or authority over Muslims; moderates accept it.
- Radicals reject the idea that men and women are equal; moderates accept it, according to Western views.
- Radicals oppose the idea of religious freedom and apostasy from Islam; moderates agree to it.
- Radicals desire to see Islam reign supreme; moderates oppose this.
- Radicals place the Koran over the constitution; moderates reject this [assumption].
- Radicals reject the idea of religious equality because Allah’s true religion is Islam; moderates accept it.
- Radicals embrace the wearing of hijabs and niqabs; moderates reject it.
- Radicals accept killing young girls who commit adultery or otherwise besmirch their family’s honor; moderates reject this [response].
- Radicals reject the status of women today and think that the status of women today should be like the status of women in the time of the prophet; moderates oppose that women should be as in the time of the prophet.
- Radicals vehemently reject that women should have the freedom to choose partners; moderates accept that she can choose a boyfriend without marriage.
- Radicals agree to clitorectomies; moderates reject them.
- Radicals reject the so-called war on terror and see it as a war on Islam; moderates accept it.
- Radicals support jihadi groups; moderates reject them.
- Radicals reject the terms “Islamic terrorism” or “Islamic fascism”; moderates accept them.
- Radicals reject universal human rights, including the right to be homosexual; moderates accept them.
- Radicals reject the idea of allying with the West; moderates support it.
- Radicals oppose secularism; moderates support it. [Emphasis added.]
Dr. Jasser’s views on what American Islam should be are remarkably similar to the perceptions of moderate Islam set forth by Dr. Khadr, albeit with contempt as “a slur against Islam and Muslims, a distortion of Islam, a rift among Muslims, a spark to ignite war among them.” Mr. Ibrahim concludes his article by suggesting that “the West may need to rethink one of its main means of countering radical Islam: moderate Muslims and moderate Islam.” I agree. What is being done now is actually furthering “radical” Islam.
The former president of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University called, rather amorphously, for reform in the Islamic religious discourse.
Here’s an address to the Canadian Parliament by a moderate Muslim journalist. Please watch the whole thing, because it sets forth quite well the differences between Islamists who want to overpower us and moderate Muslims who support freedom and want to eliminate Islamism.
Moderate Islam is not mainstream Islam
Germany’s largest Muslim organization recently had a moderate Muslim theologian fired from the University of Munster.
Islamic apologists routinely claim that violent Qur’an verses have no validity beyond Muhammad’s time, but this story illustrates that this is not the mainstream view in Islam. The persecution of Mouhanad Khorchide also shows the uphill battle that genuine Muslim reformers face: branded as heretics and/or apostates, they’re often shunned (or worse) by the very community that needs their ideas the most. [Emphasis added.]
The author, Robert Spencer, quotes a May 23rd article by Susanne Schröter in a German periodical:
When the theologian Mouhanad Khorchide, who teaches at the University of Münster, published “Islam Is Compassion” in 2012, he received a variety of diverse reactions. Many non-Muslims celebrated the work as the revelation of a humanistic Islam: an Islam that no one needs to fear. This feeling arose in part because the author created a picture of God that is not “interested in the labels of Muslim or Christian or Jewish, believer or nonbeliever.”
Korchide threw out the idea that Koran verses that appear violent or hostile toward women or non-Muslims may be valid for all eternity. He wanted them to be viewed as the words of a bygone era.
It seemed that the professor, with the swoop of his pen, managed to brush aside all those reservations that made people wonder whether Islam really “belonged to Germany,” as former President Christian Wulff said famously in a 2010. One might even have thought that Muslims would offer Khorchide a pat on the back.
On the website for DITIB, Germany’s Turkish Islamic union and the country’s largest Muslim organization, one can read that Khorchide’s statements were a “rejection of the teachings of classical Islam” and an “insult to Muslim identity.” For this reason, the professor was removed from his post at the university.
Canadian journalist Tarek Fatah, the moderate Muslim in a video provided above, wrote
In November 2014, while testifying before the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, I raised the issue of Islamic clerics using mosque sermons to attack the foundational principles of Western civilization and liberal secular democracy.
The Senate Committee session referred to is the one presented in the video referenced above.
Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell was outraged by my testimony that at most Canadian mosques, the Friday congregation includes a ritual prayer asking, “Allah to give victory to Muslims over the ‘Kufaar’ (non-Muslims).” In a heated exchange with me, the senator suggested I wasn’t telling the truth, implying I was motivated by Islamophobia. Sadly, Sen. Mitchell is not alone in such views.
But neither is there any let-up in the attacks on Canadian values emanating from many mosque pulpits and Islamic conferences hosted by radical Islamist groups.
For example, in a sermon on Friday, May 6, delivered at a mosque in Edmonton, an imam invoked the memory of Prophet Muhammad to whip up hatred against Israel. He declared peace accords with Israel are “useless garbage” and vowed that Jerusalem will be conquered “through blood.”
In February, the same cleric predicted Islam would soon conquer Rome, “the heart of the Christian state.”
The Edmonton mosque diatribe was not isolated.
On May 13, just north of Toronto, an Islamic society hosted a celebration of Iranian mass murderer, Ayatollah Khomeini. The poster promoting the event described Khomeini as a, “Liberator and Reformer of the Masses.”
On Saturday, the Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir, banned in some countries, hosted a conference to discuss the re-establishment of a global Islamic caliphate.
Here are excerpts from an article about the Hizb-ut-Tahrir meeting referenced by Mr. Fatah.
The first speaker was Brother Mostafa, of Arabic roots. Mostafa started by calling nationalism and sectarian conflict the main reasons for division in the Ummah (Islamic nation). He reminded Muslims that they are obligated to implement Allah’s demands that fulfill the Islamic State. It is “not permissible for us to choose, ” he said. He cited the verse: [Emphasis added]
“It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.” — Surat-Al-Ahzab (33), verse 36. ]Emphasis added.]
. . . .
As the event started late, Naeema [a woman in the audience] began a conversation. We talked about our origins and how long we had been in Canada. She said she had been here 40 years, so I asked about the disconnect between enjoying 40 years of democracy, yet trying to end it. I mentioned a book published by Hizb-ut-Tahrir:
“Democracy is Infidelity: its use, application and promotion are prohibited.”
“الديمقراطية نظام كفر، يحرم أخذها أو تطبيقها أو الدعوة إليها”
Naeema said she was not qualified to debate the topic, but that democracy had done nothing good for people, so she and other believers would follow the rule of Allah. [Emphasis added]
The meeting participants are comparable to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood – Hamas affiliated organization which, along with similar groups, provides Obama and His “fighting violent extremism” cohorts their marching orders on fighting, not Islamist jihad or Islamisation , but “Islamophobia.”
America would fare better in fighting “violent extremism” if the principal enemy were named: it is political Islam — Islamism. Presently, naming it is forbidden and those engaged in “fighting” it — supposedly on our behalf — are Islamists dedicated to the Islamisation of America.
Suppose that, instead of relying on CAIR, et al, as representative of “peaceful” Islam, our government rejected CAIR and its Islamist colleagues favored by Obama and instead supported and relied upon Dr. Jasser’s moderate group, American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
A devout Muslim, Dr. Jasser founded AIFD in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. Dr. Jasser is a first generation American Muslim whose parents fled the oppressive Baath regime of Syria in the mid-1960’s for American freedom. He is leading the fight to shake the hold that the Muslim Brotherhood and their network of American Islamist organizations and mosques seek to exert on organized Islam in America. [Emphasis added.]
Perhaps, if our next president is neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders, we will do that. If we don’t, the Islamists will continue to win, the Islamisation of America will continue and American principles will go down the toilet. We cannot permit that to happen.
In an 1886 Fourth of July address to the citizens of the Dickinson Dakota Territory, Theodore Roosevelt said,
We only have the right to live on as free men, so long as we show ourselves worthy of the privileges we enjoy. We must remember that the republic can only be kept pure by the individual purity of its members, and that if it once becomes thoroughly corrupt it will surely cease to exist.
. . . .
All American citizens whether born here or elsewhere, whether of one creed or another, stand on the same footing; we welcome every honest immigrant, no matter from what country he comes, provided only that he leaves behind him his former nationality and remains neither Celt nor Saxon, neither Frenchman nor German, but becomes an American, desirous of fulfilling in good faith the duties of American citizenship. [Emphasis added]
When we thus rule ourselves we have the responsibilities of sovereigns not of subjects. We must never exercise our rights either wickedly or thoughtlessly; we can continue to preserve them in but one possible way – by making the proper use of them.
It has been my observation (and to a substantial extent that of the Canadian journalist and moderate Muslim in a video embedded above) that the principal loyalty of many Islamists is not geographical or to a state. Rather, it is to their version of Islam, be it Shiite, Sunni or some variation thereof. For example, Hezbollah members fight, not to help Lebanon or Syria, but to support the Iranian version of Shiite Islam — an apocalyptic vision in which the hidden iman will return and bring the world to an end. It is reasonable to assume that the principal loyalty of mainstream Muslims (Islamists) in America is, and will continue to be, to Islam, not to America.
American origins and views are very different and perhaps uniquely so.
This land was made, not for Islamists but for immigrants who leave behind their former nationalities and remain “neither Celt nor Saxon, neither Frenchman nor German, but become an American, desirous of fulfilling in good faith the duties of American citizenship.” How many of America’s current crop of immigrants do that?
We have had little of this thus far. How much do we want? It’s pretty much up to us.