|By Robert Pigott
Religious affairs correspondent, BBC News
The country’s powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.
The Hadith is a collection of thousands of sayings reputed to come from the Prophet Muhammad.
As such, it is the principal guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran and the source of the vast majority of Islamic law, or Sharia.
|This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation. Not exactly the same, but… it’s changing the theological foundations of [the] religion
Turkey expert, Chatham House
It says that a significant number of the sayings were never uttered by Muhammad, and even some that were need now to be reinterpreted.
Commentators say the very theology of Islam is being reinterpreted in order to effect a radical renewal of the religion.
Its supporters say the spirit of logic and reason inherent in Islam at its foundation 1,400 years ago are being rediscovered. Some believe it could represent the beginning of a reformation in the religion.
|Some messages ban women from travelling without their husband’s permission… But this isn’t a religious ban. It came about because it simply wasn’t safe for a woman to travel alone
Prof Mehmet Gormez,
Department of Religious Affairs
The forensic examination of the Hadiths has taken place in Ankara University’s School of Theology.
An adviser to the project, Felix Koerner, says some of the sayings – also known individually as “hadiths” – can be shown to have been invented hundreds of years after the Prophet Muhammad died, to serve the purposes of contemporary society.
“Unfortunately you can even justify through alleged hadiths, the Muslim – or pseudo-Muslim – practice of female genital mutilation,” he says.
“You can find messages which say ‘that is what the Prophet ordered us to do’. But you can show historically how they came into being, as influences from other cultures, that were then projected onto Islamic tradition.”
HAVE YOUR SAY Many Hadiths relate to life in the Middle East 1,400 years ago and are no longer relevant Brian, London
Leaders of the Hadith project say successive generations have embellished the text, attributing their political aims to the Prophet Muhammad himself.
Turkey is intent on sweeping away that “cultural baggage” and returning to a form of Islam it claims accords with its original values and those of the Prophet.
Prof Mehmet Gormez, a senior official in the Department of Religious Affairs and an expert on the Hadith, gives a telling example.
“There are some messages that ban women from travelling for three days or more without their husband’s permission and they are genuine.
“But this isn’t a religious ban. It came about because in the Prophet’s time it simply wasn’t safe for a woman to travel alone like that. But as time has passed, people have made permanent what was only supposed to be a temporary ban for safety reasons.”
The project justifies such bold interference in the 1,400-year-old content of the Hadith by rigorous academic research.
Prof Gormez points out that in another speech, the Prophet said “he longed for the day when a woman might travel long distances alone”.
So, he argues, it is clear what the Prophet’s goal was.
Yet, until now, the ban has remained in the text, and helps to restrict the free movement of some Muslim women to this day.
|There’s also violence against women within families, including sexual harassment… This does not exist in Islam… we have to explain that to them
Hulya Koc, a “vaize”
They have been given the task of explaining the original spirit of Islam to remote communities in Turkey’s vast interior.
One of the women, Hulya Koc, looked out over a sea of headscarves at a town meeting in central Turkey and told the women of the equality, justice and human rights guaranteed by an accurate interpretation of the Koran – one guided and confirmed by the revised Hadith.
She says that, at the moment, Islam is being widely used to justify the violent suppression of women.
“There are honour killings,” she explains.
“We hear that some women are being killed when they marry the wrong person or run away with someone they love.
“There’s also violence against women within families, including sexual harassment by uncles and others. This does not exist in Islam… we have to explain that to them.”
According to Fadi Hakura, an expert on Turkey from Chatham House in London, Turkey is doing nothing less than recreating Islam – changing it from a religion whose rules must be obeyed, to one designed to serve the needs of people in a modern secular democracy.
He says that to achieve it, the state is fashioning a new Islam.
“This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation,” he says.
“Not exactly the same, but if you think, it’s changing the theological foundations of [the] religion. “
Fadi Hakura believes that until now secularist Turkey has been intent on creating a new politics for Islam.
Now, he says, “they are trying to fashion a new Islam.”
Significantly, the “Ankara School” of theologians working on the new Hadith have been using Western critical techniques and philosophy.
They have also taken an even bolder step – rejecting a long-established rule of Muslim scholars that later (and often more conservative) texts override earlier ones.
“You have to see them as a whole,” says Fadi Hakura.
“You can’t say, for example, that the verses of violence override the verses of peace. This is used a lot in the Middle East, this kind of ideology.
“I cannot impress enough how fundamental [this change] is.”
27 Jan, 2008
The Quranyon build their argument on the false assumption that the Quran is Allah’s preserved word and, therefore, is infallible. They claim the Quran is a complete book; therefore Muslims do not need any other sources of information. In effect, they promote an essentially different brand of Islam based only on the Quran. Although they promote themselves as Islamic reformers and defenders of the Quran, but to the other Muslims, they are simply heretics.
The Quranyon have full knowledge of Mohammed’s history (Sira) and his example (Sunna), but their knowledge leads them to a laughable conclusions. In effect, their argument goes like this: ‘because the history of Mohammed is disgraceful, and because his ahadith (deeds and sayings) are filled with nonsense, then these ahadith must be wrong!’ This is like saying ‘because all the available evidence incriminates the suspect, then all the available evidence must be wrong! This back to front irrational analysis is not unique to the Quranyon but common among Muslim scholars in general and reflects the extent of damage that Islam inflicts on human wisdom.
By rejecting the Sunna, the Quranyon free themselves from the impossible task of defending Mohammed’s conduct. They are aware that the charges against him, like the ones published in FFI and IW are indefensible because they are based on authentic Islamic sources. Having denied the most authentic Islamic sources, the Quranyon have one answer to all the charges against Mohammed, which is: ‘it is all history, so it may not be true’. The Quranyon may not be aware of it, but their intense inclination to deny the Sunna, is an indirect admission from them that Mohammed is a liability rather than an asset to Islam.
The Quranyon and the Quran
The Arabic word Qurani (Quranist) relates to the Quran, a group of Quranists is called Quranyon. The Quranyon are extremely happy to be given a name that relates them to the Quran. It gives them some protection against the inevitable charges of being infidels. Their association with the Quran gives them a false sense of security; after all it is not easy to describe people who believe in the Quran as infidels.
It looks bizarre that the Quranyon reject the Sunna because they believe it shames Islam and Mohammed but they are happy to accept the Quran. Any objective reading of the Quran reveals as many absurdities in it as in the Sunna, if not more. So why are the Quranyon happy to defend the Quran?
To explain such a strange attitude let us take the hypothetical example of a thief who is confronted with a rather blurred video footage for him while shoplifting in a supermarket. The video footage may be a little blurred yet clear enough to prove the crime. The thief then uses that slight lack of clarity in the footage as a basis for his defense, he might claim that he wasn’t shoplifting or that it wasn’t him at all.
The Quran is an ambiguous book filled with repetitions and contradictions. In various chapters of the Quran there is enough nonsense to prove its gross inanities. The Sunna’s role is to clarify the Quran and puts it in focus, thereby highlighting further its absurdities. This is why the Quranyon prefer to read the Quran without the Sunna; they prefer some darkness to give them a free hand to articulate the language to come up with the meaning that suits their desires.
In their efforts to preserve the Quran, the Quranyon are not ashamed to present some of the most stupid argument. Their rationalization for explaining the Quranic blunders by creating an entirely new meaning for the Quranic verses goes like this: “Because the obvious meaning of the verse is logically wrong and unacceptable, then it cannot be the meaning intended by the Quran!” They even claim that the Quran has its own Quranic (not Arabic!) language to justify their extraordinary interpretation of its blunders! This may explain why this trend appeals to some dissatisfied Arab Muslims who are not ashamed to violate all the rules and principles of their language to justify the Quranic errors. They find in such false cosmetic repairs a comfortable compromise that allows them to believe in Islam without having to believe in its absurdities.
Muslims consider the Sunna as complementary and explanatory to the Quran. This is quite true. However, acceptance of the Sunna leaves the Quranyon with little room to practice their skills in distorting the language. The Quranyon cannot apply their skills of language trickery to the ahadith because these come in different books and in different wordings, which denies the Quranyon their only weapon of language falsification to come up with their desired new meaning.
A Quran only Islam
The Quranyon like to be seen as Muslim intellectuals (although the two words should not come together) and Islamic reformers. Their desperation to present Islam as a modern and civilized religion forced them to adopt a strategy of self-deceit to accept the Quran and self-deceit to believe that the rest of Muslims will accept them.
The Quranyon’s claims about the unreliability of Sunna because it reached us through history is another laughable argument. It must have escaped their minds that everything about Islam, from the Quran to Mohammed’s history and his Sunna, have all reached us through the same history. The Quran was written by humans, kept by humans and collected by humans. The Quranyon cannot dispute the fact that Caliph Uthman, who ordered the writings of the official four state copies of the Quran, did so to avoid the problems caused by the existence of too many different versions. Indeed, Uthman ordered all other copies of the Quran to be destroyed because they were dissimilar from his version. The burning of the other copies has outraged many important figures in Islam, like Ibn Masoud, who refused to recognize Uthman’s official version of the Quran.
The Quran repeatedly asks the Muslims to follow Mohammed’s example (Sunna). If the Quranyon discount the Sunna then they have to answer the important question: How can Muslims follow Mohammed’s example if they do not recognize that example?
The Quranyon are not a well-defined group and they do not all agree on clear and recognized teachings. They even accuse one another of being infidels! By definition, the Submitters are Quranyon, but are branded as infidels by all the others. Probably the only thing the Quranyon have in common is their rejection of the Sunna and their determination to justify the Quranic blunders at all costs. However, a Quran only Islam looks so weird to be recognized as Islam at all. Although the Quran is Islam’s holy book, but the bulk of the religion is made of Sunna. All the details of Islam like how to perform the prayers are completely distorted by the Quranyon because they are only briefly mentioned in the Quran. For example, in the case of prayers, they only recognize three prayers rather than five, which they perform differently from the mainstream Muslims.
In reality, The Quranyon make fundamental changes to the core issues of Islam, in other words they introduce Bidaa (innovation) on a major scale, which is a lethal sin in Islam. Their practice has precedence in Islamic history, like the members of Al-Mutazela group who were completely eradicated during the Abbasid dynasty. The current violence between the various Islamic sects is another reminder of the non-existent Islamic tolerance. Indeed some Quranyon have already been murdered on the basis they were infidels in disguise.
The Quranyon’s state of mind is another sad demonstration of the damage that Islam can inflict on the human mind. These people have spotted more than enough of the Islamic garbage to wake them up to the fact that Islam is just a mad man’s cult. Instead of leaving Islam, they embark on a desperate process of self-deception because their confused minds cannot imagine that life can exist outside Islam.
The rising number of the Quranyon reflects the damage control being carried out by some Muslims to conceal the deepening cracks in Islam. But these are cosmetic and superficial repairs and can never hold the structure together for long. We must also keep in mind that not all the Quranyon truly believe in what they say. Many unconvinced Muslims think of this group as a safe sanctuary from the real Islam. Some of the Quranyon reject the Quran soon after they reject the Sunna, and continue their journey to enlightenment and freedom. Indeed many of the Quranyon only pretend to be so to stay legally alive in the Islamic societies. The current apparent Islamic tolerance to their existence may not be long lasting. Probably the reason they are left alone is because they are considered as a disillusioned group of non-practicing Muslims who will eventually return to the circle of Islam.
About three-quarters of a million people (okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little) today have sent me a Reuters story, “Woman re-interprets Koran with feminist view” by Manuela Badawy.
In it, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, formerly of the University of Chicago, offers an alternative translation of Qur’an 4:34, the notorious “wife-beating verse.” The article says:
In the new book, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, a former lecturer on Islam at the University of Chicago, challenges the translation of the Arab word “idrib,” traditionally translated as “beat,” which feminists say has been used to justify abuse of women.”Why choose to interpret the word as ‘to beat’ when it can also mean ‘to go away’,” she writes in the introduction to the new book.
I was just contacted by Dziennik, the largest daily newspaper in Poland (where apparently political correctness doesn’t have the stranglehold it has over the American media) for comment. Here is my reply:
Any new interpretation that mitigates the elements of the Qur’an that are used by jihadists today to foster violence and fanaticism is welcome. Accordingly I wish Laleh Bakhtiar well with her new translation. Unfortunately, she faces formidable obstacles: in 1400 years of Qur’anic exegesis by Muslims, no one of any significance has ever disputed that Qur’an 4:34 sanctioned wife-beating.Those who were uncomfortable with this in the past focused their efforts not on alternative understandings of Qur’anic Arabic, but on ahadith that purported to depict Muhammad discouraging wife-beating in various ways. Unfortunately also, such ahadith have not prevented all too many Muslim men worldwide from understanding Qur’an 4:34 in a way that sanctions wife-beating. A Saudi television program has even featured a discussion of acceptable instruments for this beating, and books have appeared in Turkey and Spain in the last few years in which Islamic imams explain the circumstances in which wife-beating is acceptable.
All this illustrates that Laleh Bakhtiar faces an uphill battle and will encounter fierce and possibly violent opposition. In that I wish her all success.
The Copenhagen Qur’an Petition. One would hope, probably against hope, that this proposal would lead to a fruitful public discussion of the passages of the Qur’an and Hadith that jihadists use today to justify Islamic supremacism, and an honest initiative by Muslims in Denmark to teach their people never to understand such passages literally. But instead, there will be the predictable cries of “racism.”
A political party named SIAD (Stop Islamiseringen af Danmark-Stop Islamisation of Denmark) has demanded a censorship for parts of Quran, stating that that certain parts ‘encourage violence.’After caricature crisis and the attack no Muslim graves, Denmark has hit the headlines for the third time again with its anti-Islamist movements. A political party called Stop Islamisation of Denmark has claimed that 67th and 69th verses of Quran are violating the Danish constitution and the mosques across the country should be closed according to the 78th article of the Danish constitution. SABAH Newspaper has talked with the leader Anders Graves of SIAD; a party that has about 400 members. Graves said: “Denmark is our country. Some verses of the Quran are filing me with worries about the lives of my children and grand children.” Stating that they have no intention or expectation on banning the Islam religion across the country Gravers said people living in Denmark should obey the constitution of the country no matter what they believe in.
67th and 69th verses? I don’t know what they’re referring to there.
By Patrick Poole
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 14, 2007
From the East Coast through the American Heartland to the West Coast, a rapidly growing and extremely popular Islamic studies program is bringing Wahhabi extremism and Muslim Brotherhood activism into mosques and Muslim student groups throughout
North America. The Al-Maghrib Institute features motivational-style speakers, aggressive marketing, savvy use of the Internet and slick multi-media presentations as part of their for-college-credit courses leading to an Islamic Studies degree offered at mosques in at least thirteen cities:
College Park, Maryland
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Toronto, Quebec, Canada
Al-Maghrib also ran onsite seminars in
Columbus, Ohio during 2006. In addition to the courses they offer, the Institute sponsors a site selling Al-Maghrib audio and video course lectures, EmanRush Audio, and Khutbah.com, which provides texts of sermons and articles delivered by Al-Maghrib instructors and staff.
The staple of Al-Maghrib’s course offerings are the double weekend seminars held at their permanent sites. Locations of upcoming seminars, including one held this past weekend in
Atlanta, are provided on the Al-Maghrib website. In addition, the Al-Maghrib instructors are in high demand as motivational speakers at Muslim organization events all over the world. The Institute is also active amongst the 150 chapters of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) located at universities all over the
Canada. The MSA is one of the front groups operated by the international Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Maghrib staff are also regular fixtures on several Islamic satellite television networks.
The organization’s Wahhabi-influenced extremism, rabid anti-Semitism and Holocaust denials, and militaristic preaching of jihad even have other Muslims expressing concern about the radicalizing effect of Al-Maghrib’s preaching and programs.
Al-Maghrib’s educational courses are accredited by the American Open University, which in turn is accredited by
Cairo – the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and largest radical Islamic organization in the world. The courses offered by Al-Mahgrib count only as course credit for the AOU’s Bachelors in Islamic Studies degree, the only English language program offered by AOU.
A review of the course summary for the Islamic Studies degree program shows that the reading is dominated by Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi theologians and theorists. In particular, the AOU program requires reading of Sayyid Qutb’s, In the Shade of the Quran, the text for AOU’s 113 Analytic Tafseer I course. Qutb, the leading Muslim Brotherhood thinker executed by Nasser in the 1960s after an assassination attempt, has been described as “Bin Laden’s Brain” due to the extensive influence Qutb has had in justifying terrorism and jihad and laying down the theoretical principles that al-Qaeda was built upon.
Another Muslim Brotherhood theorist prominent in the curriculum is Sayyid Sabiq, who wrote his book, Fiqh-us-Sunnah, at the request of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. The two volumes of Sabiq’s work are the sole text for AOU’s 141 Fiqh of Worship I course. In the majority of AOU’s required reading for their Islamic Studies program, which Al-Maghrib offers course credit for, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and those influenced and approved by the Brotherhood figure prominently.
Bilal Phillips is another name that appears repeatedly on AOU’s and Al-Maghrib’s reading lists. Phillips has recently gained notoriety as one of the radical preachers secretly videotaped as part of the Undercover Mosque investigative program aired last month on England’s Channel 4 (Robert Spencer reviewed this program for FrontPage in his article, Islamic Prejudice, Islamic Denial).
In the Undercover Mosque program, Bilal Phillips was videotaped explaining during a lecture the acceptability of forced Islamic marriages for prepubescent girls:
The Prophet Mohammed practically outlined the rules regarding marriage prior to puberty, with his practice he clarified what is permissible and that is why we shouldn’t have any issues about an older man marrying a younger woman, which is looked down upon by this society today, but we know that Prophet Mohammed practiced it, it wasn’t abuse or exploitation, it was marriage.
After the Undercover Mosque program aired, it was severly attacked by Al-Maghrib instructor Yasir Qadhi, who launched into a 15 minute tirade defending the extremist speakers secretly videotaped by Channel 4 at the beginning of his regular Islami Q&A program on the Islam Channel satellite network. After Qadhi’s video defense aired, Bilal Phillips himself followed his friend’s lead and also aired a defense on YouTube.
But the Muslim Brotherhood influence is not the only troubling aspect to Al-Maghrib’s programs and message. In fact, all six of Al-Maghrib’s instructors have degrees from Saudi institutions controlled by the extremist Wahhabi sect:
Medina was founded in 1961 by the ruling Saud family specifically for the propagation of Wahhabism worldwide.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden’s alma mater and haven for Muslim Brotherhood teachers who fled persecution from the
Nasser regime in
Egypt during the 1950s and 1960s. Sayyid Qutb’s brother, Mohammed, was a long-time instructor in Jeddah and was one of bin Laden’s primary mentors, as was Abdullah Azzam, the founder of Al-Qaeda. The IIAS was operated by Saudi diplomats as a branch of the Saudi Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University until it came under pressure from the US government when the diplomatic visas of 16 school’s instructors were withdrawn by the US, according to a report in the Washington Post; after the Saudis withdrew their support in 2004, the Institute was closed and searched by the US government for its links to terrorism.
Al-Maghrib instructors have come under severe public criticism by other Muslims for attacking and declaring heretic other mainstream Sunni scholars who do not hold to the Wahhabi version of Islam preached by the organization’s speakers. In fact, in 2006 a boycott of Al-Maghrib’s was called for when Yasir Qadhi declared a recently-deceased and universally revered Islamic scholar, Sheikh Alawi al-Maliki, a polytheist on one of Al-Maghrib’s online forums:
While it is the general policy of Al Maghrib not to quote individuals, I make exceptions in certain cases – this being one of them. Alawi al-Maliki is one of the most revered of modern Sufi personas – to speak evil of him is tantamount to apostasy in the eyes of many of his followers. For them, he is the leader of the awliya of Allah. Yet, it is no exaggeration to state that he was one of the most active proponents in our times of blatant acts of shirk (polytheism-ed.). . .
All Islamic traditions identify “shirk” as the gravest offense possible, and therefore, making Qadhi’s pronouncement a de facto condemnation to Hell for al-Maliki. But as soon as the boycott was called for, however, Qadhi’s post was removed from the Al-Maghrib’s forum without any explanation or apology.
The curriculum areas taught by Qadhi, particularly the Light of Guidance and Light upon Light courses, are dedicated to pronouncing as heretical the non-Wahhabi Sunni schools of theology, particularly the Sufi movement. These are some of the most popular seminars taught by the Institute; in fact, the Light of Guidance seminar was taught by Qadhi this past weekend in the
But the concern over Al-Maghrib’s teachings extend much further than their Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi influences. Anti-Semitic diatribes and Holocaust denials are regular themes preached by Al-Maghrib’s instructors. Institute founder Muhammad Alshareef expressed his thoughts on Muslim-Jewish relations in an article he published entitled, “Why the Jews are Cursed” (curiously, this article is not available on Al-Maghrib’s Khutbah.com website). As noted by the Militant Islam Monitor, in Alshareef’s article he expounds on the anti-Semitic canard that the international media is owned and controlled by Jews, and thus, biased against Muslims:
When I was in high school, studying in journalism class, our teacher had placed on the wall a statement that I spent many days contemplating. It simply said, “Freedom of the press (speech) belongs to those that own the press!” Who owns the press? Well, you can believe me when I say that it is not the god fearing beloved of Allah.
The remainder of Alshareef’s article recites a litany of accusations against the Jewish faith, blaming them for a wide range of iniquities, including changing the words of Allah, making blasphemous statements, and murdering the Prophets. He concludes his essay by decreeing that Muslims should not ally with Jews, should not imitate them and proscribing Muslims from ever marrying Jews or Christians.
But Muhammad Alshareef holds no monopoly on anti-Semitism amongst the Al-Maghrib faculty. In a speech entitled “What Have You Done for the Deen of Allah”, Waleed Basyouni identifies the behavior of Jews during Muhammad’s era as the reason that Jews do not and cannot know Allah:
Seven years the prophet and his companions suffered from the Jew in
Medina. Seven years, the Jew try to destroy this, a new Muslims’ country. . . . They try everything. They try to kill him. . . . They try to make deals with the Kufar, so they could attack Muslims. They support the hypocrites. They start everything. Seven years, suffering from them. He went outside
Medina to one of the Jews’ city, full of money, full of farms, gold, foods. They went out from
Medina, they are poor.
In a September 2002 report published by FrontPage, the Saudi Institute and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies cited Mohammed Fiqih’s alma mater, the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies, as “the largest source of Saudi hate literature in the
Washington area.” The report also quotes Saudi Institute Director Ali al-Ahmed on the IISA’s enforcement of Wahhabi segregation of the sexes, including separate back door entrances for female students:
IIASA is beyond reform. It practices religious and gender apartheid. Female students are not allowed in the library except for four hours each week, when men are not around. Classes are segregated and women are taught through closed-circuit television.
According to a May 2006 report by David Ouellette, in a detailed exposition of the Quran’s Surah Yusuf [complete audio mp3 file] by Alshareef’s colleague Yasir Qadhi, he draws from the anti-Semitic tract, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to explain that Jews are not racially Semitic, and therefore, do not have any right to make a claim on their Holy Land. Citing a book denying the Holocaust, he informs hearers that:
All of these Polish Jews which Hitler was supposedly trying to exterminate, that’s another point, by the way, Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews.
Holocaust denial seems to be a regular fascination for Qadhi. In December, Yasir Qadhi sent an email message to the AlifBaaTaa email list (Qadhi’s email subsequently has either been removed or is no longer available for public viewing; link is to Google cache) with a link to an article authored by Alexander Baron, one of the invited speakers to the recent Tehran Conference on the Holocaust hosted by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At this international Holocaust denial-fest, Baron presented a paper entitled, “The Nazi Gas Chambers: Rumours, Lies and Reality – One Researcher’s Views”. In his post, Qadhi offered no other comments about the article other than to provide the link, apparently in agreement with the content of Baron’s analysis.
The teaching of aggressive militaristic jihad is also a common theme in Al-Maghrib’s courses, which rely on commentaries by 13th Century theologian Ibn Taymiyyah and Wahhabi sect founder, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. One seminar taught by Muhammad Alshareef is his review of the jihadist exploits and military campaigns of the first four “rightly guided” caliphs, Conquest: History of the Khulafaa’. The militaristic themes for this course are evident in the one minute video trailer for the seminar.
The triumphalist vision of Islam as the inevitable sole world power and the justification of militaristic conquests under the banner of jihad are also repeated in the Al-Maghrib course, Islam Invulnerable: The Making of the Modern Muslim World. Tracing the rise of Islam as a global power from the initial Islamic invasions and occupations of the Near East, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, it glories in the triumphs of the Ottoman, Safavid, Qajar and Mughal Empires and provides its unique spin of the present Israeli (“Zionist”)-Arab conflict. The Crusades and European “imperialist” and “colonialist” efforts in recent centuries are denounced, while Islamic conquests undergo “narrative reinterpretation” to explain the difference between the two.
Al-Maghrib instructors also regular speak with other extremist preachers advocating for terrorism and violent jihad. In a FrontPage article last March, “The Visiting Jihadist”, Joe Kaufman revealed that Institute instructor Abdulbary Yahya was scheduled to speak at an event with Ibrahim Dremali, an advocate of suicide bombings and had led crowds in burning Israeli flags and chanting, “With jihad we’ll claim our land, Zionist blood will wet the sand.” The event was sponsored by the
Central Florida’s Muslim Student Association and paid for with Student Government Association funds. Dremali and Yahya had previously shared the podium at the 2005 Texas Dawah Convention, which also featured Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993
The connections between Al-Maghrib staff and terrorist supporters sometimes don’t lead far from home. In 2004, Muhammad Alshareef’s father, Helmy Elsherief, was detained in
Egypt and interrogated regarding his associations with known terrorists. As Alshareef explained in a personal appeal published on the Al-Maghrib online forum, Elsherief was held because of his pre-9/11 work with “charities” in Pakistan that are known to have been al-Qaeda front organizations. Elsherief was eventually released by Egyptian authorities.
In particular, Elsherief was an associate of Ahmed Said Khadr, a top al-Qaeda financier, the top al-Qaeda agent in
Canada, and a close personal associate of Osama bin Laden – a fact conveniently never mentioned by Alshareef in his personal appeals. After leaving
Canada, Khadr’s entire family, identified by Daniel Pipes as “Canada’s First Family of Terrorism”, lived with bin Laden in his
Kabul compound. Ahmed Khadr was killed in a firefight with Pakistani security forces in October 2003, which also injured and disabled his youngest son, Abdul. His second youngest son, Omar, is presently imprisoned as an enemy combatant at
Bay after killing a
US medic with a hand grenade in 2002 during a battle in
The extremist messages preached by Al-Maghrib and their associates have also landed instructors themselves in trouble with US authorities. This past August, the Houston Chronicle reported that Yasir Qadhi complained during a public meeting at
University with government officials that he was on the Department of Homeland Security terrorist watch list and consequently is regularly detained when entering the country. In addition, according to an announcement issued by the Al-Maghrib Institute’s staff, instructor Yaser Birjas was arrested and detained by US authorities in 2005 due to problems with his immigration visa.
In the span of just a few short years, the Al-Maghrib Institute has quickly established itself as one of the premiere Islamic instructional programs in North America, as attested to by its 13 mosque-based affiliates and their regular appearances at Muslim Student Association events. Audio and video lecture series, an impressive Internet presence and regular satellite television programs by Al-Maghrib faculty extend their influence even further. Furthermore, the Institute’s instructors are in high demand as event speakers for Islamic organizations all over the world.
Al-Maghrib’s rapid rise should cause concern, however, as its Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood-inspired messages of religious extremism, racial bigotry and advocacy of jihad and militancy are being spread like cancer in Muslim communities throughout the US and Canada. And this ideological cancer spread by the Al-Maghrib Institute potentially threatens Muslims and non-Muslims alike as its popularity and radicalism continues to increase.
Exclusive: Understanding Jihad
Author: Ray Kraft
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: February 4, 2007
FSM has never seen a more cogent articulation of what this enemy is we are fighting. Nor have we been compelled to contemplate exactly how the Iraq War should much more accurately be known as the Battle of Iraq. FSM Contributing Editor Ray Kraft enlightens us…and let’s hope the Congress, as frighteningly uninformed as they are, are listening.
He it is who hath sent His Apostle with the Guidance and a religion of the Truth,
that He may make it Victorious over every other religion . . .
Know your enemy.
Only by knowing what motivates your enemy, knowing what he is fighting for and what he intends to achieve, what his strategic objectives are, can you become able to strike him where he is weakest – most brittle, most fragile, most vulnerable – and that is by striking at what motivates him. If you do not know what motivates your enemy, you cannot strike where he is weakest. But if you can defeat his motivation, you defeat his will to fight.
War is always at least as much a battle of wills, of morale, of determination and endurance, as it is a battle of bullets and bombs, although the bullets and bombs are the weapons, the tools, by which will is projected, or weakened, depleted and defeated. An army, a nation, a tribe, will keep fighting as long as it believes it can win, and no longer. When it no longer believes it can win, it will leave the battle, or seek peace. It will surrender, formally, or informally by retreating back into the hills, into the woods, into safe territory, wherever that is. If you can convince your enemy that he cannot win the battle, or the war, then you have won. As long as your enemy believes he can defeat you, he will keep fighting. When he is convinced that his defeat is certain, and that his victory is impossible, he will quit fighting.
In the Jihad War that radical Islam has declared on America, Israel, England, and indeed on Western Civilization, most Americans and Europeans do not seem to know or understand the enemy, the Jihad, the Islamic Resistance Movement that now includes Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, Syria, and the many other and smaller non-governmental organizations of Islamic Jihad. Most of us know only what we hear on the evening news, or read in the papers, and the major media have hardly (if ever) mentioned the motives that are the driving force of Jihad.
But the Jihad is not difficult to understand – one need only look to the Koran for illumination and clarity.
Westerners no longer think of religion as a reason for war. We think “religious wars” are the stuff of ancient European history from centuries and centuries ago. We are wrong. The Jihad War is fundamentally and quintessentially a religious war. It is religious at the core. It is a war for the conquest of the world by Islam. It is inspired, motivated, driven, by the words of Allah, the words of God Himself. It is a war for the dominance of Islam over all other religions, for the dominance of Islamic culture over all other cultures. It is a war for Islamic supremacy.
In Muslim belief, the Koran (in the original, classical Arabic) is the literal, verbatim word of Allah. Not merely inspired by Allah, but dictated by Allah. Allah spoke to Gabriel, who recited the words of Allah to Muhammed, who, illiterate himself, recited the words of Allah verbatim to his secretaries, scribes, and listeners, who wrote down the words of Allah, all perfectly, without error, so that in the original Arabic the Koran is not merely inspired by Allah, it is the very words of Allah, the very words of God Himself, perfect, unchangeable, infallible, inerrant, beyond doubt or question. The words of God cannot be wrong. The promises of God cannot fail.
In various places throughout the Koran, Allah directs the Believers, Muslims, to make war upon the Unbelievers, Infidels, Kaffirs, until all the world has converted or submitted to the primacy of Islam, and those who refuse to convert or submit have been killed.
These, the words of God, the words of Allah, are the key to understanding Jihad. God has promised that Islam will be “victorious over every other religion,” and from this Islam derives a conviction of fate, a divine mission, a manifest destiny, a divine right, to be victorious over every other religion and culture, in order to fulfill the prophecy of Muhammed, the promise of Allah. This is the fulcral idea, the singularity of faith that inspires the Jihad War – God’s promise of ultimate victory over all others, the victory of the Believers over the hypocrites (non-devout Muslims) and the Infidels (non-Muslims).
This is set forth most specifically and forcefully, perhaps, in Sura 9 (Book 9 or Chapter 9) of the Koran, as follows:
“And when the sacred months are passed, kill those who join other gods with God
wherever ye shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them
with every kind of ambush; but if they shall convert, and observe prayer, and pay
the obligatory alms, then let them go their way, for God is Gracious, Merciful.”
“O Believers! – make not friends of your fathers or your brethren if they love Unbelief
above Faith; and whoso of you shall make them his friends, will be wrongdoers.”
“Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe
not in God, or in the last day, and who forbid not that which God and His Apostle
have forbidden, and who profess not the profession of the Truth, until they
pay tribute out of hand, and they be humbled.”
“The Jews say, ‘Ezra (Ozair) is a son of God;’ and the Christians say, ‘The Messiah
is a son of God.’ Such the sayings in their mouths! They resemble the saying
of the Infidels of old! God do battle with them! How are they misguided!”
“He it is who hath sent His Apostle with the Guidance and a religion of the
Truth, that He may make it victorious over every other religion, albeit they
who assign partners to God be averse from it.”
“God promiseth the hypocritical men and women, and the Unbelievers, the fire of
Hell – therein shall they abide – this their sufficing portion! And God hath cursed
them, and a lasting torment shall be theirs.”
“O Prophet! – contend against the infidels and the hypocrites, and be rigorous with
them. Hell shall be their dwelling place! Wretched the journey thither!”
“Never pray thou over anyone of them who dieth, or stand at his grave – because
they believed not in God and His Apostle, and died in their wickedness.”
“Verily, of the faithful hath God bought their persons and their substance, on condition
of Paradise for them in return; on the path of God shall they fight, and slay, and be slain;
a promise for this is pledged in the Law, and in the Evangel, and in the Koran – and who
more faithful to his engagement than God? Rejoice, therefore, in the contract that
ye have contracted; for this shall be the great bliss.”
“Believers! – wage war against such of the infidels as are your neighbors,
and let them find you rigorous; and know that God is with those who
fear him . . . But as to those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add
doubt to their doubts, and they shall die infidels.”
From the Koran, Sura 9:5-126 (not inclusive)
This is the commandment of God – to make war on the hypocrites and the Infidels, the Unbelievers, on “such infidels as are your neighbors,” until they have converted to Islam, or submitted to Islam, or have been slain. This is the driving force, the idea, that energizes Jihad.
How can Jihad be defeated?
Simply – perhaps not easily, or quickly, but simply – Jihad can be defeated, its motivation broken, dissipated, fractured, destroyed, by a Western “solidarity” to resist Jihad with all necessary will, political force, and military force, a solidarity to convince the Jihad that it cannot succeed, that it is doomed to fail, that it does not have the strength, the power, to fulfill the promise of Allah that Islam will be “victorious over every other religion.”
This will require the projection of overt military force and covert intelligence and combat operations against Jihad as long as Jihad continues to fight. This is necessary, but this is not enough.
It also requires a projection of moral force and intellectual force, of intellectual and moral clarity and will. America, Europe, and the rest of Civilization must say to the face of Jihad -
“You cannot win. We will not let you win. We will do all that is necessary to defend the Western principles of intellectual freedom, religious freedom, political freedom. We will not let Islam be victorious over Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the freedom to be Agnostic or Atheist, or to follow any other religion. It is not we who must change – it is YOU who must change. Islam must change. Islam must leave the 7th century behind, and emerge into a 21st century of freedom, tolerance, multiculturalism, diversity, and liberal democracy. Islam must learn to accept the legitimacy of other religions and cultures. Islam must learn to live as a Faith that accepts the legitimacy and equality of all other Faiths. Islam must learn to live as a culture that accepts the legitimacy and equality of all other cultures. Until Islam learns this, we, the people of Civilization and freedom, will stand in solidarity against Jihad.”
When the Jihad movement understands that it can only fail, that it cannot win, that it does not have the strength to win, that it cannot emerge “victorious over all other religions,” then the Jihad War will be won, or will begin to be won, for then, but only then, the Jihad movement will begin to dissipate, to lose its morale, to lose its hope of victory, its reason for being.
Today, many leading American Democrats (and a few prominent Republicans) are clearly unclear on the concept, clueless, tragically and dangerously ignorant and oblivious, playing into the hands of the Jihad by their calls to retreat from the Battle of Iraq, which, for now at least, is the central battle in the Jihad War. It is not the first, and it will not be the last – unless the Battle of Iraq is won decisively by the US and Iraqi government forces, unless the Jihad in Iraq is decimated and denied control of Iraq, or even a foothold in Iraq, when the smoke has cleared, and the Jihad has suffered a complete and humiliating, demoralizing defeat.
If that happens, it may well be the beginning of the end of the Jihad.
But if the Jihad – which encompasses the calculated savagery of the Shia and Sunni militias, and the provocateurs of Iran and Syria and Al Qaeda – wins the Battle of Iraq, control of Iraq, or simply drives the Americans out of an Iraq left in chaos, it will be seen as a victory for Jihad over The Great Satan, America, a vindication of the promise of Allah to make Islam “victorious over every other religion.” It will fuel the flames of Jihadist struggle and terror around the world.
Dr. Jack Wheeler writes of this in The Fragility of Islamofacism (at www.ToThePointNews.com) in which he points to mass “frenzies of criminal insanity, like the Gulag Communism of the Soviet Union, the National Socialism of Hitler’s Germany, or the barbaric imperialism of Tojo’s Japan.”
“An entire people like the Germans or Japanese can go criminally, murderously nuts. Such mass criminality has to be
ended by whatever means necessary. But once the frenzy is over, the people crazed by it can become normal human
beings again . . . Just such a mass criminal insanity has today taken over the minds of a substantial fraction of the world’s
Muslims . . . the distillation of the very worst aspects of the Islamic religion into an ideology of fascist bullying
“The absolute last thing we are involved in here is a ‘clash of civilizatoins.’ Our civilization is in a fight to the death with
a subhuman barbarism. With folks who believe in a Whorehouse Heaven which they can get into by blowing themselves
up in order to murder women and children.”
“Islamofascism is a frenzy, a mass delusion. What all such mass delusions have in common is an incredibly intense
psychological energy that is impervious to reason, reality, and morality.”
The Jihad cannot be reasoned with. It cannot be bargained with. It cannot be treatied with. It is not amenable to diplomacy, which it will view (correctly) as a sign of weakness, timidity, fear, and lack of resolve. It can only be surrendered to, or destroyed. Its ultimate victory is certain, unless it is defeated, because it is certain that it is doing the will of God. And if Allah is with Jihad, who can prevail against it?
The Jihadist Iran of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Jihadist Syria of Assad and Hezbollah cannot be entrusted with “helping to restore peace in Iraq,” as the Iraq Study Commission, which did not understand the driving force at the core of Jihad, fantasized. Unless we want to concede to the Jihad its ultimate goal of “victory over every other religion,” Jihad can only be resisted, by whatever means necessary, until it is defeated. And it can only be defeated by a show of moral, political, cultural, and military solidarity in the West sufficiently strong, sufficiently determined, sufficiently resolute, to convince the Jihad leaders, mullahs, rank, and file, that the cause of Jihad is futile, that it cannot win, that however many young Muslims they throw into the slaughter, that however many Muslim women and children and police recruits they blow to bits, the Jihad, in the end, can only lose. That it is all for nothing.
That Islam will never be “victorious over every other religion.”
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