Egypt, ‘Hurriyya’ Vs. Freedom, and ‘Muslim Moderates’

Egypt, ‘Hurriyya’ Vs. Freedom, and ‘Muslim Moderates’

Andrew G. Bostom


Ominous polling
from the contemporary Egyptian population reflect their deep,
longstanding favorable inclination toward the Sharia, in all its
totalitarian, brutally anti-freedom “glory.” The electorally successful Algerian
Sharia supremacists of two decades ago came up with an apt expression of where
such sentiments lead, given a one man, one vote (and likely, one time)
opportunity: Islamic
State by the Will of the People!
Despite ebullient
appraisals of events in Egypt — which optimistic observers insist epitomize
American hopes and values at their quintessential best — there is a profound,
deeply troubling flaw in such hagiographic analyses which simply ignore the vast
gulf between Western and Islamic conceptions of freedom itself. The current
polling data indicating that three-fourths of the Egyptian population are still
enamored of the totalitarian Sharia confirms that this yawning gap still exists
strikingly so
— in our era.
Hurriyya (Arabic  for “freedom”) and the uniquely Western concept of
freedom are completely at odds. Hurriyya ‘freedom’ is  —  as Ibn Arabi (d.
1240) the  lionized “Greatest Sufi Master”, expressed it  —  “being perfect
slavery.” And this conception is not merely confined to the Sufis’ perhaps
metaphorical understanding of the relationship between Allah the “master” and
his human “slaves.”
The late American scholar of Islam, Franz Rosenthal (d. 2003) analyzed the
larger context of hurriyya in Muslim society. He notes the historical absence of
hurriyya as  “…a fundamental political concept that could have served as a
rallying cry for great causes.”
An individual Muslim, “…was expected to consider subordination of his own
freedom to the beliefs, morality and customs of the group as the only proper
course of behavior…”.
Thus politically, Rosenthal concludes,
…the individual was not expected to exercise any free choice as to how he
wished to be governed…In general, …governmental authority admitted of no
participation of the individual as such, who therefore did not possess any real
freedom vis-a-vis it.
Bernard Lewis, in his analysis of hurriyya for the venerable
Encyclopedia of Islam, discusses this concept in the latter phases of the
Ottoman Empire, through the contemporary era. After highlighting a few
“cautious” or “conservative” (Lewis’ characterization) reformers and their
writings, Lewis maintains,
…there is still no idea that the subjects have any right to share in the
formation or conduct of government — to political freedom, or citizenship, in
the sense which underlies the development of political thought in the West.
While conservative reformers talked of freedom under law, and some Muslim rulers
even experimented with councils and assemblies government was in fact becoming
more and not less arbitrary….
Lewis also makes the important point that Western colonialism
ameliorated this chronic situation:
During the period of British and French domination, individual freedom was
never much of an issue. Though often limited and sometimes suspended, it was on
the whole more extensive and better protected than either before or
after.’ [emphasis added]
And Lewis concludes with a stunning observation, when viewed in light
of the present travails in Egypt and throughout the Muslim world, optimistic
assessments notwithstanding:
In the final revulsion against the West, Western democracy too was rejected
as a fraud and a delusion, of no value to Muslims.
I would like to add these three germane observations. Two are from
scholars quite sympathetic to Islamic culture whose opinions are based upon very
different scholarly backgrounds — S.D. Goitein (d. 1985), a specialist in
classical Islam, and Muslim-Jewish relations in particular; and P.J. Vatikiotis
(d. 1997), a political scientist who focused on the modern era in the Middle
East, especially Egypt. Both men also lived for extended periods in the region.
The third is from a lecture Bat Ye’or — who lived her youth in Egypt — gave in
1998, with Elliot
All three observations serve (or should serve) to remind us of the profound
limitations of relying upon what Ibn
has aptly termed “protecting Islam from Enlightenment
values,” while supporting “dishonest tinkering” with Islamic doctrine (not to
mention complete denial of the historical consequences of such doctrine), in
lieu of the honest, mea culpa-based, wrenching reforms that are necessary to
transform Islamic societies.
Goitein, circa 1964, from p. 185 (Review: [untitled] Author(s): S. D.
Goitein Reviewed work(s): Modern Islam: The Search for Cultural Identity
by G. E. von Grunebaum Source: Journal of the American Oriental
, Vol. 84, No. 2, (Apr. – Jun., 1964), pp. 185- 186.)
The military or police dictatorships controlling today almost all Islamic
countries now appear not merely as successors or revivals of medieval despotism.
They are (credited with) fulfilling a function similar to that of the belief in
the God of Islam in the past-namely that of relieving man from the
responsibility for his own destiny.”
Vatikiotis circa 1981 (from Le Debat, [Paris], no. 14,
July-August, 1981), wrote:
What is significant is that after a tolerably less autocratic/authoritarian
political experience during their apprenticeship for independent statehood under
foreign power tutelage, during the inter-war period, most of these states once
completely free or independent of foreign control, very quickly moved towards
highly autocratic-authoritarian patterns of rule…One could suggest a hiatus of
roughly three years between the departure or removal of European influence and
power and overthrow of the rickety plural political systems they left behind in
Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and the Sudan by military coups d’etat.
Authoritarianism and autocracy in the Middle East may be unstable in the
sense that autocracies follow one another in frequent succession. Yet the ethos
of authoritarianism may be lasting, even permanent…One could venture into a
more ambitious philosophical etiology by pointing out the absence of a concept
of ‘natural law’ or ‘law of reason’ in the intellectual-cultural heritage of
Middle Eastern societies. After all, everything before Islam, before God
revealed his message to Muhammad, constitutes jahiliyya, or the dark age of
ignorance. Similarly, anything that deviates from the eternal truth or verities
of Islamic teaching is equally degenerative, and therefore unacceptable. That is
why, by definition, any Islamic movement which seeks to make Islam the basic
principle of the polity does not aim at innovation but at the restoration of the
ideal that has been abandoned or lost. The missing of an experience similar, or
parallel, to the Renaissance, freeing the Muslim individual from external
constraints of, say, religious authority in order to engage in a creative course
measured and judged by rational and existential human standards, may also be a
relevant consideration. The individual in the Middle East has yet to attain his
independence from the wider collectivity, or to accept the proposition that he
can create a political order.
Finally, I urge the reader to consider very carefully Bat Ye’or’s
analysis of “Muslim moderates” and their terrible failings — completely
squandered opportunities during the end of the colonial era (as noted above from
a different perspective by Vatikiotis) — from the perspective of a great
scholar who grew up among them, as a non-Muslim, indeed a Jew. Written 10 years
ago, the attitude she describes of complete denial by
Muslims, even “progressives,” and “moderates,” still applies with the rarest of
isolated exceptions. And the consequences of this ongoing denial are equally
It is this lack of testimony that has brought back the evils and the
prejudices of the past — the jihad mentality, and the laws of dhimmitude that
were only abolished by the colonial European powers. And now, more and more,
because of this lack of testimony, we see moderate Muslims themselves being
persecuted. Because they were indifferent to the humiliation of Jews and
Christians, because they remained silent and aloof, they now find themselves –
in Algeria, Egypt, and elsewhere – suffering from cruel injustices and
barbarism. Testifying together, giving testimony against dhimmitude, would have
allowed Muslim intellectuals to rethink their whole relationship with the People
of the Bible – and with all non-Muslims, and this without renouncing their
faith. Such an attitude would have brought all of us together in the fight
against tyrannical oppression, against the process of dehumanization. This is
what could have been done and what was not


Harry Potter and Sharia Law?

Harry Potter and Sharia Law?

Joshua Jamison

There is no place for Sharia Law in western democracies. Muslims who practice it need to find another place to live. Rape, torture and murder are no more than cowardice criminal acts and must be prevented at all cost. Her own father and brother recently threatened Afshan Azad, an actress in the hit series Harry Potter. Asian News has more:

Afshan Azad who played Padma Patel in Harry Potter
The father and brother of an actress who starred in the Harry Potter films have been charged with threatening to kill her.

Afshan Azad, 22, has appeared in four of the movies as Padma Patil, a classmate of the young wizard.

She was allegedly attacked at her home in Longsight, Manchester, on May 21 this year.

Now her father Abdul Azad, 54, and brother, Ashraf Azad, 28, both of Beresford Road, Longsight, have appeared in court.

Abdul is accused of threatening to kill his daughter and Ashraf of threatening to kill and assault occasioning actual bodily harm against his sister.

Both men appeared at Manchester magistrates court and the case was adjourned until later this month for committal proceedings to crown court.

Josh Jamison lives in Boston, Massachusetts and writes for The Raw Deal

HOMELAND INSECURITY White House welcomes Shariah finance specialist


White House welcomes Shariah finance specialist

Obama selects Muslim expert in Islamic transactions as fellow

Posted: June 25, 2010
12:00 am Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Samar Ali (Photo: Vanderbilt Register)

The Obama administration has announced its appointment of 13 White House fellows – and the first person featured on its short list is a Muslim attorney who specializes in Shariah-compliant transactions.

“This year’s White House fellows are comprised of some of the best and brightest leaders in our country,” Michelle Obama said in the June 22 announcement. “I applaud their unyielding commitment to public service and dedication to serving their community.”

White House fellows spend a year as full-time, paid assistants to senior White House staff, the vice president, Cabinet secretaries and senior administration officials.

Samar Ali of Waverly, Tenn., is the first name appearing on the White House list. She is an associate with the law firm Hogan Lovells – a firm that claims to have advised on more than 200 Islamic finance transactions with an aggregate deal value in excess of $40 billion.

What does Islam plan for America? Read “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America” and find out!

According to Ali’s biography posted on the White House website, “She is responsible for counseling clients on mergers & acquisitions, cross-border transactions, Shari’a compliant transactions, project finance, and international business matters. During her time with Hogan Lovells, she has been a founding member of the firm’s Abu Dhabi office.”

Hogan Lovells lists Ali’s experience “advising a Middle Eastern university in the potential establishment of a Foreign Aid Conventional and Shari’ah Compliant Student Loan Program and advising a Middle Eastern client in relation to a U.S. government subcontract matter.”

“Our team members are at the forefront of developments in the Islamic finance industry,” Hogan Lovells boasts. “We help set standards for the sector. We have also advised on numerous first-of-their-kind transactions, such as the first convertible Sukuk, the first equity-linked Sukuk, the first Sharia-compliant securitization, the first international Sukuk al-mudaraba and Sukuk al-musharaka, the first Sukuk buy-back, and the first Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) guaranteed Islamic project financing.”

Ali also clerked for Judge Gilbert S. Merritt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Edwin Cameron, now of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Promoting Islam and Shariah

The White House notes that Ali also led the YMCA Israeli-Palestinian Modern Voices for Progress Program and is a founding member of the first U.S. Delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum. Ali was listed as a member of the British delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum in 2009 and as a U.S. delegate in 2010.

Shariah Finance Watch blog noted, “[I]t was at the World Islamic Economic Forum where key leaders declared Shariah finance to be “dawa” (missionary) activity to promote Islam and Shariah.”

In fact, the president of Indonesia, H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, delivered a March 2, 2009, keynote address to Islamic leaders at the World Islamic Economic Forum in Jakarta during which he called for Islamic banks to do “missionary work in the Western world.”

“Islamic banking should now be able to take a leadership position in the banking world,” he said. “Islamic banks have been much less affected by the financial meltdown than the conventional banks – for the obvious reason that Shariah banks do not indulge in investing in toxic assets and in leveraged funds. They are geared to supporting the real economy.”

He added, “Islamic bankers should therefore do some missionary work in the Western world to promote the concept of Shariah banking, for which many in the West are more than ready now.”

‘We didn’t consider terrorists to be Muslims’

Ali received her law degree from Vanderbilt Law School and served as the first Arab-Muslim student body president at Vanderbilt. She has interned for the Islamic International Arab Bank in Amman, Jordan.

According to Vanderbilt Law School, Ali’s mother immigrated to the U.S. from Syria, and her father is Palestinian. He left the West Bank town of Ramallah at age 17. reported that Ali said her parents taught her to “never forget where we came from and to never forget where we are now.”

“I will always be Arab and I will always be American and I will always be Muslim,” she said.

Ali spoke out at a campus memorial service days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“In my opinion,” she told the Washington File, “Al-Qaida is trying to ruin Islam’s reputation and we are simply not going to let them win this fight. If someone has a political agenda, they need to call it what it is, and not disguise it in the name of a religion or use the religion to achieve their political goals. This is simply unacceptable.”

While she said she grieved the loss of thousands of American lives, Ali told the File she grew concerned about whether Americans would assume that she, as a Muslim and Arab-American, approved of those attacks.

“Thus, I was worried that many of my fellow citizens, would not realize that just because my friends and I are Muslims and Arabs, did not mean that we were part of or even agreed with the terrorists who caused September 11,” she said. “We didn’t even consider the terrorists to be Muslims. I was worried that people would confuse Islam with Osama Bin Ladin and his agenda, that they would confuse his agenda as the agenda of all believers in Islam.”


Creeping Shariah

Shariah already is moving into some elements of American society, with a lawsuit pending over U.S. government involvement in a financial institution that accommodates Shariah requirements in its business operations.

WND also reported in November 2008 that the Treasury Department sponsored and promoted a conference titled “Islamic Finance 101.”

Islamic finance is a system of banking consistent with the principles of Shariah, or Islamic law. It is becoming increasingly popular, having reached $800 billion by mid-2007 and growing at more than 15 percent each year. Wall Street now features an Islamic mutual fund and an Islamic index. However, critics claim anti-American terrorists are often financially supported through U.S. investments – creating a system by which the nation funds its own enemy.

In his July 2008 essay, “Financial Jihad: What Americans Need to Know,” Vice President Christopher Holton of the Center for Security Policy wrote, “America is losing the financial war on terror because Wall Street is embracing a subversive enemy ideology on one hand and providing corporate life support to state sponsors of terrorism on the other hand.”

Holton referred to Islamic finance, or “Shariah-Compliant Finance” as a “modern-day Trojan horse” infiltrating the U.S. He said it poses a threat to the U.S. because it seeks to legitimize Shariah – a man-made medieval doctrine that regulates every aspect of life for Muslims – and could ultimately change American life and laws.

Some advocates claim Islamic finance is socially responsible because it bans investors from funding companies that sell or promote products such as alcohol, tobacco, pornography, gambling and even pork.

However, many Islamic financial institutions also require industry participants to adhere to tenets of Shariah law. According to Nasser Suleiman’s “Corporate Governance in Islamic Banking, “First and foremost, an Islamic organization must serve God. It must develop a distinctive corporate culture, the main purpose of which is to create a collective morality and spirituality which, when combined with the production of goods and services, sustains growth and the advancement of the Islamic way of life.”

Three nations that rule 100 percent by Shariah law – Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan – hold some of the most horrific human rights records in the world, Holton said.

“This strongly suggests that Americans should strenuously resist anything associated with Shariah.”

Tenets of Shariah

In his essay, “Islamic Finance or Financing Islamism,” Alex Alexiev outlined the following tenets of Shariah taken from “The Reliance of the Traveler: The Classic Manual of Sacred Law”:

  • A woman is eligible for only half of the inheritance of a man
  • A virgin may be married against her will by her father or grandfather
  • A woman may not leave the house without her husband’s permission
  • A Muslim man may marry four women, including Christians and Jews; a Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim
  • Beating an insubordinate wife is permissible
  • Female sexual mutilation is obligatory
  • Adultery [or the perception of adultery] is punished by death by stoning
  • Offensive, military jihad against non-Muslims is a religious obligation
  • Apostasy from Islam is punishable by death without trial
  • Lying to infidels in time of jihad is permissible

‘Useful idiots’

Alexiev wrote that many Islamic financial institutions claim Shariah-Compliant Finance “derives its Islamic character from the strict observance of the ostensible Quranic prohibition of lending at interest, the imperative of almsgiving (zakat), avoidance of excessive uncertainty (gharar) and certain practices and products considered unlawful (haram) to Muslims …” However, he said, “[E]ven a casual examination of the reality of Islamic finance today reveals it to be a bogus concept practiced by deceptive ploys and disingenuous means by practitioners that are or should be aware of that, but remain predictably silent.”

Shariah finance institutions have funded militant Islamism for more than 30 years. Alexiev cited Islamic Development Bank’s hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to Hamas in support of suicide bombing. Bank Al-Taqwa and other banks and charities run by Saudi billionaires that have funded al-Qaida activities.

Additionally, Shariah law mandates that Muslims donate 2.5 percent of their annual incomes to charities – including jihadists. When 400 banks regularly contribute to such charities, potential financial sums can be virtually limitless.

If Western banks endorse Shariah, they will “end up becoming what Lenin called useful idiots or worse to the Islamists,” Alexiev wrote. “And it is a very thin line between that and outright complicity in the Islamist agenda.”