May 29 2017

Playing the Taqiyya Card: Evading Intelligent Debate by Calling all Muslims Liars

Source: https://yaqeeninstitute.org/en/omar-suleiman/playing-the-taqiyya-card-evading-intelligent-debate-by-calling-all-muslims-liars

By Omar Suleiman and Nazir Khan
(Yaqeen Institute) April 27, 2017

Trust is a basic element for human beings to live together amicably in a multicultural society. It is unsurprising then that propaganda that has driven societies towards genocide often focuses on depicting a minority group as inherently dishonest and dangerous. For instance, preceding the Rwandan genocide, the Hutus were told by political figures that the Tutsi were a people full of hatred, dangerous, and dishonest. Nazi propaganda prior to the Holocaust focused on repeating old stereotypes of Jews as dishonest and untrustworthy in their dealings. 

As Dr. Wibke Timmermann astutely observes: “Hate speech regularly, if not inevitably, precedes and accompanies ethnic conflicts, and particularly genocidal violence. Without such incitement to hatred and the exacerbation of xenophobic, anti-Semitic, or racist tendencies, no genocide would be possible and persecutory campaigns would rarely meet with a sympathetic response in the general public.”

The contemporary Islamophobia industry has deployed the exact same stereotypes in its characterization of the Islamic faith community and 1.6 billion Muslims. To this end, words like “Shariah” and “Jihad” have been exploited by Islamophobes who affirm the perverted meanings assigned to these terms by terrorists. Meanwhile, mainstream Muslims believe that Jihad refers to a struggle undertaken for the sake of God to protect the lives and rights of others, and that Shariah refers to a divinely ordained system that enjoins treating all human beings in the best manner. Islamophobes, when faced with this discrepancy between what they want the words to mean and what mainstream Muslims believe they actually mean, resort to a profoundly unsophisticated tactic – they simply declare all Muslims to be compulsive liars. 

Of course, that alone would be too obviously a fallacious maneuver, so in order to cloak this move with some degree of credibility, Islamophobes claim that there is a doctrine in Islam that teaches Muslims that they must lie to non-Muslims. This doctrine is called taqiyya. The presence of an Arabic word is guaranteed to dupe people and send chills down the spines of well-meaning but woefully misinformed patriotic Americans wary of those turban-wearing bearded foreigners, right? What could possibly go wrong?

The Real Meaning of “Taqiyya” 

The origin of this conjured term however is a ruling that permits a believer to conceal his or her faith when under the threat of persecution or attack from forces hostile to Islam (Qur’an 16:106, 3:28). The word literally connotes being ‘fearful’ (Lane’s Lexicon, p. 310), and in fact conveys a commonsense notion present amongst all cultures and faiths – in a context in which  someone is trying to kill you or others because of your beliefs, it is appropriate to hide those beliefs.  Another famous example is Corrie Ten Boom lying to Nazis that she was hiding Jews in her attic – no one with a moral conscience would fault her for lying to save lives from murderous criminals. 

Given that the word ‘taqiyya’ has only been used in Islam to refer to Muslims saving themselves from mortal danger by concealing their faith,that should readily dismantle the Islamophobic claim that Muslims are generally taught to lie to non-Muslims. However, when confronted with the fact that their use of the term ‘taqiyya’ is a grotesque misrepresentation, Islamophobes run to another concept in an attempt to buttress their caricature of Muslims as dishonest criminals. They cite a saying of the Prophet that “Warfare is deceit (Ar. khida’ah).”  But here again they find no support as this reference to military strategy involving tricks has been echoed by practically every civilization in human history. It is most famous on the lips of Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu who stated in The Art of War, “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”  Once again, we find that behind the seemingly scary use of Arabic jargon, there are nothing more than run-of-the mill commonsense notions that every civilization has expressed. 

Moreover, by unanimous consensus, Muslim scholars have explicitly pointed out that tricking the enemy on the battlefield (khida’ah) is very different from treachery (khiyanah) or breaking a covenant, the latter being universally prohibited.

The lie that Islam condones lying 

What Islamophobes who peddle the myth of taqiyya choose to ignore is that while Islam permits believers to conceal their faith in the face of persecution, nowhere does Islam grant Muslims general permission to lie with the intention of deception. In fact, Islam strongly condemns dishonesty as a trait that is antithetical to true faith in God, and a sign of hypocrisy. 

Ayesha, the wife of the Prophet, said: “There was no behavior more hateful to the Messenger of Allah than dishonesty. A man would lie when narrating something in the presence of the Prophet and he would not be satisfied until he knew that he had repented.” 

Moreover, Muslims must be entirely honest and truthful when conveying the teachings of Islam; the Qur’an states that one of the greatest evils is for a person to lie about the teachings of Islam, inventing a lie against God (Quran 39:32). 

Manufacturing hate against Muslims in America

Muslims have lived in the United States since its beginnings. We have established mosques, schools, and institutions that have served the greater community. We are socially, culturally, economically, and politically a well integrated community by all measures, a community of proud Americans and proud Muslims who do not see the slightest conflict between those identities. In the over 200 years that this community has existed, never has there been an instance of the Muslim community trying to overthrow the system. Not once has there been a mosque or an Imam implementing an alternative set of laws. Not once has there been an instance of Muslims promoting unconstitutional activities that would infringe on the rights of our non-Muslim friends and neighbors.

In the current heightened climate of Islamophobia, a Texas state Representative sent one of us (and other Muslim leaders) a loyalty test earlier this year to affirm our American values. Instead of reaching out to us in the spirit of friendship and understanding, he decided to put us through a litmus test that was grounded in intimidation and suspicion. With over half a million Muslims in Texas, surely he could’ve reached out to one of his Muslim constituents or visited a local Mosque. Instead, he chose to negate decades of interfaith dialogue, multifaith cooperation, and civic engagement here in Texas. These loyalty tests are not new in America and they essentially imply a second class citizenship on the part of those who receive them. We reject that status and characterization. And just like the “Anti-Shariah” bills that have passed in so many states, these political maneuvers score cheap points with the fearful masses while having no effect on actual regulation.

You can’t trust them. Some of them may be good, but too many of them have a secret agenda. This is the type of racism that festered at both government and community levels before, during, and after Executive Order 9066 which sentenced almost 120,000 Japanese-Americans to internment camps. In one of the most shameful episodes in American history, a dangerous trend of anti-Asian attitudes prevailed that obscured facts about the Japanese-American community and allowed them to be brazenly exploited. This same chronicle has now found a home in anti-Muslim bigotry.

The narrative is that the Muslim community is a discrete, unified group, irrespective of nationality, age, or religiosity, all programmed to launch “civilization Jihad,” and incapable of an honest mainstream expression of its faith that poses no threat to its neighbors. Islamophobes begin by defining and imposing their definitions of Islamic terms (such as Shariah and Jihad) in ways that fit the above narrative, and then demand that Muslims reject the terms and texts as they have portrayed them, or risk being deemed extremists for clarifying their meanings. This puts Muslims in an impossible catch-22: Either reject the terms, texts, and tenets of their faith to avoid persecution, or offer the mainstream Muslim interpretation of these “problematic texts” and be accused of taqiyya.

Conclusion

The tactic of dismissing everything that Muslims say or do that doesn’t fit the Islamophobic narrative as “lying” has been remarkably efficient. This is the classic “poisoning of the well” fallacy; if you can’t beat the opposition with logic, then destroy their credibility prior to them offering arguments and you’ll never have to debate them. Islamophobes complain that the word “Islamophobia” is a buzzword to shut down criticism of Islam, arguing that they just want to have a critical discussion on the subject. However, they use the term “taqiyya” in the very same fashion to deny mainstream Muslims the right to express their own narrative which represents the vast majority of Muslims worldwide. Think about how impossible a situation this becomes: it may start with the falsehood that Muslims don’t condemn terrorism, then when proof is put forth that they actually do (see muslimscondemn.com), they’re told that they’re lying and concealing their true intentions. So beyond the lie that all Muslims lie, is the reality that Islamophobes actually aren’t concerned about any truths concerning the Muslim community or Islam in the first place.


RELATED POST:
Lies, Lies, and Damnable Lies
January, 11, 2015

May 29 2017

Does Islam Force Itself On Others?

Source: http://www.virtualmosque.com/islam-studies/hot-topics/does-islam-force-itself-on-others/ 

By Mustafa Umar
(Virtual Mosque), April 10, 2011

The Accusation

One of the most common, yet groundless, accusations being made against Islam is that it forces itself on others. The picture presented is that if someone does not stop Islam, it will forcefully convert everyone, even at gunpoint.

Here is one of the verses commonly quoted by those who make their living propagating this idea:

“…seize them and kill them wherever you find them…” (Qur’an, 4:91).

This verse is used as evidence that Muslims are required to kill anyone who does not accept Islam. That would mean that any Muslim who does not either forcefully convert or kill every non-Muslim he sees is not practicing Islam. This ridiculous idea is childishly easy to refute. But before we do that, let’s do a brief comparison.

 

A Comparison

Let’s see what the Bible has to say about violence:

In Deuteronomy 7:1-3: “When the Lord your God brings you into the land… and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them…”

In Deuteronomy 20:10-17: “When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, then lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves.

In Deuteronomy 20:16-17: “However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them…”

In Numbers 31:17-18: “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”

Jesus is reported to have said in Luke 19:27: “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

Again, Jesus supposedly said in Matthew 10:34: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

The verses in the Bible are much more violent than any of the verses that can be found in the Qur’an. Can you find a single verse in the Qur’an which says: “Show them no mercy!” or “Do not leave anything that breathes!” or “Kill all the non-virgin women!”? Yet, ironically, most of the people who quote verses from the Qur’an about violence consider themselves Christians and believe in the Bible. Why do they ignore their own Scripture and apply a double standard of hypocrisy?

However, the fair Christian will say: “These verses must be read in context.” I agree, and the same opportunity of contextualization should be given to the Qur’an as well.

Searching for Context

To understand the context of any verse in the Qur’an relating to violence, you only need to do two things:

1. Identify the pronouns
2. Read the verses before and after the verse in question

This simple technique is so blatantly obvious; it requires a very special “education” to forget to apply it.

Let’s identify the pronouns in the verse we quoted: “…seize them and kill them wherever you find them …” (Qur’an, 4:91). There is only one pronoun, “them,” used three times, and it’s pretty clear that it refers to the same group of people. This group of people referred to as “them” can only be identified if we look at the verses before and after.

Looking at the preceding verses we learn the following:

  • Verse 88 tells us that the pronoun “them” is referring to hypocrites who pretend to be Muslim on the outside but are actually spies and informants.
  • Verse 89 tells us that if these hypocrites turn and fight you, then you are allowed to fight them back.
  • Verse 90 tells us that Muslims are not allowed to touch anyone who does not want to fight.

In this example, it becomes crystal clear that “them” is referring to a group of hypocrites who are trying to harm and kill the Muslims. It would have been sufficient in this case to simply quote more of the verse: “So if they neither withdraw, nor offer you peace, nor restrain themselves from fighting you, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them: We give you clear authority against these type of people.” (Qur’an, 4:91)

Proof from the Qur’an

There is not a single verse in the Qur’an which says to harm another person because of their not being a Muslim. On the contrary, there are several verses which talk about respecting non-Muslims.

To further clarify the matter about forced conversion to Islam, let’s look at these verses:

“ There is no compulsion in religion…” (Qur’an, 2:256)

 

“Had your Lord wanted, all the people on earth would have believed. So will you force people to believe?” (Qur’an, 10:99)

 

“So warn them: your only task is to warn, you’re not supposed to force them.” (Qur’an, 88:21-22)

“He does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith and driven you out of your homes, God loves the just.” (Qur’an, 60:8)

Could the Qur’an be any clearer on this issue?

Proof from the Prophet of Islam

The second source in Islam, after the Qur’an, are the statements made by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Let’s see what he said about non-Muslims and how to force them to join Islam:

“Whoever kills an innocent non-Muslim will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.” [Bukhārī]

How could this statement possibly be compatible with the ridiculous idea that Islam forces itself on others? Instead, it makes it clear that no non-Muslim is allowed to be harmed because of what they believe.

The Historical Evidence

Lastly, in the 1,400 years of Muslim history; from the living example of the Prophet ﷺ until now, when there are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, where do we find this forced conversion being practiced? Nowhere.

On the contrary, we find throughout history, Muslims being the targets of forced conversion, particularly to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades, and to Atheism during the Communist era of the 20th century.

Conclusion

So the question about whether Islam forces itself on others has been addressed. Now the question remains, what can we do to prevent Muslims from being forced to leave their faith?

 


Mustafa Umar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Islamic Studies from the European Institute of Islamic Sciences. He has traveled extensively and studied under scholars from around the world, particularly at Nadwatul Ulama in India and Al-Azhar and Dar Ul-Ulum in Egypt. He has served as Religious Director at the Islamic Foundation of Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah and the Associate Director of the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco in Southern California.

Apr 11 2017

Q&A: Is There a Concept of a State in Islam?

By Ramy Osman
April 2017

 

The following is a transcript of a question-answer exchange between M4L Director Will Coley and author/journalist Mustafa Akyol at the International Students for Liberty Conference held in Washington DC in February 2017. Mustafa Akyol gave a talk titled “Islam and Liberty: Are they compatible?”, and this excerpt is from the Q&A session. In order to assist in readability, I modified only a few words (speech can sometimes transcribe in an awkward way). Also, some short inaudible portions (few seconds) were left out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 10 2017

The Concept of Freedom in Islam

Source: http://www.islamanswering.com

By the authors at QuestionsOnIslam.com

Freedom, both as a concept and as a value, has been denied to many individuals, groups, and nations. It has been often misunderstood and abused. The fact is that in no human society can man be free in the absolute sense of the word. There must be some limitations of one sort or another, if the society is to function at all.

Apart from this general idea, Islam teaches freedom, cherishes it, and guarantees it for the Muslim as well as for the non-Muslim. The Islamic concept of freedom applies to all voluntary activities of man in all walks of life. As already stated, every man is born free on the fitrah or in a pure state of nature. This means that man is born free from subjugation, sin, inherited inferiority, and ancestral hindrance. His right of freedom is sacred as long as he does not deliberately violate the Law of God or desecrate the rights of others.

One of the main objectives of Islam is to emancipate the mind from superstitions and uncertainties, the soul from sin and corruption, the conscience from oppression and fear, and even the body from disorder and degeneration.

The course which Islam has enjoyed on man to realize this goal includes profound intellectual endeavors, constant spiritual observances, binding moral principles, and even dietary regulations. When man follows this course, religiously, he cannot fail to reach his ultimate goal of freedom and emancipation.

The question of freedom with regard to belief, worship, and conscience is also of paramount importance in Islam. Every man is entitled to exercise his freedom of belief, conscience, and worship. In the words of the Qur’an, God says:

“There is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error. Whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond that never breaks. Gods knows all, and hears all things.” (Qur’an, 2:256)

Islam takes this attitude because religion depends upon faith, will, and commitment. These would be meaningless if induced by force. Furthermore, Islam presents the Truth of God in the form of an opportunity and leaves the choice for man to decide his own course. The Qur’an says:

“The Truth is from your Lord. Let him who wills, believe, and let him who wills, disbelieve.” (Qur’an, 18:29)

The Islamic concept of freedom is an article of faith, a solemn command from the Supreme Creator. It is built on the following fundamental principles. First, man’s conscience is subject to God only, to Whom every man is directly responsible. Secondly, every human being is personally responsible for his deeds and he alone is entitled to reap the fruits of his work. Thirdly, God has delegated to man the responsibility to decide for himself. Fourthly, man is sufficiently provided with spiritual guidance and endowed with rational qualities that enable him to make responsible, sound choices.

Such is the foundation of the Islamic concept of freedom and such is the value of freedom in Islam. It is a natural right of man, a spiritual privilege, a moral prerogative, and, above all, a religious duty. Within the framework of this Islamic concept of freedom, there is no room for religious persecutions, class conflict, or racial prejudice. The individual’s right of freedom is as sacred as his right of Life; freedom is the equivalent of Life itself.

Apr 09 2017

BBC Video: Tariq Ramadan: ‘Islam’s quiet intellectual revolution’

From the Web:
Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-38987729

By Viewsnight on BBC
(BBC World) March 13, 2017

Viewsnight is BBC Newsnight’s new place for ideas and opinion.

Here, author and academic Tariq Ramadan argues there is an “intellectual revolution” taking place within Islam.

This is a response to Graeme Wood’s Viewsnight: The rise of Islamic State is the Modern Reformation.

 

[The following is a verbatim transcription of Tariq Ramadan’s speech taken from the BBC video]

Islamic reform is happening – you just can’t always see it. To talk about an Islamic reformation today is misplaced. We should not try to to understand Islam through a Christian lens. The two realities are completely different.

Some people are even arguing that the rise of ISIS is in fact the Islamic reformation. Like Martin Luther, they are radical and they don’t accept the religious establishment. But this comparison doesn’t stand historical and theological accuracy. Historically, Luther was radical against the Catholic Church and a knowledgeable scholar. (But) Islam has no church, and the leaders of ISIS have no religious credibility. All Muslims – Sunni and Shi’a – have banded together to reject them. ISIS is not reforming the message of Islam, but betraying it.

Instead, we need to ask: “What is happening today within Islam?”

There is a silent reform in process, an intellectual revolution going on as we speak within Muslim societies. Just because these reforms don’t violently colonize our news headlines doesn’t mean they are not happening. Across the globe, Muslims are trying to liberate themselves from both Arab and Asian patriarchy and Western cultural imperialism. This reform is a deep historical process and it will take time. It may not lead to the Western understanding of the “liberal values”. (But) Islam will reform within its own tradition.

It would be simplistic and dangerous to assume that the “West is liberal” and “Islam is radical”, both working in opposite directions. There is a third way we need to help create. As well as sharing values of justice, freedom, equality, and human dignity, we need to act together. We must together resist social injustice, racism, gender inequality, and deal in a more dignified way with migrants and refugees. To achieve this, the West should be less arrogant, and Muslims more open.

 

Apr 09 2017

CATO Event: Islamic Liberalism: Real or False Hope?

By Ramy Osman
April 2017

The CATO Institute in Washington DC hosted an event on February 15, 2017 titled “Islamic Liberalism: Real or False Hope?” (see the video at bottom of this page). The event was a discussion/debate between Turkish journalist and author Mustafa Akyol and American author Shadi Hamid, moderated by CATO’s Ian Vasquez. Akyol presented an optimistic view that Muslims around the world are increasingly accepting and promoting ideas of freedom and liberty. Hamid presented a more pessimistic view saying that Muslims, like all other humans, are more inclined to “illiberalism”.

 

The following is my summary of the speeches and then of the questions. It’s not verbatim since it’s summarized and re-written in my own words.

Mustafa Akyol begins his speech at minute 5:00 by mentioning Moses Mendelssohn, a Jewish enlightenment scholar in the 18th century, who argued during his time that Judaism is compatible with ideas of freedom and liberty. Mendelssohn’s optimism was dismissed by other scholars of that era who stated that the nature of Judaism is law, rooted in halakha, while the nature of Christianity is rooted in spirituality without law. Thus Christianity has an inherent flexibility which allows its followers to develop concepts of individualism and to develop their laws however they want and based on liberal ideas. Judaism does not have that feature (of flexibility) but rather is locked in Rabbinical interpretations of Jewish law, ‘halakha’, that are tied to the Jewish community as a whole. Mendelssohn’s ideas eventually prevailed enabling Jewish scholarship to develop their own enlightenment called ‘haskalah’.

Akyol highlights the difference between Christianity and Judaism in order to mention that Islam is similar to Judaism – in that Islam is also rooted in law, ‘shariah’. He says that there are many Muslims today engaged in the same intellectual exercises in freedom and liberty that Mendelssohn was engaged in. There are also examples in Islamic history where scholars and movements developed these same ideas [but these ideas were lost due to historical circumstances]. Today, two important trends in Muslim intellectual thought which assist in liberal interpretations of Islam, are: 1. subordinating the interpretation of hadith literature to Qur’anic principles; and 2. Contextualizing the Qur’an and hadith to the society and culture that they existed within (7th century Arabia), and using that understanding to interpret and translate the Qur’an into a modern context.

Despite modern intellectual trends in Muslim scholarship calling for a flexible interpretation of Islam, Akyol also said that Islam inherently lends itself to liberal interpretation because there were significant accomplishments of social liberation during the lifetime of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh); Among other things, two major social accomplishments of the first Muslim community was the liberation of women from oppressive cultural traditions, and the promotion of a free and equitable market (especially since the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself was a successful merchant before becoming a prophet).

These ideas have difficulty taking root in modern Muslim societies because during the past two centuries, Muslim populations have been under siege, first by colonialism and then by despotic authoritarian regimes. This state of siege doesn’t create an environment conducive to the development of ideas of toleration and liberalism [but rather creates ideas of survival, self-preservation, and resistance against oppression]. So the reason why ideas of liberty and freedom haven’t yet taken a prominent role in many Muslim societies has more to do with oppressive historical circumstances rather than there being any problem with the Islamic religion and scripture. Based on this understanding, the best way for Western and non-Muslim people to help promote freedom and liberty in Muslim societies is by advocating for safe and secure conditions for Muslims, and by encouraging economic development. Peaceful conditions will crate a bourgeoisie-like class of people who will be the carriers of a liberal message.  Wars and occupations must be opposed, and dictators and oppressive regimes must not be supported.

 

Shadi Hamid begins his speech at minute 20:40 saying that he agrees with Akyols argument for the most part because he (Hamid) also believes in a liberal interpretation of Islam. But most Muslims have trouble signing on to this perspective because of three main reasons: 1. they don’t see an urgency to to do so, 2. don’t see it as a compelling argument, and 3. they don’t want to risk their salvation in the afterlife by believing in something that is still on the fringes of Muslim society. Hamid says that even though there might be some progress in developing liberal ideas among Muslims, it’s a very slow process that leads one to conclude that freedom and liberty will not take root in Muslim societies any time soon.

But a more significant reason that liberal ideas will probably not develop in Muslim societies is because humans by nature always tend be more illiberal than liberal. This can be seen by looking at human history as being one big illiberal trend, and also by looking at modern Western countries, that are supposed to be the leaders in liberalism, that have in recent times been increasingly illiberal by infringing on people’s rights and freedoms.

Hamid then mentions Francis Fukuyama, a modern author and political scientist, who in his book “The Origins of Political Order”, says that liberalism is not natural to the human condition. Fukuyama says, “Individualism seems today like a solid core of our economic and political behavior is only because we have developed institutions that override our more naturally communal instincts.” In other words, liberalism is an artificial human condition that requires using modern institutions to “force” us to be liberal. Hamid ends his speech by asking why does Islam or Muslims need to be liberalized in the first place? And why can’t Muslims choose to be illiberal if they choose to do so through a peaceful and democratic way?

 

At minute 35:20, Mustafa Akyol responds to Shadi Hamid’s points.

 

At minute 39:05, Hamid mentions that there are examples in Islamic history where Islamic laws were developed that promoted pluralism (instead of liberalism). [My comment: Within the history of Islamic pluralism you’ll find (as alluded to by Akyol) some intellectual threads of liberal thought that were developed by some scholars].

 

At minute 41:05, Akyol explains why liberalism is needed as opposed to pluralism.

 

Question by moderator to Hamid at minute 43:10: Your description of Islamic history sounded more like Islamic liberalism as opposed to Islamic pluralism. Does that mean you think the Muslim world can actually become liberal?

Question by audience at minute 47:30: If the Qur’an is immutable, and it commands the Muslim state and Muslim individuals to kill apostates, then how can you have liberal Islam?

Question by audience (Dr Charles Butterworth) at minute 51:35: Ali Abdul Raziq published his book right after the end of the Caliphate and insisted that Muhammad (pbuh) was not a politician but instead was a founder of a religion. What do you say about this?

Question by audience at minute 56:00: Ten centuries ago, Muslim countries were more economically prosperous, scientifically advanced, and had substantial achievements in law, literature, etc, than Christian countries at that time. What happened since that time which caused such a dramatic change as we see it today?

Question by audience at minute 1:01:50: How do people’s social positions and relationships affect their interpretation of Islamic topics like abortion, interest, etc.?

Question by audience (Dr Imad ad Dean Ahmad) at minute 1:07:33: The Qur’an itself has almost no laws in it, just a handful. If you’re looking for a way for Muslims to become more liberal, rather than focus on the historicization of the harshness of those laws, why not instead focus on what those laws were trying to address? These were punishments for breaking contracts, punishments for theft, etc. So isn’t this (focus) a more important aspect of liberalism, rather than insist that ‘to be a liberal you have to agree with me on everything’?

Question by audience at minute 1:14:05:  It’s been said that Islam hasn’t undergone a reformation similar to how Christianity did. Can you speak about that?

Question by audience at minute 1:14:45:  Isn’t Islam itself a liberal religion because in the Quran it mentions “To you is your religion, and to me is my religion”. Similar to a contract, religion is a contract between you and God. But as for punishments, liberals would want to enforce punishments on people who [harm others] similar to how the Qur’an commands punishments for those things. What would you say about that?


Mar 26 2017

Muslims Thrive in Free State Project, New Hampshire

From the Web:
Source: https://freestateproject.org/blogs/mover-stories/origin-stories-goshe-thrives-new-hampshire

By Goshe King
(Free State Project) March 10, 2017

In February of 2008 when I became a U.S citizen, I was led to believe that voting was now my civic duty. Previously, I had been completely apolitical and for the first time I started to read the agendas between the two party lines. Looking back, I was just another ‘one issue voter’. At the time, I could not comprehend how a government could force individuals to purchase health insurance. As disgusted as I was with taxation, it seemed like a no brainer to avoid voting for Obama. I still hadn’t found political home until a new friend from work introduced me to Ron Paul minarchism. This led me to a group of friends involved with Campaign for Liberty in Baltimore, Maryland. Later that year, this new group of friends decided to head to Lancaster, NH for the event of the year that I knew nothing about. It was called PorcFest.

The seven days I spent at PorcFest were some of the greatest days of my life. I met new family, friends, and finally, my political home. Conversations at PorcFest sparked my personal quest to learn about Libertarianism. It turned me into an avid reader, studying subjects ranging from Austrian economics to personal liberty. By the end of PorcFest none of us wanted to go back to Maryland. We decided that we would come back next year and seriously consider moving to New Hampshire.

All of us returned for yet another great time at PorcFest 2011. By the end of the Fest, I had been asking myself one question, “Why haven’t I moved yet?” After we returned to Maryland, within a month, I resigned from my job. In August, I flew in for a job interview and moved to New Hampshire in September of 2011. When I arrived at the apartment in Laconia, I was welcomed by 5 complete strangers (Free Staters). The late Hardy Macia was one of them, may Allah rest his soul. It took them less than an hour to empty out a 29 ft U-Haul truck. A few weeks later, I got sick and on a Facebook “Porcupine” page, I asked if anyone knew of a doctor’s office in the area which was open late. Within minutes, complete strangers wanted to know if I needed a ride to the doctor’s office. I didn’t need a ride, but to this day, the story warms my heart. I am grateful for such community the libertarians have created in the Free State, where strangers have become friends and family. At PorcFest 2015, the national director for Muslims for Liberty honored me with the position of NH Director for M4L.

My fiancé was attending college in Maine at the time and it took her another 1.5 years before she too moved home. We now live in Moultonborough, NH where she is an assistant director to a nonprofit charitable organization, and I am a mechanical engineer for a reputable engineering consulting firm. The Free State Project has transformed our lives.

-Goshe King, Moved September 2011

 

Mar 20 2017

Islam: The Religion of Libertarianism (Interview)

From the Web:
Source: https://glibertarians.com/2017/03/islam-the-religion-of-libertarianism/

By Old Man With Candy (OMWC)
(Gilbertarians) March 13, 2017

 

[An interview] in which a Palestinian Arab Muslim and a secular Zionist Jew find much accord.

Many take it as a given that Islam and any notion of liberty are diametrically opposed. People are quick to point out the number of Islamic dictatorships and repressive theocracies, and generalize that (for example) to Muslims in America. Dr. Imad Ad-Dean Ahmad, a scholar of Islam and history, would disagree. His organization, Minaret of Freedom, is dedicated to spreading a different narrative, that of a religion which values economic and social freedom, despite its use as a tool of repression by autocrats and theocrats in the Middle East and South Asia.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 29 2017

Libertarian Party to Muslims: We Stand With You

From the Web:
Source: https://www.lp.org/we_stand_with_you/

By Libertarian Party
(LP Press Release) January 29, 2017

For Immediate Release

January 29, 2017

Contact: Carla Howell, media [at] LP [dot] org or (202) 333-0008 x 222

In the early morning hours of January 28th, a fire broke out in the Victoria Islamic Center in Victoria, TX. It quickly destroyed the whole building. The cause has not officially been determined.

Two weeks ago, another mosque, the Islamic Center of Lake Travis, in Austin, TX, burned. Again, the cause of the fire has not been officially determined. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 16 2017

Obama’s Eloquence Fails to Hide His Evil Legacy

Obamas legacy is failureBy Ramy Osman
January 2017

With another eloquent speech that was the trademark of his 8 years as ruler of the world, Barack Obama brilliantly programmed his faithful disciples one last time. He ignored all of the injustices and horrors that he and his administration were responsible for during his tenure; And he instead mesmerized his followers into religiously believing that he has made America more exceptional that it has ever been, and that he leaves behind a righteous legacy. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 11 2016

Libertarian Party National Vice Chairman Encourages Fellow Libertarians to Protect Muslim Americans

arvin-vohra-lp-vice-chairBy Will Coley
November 2016

This afternoon, Libertarian Party national Vice Chairman, Arvin Vohra, took to facebook to encourage fellow libertarians to protect their Muslim neighbors, through force of arms if need be. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 11 2016

Trumps Aggression is an American Profession

were-gonna-free-the-shit-out-of-you-with-bombs

 

By Ramy Osman
November 2016

Trumps win of the presidency has challenged many people’s perception of what America really stands for. People are having trouble coming to terms with what a Trump presidency will mean for this country. There’s no doubt that things are going to change over the next four years. But how it’s going to change might be as unpredictable as the recent election outcome. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 08 2016

You Can Still Win Big by Voting for the Loser

my-ny-muslim-vote

 

Hesham El-Meligy
November 8, 2016

 

The prize of an election is not only who wins (or who you make lose), the real prize, especially for a minority group like the Muslim community, is that when you go to vote, you sign next to your printed name – which creates political leverage.  The names of people who voted are tabulated after the elections, and all parties and candidates look into them for future elections.  When they see Muslim-sounding names increasing and voting over and over, that’s one concrete way to create political leverage, forcing candidates to take this minority more seriously, because then, you are a power to make or break their campaigns.  That’s why Muslims in swing states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and others, are playing a huge role in the 2016 election.  That’s why next year, the NYC Muslim vote will play a major role on who becomes Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, among others.  Again, the prize of electoral politics is not only who wins or who loses; It’s more about creating that leverage, that political machine, that block vote.    Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 06 2016

Some Guiding Thoughts for Muslim Voters in Staten Island and NYC

saturday-night-nov-516

By Hesham El Meligy

Here’s a video of a talk I gave Saturday morning at a mosque in Staten Island, NY.  It touches on many aspects of political involvement and creating political leverage for the Muslim community, as well as a few guiding tips for voting in this Tuesday’s general election.

To inject some fun into this stressful election season, I made this post on my personal Facebook page a few days ago which is my forecast of the Presidential election result.  I said: Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 05 2016

Unindicted Co-Conspirator : Uncharged Third-Party

unindicted-uncharged-not-guilty

By Priscilla Galstaun
November 2016

The United States government has never formally charged the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil and religious rights advocacy group, with an offense.

However, this fact is lost on a sizeable number of people who hate and fear all things Muslim. And state legislatures, preceded by the Federal government, bear a significant part of that responsibility.

Rep. John Bennetts’ (R-Sallisaw) interim study on “Radical Islam, Shariah Law, the Muslim Brotherhood and the radicalization process” was conducted at the Oklahoma State Capitol with House Speaker Jeff Hickmans’ (R-Fairview) stamp of approval and attended by two other legislators. This demonstrates how elected state officials use their positions of authority to intimidate and threaten Oklahoma Muslims who make up less than 1 percent of the state’s population. Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 26 2016

Oklahoma Lawmakers Use Their Bully-Pulpit to Demonize Muslims

ok-study-on-radical-islam

image source: http://www.tulsaworld.com

By Priscilla Galstun-Khader
October 2016

Oklahoma State lawmakers approved Rep. John “Islam-is-a-cancer-in-our-nation-that-needs-to-be-cut-out” Bennett’s proposal for an “Interim study on radical Islam” on July 8 2016, along with 71 other studies, for an estimated $50,000. That’s our tax dollars being used for this state-sponsored hate and fear mongering and the othering of Muslims in Oklahoma.

This McCarthy era type panel was in session at the Oklahoma state Capitol. The panel of “experts” include Rep. John Bennett and many anti-Muslim activists. In addition, “a former terrorist with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) will testify.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 26 2016

As a Muslim American, I will vote my conscience this November. By abstaining

nope-for-trump-and-noper-for-clinton

From the Web:
Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/24/muslim-american-i-will-vote-my-conscience-by-abstaining 

By Qanta Ahmed
(the guardian) October 24, 2016

I am an American Muslim with one vote, and no person for whom to cast it. I became a citizen less than a year ago. This is my first election and yet, I won’t be joining the millions of other Americans going to the polls.

How could I squander such privilege, particularly when so many Muslim women in the world never get to vote? Voting my conscience – by abstaining – is a painful decision. Friends are astonished by my dilemma. Yet Clinton, for some Muslims, remains a problematic choice, and one I am not able to embrace. Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 22 2016

The Middle East and the Next Administration

By Dr Imad ad-Dean Ahmad
August 2016
Source: Minaret of Freedom Blog


the-middle-east-and-the-next-administration-youtube[These are selected highlights excerpted from Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr.’s address to the Middle East Policy Council’s 86th Capitol Hill Conference. The complete video and transcript of the entire conference are available at: http://mepc.org/hill-forums/middle-east-and-next-administration.]


The Middle East and the Next Administration: Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations
[Excerpts selected by Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D., Minaret of Freedom Institute]

CHAS W. FREEMAN, JR. (Chairman, Projects International Inc.; Former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense; Former President, Middle East Policy Council) Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 20 2016

Is Islam a “Religion of the Sword”? Part 3

fitnah-trial-tribulation-oppression

From the Web
Source: http://barakainstitute.org/articles/is-islam-a-religion-of-the-sword/

By Kabir Helminski and Hesham Hessaboula
(BARAKA Institute) January 30, 2015:  See Part 1 of 3 HERE and See Part 2 of 3 HERE

Furthermore, when Muslims do fight in war, all is not “fair,” as it has been said. Islamic Law has always recognized principles of just war. Muslims are strictly forbidden to commit aggression:

“And fight for the sake of God those who fight you; but do not be brutal or commit aggression, for God does not love brutal aggression” (2:190).

The next verse also says, “slay them wherever you may come upon them,” but if the entire verse is read, it is clear that the “slaying” is in also self-defense: Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 14 2016

Is Islam a “Religion of the Sword”? Part 2

quran-fight-those-who-fight-you

From the Web
Source: http://barakainstitute.org/articles/is-islam-a-religion-of-the-sword/

By Kabir Helminski and Hesham Hessaboula
(BARAKA Institute) January 30, 2015, See Part 1 of 3 HERE

Another set of verses seemingly declares that all non-believers are to be attacked and killed:

“And let them not think—those who are bent on denying the truth [i.e., unbelievers]—that they shall escape [God]: behold, they can never frustrate [His purpose]. Hence, make ready against them whatever force and war mounts you are able to muster, so that you might deter thereby the enemies of God, who are your enemies as well, and others besides them of whom you may be unaware, but of whom God is aware; and whatever you may expend in God’s cause shall be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged” (8:59-60).

Read the rest of this entry »

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