Views From Kennewick

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Muslims Against Sharia
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Frontpage Interview's guest today is Khalim Massoud, the president of Muslims Against Sharia, an Islamic reform movement.

FP: Khalim Massoud, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Massoud: Thank you.

FP:
Tell us why it is necessary for you to wear sunglasses in the picture you gave us to use of you.

Massoud: As you might imagine, Islamists are not particularly happy with our group. According to our poll, over 20% of Muslims want us beheaded. I am perfectly content with my head not being separated from my body and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as I can.

FP: Sounds like a good idea.

Tell us what Muslims Against Sharia is about.

Massoud: Our organization is created to give voice to moderate Muslims who are virtually ignored by governments and media and to expose the radicals masquerading as moderates. Our goals are

* to educate Muslims about dangers presented by Islamic religious texts and why Islam must be reformed.

* to educate non-Muslims about the differences between moderate Muslims and Islamists (a.k.a. Islamic Religious Fanatics, Radical Muslims, Muslim Fundamentalists, Islamic Extremists or Islamofascists).

* to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims alike that Moderate Muslims are also targets of Islamic Terror.

FP: Why do you think moderate Muslims are virtually ignored by governments and the media?

Massoud:
Most of American mosques are financed and run by Wahhabis. Wahhabi imams are anything but moderate, hence most of religious leaders are radicals. So-called "civil rights" groups, i.e., CAIR, MPAC, ICNA, MAS, etc. that comprise Muslim establishment are nothing more than offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood and fronts for Hamas and al-Qaeda. They are very well financed and are extremely skilful manipulators of the media. And most of the people in government and media truly believe that those groups are moderate, because they are either too lazy to do research or they choose to ignore terrorist ties.

As a result, when either the government or the media needs an Islamic point of view, Muslim establishment groups are go-to "experts" by default. With the "expert" seat being filled, moderate Muslims are left out.

Another problem with moderate Muslims is they are scared and not organized. They are scared because they cannot speak up in mosques for fear of being kicked out and there are virtually no organizations that represent their views. They are not organized, because, unlike the radical, they do not receive tens of millions of dollars in financial support, therefore they have to work for a living.

FP: Why do radical Muslims masquerade as moderates? What are their strategies in doing this? Are they effective in doing so? Who have been some of the radicals that have been exposed?

Massoud: Radical Muslims are masquerading as moderates because they have no control over the military and police. Yet.

They cannot openly proclaim their agenda of Islamic domination in front of Western audiences. They are gradually taking over the West. Some countries in Europe (France, Britain, Germany, etc.) are partially ruled by Sharia law, and even up in Canada, there is talk about Sharia courts for Muslim communities.

Their strategy is very simple. They constantly claim that they are peaceful and moderate, and Western media is more than happy to repeat that nonsense. They do not praise terrorism in public, but they justify it by playing the Muslim victimhood card. And they are very effective at it.

Many radical organizations have already been exposed by counter-terrorism researches like Steven Emerson, John Loftus, Rachel Ehrenfeld, Joe Kaufman, Paul Sperry, Zeyno Baran, and many others. The proof that the Muslim establishment is anything but moderate is widely available. However, the government and the media either for political reasons or out of sheer stupidity completely ignore it.

FP: Is it possible to give a simple answer to this question: what exactly is the difference between a moderate Muslim and a radical Muslim? Where is the fine line that separates them?

Massoud: Absolutely. The determining criteria is the belief in Islamic supremacy. Radical Muslims believe in Islamic supremacy, which makes them religiously obligated to wage Jihad for world domination, using both terrorism and gradual subversion of host societies. Moderate Muslims consider their religion a private matter and believe in religious equality.

FP: What are some of the dangers presented by Islamic religious texts? If you are a Muslim, then how can you reject these texts and remain a faithful Musilm?

Massoud: Most of the dangers are presented by passages based on Islamic supremacy doctrine. The Koran contains verses that command us to subjugate or murder non-Muslims in order to create Islamic rule. On the other hand, the Koran teaches preciousness of human life. How can a logical person believe that those diametrically opposed concepts came from the same source? How could Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate be the source of "kill [infidels] them wherever you find them"? The only logical explanation is that the Koran has been corrupted over the centuries, and all we want to do is to revert it as close as possible to the original.

FP: I would like to touch on your intriguing point that “the Koran has been corrupted over the centuries, and all we want to do is to revert it as close as possible to the original. “ Is there any textual support for such a notion? And doesn't this notion run counter to the Islamic doctrine of the perfection of the Qur'an, which insists that the Qur'anic text is the same as it was in the time of Uthman? In light of these considerations, do you think you will gain much support in the Islamic world?

Massoud: We do not have any direct evidence that the Koran has been corrupted over the centuries. However, there is some circumstantial evidence supporting our point. First, if you take two English Korans translated by two different people, the difference could be very substantial. Substantial to the point that the same verses could have completely different meaning. Case in point: a recent arrest of Ghows Zalmay, who, according to the fundamentalists, misinterpreted some verses in the Koran.

Based on these facts, it is reasonable to conclude that when the Koran was copied many times over, the mere mortals who did the copying might have "adjusted" the texts to reflect their personal views, or the views of their superiors.

Second is deductive reasoning. The Koran contains verses that represent mutually exclusive concepts, i.e., human 'life is precious' vs. 'kill the infidels wherever you find them' or 'respect the People of the Book' vs. 'do not take Jews and Christians for friends'.

Allah is infallible and cannot contradict himself, which means that some of those verses are not the literal word of Allah. Also, how can Allah, who is the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate be a source of "kill them [infidels] wherever you find them"?

The only logical explanation is that the Koran we have today was significantly altered.

As for gaining much support in Islamic world, we believe that education is the key. Our experience shows that if we present our view to an open-minded sceptic, chances are we'll gain a supporter.

FP: How and why must Islam be reformed? Is this really possible? Some would argue that if you take the Islam out of Islam, it will no longer be an Islam. What would you say to that?

Massoud: Islam in its present form is incompatible with modern society, that's why it needs to be reformed. The first step is to abandon the doctrine of Islamic supremacy and remove passages from religious texts that could be interpreted (or misinterpreted) as calls to violence. We believe it is possible. Muslims, just as all other people, are human beings. If Christians could abandon the Inquisition, Muslims can abandon Jihad. Taking violence out of Islam is not the same as taking Islam out of Islam. It is a historical fact that major religions like Christianity and Judaism have undergone reformations on more than one occasion. Islamic reformation is no different.

FP: I very much appreciate your position and your goals are truly admirable. I would just like to say that the Christian reformation and the potential Islamic reformation are different. Christians easily abandoned the Inquisition because the Inquisition was un-Christian and had no foundation in Christian texts. The key is that when Christians have behaved in aggressive or intolerant ways, their acts were not based on Christian teachings; their acts were un-Christian. But the same cannot be said for Muslims when they engage in aggression and intolerance, since such behavior is a fulfillment of their theological mandates. All the schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach that it is part of the responsibility of the umma to subjugate the non-Muslim world through jihad.

But in any case, it is all of our great hope that Muslims such as yourself can succeed in the reformation you wish to engender in Islam. The key though: isn’t there a belief among Muslims that the Koran is the literal world of Allah and that it cannot be tampered with?

Massoud: The original Koran is the literal world of Allah and should not have been tampered with. The Almighty God, whether you call him Yahweh or Allah, is infallible. Since modern versions of the Koran contain contradictions, they cannot possibly be the literate word of God. Therefore, the belief that the modern Koran is untouchable is based on ignorance. God gave people free will, and unscrupulous people who were supposed to safeguard the Koran corrupted it instead. Now, we must change it back.

I also do not believe that all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach that it is part of the responsibility of the Ummah to subjugate the non-Muslim world through Jihad, i.e., Sufism.

FP: I am a bit confused as to who can arrogate to themselves the authority to be the arbiter of what the “original” Koran actually said. What if some Muslims argued that they need to “change it back” to get rid of all the peaceful messages that the Koran has in it, on the premise that the violent passages represent the real Koran? Wouldn’t this make more sense since the historical Mohammed was himself a military man who waged war, captured slaves, preached war against unbelievers, etc.? He led by example did he not? If this is not true, then how exactly do you argue that Islam is meant to be peaceful if Mohammed was himself a man of war?

It also appears from your words that you reject the idea of abrogation, as delineated by Qur'an 2:106. If so, how do you propose to distinguish between the original Qur'an you are saying existed and the interpolated passages, since there is no textual evidence for such an original Qur'an?

Also, what do you make of the fact that the Qadari movement, which upheld free will, was declared heretical by numerous Islamic authorities and eventually wiped out?

I would also like to touch on the point of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence. In terms of Sufism, for example, it remains a bit of mystery why this sect of Islam is constantly portrayed as being non-violent and tolerant when the history of the Sufis is actually one of violent jihad. The jihad in Chechnya is a prime example.

Also, Sufism is an order, a way of mysticism, not a school of Islamic jurisprudence. Moreover, the pioneering Sufi, Al-Ghazali, was clear that his Sufism did not negate his support for Islamic supremacism. Andrew Bostom has published this quote from Al-Ghazali:

"[O]ne must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year...one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them...If a person of the Ahl al-Kitab [People of The Book – primarily Jews and Christians] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked…One may cut down their trees...One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide...they may steal as much food as they need...[T]he dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle…Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay the jizya [poll tax on non-Muslims]…on offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protruberant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible]… They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells…their houses may not be higher than the Muslim’s, no matter how low that is. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle[-work] is of wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. They [the dhimmis] have to wear [an identifying] patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the [public] baths…[dhimmis] must hold their tongue…. (From the Wagjiz, written in 1101 A.D.)"

What are your thoughts on these realities?

Mr. Massoud, please do not misunderstand by questions and arguments here. I am in full support of you and your organization and it is obviously the West’s and the world’s prayer that Muslims will follow people like you. I am only asking these questions to clarify matters and to crystallize if the possibility of an Islamic reformation is truly a genuine hope and can be based on strong and realistic foundations.

Massoud: We do not claim to have authority to be arbiters of what the original Koran said. What we do, is put forth our arguments why we believe that the modern Koran is not the same as the original. It is up to the Ummah to judge the validity of our arguments and whether accept or reject them.

The notion that violent passages represent the real Koran is contradictory to the notion that Allah is the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, therefore, we believe it is incorrect. The issue of the Prophet Muhammad is very complicated. On the one hand, he was a human, and, therefore, imperfect. On the other hand, it is impossible to know how much of the historical accounts of that time are true and how much is fiction. If the Koran could have been changed over the centuries, so is the version of events surrounding Mohammad's life.

The idea of abrogation would run contrary to the idea of Allah's infallibility. We cannot with absolute certainty distinguish between the divine and 'man-made' verses. But we can do the best we can by using common sense. As for the Qadari movement (which I am not familiar with), not every reform movement achieves its goals, but that does not mean that we shouldn't even try.

Sufism may have its dark aspects, but in today's world it is as close to our idea of Islam as it gets. Sufi Islamic Supreme Council of America is the only real Islamic religious authority in the North America that does not advocate ideas of Islamic supremacy. Jihad in Chechnya is not indicative of Sufism. The remnants of Sufism that survived 70 years of Soviet rule are dominated by Wahhabism. Calling Chechen mujahideen Sufi is just as misleading as calling CAIR moderate.

Mr. Glazov, there is no reason to qualify your questions. They are legitimate attempts to get to the truth of the matter and nobody should be offended by honest and direct questions about 'sensitive' subjects. Failing to ask those questions is what got us where we are today in the first place.

FP: Can you talk a bit about how moderate Muslims are also targets of Islamic terror?

Massoud: Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of Black Muslims are murdered by the radicals. Algeria: more than a hundred thousands of Muslims are murdered by the radicals. Iraq: tens of thousands of Muslims are murdered by the radicals. Afghanistan, Lebanon, Gaza, West Bank, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Chechnya. Any place where there is conflict that involves Muslims, moderates are being murdered by radicals. Radical Muslims wage Jihad to kill infidels, and many of them consider moderate Muslims as infidels. This is a DHS-type threat level table that illustrates my point:

FP: Earlier you noted that a poll your group did revealed that roughly one-fifth of Muslims think that Muslims like you should be beheaded. What is your interpretation of this fact?

Massoud: Muslims like us present the biggest danger to the Islamists because we are destroying the myth of moral authority of the fundamentalism. When non-Muslims point out flaws in Islam, the radicals dismiss them as Islamophobes. When Muslims talk about problems with Islam, they are not as easy to dismiss. Moderate Muslims are the best antidote to Islamist venom and Western governments are being very unwise to choose radicals over moderates.

FP: So what is the most effective way we can help moderates and reformers such as yourselves?

Massoud: You, meaning non-Muslims, must stop living in your PC fantasy world, stop worrying about offending Muslims, and start calling things what they are. You must draw a clear distinction between Muslims and Islamofascists, between Islam and Islamism. Muslims will not be offended at the term "Islamofascism" as long as it is clear that the term applies to Islamists, not Muslims in general. You can no longer afford to pretend that there is no global war between Islamists and the rest of the world. You must pressure the government and the media to stop whitewashing (and cut all ties with) Islamists. Just because Islamists claim to be moderates, that doesn't make it so.

You must stop financing radical Islamic regimes like Saudi Arabia and Iran, but sending billions of Petro-Dollars to the Persian Gulf. You must provide political (and should provide financial) support for moderate Muslim groups, i.e., American Islamic Forum for Democracy. There are plenty of moderate Muslims who would join the fight against Islamism, given the chance. It must be made absolutely clear that terrorism is a military issue and terrorism cases, i.e., HLF or al-Arian, have no place in civilian courts. When Islamists praise bin Laden, march with "Hizballah is our Army" posters, or desecrate the American flag, you call it freedom of speech. But when a counter-terrorism researcher protests against events organized by Islamists, he is charged with harassment and gets a restraining order. And when another counter-terrorism researcher sheds light on Islamist-al Qaeda ties, she is sued for libel.

FP: Are you optimistic that non-Muslims and moderate Muslims that want to preserve Western civilization and liberty will be able to defeat the force of radical Islam?

Massoud: Yes, if the West wakes up before it’s too late. Unfortunately, at this time, the West seems to be more interested in Left vs. Right rather than Freedom vs. Slavery & Death.

FP: Khalim Massoud, thank you for joining us and thank you for your courage and for your noble fight to spawn an Islamic reformation.

Massoud: Jamie, thank you for having me and giving me a forum to present our views.


Reference

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1 Comments:

  • Many people talk about the need to reform Islam. Now you can stop talking and start helping.

    With the help of our readers we went through the Koran and removed every verse that we believe did not come from Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. However, it is possible that we missed something, and we could use your help. If you find verses in the reformed version of the Koran that promote violence, divisiveness, religious or gender superiority, bigotry, or discrimination, please let us know the number of the verse and the reason why it should be removed. Please email your suggestions to koran-AT-reformislam.org.

    When we finish editing process, we would like to publish Reform Koran in as many languages as possible. If you could help with translation or distribution of the Reform Koran, please email us at koran-AT-reformislam.org. If you could provide financial support, please visit our support page.

    In Memoriam of Aqsa Parvez.

    http://www.reformislam.org/reform.php

    By Blogger Muslims Against Sharia, at 1:07 PM  

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