3) No more political correctness. Political correctness means operatively “behaving socially right” or “behaving with fairness in societal interactions”. However, the deep sources of political correctness are in fact hypocritical hedonism combined with Western-Christian guilt and remorse that contradict the basic paradigms of Western culture and reflects illusionist and detached ideas about reality.
Like multiculturalism, relativism and other atrocious deluded academic pseudo-scientific ideas, those who use and force us to use political correctness serve in fact, intentionally or unintentionally, as collaborators with the enemies of modernity and freedoms. The problem is that Muslims believe and practice a totally different political culture that takes advantage of the situation to penetrate the inner fabric of modern society, to defeat it from within. They declare and pronounce their targets clearly and openly. The problem is with our own educational ignorance, political inhibitions, and reluctance to view reality truly and to speak out clearly outside of intimidation.
Unfortunately, political correctness has for a long time stripped the US citizens of their First Amendment rights, along with deeply hurting their flow of free ideas. More and more people have recently become victims of this plague, which mostly consists of Muslim organizations and the media outlets, seeking to demonize anyone who utters anything even the slightest bit critically relating to Islam.
The actor Gary Oldman has spoken out against the hypocrisy of political correctness: “I just think political correctness is crap… It is just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone… it means dishonesty and double standards that frustrate me the most.” Indeed, political correctness is the epitome of hypocrisy and double standards behavior. The US Constitution guarantees the right to express one’s ideas and beliefs freely, without fear of being charged by lawsuits and put in prison.
The Western states share a basic important political ethos and they are all liberal democracies. Unfortunately, these countries also recently share a deadly political ideology known as multiculturalism. It sits at the pinnacle of political correctness and moral relativism, and it is promoted with a religious fervor. Multiculturalism has become the driving ideology behind almost everything in Western life: politics, the law, education, and even the current correct thinking.
Those who do not think politically correct are labeled as racists and fascists; and are denounced as supporters of the old imperialist-colonialist world. However, this is not the real issue. The horrific situation is that the multicultural defenders promote knowingly or unknowingly the mono-cultural, mono-religious, racist, fascist, supremacist Islam. The essence of Islam is all what the multiculturalists are supposed to be against: tolerance of the other; equality of all races, religions and women; all the freedoms spectrum and civil rights; tolerance, equality and peace-making to one another.
Why do they do it? It has nothing to do with Islam. They know nothing of Islam and/or the Palestinians. They do not know Arabic and have never read the Qur’an and Islamic scriptures and they have not studied the Palestinians’ Hitleristic-Nazi hatred and incitement towards Israel. They suffer from deep ‘mental blindness’, failing to observe how Islam wreaks havoc in all of what the West loves and cherishes.
In Israel, the multiculturalists’ intentions have become a full-fledged philosophy of anti-Semitism that is transformed into a multi-cultural and a multinational state. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, by claiming that the State of Israel racist and colonialist. From here come the destructive anti-Semite formula that Israel must transform to a “state of all its citizens.” This kind of anti-Semitism negates the right of Jews to exist as a political entity with an independent homeland. The implication of these horrific atrocious ideas will be a Palestinian State from the sea to the desert and the disappearing of Israel as a nation and as a state.
The only reason is that the multiculturalists and politically correctness promoters deeply hate the West. They do not care about Islam and Muslims, but they do care in their deep hatred of the West. They hate its values and its way of life, and Islam has become the mechanism, the tool they employ in their way to bring Stalinism and Bolshevism as the law of the earth.
They are so idiotic and foolish that they do not ask themselves what will happen to them if Islam wins. Their hatred is so deep that they even promote their own extinction in what seems to be a collaboration that leads to their own annihilation. That is why Western peoples find themselves in an ongoing political nightmare, not because of Islam and its primitive barbarian ideology, but because their own political-cultural elites have abandoned them.
In the current tumultuous in fact dying Middle East, Israel is not only innocent of most of the regional and domestic problems, but it has nothing to do with the mired situation of the Islamic Tribal Anarchic Winter (there was never, even for one day “Arab Spring”). The failed states (exactly out of the US policy); the miserable social and economic backwardness; the political violence and extremism of cultural and religious causes; the wretched life of the Arab-Muslim peoples and the oppressive regimes; and the continuing wars permeating so deeply ME. But in the political correctness of Western language, Israel is the source of all troubles, being a colonialist Apartheid state.
Is this the situation? Let me put it bluntly: historically, the Jews have brought to Europe the light and the sciences and culture. However, the Europeans have persecuted and massacred the Jews to the point they become an extinct species. But the Europeans have forgotten two things: first, there is God Almighty, and second, there is no vacuum. The Jews left, and the Muslims entered. Please find the disparities.
Moreover, imagine Israel has vanished from the Middle East. What will happen in fact? The Islamic anarchic quarrels will intensify and would trigger ruinous war; weaken the Arab moderate states and strengthen Arab radicals, with the high-tide of Islam’s onslaught; and generally undermine Western influence to the point of disappearance.
He who think of a peaceful Palestinian state – think again. The territory will be torn out by inter-Arab fights and wars will be the main of regional politics. It is a fact for many years: as long as Israel exist, a Palestinian national political identity continues to exist. The possibility that the surrounding Arab states will let the Palestinians continue their destructive policies is an illusion shared by ignorant Westerners and local leftists, even not by the Palestinians themselves.
Western national identity is based on two dimensions: Cultural, on the heritage of Western civilization; and political, on the principles of freedom, democracy and equality before the law and constitutionality. However, exactly these dimensions are under assault of “post-nationalists,” post-modernists, and relativists. Under the auspices of phony intellectualism of the Academia and the media, these groups constitute a proto-Messianic eschatology of deconstruction of the law and order among humanity. Everything that typifies the Western way of life as a cultural phenomenon will collapse and disappear.
The multiculturalist philosophy including all other “isms” must be totally thrown to the garbage can of history. These deluded ideas must be defeated and eliminated in all Western society. Politically correctness should do the same orbit and must be disintegrated. Those who immigrate to Western society must have the simple choice: either they respect Western laws and way of life with its Jewish-Christian cultural roots or they are free to leave.
It is so simple and totally justified. Imagine you invite out of benevolence a stranger to your home and he tries to take control of your house and impose his way of life and traditions – what would you do? Surely you will find a solution to this issue. Than why it is so difficult on the national level?
Another fact, which we have mentioned time and again: the entire countries around the world have absorbed minorities, ethnic and religious, the US being the best example. All of them have become loyal productive citizens, being proud with their new nationality. Only Muslims are not. Only Muslims resist integration and assimilation, and much more: they try by all means of Jihad and Da’wah to impose their religion and way of life. And they do it persistently and in consistency.
We have to realize that political correctness and moral relativism have become our own worst political enemy. We fail, being optimistic concerning human nature and behavior; we stumble from failure to failure believing there is a solution to every problem and estimating that the reasons for the Muslims’ inhuman behavior are social and economic perspectives and our own history of imperialism and colonialism.
Look what is happening in British educational system. There is a long list of politically correct changes that gradually are bringing British education into conformity with Islamic Sharia law. Muslims demand that Islamic preachers be sent to every school to teach children about Islam. On the other hand, British schools drop the Jewish holocaust from history lessons, with the excuse to avoid offending Muslim pupils. It is not only the Jews: British teachers are also reluctant to discuss the medieval Crusades, in which Christians fought Muslim armies to defend Europe. The pick of these atrocities teachers are required to teach key Muslim contributions to humanity, fake and ridiculous, such as Algebra and the number zero. Schools across Britain are, in fact, increasingly banning pork from lunch menus to avoid offending Muslims, and huge numbers of schools have adopted a “no pork” policy and eating Halal foods.
In Germany, instead of studying the refusal of the Muslims to integrate into German society, and to avoid the emergence of a parallel legal system in Germany based on Islamic Shari’ah, German authorities have officially confirmed that they are monitoring German-language Internet websites that are critical of Muslim immigration and the Islamization of Europe. Please pay attention: German authorities do not monitor the Muslims use of the internet and other social media in their own many languages. Instead, German authorities monitor citizens who criticize Muslims and Islam on the Internet are fomenting hate and are thus criminally guilty of “breaching” the German constitution.
The guardians of German multiculturalism have been working overtime to accuse the critics of Islam of engaging in hate speech to try to intimidate the so-called “new right” into silence. They accuse that anti-Islam blogs “have promoted “infringements of human rights protected under our constitution.” Criticism of Muslims and Islam constitutes “an attack against the freedom of religion, which is protected by Article 4 of the Basic Law.” They also dare to equate criticism of Islam with anti-Semitism. In sum, those who criticise Islam are undemocratic and pose a threat to the German constitutional order.
Spiegel magazine asserts that those who criticise Islam represent a new form of extremism: “anti-Muslim scene is becoming increasingly dangerous… the question is whether the hatred of Muslims is enough to endanger freedom of religion and international understanding.” They all belong to the “far right.”
However, the TNS Enid political polling shows that the majority of Germans disagree with a statement by German President Christian that Islam “belongs in Germany.” Fewer than 5% of the Germans think Islam is a tolerant religion. Fewer than 10% of the Germans say that Islam is a peaceful religion. More than 40% of Germans believe that the practice of Islam should be vigorously restricted. Only 20% of the Germans believe that Islam is suitable for the Western world. Pew Research Center of 2011, states that 72% of the Germans believe Muslims do not want to integrate; and that 79% of the Germans believe Islam is “the most violent” religion.
Yet, Western political leaders, assisted with the heavy artillery of the Media and the academia continue their stupid-ignorant, in fact criminal policy of denying, appeasing and subduing Western civilization to the barbarity of Islam. They continue not to internalize that this deadly combination of the religious commandments of Islam and the cultural behavior of the Arabs and Muslims is the issue. Our greatest liability is the politically correct climate endorsed by Western leadership with the stormy support of the media and the academia which is negligently blind to the threat of Islam.
According to Yves Mamou, the horrific reality in Europe is that the state, the one that has the monopoly on violence, does not want to be at war with its Islamic residents, and in fact expresses the policy that it is afraid of its Muslim citizens. The rule of law has become protecting the violators of the law, the terrorists, are protected above all. Mamou details the crimes of the media, being in fact the Islamic terrorists’ best friend, the detached from reality excuses relating the Muslims atrocities in Germany and France of June-July, 2016:
The real victim is the terrorist. He was not a Muslim, Just a Lunatic. The problem is not Islam, but too many guns on the black market. The victims are responsible for their own murders. The attacker “self-radicalized” rapidly. ISIS is not Islamic, it is a right-wing organization.
The U.S. is mired in Political correctness, and this fact is indisputable. In a nutshell, it means not upsetting anyone due to their race, ethnicity, gender, physical disability, appearance, accent or anything else that might somehow cause psychological discomfort and sensibilities. Yet, this has become a mental disease, into a deadly plague.
For example, political correctness has claimed the 13 lives at Fort Hood massacre by not preventing and neutralizing Nidal Hasan Ali. Why? There was an elephant in the room, yet the culture of political correctness kept the concerned officers from reporting the behavior of Nidal Hasan Ali. This horrendous approach has caused the Fort Hood headquarters to “understand” the Islamic brutal way of life and behavior: “it is in their belief system, so it must be ok.” No. It is absolutely not ok. Muslims must adhere to the US belief system and way of life. That is why political correctness has become a deadly infection, and still the American people is not aware of the depths to which it has permeated Western culture and become a sickening situation.
Take the horrific frightening situation of the US Department of Homeland Security. On the managerial advisory level it is being run by Muslims sent by Muslim organizations like CAIR, the Council for American Islamic Relations; by MPAC, Muslim Public Affair Council,; and by ISNA, Islamic Society of North America. They sit in on brainstorming about investigative techniques that US agents are using in the field. Indeed, this is the pure situation of the cat guards the milk. That is nothing short of outrageous.
The horrific situation is that we do not behave and speak freely in front of the Muslims or when relating to Islam. We are so deeply intimidated, that there is no longer even politically correct, but Islamically correct. Avoidance of ‘insulting Islam’ has become a code word to our horrendous nightmares, a lethal weapon we impose on ourselves in capitulation and submission. We censor ourselves and our free speech at our own decision out of the deadly combination of intimidation, ignorance and Bolshevik slogans promoted by our own cultural elites and the media.
Muslims are fanatic and primitives. But in fact Western elites are the delusionists, the messianic and the dreamers. Muslims understand Western situation much better than we understand them or even ourselves. Muslims know Western elite is so infected with political correctness that it is more afraid of offending them than fighting them. In fact, in the “land of the free and home of the brave,” one could conceivably be charged with a hate crime for expressing opinions. Indeed, politically incorrect opinions and writings have become hate crime, and soon hate-speech police will be established to silence all criticism of Islam. Relativism and moral equivalence dominate the social sciences and humanities of the academia. Both stem from political correctness and strengthen it at the same time. This situation has stultified generations of students who become our politicians, diplomats, judges, and journalists.
Allan Bloom wrote of The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students. Melanie Phillips has published The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth, and Power. She blames relativism as the root cause of the Western decadence. So does Ralph Peters in his Endless War: Middle Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization: “… one of the greatest obstacles we have to understanding our enemies is that our officer corps is too well educated in a formal sense. Officers with master’s degrees in international relations and Ph.D.s in government have become prisoners of the outdated theories…” The problem is these sciences ignore, in fact do not understand the reality of evil displayed by Muslims and motivated by Islam.
As the actor and comedian, John Cleese, says: political correctness has gone too far, especially on America’s college campuses, where he will no longer go to perform. There may even be something more sinister behind the insistence to be always be politically correct. “If you start to say we must not, we must not criticize or offend them then humor is gone. With humor goes a sense of proportion. Political correctness will lead to an Orwellian nightmare. Indeed, President Teddy Roosevelt put it: “to anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth”.
To show how ridiculous and detached this slogan of political correctness has become, the following lines written by an unknown person are important:
I wanted to send some sort of holiday greeting to my friends, but it is so difficult in today’s world to know exactly what to say without offending someone, especially with the current demands of political correctness afflicting us all. So I met with my attorney, and on his advice I wish to say the following:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for a socially responsible, environmentally conscious, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the holiday, practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions. I also wish you a fiscally successful, medically uncomplicated recognition, and personally fulfilling, without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes.
By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: this greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. Disclaimer: no trees were harmed in the sending of this message; however, a significant number of electrons were slightly inconvenienced.
The world has truly been turned upside down and inside out. It is a world in total chaos. Evil is being called good and good is thought to be evil. In a quest to be politically correct, which is really just a euphemism for willful ignorance and self-deception, and bears death wish, we are giving Islam a wide open door to control and subdue. It means in fact that Shari’ah become the law of the land.
Dismantling the nation-state will necessarily lead not only to acute instability but also to the formation of the ‘big brother’ state of Islam, a trend that will lead to the demise and fall of Western liberal democracy. Indeed, political correctness has become a deadly infection that influences us all and if we continue behaving accordingly, it will bring us into our demise.
4) No more appeasement. Western society and leaders have never learned the lessons of the history of appeasement. Defeatism was one of the main causes of military catastrophes. Dark evil regimes are never satisfied with the Rhineland and the Sudeten regions, and the Anschluss of Austria and seizure of Czechoslovakia, but work relentlessly to achieve world hegemony. For hundreds of years, the attempt at appeasement is a recurring factor in the fall of civilizations. While apocalyptic Islam poses a lethal threat to the Free World, we, from many reasons, try to cure the situation by appeasing, believing that it will suffice in calming the wolf.
Western leaders go out of their way to appease, to capitulate, and to give the Muslims more “protection money” and special treatment, the more the Muslims threaten us. But no less frightening is that they actively silence those among their own people who oppose the continued Islamic colonization of the Free World. The basic values of enlightenment are in danger, not only because of the emerging fanatic beliefs, but because too many people are trying to compromise the madness. When our leaders call Islam a great religion, they are appeasing, running away, if not lying outright. To call a most deadly threat to everything we cherish a great religion, legitimizes evil on the one hand and infuses the rest of us with a false belief. The Islamists have infiltrated our fortresses, our system of government and intend to ruin them from within.
It is a well-known lesson of history: more appeasement from the bullied always brings about more demands from the bully. Appeasement is disastrous and leads to annihilation. One must learn the dark lesson of the 1930s. Europe continued its appeasement policies the more Nazi Germany demanded concessions. Again and again Europe gave up and gave in, and again and again the Nazi aggressor demanded more and more. What was the result? Germany itself opened the Second World War by attacking and occupying Poland, on September 1, 1939. The appeasers continued with their run away policy, and the aggressor, never satisfied, continued with his occupation. Was the lesson learned? Not at all. Appeasement is never a safe policy nor an option; it is disastrous and it leads to catastrophes.
Let us look at the scene from another angle, put by Victor Davis Hanson: Hitler started World War II after he already remilitarized the Rhineland, absorbed Austria and dismantled Czechoslovakia. By doing all that he had created the largest German-speaking nation in European history. Imperial Japan had redrawn the map of Asia and the Pacific by occupying or annexing Indochina, Korea, Manchuria and Taiwan, to the swaths of coastal China. Therefore, attacking Hawaii, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia in 1941 was logical in a decade of Japanese aggression. Fascist Italy had already been remaking the map of the Mediterranean region. Benito Mussolini had annexed what is now Ethiopia, Albania and most of Libya. He promised Italians that the Mediterranean would soon be “mare nostrum,” our sea (again). Had Hitler, Mussolini and the Japanese just been satisfied and consolidated their winnings, there was no evidence that the tired Western democracies would ever have stopped them.
But these leaders never stopped. After the end of the war and about 60 million people had perished and Europe was totally destroyed, the Western democracies blamed themselves for having appeased and empowered fascist empires. Well, what is happening today? The contemporary world amazingly resembles so much the late 1930s, so that even maps are again being redrawn.
The Islamic State wishes to bring the Islamic Sunni Caliphate borders back, from Andalusia to India. Shiite Iran wishes to bring its political hegemony over the entire Middle East, by proxies and by military successes: Continental (Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon) and maritime (Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb straits). At the same time, and more than ever, it wishes to destroy the Sunni version of Islam and to occupy the holy shrines of Islam in Saudi-Arabia. Here is the logical basis for Iran to have the bomb. The Middle East melts down to its gravest situation, with failed states (Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria); frightened states (Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia), and defensive powers (Egypt, Saudi-Arabia). All the while Israel is shamelessly accused by the corrupt, impotent useless United Nations organization, shamelessly led by the OIC, the Organization of the Islamic Countries’ cartel that behaves like a Mafia. The UN’s treatment towards Israel has become an obsession, an incurable malaise.
The following conclusions should be taken from the history of the game of appeasement. It brings short-term glories of peace to the appeasers at the price of long-term military defeats to their allies. Appeasers consistently reiterate that the only alternative to their march of folly of appeasement is war. However, just the opposite is true: the price of appeasement is assured war. The appeasement of dictators by democratic regimes is a long steady road of failure, while the price of deterring balancing policy is successful containment of the aggressor. Appeasement is never an option; it is always a catastrophe.
5) No more ignorance. We must thoroughly read the Qur’an and other Islamic scriptures; we should learn about the Islamic religion and its culture; we should critically understand what Islamic aims and targets are; we must call a spade, a spade; we must stop explaining and rationalizing Muslims’ behavior, and start to believe in what they say. Western civilization cannot effectively combat the root causes of Islamic civilizational war by ignoring its nature and motives. That is we have to internalize Thomas Jefferson’s declaration: If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
However, it is much more. Ralph Peters in Endless War, focuses on the ideological nonsense perverting discussion of war, peace, and terrorism. Western civilization pays a horrific price for allowing the Muslims to take over the whole educational system, and to mold public opinion’s behavior and attitudes through controlling the media. Their aim is to eliminate our common sense, and the product is people, who are susceptible to wild lies and distortions; people that cannot put what they witness into context; and this vacuum brings capitulation and submission.
Oriana Fallaci has so correctly and succinctly remarked:
Wake up people, wake up. Paralyzed by the fear of appearing racist, you do not want to understand that the Muslim invasion has commenced. Drugged by the stupidity or shortsightedness of political correctness, you do not internalize that a religious war is transpiring here. A war, whose objective is to conquer our souls and rob us of our freedoms; a war conducted with the goal of destroying our civilization and our way of life. Stunned by the preponderance of false propaganda, you do not want to absorb that if we do not defend ourselves, if we do not battle, Jihad will win. It will win and destroy the world which we have built and ruin our culture and identity. Debating them is pointless; conducting a dialogue with them is useless; and demonstrating tolerance towards them is suicide. How is it that leftists never open their mouths against the Muslim world’s primitive, theocratic regimes, which have no democracy, no freedoms and no individual rights? Why were we killed in wars declared against the enemies of freedom and civilization? Are these principles invalid for the Islamic regimes? Enough of your double standards of morality; enough of your opacity and your hypocrisy. Crickets of all countries and languages stop the confusion and take sobriety. The mountain of Islam has not moved for 1400 years; that consciously opts for primitiveness and ignorance. Europe is becoming a province of Islam.
Muslim-Evangelical alliance strives to create religious and political middle ground
A recent unprecedented alliance between Muslims and Evangelicals takes on added significance in a world in which human rights are on the defensive, religious groups tend to forge political as well as ideational partnerships, and the role of the clergy in multiple Muslim-majority countries has come under scrutiny.
The alliance potentially could create a platform for voices in the Muslim world, particularly the Middle East, in which significant segments of the youth who constitute a majority of the population, increasingly reject state-controlled, ritualistic forms of religion and distrust clerics subservient to the government.
It could also offer a middle ground on which elements of the secular centre-right and centre-left could meet based on shared faith-based values in deeply polarised parts of the world, particularly in the West.
International affairs and inter-faith scholar Michael Driessen suggested in an email to this writer that the recently forged alliance between Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), one, if not the world’s largest Muslim civil society organization, and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), fits a pattern of partnerships between diverse religious groups that goes beyond seeking to protect minorities to promotion of social cohesion and fraternity.
Speaking at a virtual meeting of the Interfaith Forum of the Group of 20 or G20 that brings together the world’s largest economies, Tunisian Islam scholar Nejia Al-Ourimi seemed to anticipate the alliance when she argued that reform of Islam would have to be bottom-up and originate in civil society rather than top-down and directed and controlled by autocratic rulers who see it as a way of branding themselves and their nations as well as and one way of ensuring survival.
Ms. Al-Ourimi reasoned further that genuine inclusivity was precluded in much of the Middle East because most Arab constitutions assume that the state has a religion. She went on to say that “what we need to do is reframe the traditional approaches of linking religion to legislation. We must find leaders who are willing to withdraw from the traditional way of participating in the public sphere—through the legal and legislative dimensions—and return from a ‘values’ perspective to guide ethical efforts.”
In a contribution to a recently published report on Human Fraternity and Inclusive Citizenship issued by the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and the Beirut-based Foundation for Diversity, Solidarity and Human Dignity (Adyan), Ms. Al-Oumiri points to a series of lofty, lovey-dovey inter-faith statements issued in the past decade by different combinations of Arab Muslim and non-Muslim clerics, religious and secular intellectuals, and politicians.
The statements constituted attempts by Muslim religious authorities and autocratic governments to keep ahead of the curb of youth aspirations and project themselves as voices of moderation by emphasizing religious freedom, religious pluralism, and inclusive citizenship irrespective of religious belief.
The statements include the 2012 Statement on Basic Freedoms issued by Al Azhar, Islam’s Cairo-based oldest institution of Islamic learning that has long been swayed by Saudi and United Arab Emirates financial support, the 2016 Marrakech Declaration that called for the development of a jurisprudence of that enshrines the concept of inclusive citizenship, and the Document on Human Fraternity signed in the UAE in 2019 by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.
Referring to the 2012 Al Azhar statement, Ms. Al-Oumiri highlighted the fact that the statement was issued in the wake of popular revolts that in 2011 toppled the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Saudi and UAE manoeuvres helped roll back the revolts’ achievements in all of the countries except for Tunisia.
The manoeuvres did not roll back what Ms. Al-Oumiri described as a “new awareness” among “all the components that participated in the protest movement, secularists, liberals, Christians, Muslims and others, (that) became aware of the fact that the bilateral polarization and exclusionary relations prevailing at that time were the main reason for the dispersion of forces capable of inducing positive change and extricating Arab society from its chronic crisis.” It is an awareness that expresses itself today among others in changing youth attitudes towards religiosity.
Ms. Al-Oumiri’s ‘new awareness’ is one factor that hampers autocratic efforts to shape a moderate form of Islam that serves the needs of social change and economic diversification without conceding democratic freedoms, projects autocrats as religious moderates as part of their nation branding and furthers their quest for religious soft power.
The ‘new awareness’ is borne out by research and opinion polls that consistently show that the gap between the religious aspirations of youth and state-imposed interpretations of Islam is widening. The polls and research suggest that youth are increasingly sceptical towards religious and worldly authority. They aspire to more individual, more spiritual experiences of religion.
As a result, Nahdlatul Ulama’s opportunity to turn its alliance with the WEA into a vehicle of change in both the Muslim world and the West is enhanced by the fact that religious reform in rival contenders for religious soft power like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Egypt is top-down by decree or changes in common or civil rather than, more sustainably, bottom-up and anchored in religious law and jurisprudence.
The point was highlighted when Nahdlatul Ulama’s religious leaders took the first step towards reform of religious law and/or jurisprudence in 2019 by replacing the notion of the kafir or infidel with the concept of muwathinun or citizens to emphasize that Muslims and non-Muslims were equal before the law.
Leaders of the group say that they intend to tackle other outdated, intolerant, or supremacist concepts such as the dhimmi or People of the Book, and slavey that remain reference points even if large numbers of Muslims do not heed them in their daily life, as well as eventually blasphemy and apostasy.
Nahdlatul Ulama’s opportunity is further both bolstered and complicated by the fact that autocratic Muslim rulers wittingly or unwittingly reinforce Islamophobic tendencies in multiple ways by their often brutal abuse of human rights at home and their support of policies in various parts of the globe that encourage negative perceptions of Islam and Muslims.
These policies include the blurring in countries like France and Austria of the lines between political Islam and piety as well as autocratic Muslim acquiescence, if not endorsement of the crackdown on Turkic Muslims and Islam in China’s north-western province of Xinjiang.
Nahdlatul Ulama, despite its tangible adherence to principles of democracy, human rights, and tolerance, has yet to clearly distinguish itself from autocratic religious soft power rivals when it comes to its shared rejection of political Islam and identity politics. In other words, how it handles Islamophobia is likely to be a litmus test for Nahdlatul Ulama as well as its alliance with the Evangelicals.
Making that distinction clear is likely to also enhance the Nahdlatul Ulama-WEA alliance’s ability to bring together elements of the centre-right and centre-left could meet based on shared faith-based advocacy of human rights, democratic freedoms, and tolerance at a time that democracy is on the defence.
The linkage between the Nahdlatul Ulama-WEA alliance’s opportunity to serve as a bridge in both the religious and political domain is evident not only when it comes to countering religious supremacism but also far-right extremism. It is that linkage that adds a geopolitical dimension to the alliance’s potential.
Germany, where ultra-nationalist supremacists, despite recent electoral setbacks for the Alternative for Germany (AfD), have infiltrated the security and armed forces, spotlights the importance of creating a religious and political centre that is driven as much by shared values as it is by interests.
Security services recorded more than 1,400 cases of suspected far-right extremism among soldiers, police officers and intelligence agents in recent years. The German defence ministry last year disbanded a whole company of special forces after explosives, a machine gun, and memorabilia of the Nazi’s SS were found on the property of a sergeant major.
The geopolitical significance of developments in Germany is enhanced by the fact that some German ultra-nationalists and members of the far-right are believed to have links to Russia and /or far-right Russian nationalists.
In the latest German incident, prosecutors are investigating an official of Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the country’s domestic intelligence agency, suspected of helping plan the assassination of a Chechen dissident as part of a campaign across Europe that targets critics of Ramzan Kadyrov, the president of the Russian republic of Chechnya. Mr. Kadyrov is widely viewed as an associate of President Vladimir Putin and maintains close ties to Middle Eastern autocrats.
Defining moderate Islam: Muslims and Evangelicals forge an alliance
A major Muslim and Evangelical organization joined forces this week to significantly advance hitherto state-backed ceremonial inter-faith dialogues that seldom go beyond platitudes and lofty statements.
This week’s launch at a Washington DC mosque of an inter-faith alliance and a book published by the Institute for Humanitarian Islam and the Germany-based World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) as well as the Center for Shared Civilizational Values constitutes an Evangelical endorsement of Humanitarian Islam.
It also amounts to a rare Muslim celebration of an Evangelical authority, WEA secretary general Archbishop Thomas Schirrmacher, who played a key role in building a relationship between the Evangelical group and Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, one, if not the world’s largest Muslim movement.
“Dr. Schirrmacher’s decision to engage with the Humanitarian Islam movement may prove to be singularly consequential, and perhaps even historic, in its ramifications for the relationship between Christians and Muslims,” the editors of the book, Thomas K. Johnson and C. Holland Taylor said in their introduction.
Entitled ‘God Needs No Defense: Reimagining Muslim – Christian Relations in the 21st Century,’ the book is an anthology of essays written by preeminent Muslim and Christian scholars.
Based in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, the Institute for Humanitarian Islam was established by Nahdlatul Ulama to advance globally its humanitarian interpretation of the faith.
Nahdlatul Ulama sees the concept as an alternative to state-backed less developed and less tolerant and pluralistic notions of a moderate Islam as propagated by countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well expressions of political Islam represented by Turkey, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Nahdlatul Ulama was founded almost a century ago in opposition to Wahhabism, the austere interpretation of Islam propagated for decades by Saudi Arabia until the rise in 2015 of King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Indonesian group positions Humanitarian Islam as advocating genuine religious reform rather than self-serving social and rhetorical change advocated by rulers eager to implement long-overdue economic and social reform and project themselves as genuine religious moderates in a global battle for Muslim religious soft power and the soul of Islam.
The differences between Nahdlatul Ulama’s Humanitarian Islam and the interpretations of the faith put forward by its conservative monarchical and republican Islamist soft power rivals are stark and raise fundamental questions about what constitutes genuine reform and how it can sustainably be achieved.
The differences pitch an independent civil society group, albeit one with close ties to the state, against states themselves.
Nahdlatul Ulama’s independence has allowed it to start a process of real change rooted in religious law and jurisprudence rather than a ruler’s decree or opinion issued by subservient clergymen.
The group challenges outdated, intolerant, or supremacist concepts such as the kafir or infidel, the dhimmi or People of the Book, and slavey that remain reference points even if large numbers of Muslims do not heed them in their daily life, as well as eventually blasphemy and apostasy.
The group’s religious leaders took the first step in 2019 by replacing the term kafir with the word muwathinun or citizen to emphasize that Muslims and non-Muslims were equal before the law. “The word ‘kafir’ hurts some non-Muslims and is perceived to be theologically violent,” Nahdlatul Ulama cleric Abdul Moqsith Ghazali said at the time.
Independence also enabled Nahdlatul Ulama to embrace the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, parts of which are exempted by its religious soft power rivals. That is not to say that liberals may not take issue with some of the interpretations of the declaration by Nahdlatul Ulama, a socially conservative movement.
The differences raise questions about Nahdlatul Ulama’s ability to succeed beyond the significant inroads that the group has made among political and religious elites in the United States, Europe, the Vatican, and parts of Africa and Asia.
The launch in Washington of the unprecedented alliance and the book is together with Nahdlatul Ulama’s association with the Centrist Democrat International (CDI), the world’s largest grouping of political parties, the most publicly visible evidence of its success among elites.
The alliance puts flesh on the skeleton of recent inter-faith dialogue by bringing together two of Islam and Christianity‘s major groups. Nahdlatul Ulama has tens of millions of followers while the World Evangelical Alliance says it represents 600 million Protestants and national evangelical alliances in 140 countries. The alliance with Nahdlatul Ulama casts a different light on Evangelicals as opposed to Evangelists, who particularly, in the United States have often come to be identified with Christian nationalism and Islamophobia.
The alliance aims “to prevent the political weaponization of identity; curtail the spread of communal hatred; promote solidarity and respect among the diverse people, cultures and nations of the world; and foster the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order founded upon respect for the equal rights and dignity of every human being,” the Institute for Humanitarian Islam and the Nation’s Mosque in Washington, said in a press release.
With the creation of the Center for Shared Civilizational Values, the alliance also constitutes an effort to create a platform for a dialogue that moves beyond elites to nurture a grassroots movement in favour of religious reform across major religions that emphasizes inclusivity, pluralism, tolerance, and common values rather than exclusivism and supremacy fueled by identity politics. (In the spirit of transparency, this writer has been invited to be a member of the centre’s advisory board).
In doing so, the Center hopes to build on Nahdlatul Ulama’s substantial popular base in Indonesia, the WEA’s reach across the globe and a range of contacts and interactions with Catholic, Jewish, and Hindu groups and personalities.
The choice of Masjid Mohamed, the Nation’s Mosque, as the venue of the launch, suggests an outside-in strategy in trying to garner grassroots support in the Muslim world. Located in Washington’s historic African-American Shaw district, Masjid Muhammad is the first mosque in the United States built by descendants of slaves.
As such, the launch constitutes an outreach to a minority Muslim community in a Western democracy that despite upheaval in the United States as the country struggles to come to grips with its history of racism is likely to be more accessible and perhaps more open to Humanitarian Islam’s message than significant segments of the population in Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan or the Middle East where many see what has long become a global faith through the lens of its Arab origins.
The alliance takes on added significance in a Western world that despite the electoral defeat of former US President Donald J. Trump and setbacks in Europe suffered by populists and ultra-nationalists has in recent years increasingly mainstreamed prejudice, bias, and authoritarianism.
“Rather than the world becoming more like the United States, as so many of us expected after the Cold War, the United States has become more like the rest of the world—in particular, its authoritarians,” noted foreign policy analyst Steven A. Cook, debunking the projection of the US as a beacon of liberty and freedom.
In a twist of irony, Nahdlatul Ulama’s book publication coincided with a more narrowly focused and transactional Saudi-backed launch in Lebanon of a book, ‘The relationship between the Maronite patriarchate and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’ Written by Maronite Father Antoine Daw, Saudi support for the book and outreach to the Maronites was part of the kingdom’s effort to counter Iran’s regional influence and engage the Islamic republic in direct and indirect issue-oriented dialogues.
The launch in Bkirki, the Maronite patriarchate’s episcopal see, followed a call by Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, Lebanon’s most senior Christian cleric, for a meeting with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia that is Iran’s closest ally in the Arab world.
The patriarch urged Hezbollah, one of Lebanon’s most powerful groups that played a key role in Iranian support for the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad to move towards a position of neutrality in a bid to salvage Lebanon that is teetering on the brink of economic and political collapse.
Sedition law: Hand-maiden of the Modi’s government
Sedition laws have become a handmaid of India’s government under Narendra Modi to stifle dissent, incarcerate political opponents or persecute minorities. Shouting a slogan, wall chalking, social post “azadi” (liberty), wearing a prayer cap, or offering prayer on adjoining roads when a mosque is overcrowded could attract sedition charges. Even interfaith marriages or cow related offences could be tried as sedition. The Hindu-monk chief minister of Uttar Pradesh had directed his administration to try cow related offences under the National Security Act. Some states have passed love-jihad laws to prevent interfaith marriages. The over-ebullient Hindu extremists haul up even such people to the police stations who are happily married long before enactment of the law banning inter-faith marriages.
Apathy of India’s Supreme Court
Till recently, the Supreme Court had looked the other way in cases where there was blatant misapplication of the sedition law. Some verdicts smacked of communal bias. India being a secular country, the Supreme Court should have avoided dabbling into religious matters of different communities particularly of the largest minority, the Muslim. But, in vain. The Supreme Court pronounced that a mosque was not essential to Muslim way of worship. It allowed demolition of the ancient Babri Mosque. Thus it accepted the fictitious contention that Ram god was born at the site of the mosque millennia ago.
In marked contrast to its “Islamic” judgments, the Supreme Court had a benign attitude toward the Hindu religion. It admitted that a temple was necessary to the Hindu mode of worship. It allowed menstruating women to visit Sabarimala temple.
Supreme Court’s awakening
The plethora of sedition cases awakened the SC from its slumber. While quashing the sedition case against journalist Vinod Dua, the Supreme Court expressed ennui on slapping sedition charges to gag journalists. A Bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice UU Lalit upheld “ the right of every journalist to criticise, even brutally, measures of the government with a view to improving or altering them through legal means”.The case against the journalist had been filed by the ruling BJP and was fervently defended by the Himachal Pradesh state government. The journalist was accused of “criticising the prime minister and the Union government for mishandling of the migrant crisis during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic”. The court drew attention to the 1962 Nath case judgment. That judgment took the sting out of the sedition cases filed under Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code. In the aforementioned case, the Supreme Court had ruled that Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code can be used only when someone’s word actually leads to violence or generates an inclination for violence. The Section 124A describes sedition as punishable with imprisonment from three years to life, a fine or both.
Among journalists facing sedition cases is Siddique Kappan based in Kerala. He was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police while on his way to Hathras to cover a rape case last year and had been denied bail. Kappan and 21 other journalists covering the Hathras rape case were charged under Section 124A.
Similarly, several prominent journalists were charged under the sedition law for their coverage of the farmers’ tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day. The Supreme Court stayed the arrest of all of them. The Court observed that the Constitution has varying criteria for permissible restrictions on freedom of speech and expression and draws a boundary between serious and aggravated forms of public disorder which are calculated to endanger the security of the State and the relatively minor breaches of the peace of purely local significance.
India’s Supreme Court had earlier observed in its 1950 judgment on Romesh Thapar versus State of Madras. “Only a higher degree of threat pertaining to endangerment of the foundations of the State could justify curtailment of the rights to freedom of speech and expression,” Thapar was editing a weekly journal called Cross Roads which was constantly at loggerheads with the Congress government of the day.
Disregarding the guidance in this judgment, the successive governments continued to mis-apply the sedition law.
Birth of the sedition law
When the Indian Penal Code was enacted in 1860, the sedition law was not included in it. It took another 10 years for Section 124A to be included. Mahatma Gandhi was tried under this law in 1922. He told the court that the law had malafide intent. It was tailor-made to suppress the liberty of the citizen.
India’s Law Commission issued a directive in 2018 that cautioned that a simple expression of a thought inconsistent with the government’s policy did not qualify as “sedition”. One has to be circumspect while invoking the sedition law. Yet, the Commission’s voice has proved to be a voice in the wilderness. Sedition law is a handy tool to stifle dissent. It is hoped that India’s Supreme Court will define the contour of the law more stringently to preclude its misuse by the fanatic Modi government.
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