What do all these mean?
What policies should we adopt to fight effectively the Islamic strategy to conquer the world by these three arms of Da’wah, Jihad and Hijrah? There are several important recommendations as a working policy:
1) Deal with the issue of immigration. Demographic conquest is the most permanent form of Islamic Da’wah and Jihad in history; the religious cloak is the Trojan Horse Islam uses to infiltrate the cultures and nations it seeks to destroy from within. Unfortunately, our worst enemy is the belief the Muslims wish to assimilate and will integrate in Western societies. Indeed, Europe is running adrift: not because of fanatics who occupy the land, but because of cowards who let them do it.
When you have an immigration policy that allows for the importation of millions of Muslims, you are also importing their ideology, an ideology that is fundamentally hostile to the foundations of western democracy, such as gender equality, pluralism, and individual liberties and freedoms. The best way to safeguard Europe and the US against the destructive effects of this poisonous reality is to enact laws that would bar the entry of foreign nationals who advocate the Sharī’ah, and for those already inside the borders, this should be a deportable offense. The other side is the annihilation of the U.S. Constitution, and consequently all freedoms.
One has to consider Theodore Roosevelt’s 1907 declaration: “Immigrants who come here in good faith become Americans and assimilate themselves in every facet to us… there can be no divided allegiance here. We have room for, but one flag – the American flag, but one language – the English language, but one sole loyalty – to the American institutions and people.” One should also consider the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard: Immigrants, not Australians, must adapt. It is take it or leave it… This is our country, our land, and our lifestyle you have to adapt with. It was Oriana Fallaci who observed so aptly: “Don’t let the multiculturalists fool you: it has never been about race or ethnicity, but about the threat of Islam’s monoculture; the threat to our minds; the threat to our very existence as a free society.”
Soeren Kern depicts the severe situation of the migration crisis from Hungary’s perspective. Europe’s migration crisis begins to expose the deep divisions exist within the European Union members. The EU is no longer being a model for post-nationalism and global citizenship. In 2014, more than 60,000 people have entered Hungary illegally; during the first six months of 2015, a nearly 900% increase over the same period in 2014. Approximately 95% of the migrants entering Hungary are coming from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Kosovo. On July 6, 2015, Hungary’s parliament approved the construction of a massive border fence with Serbia along the 175-kilometer frontier as part of an anti-immigration law that tightens the asylum rules. The move is aimed at stopping tens of thousands of migrants from entering Hungary, which has become a key gateway for illegal immigration into the European Union.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister has justified the moves as necessary to defend his country. “The Hungarian government is committed to defending Hungary and defending the Hungarian people from the immigration pressure. Hungary cannot allow itself to wait any longer.” Hungary is not alone. Bulgaria has built a 33-km barbed-wire fence along its border with Turkey, and more than one thousand police officers patrol the Turkish border. Greece has also erected a 10.5-km, barbed-wire fence along part of its border with Turkey. Spain has fortified fences in the North African exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. This is not a solution, nor the beginning of it. This has brought Chancellor Angela Merkel to warn that the waves of refugees are a bigger challenge than the debt crisis of Europe. Indeed, unless drastic steps are taken, Europe is becoming a province of Islam, an Islamic lebensraum.
Islamic aspirations to dominate the world politically by also enforcing the Sharī’ah as the only legitimate religion in the world are set to happen by the numbers of demography. In 1900 the entire Muslim population was almost 200 million, while the Christian population of the world was bigger almost by three times. According to data, in 2070, there will be more Muslims than Christians in the world. The number of Muslims will increase at more than double the rate of the world’s population.
There is also the persecution, massacre, enslavement, rape and annihilation of Christians in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Raymond Ibrahim, in his monthly reports and in his research proves very clearly the plight of the Christians. There is seemingly not a day goes by without Christian girls being abducted, enslaved, raped, and forced to convert, with the Islamic doctrinal justification for the Muslims’ horrific actions. It is to recall that Christian girls are considered goods to be damaged at leisure. Abusing them is a Muslim right, spoils of war, not to be considered as a crime. London and Sweden have become the capitals of rape, with no authorities’ answer. While unfortunately nobody pays attention to the many patterns of abuse against Christian minorities in the Muslim world, it is now occurring in the West in huge quantities. This is a new kind of Jihad the Free World is witnessing, without retaliation. Can one imagine what will happen when the Muslims become a majority or even 30 percent in the Western world?
2) Ban the application of the Sharī’ah as the state legal system. The first task is to try to ban the Sharī’ah as a legitimate law. It is the law in the Muslim countries, but its application in Non-Islamic states means no less than total disaster. It is possible to understand this when comparing its teachings to the US Constitution. In the US there is the separation of church and state, which was meant to protect the integrity of both, and to avoid religious power struggles. It sanctifies the separation of powers and checks and balances system. It makes the individual freedoms and civil right as a hallmark of the political processes. Islam exactly contradicts these and many more basic issues. Moreover, Islam and its teachings totally violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects the freedoms of speech and the press and praises individualism. Islam means the total submission and devotion to Allah, orders collectivism, denies that man is at the center and logic is the focus of human life. It also contradicts human freedoms and civil rights.
Islam and the Constitution of the US are incompatible, exactly like the communist and the Nazi ideologies. That is why it is easy to deny the adoption of the Sharī’ah. In Islam, freedoms and civil rights are absolutely missing; discriminating against women and disappearance of minorities are pervasive; and hatred of the other and incitement against him are the main characteristics. Islamic history and contemporary history clearly demonstrate that it spread by force and violence, which violates James Madison’s, fundamental and undeniable truth, in 1785: “We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth that religion or the duty which we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” No wonder he has been known as Father of the Constitution.
The question is how to stop Islam from being imposed on the Free World as the formal religion? Muslims can practice their religion as all other religions do, but Muslims must abide by the laws of their benevolent states’ laws and constitutions. The best way to begin with is to spread the truth about it. If we tell the truth about the bloody violent history of Islam; if we clearly observe and analyse the current Islamic politics with its extremist variations; if we tell the truth about the Sharī’ah, then Islam will be stopped in its march of occupation of the Free World. Instead of hatred and fear, so dominant in Islamic religion and way of life, one has to recall Thomas Jefferson’s: “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” Truth will also set the Free World’s peoples free and stick to the separation between the state and the religion. In our democracies man is at the centre and the rule of logic is at focus; while in Islam Allah is at the centre and submission to Allah is at focus.
The problem is that the majority of the peoples of the Free World are ignorant about the Islamic message and targets, and they are stupid enough not to learn its contents. They are naïve about the Islamic mission and they do not know about the real essence of Islam, because they do not bother to read and to learn. Instead, they act according to their own mirror image, believing the Muslims will become and behave like them. They are stunned by their failure when they watch the radicalization and extremism of the ‘third generation’ Muslims, and still they continue failing to connect the dots and come to the right conclusions. Unfortunately, they get their facts from the media; but the contemporary media is busy with a totally different agenda than conveying the Free World’s interests; and it also disseminates totally different messages.
The question is how to indoctrinate and socialize people about the deep hazards coming from Islam, about what endangers the Free World’s existence. Here comes the successful contribution of the Muslims with their diplomacy of deceit by Da’wah. When one quotes passages from the Qur’an to show how vile and evil they are, the Muslim propagators say that he quotes them out of context; and that he does not understand the meaning: that he does not even know Arabic; and that he reads the Qur’an from dubious translations, and other strange accusations. But they never tell us in what context the hundreds of verses can mean something else, and they never give another meaning. However, the fact is that those very scant verses in the Qur’an that they quote as peaceful are not only out of context, they have nothing to do with tolerance and peacefulness and compassion.
This is crucially important since it is the Islamic Da’wah’s highest strategy. It has been raised in the Netherlands; in Canada; Australia; and it is applied in Britain, after the Archbishop of Canterbury said that adoption of certain aspects of Sharī’ah in UK “seems unavoidable.” This is suicidal. The example to be taken is the Oklahoma House of Representatives which passed a Joint Resolution, 1056, to prohibit Oklahoma courts from considering Sharī’ah law in their court rulings.
If Western civilization really wants to get tough, its nations should outlaw the Sharī’ah. Public funds should be cut off immediately to Muslim groups that refuse to condemn and directly act against Muslim extremism. Muslim local imams who preach Jihad or hatred should be jailed, and those coming mainly from Saudi-Arabia, Qatar and Iran must be expelled and ban entering Western states, and their mosques closed.
c) Ban The harassing Islamic lawsuits. Western laws and values have become a weapon of war against its own by Islamic organizations. For that, it is crucially vital to protect our liberties by enacting laws prohibiting the degrading reality of Islamic lawsuits. Freedom of speech is under threat all over the Free World. The Muslim terrorists want to kill us, and Western governments want to silence us by legal or political harassment, out of intimidation and ignorance. A free society should not grant freedom to those who want to destroy it. As Abraham Lincoln said: “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”. We are not only confronted with the threat of Islamization by adopting the Sharī’ah, but also with the folly of cultural relativism and the appeasement mentality of our political leaders.
In the name of freedom, we have to speak out. No matter what the consequences are. Free speech is a fragile thing that must be boldly and courageously defended. The West’s political, academic, and media establishment are concealing the truth from their own people about the scope of the Islamic threat. Truth is our only weapon, and as long as we are free to speak, we can tell people the truth and make them realize what is at stake. However, when we defend the Judeo-Christian values and speak the truth about Islam it must not be labeled as “hate speech.” Criticizing Islam is considered ‘hate speech’ nowadays, but this attitude is anti-democratic. Criticism is the hallmark of a free society. Freedoms exist and are strengthened by criticism.
We are in the middle of the Third World War, and the battleground is not with tanks and airplanes (although this might come later on), but it is a conflict between freedom and tyranny staged on all fronts. We must spread the message about Islam. That is our first and most important duty. We have to stop pretending that Islam is only a religion. It is political more than it is a religion. It aims to occupy the world, and the Muslims declare it quite clearly, as it is written in the Qur’an. We must speak out the truth without censoring ourselves; draw the conclusions without the hedonism of the politically correct and the vicious slogans of multiculturalism and relativism; and we must act upon these conclusions courageously. If we allow ourselves to be self-censored about anything we say about Islam, soon Islam will start telling us how to live. We should never allow ourselves to be intimidated. That is how civilizations are led into political decay.
d) Change the lenient policy towards Muslim extremists, mainly Imāms that spread incitement and hatred among their followers. Michael Radu relates to the core issue of Islamic radicalism in Europe: Imāms and mosques. Without radical imāms, the entire ideological, political, psychological edifice of Islamism would crumble. No jihadist terrorist act has ever been committed without theological sanction from a cleric. Any solution has to start with the radical Imāms. The Free World states must act to deport the thousands of visiting Imāms, who mostly are financed by Saudi-Arabia and Qatar, and partly by Iran. Every investigation clearly reveals the crucial role of the Imāms in radicalizing the masses, and their role in antagonizing the Muslim communities towards and in Europe and the US. Unfortunately, Oriana Fallaci was so correct to observe that behind every Islamic terrorist there is an Imām. A life-wishing state must begin with this.
Not all Muslims are terrorists but, regrettably, the majority of the terrorists in the world are Muslims. For over 10 years, we have warned against the dangers of leniency in handling the extremism that is now spreading like a plague among Muslim immigrants. The battle is against the ideology that spreads propaganda of hatred and incitement among the Muslims. In the past, we told you: ‘Stop them!’ Today, we tell you: ‘Expel them.’ Immigration must be stopped and strict rules should be passed and enforced.
e) Ban the petro-dollar money flow of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The so-called “charity money,” Zakat, goes mainly to Da’wah’s hate and incitement organizations. Money is the blood that maintains and nurtures the Islamic occupation of Europe. Between 1982 and 2002, 1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centers and 2,000 Muslim schools were established in non-Muslim countries. There are 200 mosques and 90 imams in Austria; 1,600 Mosques and 1,250 Imams in France; 1,000 mosques and 1,500 Imams in Germany; 500 mosques and 2,000 Imams in Britain. Academic chairs for Islamic studies and Islamic research institutes exist in many universities throughout the world. Hundreds of billions of dollars were spent by Saudi charities to “propagate” Islam worldwide.
Reza Safa estimates that since 1973, the Saudi government has spent an unbelievable 87 Billion dollars to promote the ideology of Wahhabism in the US and Europe. He brings official Saudi information that shows Saudi funds have been used to build and maintain over 1,500 mosques, 202 colleges, 210 Islamic centers, and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe and the US.
In 2002, The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) undertook a survey of Saudi Arabian textbooks and its Wahhabi outlook on the West as well as Saudi notions of government and other political issues. The Report analyzes 93 school textbooks taught in grades 1-10, mostly from the years 1999-2002 and presents the religious and political worldview to school students between the ages of 6 and 16. In these Wahhabi texts, Islam is presented as the only true religion while all other religions are presented as false. “Islam is the only religion leading its followers to Paradise, whereas all other religions destroy their believers in Hell. Muslims are, consequently, superior to followers of all other religions, in both this world and the next.” The message is clear: Wahhabi Islam must dominate the entire world. There is no democratization and no modernization, as Wahhabism stands as a monument to stagnation and decline.
Muslims are obliged to consider all infidels the enemy. The West is the source of all misfortunes of the Muslim world, its most dangerous effect on Muslim society being “its cultural and intellectual influence in all fields of life.” An estimated 30,000 Muslim children attend Saudi-funded Wahhabi day schools in America. Intolerance and outright rejection of American values and democratic ideals are taught. The Saudis have also directed considerable outreach toward the American Afro-American Muslim community, and they have special programs aimed at converting blacks in US prisons.
The preaching of hatred of the Kuffār is part of demonizing and dehumanizing them, and this has been re-enforced in the mosques and Madāris all along Islamic history. Since the mid-1960s the Saudi royal family has funded Islamic radicalization around the world. The Saudi government spends billions of dollars to spread Islam to every corner of the earth deliberately and purposely. This conception resembles the Nazi indoctrination and hatred schooling of beliefs in Germany, which was proven to be so effective. Indeed, beliefs can be modified massively through propagating policy intervention. There is no pause in the Islamist hate propaganda and indoctrination among Muslim communities in the West, and it is a must, a deadly one, to find and to execute immediately effective means to de-radicalize this plague.
The Islamic doctrine of assaulting the world took place in two large waves: first, the conquests of the Middle East, Andalusia and Asia, mainly through the years 632-712, which is the period of occupations of the Arab Empire; second, through the years 1453-1683 by the Ottoman Empire. The result was horrific: civilizations have been annihilated, coerced into conversion and subjugation; the Middle East was predominantly Christian; Iran mostly Zoroastrian; Afghanistan and Central Asia were Buddhist; Pakistan was Hindu, and the Balkans were Christian. All have fallen prey to the invasion of Islam, and they are a vivid example of the standards of Islamic way of life.
Now, a third wave is taking place: the Islamic encroachment and occupation of the Free World. It uses the familiar Jihad, all sorts of intimidation, violence, and terrorism; it uses Da’wah, all means of propagation, aiming at deceiving, confusing and misleading the infidels, and to pave the way to Islamization; and it uses Hijrah, of immigration and demography, a lethal threat to flood the Free World’s territories with Muslims, and to convert their inhabitants. This is a calculated strategy by all means to achieve Islam’s universal goals to subdue and to cause Western civilization to capitulate. In the words of Oriana Fallaci, the Free World has become an outpost of an Islamic province, and in each of our cities lies a second city: a Muslim city, a city run by the Qur’an, a stage in the Islamic expansionism.
This situation is exemplified by the words of Abdallah Azzam, al-Qaeda’s founder and Bin Laden’s mentor: The life of the Islamic Ummah is solely dependent on the ink of its scholars, which is Da’wah, and the blood of its Mujāhidīn, which is Jihad, and the Muslim women’s womb, which is Hijrah. What is more beautiful than delineating the map of Islamic history with the black color that writes the Ummah’s history by its scholars, and the red color that shapes its borders by the Mujāhidīn’s blood?
The problem is that the Free World’s leaders, the media and cultural elites do not understand the situation and do not connect the dots clearly as they appear on the picture. They do not see the combined strategy of Jihad Da’wah and Hijrah. They concentrate on fighting Islamic terrorism while they totally ignore the Da’wah propagation, naively believing in a false sense of mutual friendship with Muslims, and they see the Hijrah as a social issue as the immigrants will eventually be assimilated and integrated. However, this is not only a myth, this is one of the greatest misconceptions of the millennium, and this is the worst nightmare ever, because all these groups are working, although separately and with different tactics and timetables, to achieve the same Islamic universal targets. The Free World’s leaders do not connect the dots and in fact they do work for Islam’s sake. What we do not understand is that securing our freedoms means sobriety in understanding reality and vigilance in pro-active vision. Vigilance means identifying and defining the enemy; clearly understanding the situation; and making the right, beneficial and insightful decisions. This is the first commandment of existence.
Indeed, there are moments in life when keeping silent becomes a fault, and speaking becomes an obligation, a civic duty, a moral challenge, and a categorical imperative from which we cannot escape. The moment one gives up his principles, values, and his freedoms, he is dead; his culture and way of life are dead, and his civilization is dead. Muslims who refuse to accept the Free World’s culture and way of life have the alternative not to live there. They must not try to impose their culture and way of life on us. To reject Islamic culture and way of life is an uppermost duty towards our culture, values, principles, and in fact our civilization. Europe is no longer Europe, it is Eurabia, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in mental and cultural senses. The colonization of Europe by tens of millions of Muslims is on a scale unmatched in human history. The states of Western Europe today face a large, angry, separatist population, a third and even a fourth generation of young, radical and fanatical Muslims who are ready to tear down and wreak havoc in their benevolent generous hosts’ countries.
While analyzing these spheres, it is crucially important to understand the Islamic grand strategy. It works on all the spectrums with all available means, with no orderly schemes, but according to the ‘vacuum theory’. This strategy is real, imminent and lethal. While we spend most of our energies, attention, and expenditures on fighting Jihad and thwarting terrorism, we, out of oblivion and complacency, fail to comprehend and internalize the real fronts we face, which are Da’wah and Hijrah.
Islam commands its followers to spread the religion by force of Jihad as much as by propagation of Da’wah, and the demography of Hijrah. Conquests, conversion and subduing and immigration are legitimized and justified as the means to the utmost target. The Islamic empire must continually expand, and no grain of the earth is exempted. Islam insists that the first and utmost allegiance of the believer is to Islam. More than his family, his tribe, or his country, dying for the sake of Allah is the only way to guarantee entrance into Paradise, which is the utmost motivation for creating fearless, enthusiastic, zealots warriors of Islam.
How can we explain the Free World’s ill-suited reaction; its hypnotized paralysis? Is it hedonism alone? Is it the petro-dollar? Is it the guilt and remorse of the imperialist-colonialist past? Is it the unawareness of the implications of the stealth politics of the Da’wah? The fatal errors of policy-makers, public opinion molders and the media communications can be explained by the following components: a) the distorted mirror image, which is scientifically oriented and denotes cultural fallacies; b) the politically correctness, so pervasive in the West and deeply rooted in its social behavior; c) the oblivion and opacity of policy-makers, which is the march of folly, of ignorance and stupidity; d) the mental blindness and selective hearing of the political leaders and the media concerning the situation; e) the politics of denial and mental inhibition of Western leaders. This reality causes a combined politics of appeasement and subjection to intimidation that stems out of a deep fear that runs rampant causing leadership to act as if there is nothing wrong with Islam. Tragically, truth has become the new hate speech. It exemplifies George Orwell’s: “during times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
We are frightened; intimidated; horrified; and terrorized in front of the violent, the villain and the savage, and we want to come back to our sanity out of this madness — by running away; by giving in and paying “protection money;” and by accommodating ourselves to their demands. An indication of this horrific situation comes from Tim Benson, Head of the Cartoonists Union in Britain: after smearing Israeli politicians so many times, in a purely anti-Semite approach, he was asked why he does not even try to blame the Muslims. His answer is the best for unmasking the issue: “the Jews do not issue killing Fatawā.”
This is the whole story: ‘the Jews do not issue killing Fatwahs;’ and the Christians too do not issue killing Fatwahs; only Muslims issue killing Fatwahs. And the horrible thing is that there are so many among the Muslims who run enthusiastically to perform and execute these atrocious obscene Fatwahs. In the same vein, here is the proof: a couple of Danish artists produced an ‘artistic’ exhibition in Berlin in April 2010, by drawing the map of the Middle East without the existence of Israel. Jews and Christians are persecuted, harassed, and at the same time are pictured as demons and the epitome of evil, without any fear of a ‘killing Fatawā.’
However, this is nothing compared to the main issue. Islam would have not won without the close assistance of the empty, unscientific, pseudo-academic ideas of the anarchist-Bolshevik production of multiculturalism and moral relativism. Islam would have not won without the naïve, ignorant, false beliefs, political correctness, and misconceptions of the Free World. The result is horrific: we live in an world turned upside-down, as Melanie Phillips asserts: the rejection of the Judeo-Christian tradition and the victory of post-modernism have paved the way for and facilitated the dooming of Western culture. Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam, an Islamic lebensraum, as much as the entire Free World.
That is, if the Free World does not wake up and sober up very soon; if it does not leave behind its political correctness and complacency; if it continues its ignorance and stupidity about what Islam really means; if it continues its intoxicated slumber and its idiot-fool beliefs about the good in every human being — then there is a high probability that the highest modern technological society will perish. But there is also a great paradox: Islam cannot live on its own. Muslims need others to sustain and to activate modern life. From the very first days, Muslims used to live by raids (Ghazawāt) plundering the others and taking booty (Ghanā’im) from them. What future is left for them without raids on the other and without their booty? That is, a double tragedy occurs: as long as Islam continues its encroachment, the Free World is weakening; and as it weakens, Islam becomes stronger to the point of annihilating the Free World, it being Kuffār. But this annihilation also means the destruction of Islam. This is the pure embodiment of the Pyrrhic victory, a tragedy to all participants.
Winston Churchill has written the following, in his book from 1899:
Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.”
Indeed, this is exactly how civilization dies. In the struggle for our free democratic existence, we must reiterate the quotation of old Cato in the Roman Senate: Ceterum senseo Carthago esse delendam. It was Winston Churchill, to declare in his May 1940 speech in the British Parliament:
“You ask: what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory; victory at all costs; victory in spite of all terror, however long or hard the road may be. For without victory there is no survival.”
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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