Saturday, 10 January 2009

Muslims against Sharia

This is the name of an interesting looking Islamic reform movement. Read an informative interview here. They define themselves as "moderates." Here's an extract:

Question: what exactly is the difference between a moderate Muslim and a radical Muslim? Where is the fine line that separates them?

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

This response almost begs this question:

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

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

As much as I dislike Sharia and radical Islam, I struggle to see how this move can be considered theologically acceptable. It contradicts the heart of the idea that God revealed his pre-existent book to Mohammed. It also contradicts the Islamic gospel that it is only when the world submits to its creator, on the terms of Islam, that there can be peace. That hardly seems like "a private, non-political religion."

The interviewer asks great questions and makes astute observations. Here is his/her response to the Moderate Muslim's comparison of his desire for reform with the reformations that have taken place in Christianity:

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

But in any case, it is all of our great hope that Muslims such as yourself can succeed in the reformation you wish to engender in Islam.

Update: I've sinced discovered that they have their own blog, at Muslims Against Sharia.

36 comments:

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

There is a somewhat convenient mechanism present in the Koran itself that would permit a more peaceful Islam to flourish. There are two broad sets of 'revelations' in the surahs of the Koran, those from Mecca, before the hijra, and those from Medina, after it. The earlier texts tend toward more universalist positions, with some being quite beautiful. The later texts are entirely different. Not only was Mohammed by then a secular leader, but had experienced rejection from various quarters. These are the source of the vengeful and legalistic surahs. A reform movement in Islam would be required to do two things for an effective change: 1.) focus on the Meccan surahs; 2.) reject the ahadith (which are where the violence is really canonized). I don't expect either to ever happen, though. Every non-violent reform movement to appear in Islam has been rejected. More power to them, though!

steph said...

The interviewer seems to imply that this 'moderate Islam' is a new phenomenon in that last sentence. If he does imply this he is wrong.

Phil Sumpter said...

Kevin, that is useful information, thank you! I've had a Quran lying on my bookshelf for ages but I just can't find the time to read it. One day, I hope ...

Steph,

it sounds totally modernistic to me. Could you give me examples of something similar to this from the past?

Anonymous said...

Have you see a muslim demonstration against muslim terror?_____
so Fuck islam. The Best mohammed T-shirt art is from Sweden.Watch and read the info at,
http://www.mohammedt-shirt.com

Phil Sumpter said...

Anonymous,

I'm not sure I have. I'm often disappointed by the lack of public reaction by Muslims against Islamic terror. I did, however, discover this partly Muslim website.

Having said that, I think that as Western world further degenerates into a culture of short-term physical gratification, superficial materialism, sexual perversion, and capitalist colonialism we can learn a fair bit from Isalmic ideals.

As for the website, I don't see what purpose it serves apart from creating hatred and pain amongst those who, in light of the site's obviously ignorant self-righteousness, rightly feel that they are not being treated as human beings.

steph said...

Muslims in commonwealth countries practice their religion in a moderate way, interpret the Quran in a moderate way, do not believe in 'holy war' or 'Sharia' law or Islamic supremacy and have always been very vocal against radical Islam. Sure there are radical groups but they are a minority. Not all Muslims in Islamic countries are radical Muslims either. The article above seems to imply all are members of Al Qaeda.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

steph: "Muslims in commonwealth countries practice their religion in a moderate way, interpret the Quran in a moderate way, do not believe in 'holy war' or 'Sharia' law or Islamic supremacy and have always been very vocal against radical Islam. Sure there are radical groups but they are a minority."

Really? And what exactly do you base you scholarly opinion on?

RantingKid said...

steph-

Thanks to a apologist media and liberal bias, we are all very, VERY well aware that most Muslims are moderate and that it is only a small number of radical that are in favor or Islamic supremacy. Everyday we are reminded of this (or so it seems to me). We cannot let this fact deter us from confronting actual violent radical Islamism- no matter how much of a minority these radicals are, they are still doing huge amounts of damage. (London, New York, Mumbai, etc.) This article does not imply all Muslims are terrorists, and I'm sick of any discussion about radical Islam being denounced as "Islamophobic" scrambling to remind us that radicals are a minority.

steph said...

I have lived in three Commonwealth countries, UK,NZ and Aus, and my first degree in History of Religions majored in Islam and I have lived with Muslim families and attended mosque during my studies.

Ranting kid - the article suggests that moderate Islam is new. It isn't. That is the only point I was making. I was not discussing confronting radical Islam although perhaps contra the American view of confronting radical Islam it is more helpful to understand the cause and recognise why for example it appeals to disenfranchised youth in the UK. But of course most Americans prefer the type of language such as 'pre-emptive strike' and attacking the surface without dealing with the roots.

Phil Sumpter said...

Thanks for your feeback guys,

Steph, you may be right, but I'm still unsure. I guess I'll have to keep my eyes open. At least here in Germany, one of the most liberal countries now concerning the treatment of foreigners, it is a hot issue, with magazine aritcles and books on the silent Isalmisation of the West. I went to a liberal mosque when at uni in Wales and the sermon was on spiritual jihad. I later spoke with the preacher on this, who said that military jihad was also an option, but only when the sunnis and shia were united again.

Nevertheless, as you say, a lot of sensitivity is required.

I'd appreciate any examples or moderate ancient Islam.

steph said...

Doesn't sound like the liberal Islam I am talking about. I never claimed any knowledge of moderate ancient Islam so I'm really not sure why you have twice asked. And that would be difficult as not all Islamic philosophers discussed things which such clarity anyway. What I was suggesting was there exists a moderate practice of Islam in Commonwealth countries where I have lived and studied which does not believe in military jihad. And in NZ, a particularly secular country, you'd be hard stretched to find Muslims with fundamentalist radical beliefs. On the other hand I come across the odd fundamentalist Christian with pretty scary beliefs.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

steph, you knowledge seem to cover what you your teachers wanted you to know or what you wanted to see. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. Look at the results of our polls to see how many Muslims are moderate. Keep in mind that Muslims who have access to the internet are probably more moderate than Muslims in general.

steph said...

I have no "teachers". I had supervisors who reviewed my work. My research as a post graduate is independent. My research involves living in Muslim communities and talking to them independently. I really don't see the point of your link to a questionaire I am not interested in filling. Are you a practising Muslim? If you are I am astonished at your naivity of Islam in the wider world. Perhaps you are American.

steph said...

Phil - you said, I'm often disappointed by the lack of public reaction by Muslims against Islamic terror. Perhaps you might like to do a little research on New Zealand for example? Then you won't be disappointed. The Muslim population is relatively quite large and is very outspoken on everything from the evil of Islamic terror to the ridiculousness of changing the name of Christmas and saying 'happy holidays'. Here, we ALL say happy Christmas...

Phil Sumpter said...

Hi Steph,

sorry, I guess it was a misunderstanding. The question was in response to this statement: The interviewer seems to imply that this 'moderate Islam' is a new phenomenon.

I'm not aware of the situation in NZ. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I'm was thinking more of England. I studied anthropology at a university with a successful Islamic Studies department. I studied a bit of Arabic and hung out with the teacher and her Muslim husband a bit, talking to religious Muslims at their various social events. They were intelligent and Westernised. Nevertheless, the military implementation of Islam in some form or other was not considered unthinkable. These are my experiences. I've never come accross anything to make me think otherwise, beyond you're statements about NZ. Perhaps you're right ... I guess the search goes on. I do think, however, that "Musliams Against Sharia" has important things to say which the politically correct need to wake up to. I guess the issue is how widespread and deepset these views are in the West.

Oh, and my experience is based on events here in Germany, which has a large Turkish population, e.g. honour killings, abuse of women, court rulings guaranteeing them their own laws, violation of building permits on mosques etc. I get this from the general news, not from "anti-muslim" sources.

The more I wrote the more that occurs to me ... A close friend of ours grew up in an integrated and educated Pakistani family. She lived a double life, too afraid to tell them that her life style was not Muslim (drinking and boyfriends). When they found out, she was expelled from her home and legally desenfranchised (she was forced to sign a contract saying she was no longer part of the family) and barred from all contact. But who reports all this? Where are the moderate voices? When nuns were killed because of an academic statement about the Pope, the BBC had an interview with the representative of the British Muslim society. You would have thought that such a large and important organisation would think long and hard about who should represent it. His remarks were nothing more than a blind rant and one could see the obvious frustration of the interviewer. Things like this don't do much to build my confidence.

But perhaps things are different in NZ ...

steph said...

We are aware of those European cases - they get reported in the commonwealth and it is just the sort of Islam that Muslims in Australasia get furious about. They insist that Islam is a religion of peace. There appears to be more diversity of practice in the UK and I think this is because there is alot more racism due to resentment of all immigrants there and people in big cities tend to live separated into different surburbs by their ethnicity. In NZ and Australia, the first peoples were Maori and Aborigine and subsequent settlers were all immigrants. Now we live together and marry each other and even I have both Irish and Maori whanau (family).

However while I think Australasian moderate Islam is not just a phenomenon isolated to the Commonwealth of course I think the Muslims for Moderate Islam do have an important public message to make prominent and when they do, perhaps you will hear more of the moderate Islam that already exists.

Phil Sumpter said...

Interesting views on the colonial past of Australasia. That may well be the reason. I actually saw a report on CNN a while back that anti-Muslim sentiment is rising in Australia, which, according to Muslim youth workers, was leading to their radicalisation.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

"I really don't see the point of your link to a questionaire I am not interested in filling."

Are you really that retarded? Nobody wants you to fill out anything. Results of these polls prove that your "research" is worthless.

steph said...

Who on earth bothers to fill in your polls?!! Come on, you are the retarded one. That survey would have wasted half an hour of my time. Your polls are worthless.

steph said...

Yes Australia has a little more white racism. Look at the way they've treated the aborigines. I think CNN have blown the situation up. Also with the Howard government now dead and buried, that sort of right wing supremacy can be controlled.

steph said...

Just in case you don't realise, oh plural identity, your link leads me to a survey, not any results of polls. The survey is long, and from the questions, I would think only a radical Muslim with alot of time to waste would bother answering. I don't know anyone who bothers filling in internet surveys. Even market researchers door to door and phone, have a very low hit rate. So, plural identity, why would I take results of such a survey seriously?

Muslims Against Sharia said...

"Who on earth bothers to fill in your polls?!! Come on, you are the retarded one. That survey would have wasted half an hour of my time. Your polls are worthless."

If you weren't such a retarded fuck, you'd notice that polls are taken by thousands of people, including hundreds of Muslims. You bullshit studies are based on assumptions of a dumb fuck (you.) Our polls' results correspond to similar polls taken by other organization.

However, a fucking moron like you would always place his/her opinions above the facts; that's why your "study" is as much of a piece of shit as its author.

Phil Sumpter said...

I'd appreciate it if the tone can be kept civil and the arguments objective, on both sides.

steph said...

Phil - did you look at the link? It doesn't provide any results of polls but is a rather long survey, worded in such a way that I can't imagine who would be inspired to fill it in, let alone that any intelligent 'moderate' Muslim would.

With that final comment the credibility of muslims against sharia just went out the window. I don't see any relationship between muslims against sharia now at all, and the peaceful Islamic communities I know.

Phil Sumpter said...

Whether the link is valuable or not, the way you two are talking to each other is appalling.

In fact, all discussion of the link is now banned. You can communicate about in private, if you wish.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

steph, I know it is hard for a pseudo-intellectual to figure out such complicated thing as a two-button poll, so let me help you. You click "View" button and you see the results of the survey. There is no need to click "View" button on every poll, just the ones that are relevant.

I.e., you claim that Muslims in commonwealth countries practice their religion in a moderate way, interpret the Quran in a moderate way, do not believe in 'holy war' or 'Sharia' law or Islamic supremacy and have always been very vocal against radical Islam.

But according to out polls majority of Muslims think that Islam should be a dominant religion, that Sharia should not be abolished, that most non-Muslims dislike or hate Muslims, that moderate Muslims strife for or believe in Islamic supremacy, that terrorism is an acceptable tactic, that al Qaeda, Hamas, and PIG are not terrorist organizations, that honor violence is either justified or it's a fiction.

Doesn't this prove that your research is extremely inaccurate to say the least?

steph said...

No thanks, I don't discuss anything in private or public with someone who uses insults and bad language to communicate.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

steph,

It is not my fault it is so easy to prove what a fraud you are. Next time you pull the 'facts' out of your ass and try to pass them as legitimate 'research,' make sure your 'reserach' resembles reality at least to some degree.

steph said...

That is silly, you haven't proved anything and really, there is no point in insults and bad language. This discussion has been banned.

Phil, I am sorry - I regret imitating Muslims against Sharia by calling him 'retarded'. I should have stopped responding instead. Feel free to delete all my comments.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

"That is silly, you haven't proved anything and really"

Of course not. Who cares about the opinions of thousands of "idiots" when they contradict such a "distinguished scholar" like you?

Phil Sumpter said...

Muslims Against Sharia,

regardless of the validity of your view point or your poll, I am so appalled at your foul language and unnecessarily abusive approach that if you make another similar statement you will be banned from this blog alltogether .This is the first time this has happened on my blog and I'm tempted to delete the entire discussion ... I'm leaving it for time being simply for archival reasons, as a testimony to the fact that even reformed moderates need to learn a thing or two about how to communicate fairly and constructively (this post links to your blog after all).

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Dear Phil,

Why don't you take your pathetic little threats, stick them up your ass, and go fuck yourself while you're at it? We get enough shit from Islamonazis, we don't need more of it from retarded fucks like you.

Phil Sumpter said...

OK, I break my rule. You can post that kind of stuff here. As I said, for educational reasons. Were you the interviewee in the the article I posted to?

Muslims Against Sharia said...

No, that was someone else.

Phil Sumpter said...

You may want to discuss this thread with your colleagues, to see if they are content having their organisation represented like this.

American Muslim, not Muslim-American said...

Really? You don't seem to give a shit about some Islamonazi fuck whitewashing radical Islam, but you have a problem with the language? Until people like you remove their heads from up their asses and get their priorities straight, the West will keep losing it's so-called "War on Terror."