News From The House of Islam

More news than usual from the Muslim world in the week ending October 9th 2009.

Iranian so-called “Justice” condemned to death a former demonstrator (Le Figaro). He was charged and convicted of “waging war against God.” His lawyer pointed out that he was not armed when he was arrested in a demonstration. No need to be. If the Supreme Council of Clerics represents God on Earth, any criticism is an act of war against God. Impeccable logic.

Elsewhere, high-level Muslim authorities seem to be waking up, at last; two in one week. But first, a vocabulary brush-up for those of you who attended a Community Studies Program, or an Ethnic Studies Program, or a Women’s Studies Program.

Islamic” and “Muslim” are synonymous. They both mean “in submission (to God’s will).”

An Islamist is a Muslim who wants to establish a single state for all Muslims, under religious Islamic law – Sharia – rather than the mixture of Islamic principles and Western-style civil and criminal codes prevailing in most predominantly Muslim countries.

In many cases, the Islamic law the Islamist refer to, or think they refer to means fundamentalist law from the Middle Ages. Curiously much of it is far from the Koran, the basic Muslim religious book. It also ignores the modernizing effect of several centuries of updating by Muslim scholars.

The current “Islamic Republic of Iran” gives you an idea of what Islamists aspire to.

Many Islamists, not all, are also violent jihadists. “Jihad” just means “struggle.” It can mean struggle against one’s own sin, against sin in general, or against non-Muslims. Sometimes, it means squarely holy war against “unbelievers.” Unbelievers are those who disagree with jihadists about the nature of God and of divine law. The fact is that violent jihadists have murdered many more Muslims than non-Muslims.

The Koran clearly differentiates between Muslims, Christians and Jews, people who follow a sacred book, and everyone else. Christians and Jews are supposed to be protected minorities are supposed to be tolerated. (Even the Hamas Charter – linked on this blog – admit this.) Christians and Jews may live in a country under Islamic rule but they have to pay extra taxes.

There will be a quiz!

In the week ending Saturday 10/9/09, the Santa Cruz Sentinel published a longish AP report on the declaration of a top, or of the top Egyptian Muslim cleric. He is banning full-face mask for women in all schools over which he has authority. This matters, for three reasons. First, he is the head of Al Azhar mosque and university to which many schools In Egypt belong. Second, Islam has no Vatican but the most influential Islamic institution in the world is undoubtedly Al Azhar. Third, Egypt accounts for one third of the Arab population of the world. As goes Egypt, so goes the Arab world is the common wisdom.

The sheik’s statements were not novel from the standpoint of religious doctrine but they were politically courageous in their firmness and clarity.

The cleric is quoted as saying forcefully, “ [ the face veil] has nothing to do with Islam…I know about religion better than you [girls] and your parents.”

The statement may seem superfluous because all students of the Muslim religion already know that the veil is not required by their religion. However, many ordinary Muslims, including in the US and in other western countries, don’t seem to know that. In many cases, they seem to have been taught a mixture of elementary Islamic doctrine and tribal religions and superstitions. Many are not intellectually equipped to disentangle the two.

Incidentally, the French government has long banned even the head scarf in public schools, for girls under eighteen. I think the main Muslim representative organizations in France supported the French government in this matter. Turkey, nominally a 95+ Muslim countries has long banned the head scarf in all public buildings, including courts. (The Turkish rules are being questioned more and more as I write.)

There was another important declaration, by another Egyptian Muslim cleric Thursday in the WSJ (10/08/09) The president of the Islamic religious courts for Egypt made the statement. Islamic courts rule on matter of morals and on the conformity of Egyptian law to Muslim legal principles. After the a convoluted speech, Arabic style, and a ritualistic call for the end of Israeli occupation of Palestine, Sheik Ali Goma said the following:

I am going to a conference on Muslim- Christian understanding in Georgetown, I will insist that representatives of all Abrahamic faiths be included. “

Those are Muslims, Christians and Jews. The gentleman was calling directly for a dialog with Jews. This is a new one for a highly placed Egyptian although it’s completely in keeping with Islamic tenets.

Earlier in his column, the sheik had squarely condemned 9/1 1 terrorism and violence against civilians in general.

Again, none of this is new from the standpoint of religious principles. I had just not heard it so clearly said until now.

Both clerics are brave men. They are openly courting assassination. I, for one, am grateful for this ray of hope from that part of the world. The Obamanationist media did not seem to notice. As I keep telling you, they are lazy, not evil.


About Jacques Delacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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4 Responses to News From The House of Islam

  1. Jihad means struggle says:

    Sorry but you’ve got your fact about Jihad wrong!

    In Arabic, the word jihād is a noun meaning “struggle.” Jihad requires Muslims to “struggle in the way of God” or “to struggle to improve one’s self and/or society.” Within Islamic belief, Muhammad is said to have regarded the inner struggle for faith the “greater jihad”, prioritizing it over physical fighting in defense of the Ummah, or members of the global Islamic community. One famous hadith has the prophet saying: “We have returned from the lesser jihad (battle) to the greater jihad (jihad of the soul).”

    The jihad of battle is only applicable when your country is attacked by others. It’s not for attacking unbelievers. Muslims are specifically instructed to treat everyone with tolerance and respect and never to use force when sending invitation towards Islam.

    If someone is driving the car wrong, it’s not the car’s fault!

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Silent Walker: The disagreement is so small that I am not sure it’s even a disagreement. I think you speak with the voice of the most orthodox Islam. I also hope you do. However, there is no doubt that many people who think of themselves as Muslims subscribe to the idea that there is a legitimate form of jihad that is simply war against unbelievers, without or without prior aggression from the unbelievers. If that is not true, the Muslim conquests of what is now Pakistan and of what is now Spain were not jihads. Let’s see what others say about this. Moreover, the concept of “aggression” is always elastic. That’s pretty much true everywhere and at all times. The French mounted a military expedition in Algeria in 1930, because the Dey of Algiers is supposed to have slapped the French consul with his glove. It’s not even sure he did. At any rate, that was considered enough of an aggression to trigger a French military expedition followed by total conquest. Osama Bin Laden would almost certainly argue that the stationing of American soldiers in Saudi Arabia, at Saudi government’s request, was an act of American military aggression. I am open minded. I will hear what you and others have to say.

  2. Thanks says:

    Thank you for accepting my comment and your reply. The disagreement might be small here, in relation to your post. But in the bigger picture, Jihad has almost got the sole meaning of ‘holy war’ now-a-days. Which is totally wrong, hence I was trying to imply that.

    You’re right, Osama might argue that and he would probably pick a verse from Quran to justify it. A verse that would probably say protecting your motherland is noble (or something similar). But then again, there are verses like this that says killing one innocent human is equal to destroying the entire human race.

    I’m not here to defend anyone but the religion. There are loads of misconception about Islam today and I’m merely trying to point that out.

    A wise man had said, if you have to judge Islam by someones action, judge it only by the action of prophet Muhammad. I hope that makes sense.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Sorry, layout mistake. This is a reply to a reader comment that follows it

      You may have noticed that on my posting, I took the trouble to defend jihad as other than war against unbelievers first. I agree with you that there are many misconceptions about Islam. I think the fault lies squarely with Muslims who allow the bad guys among those who call themselves Muslims to define them. I can hear you from here telling me that the media do not give voice to orthodox and peaceful Muslims like you. However, when I look up websites with a name that contains the words “Muslim” or “Islamic,” I find them full of petty concerns about discrimination against Muslims on such unimportant issues as women wearing the veil. I do not find that they discuss the hot issues for many or most Americans that appear to involve Muslims or Islam. Such websites – surely not controlled by the big media – do little or nothing to dispel prejudice. In fact, I think they comfort prejudice. Why is it left to non-Muslims like me to do the obvious and explain? Incidentally, I hope that you will show me wrong on the websites and direct me to one that I can take seriously.
      Judging Islam by its prophet makes no sense to me. Any group is what it does, not what its moral leaders tell it to do. Of course, my original posting was not a bout Islam, the religion. I am obviously not a theologian. It was about current events.

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