Confronting Islamophobia Sources & Remedies E. I. D. ( Educate – Identify – Define ) by Ahmed I. Vanya March 02 2012Feedback: email@example.com Version 12.0http://home.comcast.net/~ahmedv
Islamophobia➲ FEAR, HATRED, & PREJUDICE of Islam & Muslims➲ Rising since 9/11 in US, Europe & elsewhere➲ Many reports published(2011): “Fear, Inc.” - Center of American Progress “Same Hate, New Target” - by UC Berkeley Center for Race & Gender + CAIR - Strong in describing the “network”, “funding”, “personalities” - Weak in comprehensive assessment of issues from all angles – not Holistic“A critical study of Islam or Muslims is not Islamophobic,” former CAIRResearch Director Mohamed Nimer wrote in 2007. “Likewise, a disapprovinganalysis of American history and government is not anti-American… “Islamophobia & Anti-Americanism – Causes & Remedies 2
OBJECTIVES EDUCATE: ➲ Increase mutual understanding between the Muslims & the rest of the society. ➲ Eliminate or reduce mutual fear, hatred or prejudice. ➲ Explain fundamental Muslim values to non-Muslims. ➲ Explain fundamental American values to Muslims. ➲ Enable Muslims to participate effectively in American soci- ety at all levels – enhance the American Muslim brand.3 ➲ Increase my own knowledge & education.
The Basics➲ Faith in: Allah, Our principles (Truth, Justice, Compassion), Ourselves – “with every hardship comes ease”➲ Principles comes First, then comes Practice➲ Nobody is Perfect; we all need constant improvement➲ Search & embrace the TRUTH wherever it may lead us➲ Partisans only see partial view, truth seekers seek the global view “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor...” (Quran 4:135)
Muslims & America➲ Muslims in US have a voluntary “Contract of Security” with US➲ Reject always blaming America (Muslims) first - unfair➲ Neither “War on Islam” nor “War on US”: too simplistic➲ Have a long, comprehensive & balanced view of history: Treatment of Native Americans, slavery, internment Expansion & conquest by Muslims➲ US Foreign Policy: Hegemony, Imperialism, Neocolonialism Japan, Germany, South Korea, Eastern Europe - Prospered➲ US Domestic Policy: Erosion of civil liberties since 9/11 – Patriot Act, FISA Two admin., Congress, Supreme Court all for Security; government overreach in war time! Need to balance with Liberty.➲ Gov. by the people(fallible) is always a work-in-progress (ex. Scandals: Watergate, Iran-contra etc.)➲ Be fair & realistic, and hold on to the principles
FREEDOM “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence➲ Freedom is not only a core American virtue but a Universal one. FREEDOM ==== PREREQUISTE====> SUBMISSION Al Azhar: Document for Basic Freedoms - Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb➲ Liberal Democracy vs. Illiberal Democracy (Tyranny of the majority)➲ Freedom => Prosperity & Knowledge: Marketplace of Ideas➲ Embrace & tolerate dissent & diversity of view points – (70/30 rule)➲ Freedom requires Responsibility & Maturity➲ Embracing freedom means we cannot avoid some amount of evil 6
Al-Azhar: Freedom Document - 2012➲ Freedom of Belief - Sura Al-Baqarah 2:256, Sura Al-Kahf 18:29➲ Freedom of Opinion & Expression➲ Freedom of Scientific Research➲ Freedom of Artistic & Literary Creation➲ No conflict between Democracy & Sharia➲ Rejects abusing: “Ordering Right & Forbidding Evil” -Amr-bil Maruf..➲ Rejects Takfir: "If a person says something that most probably denotes disbelief, yet still there is a remote possibility it does not, it should not be taken to denote disbelief." - Imam Malik et al➲ "If the mind and the text are apparently conflicting, the mind should be given precedence and the text reinterpreted." - Ijtihad => Islah & Tajdid➲ Concerns: Conversion, Article II, Faraj Fouda, Nasr Abu Zayd 7➲ GREAT STEP FORWARD !!!
Identify Islamophobia➲Islamo-”mala”-phobia Fear of Islam/Muslims with bad intention(s) Mere ignorance does not translate to Fear/Hatred➲Islamo-”bona”-phobia Bona fide fear of Islam/Muslims “There is no point in telling people who are afraid that their fear is somehow illegitimate or misplaced—particularly when by all rights it isn’t.” -Assist. Prof. Mohamed Nimer National Interest (July/Aug. 2011)Pew Research(Aug 2011): 60% of Muslims are very or somewhat concernedabout the rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S.Attributing phobia as 100% malicious ==> Alienation + Radicalization
Islamo-”mala”-phobia➲ Hatred & Distrust of others -Prejudice➲ Jealousy & Envy of Muslims➲ Hatred Influenced by foreign conflicts ex: Arab-Israeli, Indian-Pakistani etc.➲ Spreading hatred to win favor/votes from extremist elements (far-right Christian & Jewish groups) Identify the “oxygen” & the “fuel” and cutoff the supply!!!➲ Do the right thing for our own Good, not to please anyone!!! Islamophobe without valid reason => Islamophobe has NO clothes !!!!
Islamo-”bona”-phobia➲ Violent actions by foreign & domestic Muslims (Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Nidal Hasan etc.)➲ Militants quoting scripture to commit violence, intolerant teachings➲ Conduct of Muslims in Muslim lands Infighting, apostasy & blasphemy laws, mistreatment of women and minoritie s➲ Muslim Overreaction (Teddy Bear Affair), violent protests leading to deaths➲ Religio-cultural clashes(prayer time,dietary, dogs) accommodations➲ Universal Humanitarian Values vs. Shariah➲ Statement of Muslim leaders before & after 9/11➲ Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America – citizenship = apostasy etc.➲ The Rise & Sweep of the Saudi Islam plus political Islam(MB, Jamaat-i-Islam) throughout the world at the expense of traditional & Sufi Islam➲ Muslim Brotherhood Memo from Holy Land Foundation Trial 10
Inquiring minds want to Know➲ What is the real agenda of the Muslims? Fundamental Question For Freedom or Against Freedom???➲ Why are Muslims more militant in their heart- lands?➲ Will Muslims in America become more militant with increase in numbers?➲ Are peaceful Muslims really following the tenets of Islam? 11
E Pluribus Unum ➲ Avoiding violence is a very LOW threshold. Why? Living in a society requires basic compatibility. ➲ Insisting on legal rights might not always be appropriate. ➲ Affirm the US Constitution to be the Supreme Law of the land - a voluntary commitment. ➲ Avoid creating a parallel society-within- a-society. (ex:Amish) ➲ Need to Seek: Trust + Goodwill12 in any relationship.
Confronting Islamophobia➲ Dress, Beard, Scarf: Try to blend-in, avoid extreme head-covering, carry American flag to ward off evil.➲ Be a good person (individual, family, neighbor, co- worker, citizen) & role model.➲ No apology BUT clarity; define & distinguish clearly.➲ Be active, speak up & stand up for justice & truth, whatever the issue might be, without being afraid to either criticize or be open to criticism.➲ Engage in interfaith & intra-faith activities.➲ Network with like-minded groups & individuals.➲ Engage with opposing groups & compete in telling the truth & standing up for justice. 13
Explaining Scripture➲ Need to do a good job in explaining Quran & Hadith passages, emphasizing justice, peace & mercy as fundamental values of Islam➲ It is not good enough to point to scriptures of other religions and say that they are equally (or more) violent➲ If no immediate answers are available, be hon- est and admit difficulties & need for further re- search➲ Beware of the purveyors of “Double-talk”
Tactics & StrategyAddress Easy Issues with Most People: Concentrate on Hard Issues with the Pundits Monotheistic Religion Root Causes Abrahamic Religion Chain Reaction Five Pillars More Bang for the Buck!!!Do not neglect the One tree supports One expert/pundit influencesLow Hanging Fruit! many Branches!!! many ordinary people. 15
Fundamental Issues FEAR OF: Islamic Law + Islamic State➲ Anti-Sharia Bills➲ Opposition to Mosques + Muslim Leaders➲ Q:Why harass “PEACEFUL MUSLIMS”?????➲ A: Battle of Ideas !!!!
Sharia Law or Islamic Law➲ Sharia = Path or Way to Watering Hole Human interpretative effort to be faithful to Divines Will➲ Sources: Quran(Revelation), Hadith & Sunna(Prophet Conduct) Qiyas(Analogy), Ijma(Consensus), Maslaha(Public Interest) Ijtihad(Personal Effort Ruling of Mujtahid), Urf (Societal customs)➲ Fiqh(Understanding): Legal Schools – (Madahib), (Taqlid vs. Ijtihad) Sunni - Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki, Hanbali - 75% same Shia - Jaafari, Zaydi etc.➲ Maqasids(Goals): Life, Religion, Lineage, Intellect, Property, (Dignity) – Reform Meth.➲ Ahkaam/Fatwa(Legal Rulings / Opinion): Wajib/fard (obligatory) Mustahabb (recommended) Mubah (neutral) Makruh (not recommended) Haraam (prohibited)➲ Religious, Civil, Political, Military, Legal, Criminal, Financial, Cultural - System➲ Historical Practice: Consolidated in first 300yrs, but selectively enforced➲ Islamic State: Modern State + Enforcement of Sharia by Islamic Scholars 17
Basic Human Rights Universal Declaration of Human Rights - UN Article 18 Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and reli- gion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam -OIC Article 24 All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shariah. Article 25 The Islamic Shariah is the only source of reference for the explana-18 tion clarification to any of the articles of this Declaration.
“Islamic” For Muslims For Non-Muslims Intrinsic Extrinsic + Exclusive Personal Alien, Exotic Sacred + Divine Historical + Current Cohesive Multifarious Easy Acceptance Manifestations Apprehension Peace + Beauty + Justice + Mercy Confusion!!! “will die to establish “Islam” in this land” BETTER19 19 “will struggle to establish JUSTICE & PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE !!!”
Statements by Muslim LeadersDomestic Imam(NYT 2006):He said he still hoped that one day theUnited States would be a Muslim countryruled by Islamic law, "not by violent means,but by persuasion."Foreign Shaykh:“We will conquer Europe, we will conquerAmerica! Not through the sword but throughDawa(proselytizing).” 20
Holy Land Foundation for Relief and DevelopmentThe 2008 trial of the charity leaders was dubbed the "largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history.”In 2009, the founders of the organization were given life sentences for "funneling $12 million to Hamas."An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goalfor the Group In North America is a document seized by thegovernment that was used in the 2008 United States v. HLFcase.The memo was written in 1991 by Mohamed Akram, a seniorHamas leader in the U.S., a member of the Board of Directorsfor the Muslim Brotherhood in North America and one ofmany unindicted co-conspirators in the HLF trial. 21
HAMASLeader Ismail Haniyeh said (U.S. killing of Osama Bin Laden):"We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holywarrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believersand the martyrs."Hamas Charter(1988)Article Thirteen:There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of timeand vain endeavors.Article Thirty-one:Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three re-ligions - Islam, Christianity and Judaism - to coexist in peace andquiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible exceptunder the wing of Islam. 22
Muslim Brotherhood Memomemo described the group’s mission here as:“The process of settlement is a "Civilization-Jihadist Process"“a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Westerncivilization from within, ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by theirand the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’sreligion is made victorious over all other religions.”The center we seek is the one which constitutes the “axis” of ourMovement, the “perimeter” of the circle of our work, our “balancecenter”, the “base” for our rise and our “Dar al-Arqam” to educateus, prepare us and supply our battalions in addition to being the“niche” of our prayers.“Supporting the establishment of the global Islamic State wherever it is”. 23
Questions from an Insider: Prof. Mohamed Nimer (CAIR’s Dir. of research 1995 -2007)➲ Public concern about the transplantation of Islamist politics, in which American Muslims are beholden to priorities developed in power centers overseas, is not illegitimate.➲We need to know if members of Islamist groups truly re- spect the obligations of American citizenship, or if they abide by them opportunistically merely to enjoy the rights and tactical advantages citizenship brings.➲We need to know whether or not groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood have genuinely moderated their views as a result of their members’ experiences of life in America, or not. - National Interest (July/Aug. 2011) 24
U. S. First Amendment“ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment ofreligion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridgingthe freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of thepeople peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Govern-ment for a redress of grievances. ”➲ No religious law. (Separation of Church/Mosque & State) “God Bless America”, “In God We Trust” (Not Divisive, not anti-religion)➲Freedom of Religion & Belief➲Freedom of Speech & Press (Protects Hate Speech),ex. 2+2=5 ?➲Freedom to Assemble & Petition Grievances➲These Freedoms are NOT Absolute!!! 25
Quranic support for Separation Qur’an 2:256: “There is No Compulsion in Religion…” No Compulsion ==> No Force ==> No (State) Religious Law Islamic Law => Gods Law => Islamic Guidance & Ethics (Good & Bad Will be Decided on the Day of Judgment) Separate but not Antagonistic !!! 26
Problems with Theocracy➲ It is inherently unfair to establish a state religion.➲People can have religion or no religion, but ideally the state must be neutral to be fair to all the citizens.➲Theocracy is basically rule by the clerics: “Speaking in Gods name”.➲Theocracy is not really based on reason & human life experience, but based on literal interpretation of select texts by the elite.➲Hardly any room for debate or change based on new learning.➲Imperfect men cannot perfectly enforce Gods Laws; bad decisions give a bad name to the religion.➲In matters of belief & conscience human beings must have freedom to choose to be truly responsible for their actions.➲Theocracy leads to war & bloodshed because it is fundamentally unfair.
US Democracy vs. Islamic Theocracy1st Amendment: Freedoms + Separation of Church & State13th Amendment: Abolished slavery.14th Amendment: Equal Protection.Always a “WORK in PROGRESS”.It is not a “tyranny of the majority”(Liberal democracy). How are the issues of lashing, stoning, amputa- tion, child marriage, apostasy, blasphemy, status of minorities, slavery, concubinage, status of a wit- ness, polygamy, divorce, custody, inheritance etc. etc. are going to be legislated in an Islamic State28 ???????????????
Define American Muslim Agenda (Unity – Diversity - Humanity) ➲ Freedom of Expression & Conscience ➲ Womens Rights – Equality under the Law ➲ Minority Rights – Equality under the Law ➲ Separation of Mosque & State-as an ideal ➲ Liberty & Justice for All ➲ Renounce Islamic Domination29 (Promote Co-existence)
Define American Muslim Goals➲ Liberty, Plurality, Justice under God Combine best of Islamic & American Values➲ No support to Islamic State(Oxymoron) Ex: Prof. Abdullahi An-Naim – Emory University “the coercive enforcement of Shari‘a by the state betrays the Qur’an’s insistence on voluntary acceptance of Islam”➲ Reform & Renewal of Islamic law or Sharia Radical Reform: Prof. Tariq Ramadan (Text vs. Context)➲ Promote Universal Human Rights & clearly disas- sociate from Supremacists & Separatists in Words & Deeds 30
Provide a fair assessment of the Chief Ideologues of Islamic State & Show a Clear Distance on Problematic issues➲ Abul Ala Maududi – Jamaat-e-Islami➲ (Hasan Al-Banna & Sayyid Qutb) vs. Gamal Al Banna Ikwan: Jahiliyyah, Hakimiyyah, Takfir➲ Ruholla Khomeini - Vilayat-e Faqih, Hokumat-e- Islami➲ Yusuf Qaradawi – Salafi Reform, Fiqh of Minorities➲ Taqiuddin al-Nabhani- Hizb-ut-Tahrir 31
Study Process of Radicalization Media Usage: Religion X + Extremism 1) Pious follower of X 2) Justifies using scriptures of X 3) Goals are to promote X 4) Widespread phenomenon=> Malignant Strain
Sharia Threat: Fact or Fiction?The reasons for anti-Sharia bills: Discredit Sharia BackgroundThere are about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world; numbers increasing in the West.A small number of them are using violence to establish a global Islamic State.Large majorities of Muslims want “strict” Sharia laws in their home countries.Some Muslim leaders have called for Sharia to be implemented in the US, espe-cially in the case of Family & Personal Laws, financial issues; some are opposed.In Britain there are a number of Sharia tribunals(about 85) already operating.Proposal to introduce Sharia based tribunals in Ontario,CN produced a lot of heat.Sharia law has entered into US state courts, some judges are even deferring to it.Fear of “Piecemeal Sharia “: voting, citizenship, integration, enclaves, Dar-ul-????.Rhetoric & literature: Exclusive, intolerant & divisive; but few reformers.Expects: Protection from criticism <==> 1st Amendment + various accommodations.33
Basic Issues with Islamic LawUNDER any ISLAMIC LAW - Muslim is not equal to Non-Muslim Man is not equal to Woman Slave is not equal to Free Person Marriage, Divorce, Inheritance, Custody, Testimony (Blasphemy, Apostasy, Corporal Punishment ) Laws ??? REFORM ???(Literal / Legal Sharia => Ethical / Spiritual Sharia) Literal approach => Little / no common ground with others Revival & Reform: Anti-Liberty ==> Pro-Liberty “Islamic State” vs. “State of Islam” 34 (Compulsion vs. No compulsion)
Defending Sharia➲ Challenge legislation that unfairly targets Muslims Ex: Oklahomas State Question 755➲ Do NOT challenge legislation that merely protects liberties➲ Acknowledge problems with traditional Sharia Divine + Human = Imperfect Sources Interpretation Laws➲ Support Reform (Islah & Tajdid) of Sharia – Not Binary (0 or 1) Ex: Moratorium on Stoning (Prof. Tariq Ramadan) but NO support Mudawwanat al-Ahwal al-Shakhsiyya – Moroccon Code of Personal Status Have our Halwa & eat it too!!!➲ Support Scholars (Be Polite, Respectful & Patient)
CHOICES FOR MUSLIMS➲ There is nothing wrong in trying to influence the affairs of the state depending on ones religious beliefs or convictions - through the democratic process.➲ The identity of a country will most probably reflect the historical, cul- tural & religious traditions of its people BUT it is important to make laws to safeguard the basic civil rights of everyone, especially the minorities.➲Muslims who dream of an utopian Islamic state or to setup parallel so- cieties which enforce Islamic Laws would always be under suspicion and treated like second class citizens in most/all democratic coun- tries.➲It is possible to imagine a benign Islamic democracy but not without first having a fundamental reformation & renewal in Islamic law.➲Will Muslims seize the opportunity & engage in internal reforms, which will serve the dual purpose of enhancing their own societies and also better able to stand up to the external critics? 37
CONCLUSION➲ Education: Learn even from the critics and try to counter their strongest arguments. Foster & protect diversity of views, even disagreeable speech & opinion.➲Identify: Acknowledge the existence of valid fear of Islam/Muslims and identify its sources.➲Define: fundamental American Muslim values & identity. Chief among which is the separation of church & state, and the corollary to that is: an Islamic State is inferior, both in theory & in practice, compared to a secular Democratic state with adequate safeguards for freedoms for All the citizens.➲It is the duty of all reform-minded American Muslims to promote an Islam that is not only authentic spiritually, but also compatible with the best of American and 38 Universal Humanistic values.