Muslim Democracy

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What does it tell us that a country that had a democratic revolution is jailing democracy workers and a country that has a peace treaty with Israel wants to sack its mufti for even praying in a Jerusalem mosque?

It tells us that the Arab awakening in Egypt did not blow the lid off. It blew the lid up. But the lid — the old regime and intelligence services — is still around. By blowing the lid up, though, it created space for the young people who actually sparked the revolution there to take to the streets and for the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, and even a few liberals, to get elected to Parliament. But now you have a six-way struggle for power in Egypt: the army, the Islamists, the youths, the liberals, the old regime’s loyalists and the business community.


www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2012/04/28/old-regime-still-kicking-in-egypt.html

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www.brookings.edu/opinions/2011/0304_arab_democracy_kimenyi.aspx

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Anyone wth eyes that see and ears that hear can deduce that the Middle East is a mess. Even without oil, Syria is more strategic than Libya because of its central location and Iranian ties slong with its border with Israel. Bashar al-Assad murders thousands of his own citizens to remain in power because like other autocrats, say Nicolae Ceaușescu, he understands nothing else.

Napoleon‘s most selfless act was to relinquish power after Waterloo, even though support remained. He recognized his time had passed and further bloodshed to retain his throne would be futile and senseless.

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Before their fling with revolt, Arab lands were backwards.

In 1966, illiteracy in Egypt was estimated at more than 70%; in 1995, it was 48.6% (males, 36.4%; females, 61.2%). For the year 2000, projected adult illiteracy rates stand at 44.7% (males, 33.4%; females, 56.3%).

www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Africa/Egypt-EDUCATION.html#b

According to a June [2011] report issued by the Council of Ministers’ Information and Decision Support Centre, nearly 27% of Egypt’s 85 million citizens are illiterate. In addition, the female illiteracy rate is even worse — some 20% higher than among males, particularly in the 15 to 35 age group.

“Illiteracy is one of the worst scourges of Egyptian society,” said Hussam Fathi, a social sciences professor at Ain Shams University. “It hinders development, limits the nation’s ability to compete with other countries and is the main cause of unemployment.”


http://al-shorfa.com/cocoon/meii/xhtml/en_GB/features/meii/features/main/2011/08/05/feature-01

Arab scientific achievement in the modern world, since the Renaissance, has been non-existent, though
this has not always been the case.

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Any path taken in Middle East seems to end badly

Americans — left, right, Democrats and Republicans — are all sick of thankless nation-building in the Middle East. Yet democratization was not our first choice, but rather a last resort after prior failures.

The United States had long ago supplied Afghan insurgents, who expelled the Soviets after a decade of fighting. Then we left. The country descended into even worse medievalism under the Taliban. So after removing the Taliban, who had hosted the perpetrators of 9/11, we promised in 2001 to stay on.

We won the first Gulf War in 1991. Then most of our forces left the region. The result was the mass murder of the Iraqi Kurds and Shiites, 12 years of no-fly zones and a failed oil-for-food embargo of Saddam’s Iraq. So after removing Saddam in 2003, we tried to leave behind something better.

In the past 10 years, the United States has spent more than $1 trillion and has lost thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both places seem far better off than when ruled by the Taliban and Saddam Hussein — at least for a while longer.

Yet the Iraqis now bear Americans little good will. They seem friendlier to Iran and Syria than to their liberators. In Afghanistan, riots continue over the mistaken burning of some defaced Qurans, despite serial American apologies.

How about the choice of bombing the bad guys and then just staying clear? We just did that to the terrorist-friendly Gadhafi dictatorship in Libya. But now that Gadhafi is gone, there is chaos. Islamic gangs torture and execute black Africans who supported the deposed regime, according to press reports. British World War II cemeteries that were honored during 70 years of Libyan kings and dictators could not survive six months of a “free” Libya.

Not having boots on the ground may ensure that endless chaos will consume the hope of a calm post-Gadhafi Libya. That was also true of Somalia and Lebanon after American troops were attacked and abruptly left.

How about another option of aid and words of encouragement only? We have urged Egyptian reform, under both George W. Bush and now Barack Obama. When protestors forced the removal of dictator Hosni Mubarak, the United States approved. It even appears likely that we will keep sending Egypt significant annual subsidies of more than $1.5 billion, as we have for more than 30 years. Yet anti-American Islamists are now the dominant force in Egyptian politics. American aid workers were recently arrested and threatened with trial by new Egyptian reformers.

Still another choice would be not to nation-build, bomb or even get near a Middle Eastern country — as is the case with Iran and Syria. The U.S. has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since the Shah left in 1979. Until the Obama administration desperately tried to re-establish contacts with the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria by appointing a new ambassador, there had been nearly six years of estrangement.

Yet Iran is nearing its goal of obtaining a nuclear weapon both to threaten Israel and to bully other oil-exporting regimes of the Persian Gulf. The Syrian government is now butchering thousands of its own citizens with impunity.

A final option would be to return to re-establishing friendly relationships with Middle East dictatorships regardless of their internal politics — and then keeping mum about their excesses. We did that with Pakistan, which has both received billions in U.S. aid and produced a nuclear bomb. Yet it is hard to imagine a more anti-American country than nuclear Pakistan, without which the Taliban could not kill Americans so easily in Afghanistan.

The United States once saved the Kuwaiti regime after it was swallowed up by Saddam Hussein. We have enjoyed strong ties with the Saudi monarchy, as well. Neither country seems especially friendly to the U.S. It is still a crime to publicly practice Christianity in Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 mass-murdering hijackers of 9/11 were Saudis. Oil in the Middle East costs less than $5 a barrel to produce; it now sells for over $100, largely due to the policies of our allies and OPEC members.

Let us review: Military assistance or punitive intervention without follow-up mostly failed. The verdict on far more costly nation-building is still out. Trying to help popular insurgents topple unpopular dictators does not guarantee anything better. Propping up dictators with military aid is both odious and counterproductive. Keeping clear of maniacal regimes leads to either nuclear acquisition or genocide — or 16 acres of rubble in Manhattan.

What have we learned? Tribalism, oil and Islamic fundamentalism are a bad mix that leaves Americans sick and tired of the Middle East — both when they get in it and when they try to stay out of it.


www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2012/03/09/any-path-taken-in-middle-east-seems-to-end-badly.html

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Exodus From North Signals Iraqi Christians’ Slow Decline


www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/world/middleeast/exodus-from-north-signals-iraqi-christians-decline.html

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Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians
Just as Jews were once expelled from Arab lands, Christians are now being forced from countries they have long inhabited.

By MICHAEL OREN

The church in Bethlehem had survived more than 1,000 years, through wars and conquests, but its future now seemed in jeopardy. Spray-painted all over its ancient stone walls were the Arabic letters for Hamas. The year was 1994 and the city was about to pass from Israeli to Palestinian control. I was meeting with the church’s clergy as an Israeli government adviser on inter-religious affairs. They were despondent but too frightened to file a complaint. The same Hamas thugs who had desecrated their sanctuary were liable to take their lives.

The trauma of those priests is now commonplace among Middle Eastern Christians. Their share of the region’s population has plunged from 20% a century ago to less than 5% today and falling. In Egypt, 200,000 Coptic Christians fled their homes last year after beatings and massacres by Muslim extremist mobs. Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in Baghdad alone, causing more than half of this million-member community to flee. Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Iran, where last month Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death. Saudi Arabia outlaws private Christian prayer.

As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries, so are Christians being forced from lands they’ve inhabited for centuries.

The only place in the Middle East where Christians aren’t endangered but flourishing is Israel. Since Israel’s founding in 1948, its Christian communities (including Russian and Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians and Protestants) have expanded more than 1,000%.

Christians are prominent in all aspects of Israeli life, serving in the Knesset, the Foreign Ministry and on the Supreme Court. They are exempt from military service, but thousands have volunteered and been sworn in on special New Testaments printed in Hebrew. Israeli Arab Christians are on average more affluent than Israeli Jews and better-educated, even scoring higher on their SATs.

This does not mean that Israeli Christians do not occasionally encounter intolerance. But in contrast to elsewhere in the Middle East where hatred of Christians is ignored or encouraged, Israel remains committed to its Declaration of Independence pledge to “ensure the complete equality of all its citizens irrespective of religion.” It guarantees free access to all Christian holy places, which are under the exclusive aegis of Christian clergy. When Muslims tried to erect a mosque near the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Israeli government interceded to preserve the sanctity of the shrine.

Israel abounds with such sites (Capernaum, the Hill of the Beatitudes, the birth place of St. John the Baptist) but the state constitutes only part of the Holy Land. The rest, according to Jewish and Christian tradition, is in Gaza and the West Bank. Christians in those areas suffer the same plight as their co-religionists throughout the region.

Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, half the Christian community has fled. Christmas decorations and public displays of crucifixes are forbidden. In a December 2010 broadcast, Hamas officials exhorted Muslims to slaughter their Christian neighbors. Rami Ayad, owner of Gaza’s only Christian bookstore, was murdered, his store reduced to ash. This is the same Hamas with which the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank recently signed a unity pact.

Little wonder, then, that the West Bank is also hemorrhaging Christians. Once 15% of the population, they now make up less than 2%. Some have attributed the flight to Israeli policies that allegedly deny Christians economic opportunities, stunt demographic growth, and impede access to the holy sites of Jerusalem. In fact, most West Bank Christians live in cities such as Nablus, Jericho and Ramallah, which are under Palestinian Authority control. All those cities have experienced marked economic growth and sharp population increase—among Muslims.

Israel, in spite of its need to safeguard its borders from terrorists, allows holiday access to Jerusalem’s churches to Christians from both the West Bank and Gaza. In Jerusalem, the number of Arabs—among them Christians—has tripled since the city’s reunification by Israel in 1967.

There must be another reason, then, for the West Bank’s Christian exodus. The answer lies in Bethlehem. Under Israeli auspices, the city’s Christian population grew by 57%. But under the Palestinian Authority since 1995, those numbers have plummeted. Palestinian gunmen seized Christian homes—compelling Israel to build a protective barrier between them and Jewish neighborhoods—and then occupied the Church of the Nativity, looting it and using it as a latrine. Today, Christians comprise a mere one-fifth of their holy city’s population.

The extinction of the Middle East’s Christian communities is an injustice of historic magnitude. Yet Israel provides an example of how this trend can not only be prevented but reversed. With the respect and appreciation that they receive in the Jewish state, the Christians of Muslim countries could not only survive but thrive.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203960804577239923033348982.html

There is a deep cynicism about the motives and actions of the state among most Egyptians. For instance, there is a foot-and-mouth epidemic among cattle in Egypt, but butchers in Cairo believe that officials are exaggerating its extent because they stand to make money from a rise in the price of chicken and fish. Professor Fahmy says: “I think we are seeing a revolt against the modern Egyptian state system which was always against the welfare of Egyptians.”

The political struggle means that none of the centres for power are really in charge or capable of taking important decisions. And this is at a moment when the Egyptian economy is teetering on the edge of crisis. Magda Kandil at the ECES sees the economic prospects as “dismal”. She blames the authorities for pursuing populist policies, such as raising wages for state workers and stoking inflation. Central Bank reserves have fallen by more than half “and waves of capital outflow could be of the magnitude of $12bn”. The government has been locked in negotiations with the IMF for a $3.2bn loan on which further aid from the Gulf oil states depends.

The Egyptian state machine is vast but dysfunctional at every level. Education and healthcare are inadequate and under-funded. A quarter of Egypt’s 85 million people live in shanty towns. One-third of the government’s budget is spent on subsidies, mostly for fuel, which benefit the better-off. Cheap gasoline means the streets are choked with traffic. Bottled butane gas used for cooking by the poor is heavily subsidised but subsidies are almost all siphoned off by middle men.

The authority of the Egyptian military and police will ebb unless they stage a coup which appears unlikely. But, even if they are edged out of power, it will take a long time to reconstruct the country they ruined during their 60-year-long rule.


www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/the-true-price-of-egypts-freedom-7586402.html

Patrick Cockburn: Corruption fills the air as Egypt prepares to vote
World View: Citizens here expect their leaders and officials to want bribes, and they’re almost never wrong

www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/patrick-cockburn-corruption-fills-the-air-as-egypt-prepares-to-vote-7606237.html

Egyptian Cleric Muhammad Hussein Yaaqub Calls For the Implementation of Islamic Punishments in Egypt: Execution, Crucifixion, and Amputation of Opposite Hands and Feet

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www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/6225.htm

The Brotherhood and the Salafists do not see the constitution as a social contract that should express the will of the people as a whole. They see writing it as a golden opportunity to be exploited, to turn Egypt from a civil state that has been open to all citizens since the 19th century into a religious state in which the religious sheikhs hold absolute power based on their understanding of religion, however strange or mistaken their conception of it may be. Writing the constitution in this biased and flawed manner will lead to a constitution that does not represent Egyptians. The writing of the constitution and the presidential elections are the final scenes in a drama that the Brotherhood and the military have prepared together. A political bargain in which the Brotherhood has agreed to act as the political wing of the Military Council, concurring in all the Council’s policies and guaranteeing its privileges in the constitution, and then supporting their favored presidential candidate. In return the Military Council helps them win most of the seats in parliament.


www.huffingtonpost.com/alaa-al-aswany/egypt-constitution_b_1400670.html

Former Palestinian intelligence officer ‘sentenced to death for selling home to Jews’


www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2134245/Former-Palestinian-intelligence-officer-sentenced-death-selling-home-Jews.html

In Gaza, Hamas rule has not turned out as many expected

By Karin Brulliard, Published: April 18

GAZA CITY — The housing stipends, promised by Hamas social workers after much of Umm Mohammed’s neighborhood was demolished in an Israeli military assault three years ago, never came. The water barrels pledged by municipal authorities seemed to go only to Hamas cadres. Electricity is a rarity.

And as Israeli airstrikes targeting Palestinian militants pounded the Gaza Strip last month, the housewife said, the enclave’s Hamas rulers watched from “their chairs” — lingo here for cushy seats of power.

“They say they are the resistance against the enemy,” said Umm Mohammed, 26, bouncing a baby on her knee. “Where is the resistance?”

The militant Islamist movement surged to a surprise victory in Palestinian elections in 2006 with promises of clean governance and a reputation for terrorist tactics against Israel, which had withdrawn from Gaza the year before. But after five years of Hamas administration, many in this besieged strip say it has lived up to neither. Hamas is fast losing popularity, and recent surveys indicate that it would not win if elections were held in Gaza today.

As enthusiasm for Islamist parties grows in the Arab world and prompts questions about what shape political Islam will take, some say Hamas’s path from violent opposition movement to de facto government could be instructive: The Gaza-based rulers, many analysts say, have become more pragmatic and more self-interested — a bit more like common politicians. Whether that means Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, has altered its extremist ideology is far from clear.

Israel and the United States, which deem Hamas a terrorist organization, are unconvinced. Israeli military officials say the movement remains dedicated to Israel’s ruin, as stated in its charter, and is hoarding arms for future offensives. Although some Hamas leaders voice admiration for Turkey’s moderate and democratic Islamism to foreign audiences, others unfurl militant, anti-Israel rhetoric to chanting supporters.

Corruption and patronage

Ideology aside, the Hamas that won control of this Mediterranean strip, isolated by an economic siege and hobbled by 30 percent unemployment, no longer looks the same to many Gazans. It secured once-lawless streets, as promised. But hopes of Islam-guided fairness and an end to the graft that had tainted the tenure of the secular Fatah party have turned to widespread griping about Hamas corruption and patronage.

Hamas has hired more than 40,000 civil servants, and analysts say the top tiers are filled by loyalists. Members of the Hamas elite are widely thought to have enriched themselves through investment in the dusty labyrinth of smuggling tunnels beneath the border with Egypt and taxes on the imported goods. That money has been channeled into flashy cars and Hamas-owned businesses that only stalwarts get a stake in, critics say.

Street-level umbrage has risen in recent months alongside tax increases and a crippling power crisis that has caused 18-hour blackouts and gas station lines that snake around corners. It began after Egypt stopped providing subsidized fuel for vehicles and Gaza’s sole power plant through the tunnels. Analysts — and ordinary Gazans — say the crisis has been prolonged by Hamas’s refusal to import pricier fuel through an Israeli-controlled crossing.

Yet some diesel is making its way through Hamas-connected tunnels to Gaza’s black market, where it sells for as much as $30 a gallon.

“Can you smell that? Diesel,” one tunnel manager said on a recent morning as he crouched in the passage, a half-mile-long cylinder little wider than a water slide. Fifty gallons had just come through, a process the manager said was “eased” because one of the tunnel’s owners has a brother in government.

“Many aspects of the siege are imposed by Hamas,” said the manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fears of losing his job.

‘A police state’

If Hamas has not delivered clean governance, neither has it fully Islamized society, as some feared. Alcohol and belly dancing have been banned. But efforts to require schoolgirls to wear veils, prohibit women from smoking water pipes or prevent “un-Islamic” behavior on the strip’s breezy beaches largely failed amid criticism from the public, which is generally conservative but “didn’t like Hamas or the government telling them how to behave,” said Gaza-based political scientist Mkhaimar Abusada.

Authoritarianism has come more in the form of quashed dissent and arrests of perceived political opponents, actions that even Hamas supporters concede have cost the group support.

“We became like a police state,” said Ahmed Yousef, a former adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. “They became scared of any rally or demonstration.”

Hamas, eager to preserve its rule, has also become wary of provoking a new Israeli offensive in Gaza, costing it credibility in some quarters. Although Gaza’s cement-block buildings are papered with posters of gun-toting fighters, and Hamas allows Islamic Jihad and other militant factions to fire rockets into Israel, Hamas itself has mostly adhered to an unofficial cease-fire since the 2008-2009 Israeli offensive.

“The people did not accept that Islamic Jihad was left alone on the battlefield,” an Islamic Jihad spokesman who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed said of Hamas’s decision to abstain as Israel battled Palestinian militants last month.

Islamic Jihad’s performance — it lobbed hundreds of rockets toward civilian targets in Israel and lost 14 fighters — increased the group’s appeal, Ahmed boasted, noting that Hamas now has “different calculations and bigger responsibility. . . . It has a lot to lose.”

‘Policy incoherence’

Indeed, as political Islam rises in the region, Hamas has essentially abandoned longtime patron Syria, and a fairly public divide has emerged between Hamas hard-liners and those seeking a more pragmatic approach that might help relieve Gaza’s isolation.

“A lot of these groups are now having to do this difficult dance and straddle these two constituencies,” Shadi Hamid, research director at the Brookings Doha Center, said of Hamas and other Islamist organizations in the region. “That leads to considerable policy incoherence.”

Where that is heading is unclear, and Hamas leaders are noncommittal. Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for the movement, said Hamas leaders restrained fighters last month because they thought Israel was trying to provoke them to learn about their weapons arsenal, not because they have abandoned armed tactics.

“We are not working by remote control like Israel wants,” he said.

But Nunu said Western powers have ignored symbolic moves by Hamas, such as Haniyeh’s decision to make his first official trip abroad, in January, to Turkey — a country whose electoral democracy and moderate Islamism are serving as a “model” to a growing number of Hamas leaders, Yousef said.

One month after that trip, though, Haniyeh visited Iran, another longtime Hamas benefactor.

Despite public discontent, Hamas officials seem unruffled. The movement’s grip inside Gaza remains near-total, in part because a unity deal with Fatah, which could lead to elections, is on ice.

That leaves Abu Khaled, an unemployed former shopkeeper, to seethe in his 11th-floor apartment in Gaza City. Khaled, 55, said he voted for Hamas because it promised change and justice, which he figured meant there would be jobs.

But only those who “pray in a Hamas mosque” get work, he said, adding that the movement’s leaders look as though they have gotten comfortable with their mini-state and have forgotten about fighting for Palestinian independence.

“We used to take taxis, now we walk. We were eating, now we are not. We must admit, things changed — but for the worse,” Khaled said wryly, speaking through coils of cigarette smoke. “Hamas is controlling us. They are responsible for us.”


www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-gaza-hamas-rule-has-not-turned-out-as-many-expected/2012/04/18/gIQAVWRxRT_story.html

Egyptian Cleric Hazem Shuman Calls to Spread Islam to South America: ‘They Are Ready for Islam. They Hate the Jews and America Just Like Us’

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www.memritv.org/clip/en/3345.htm

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Ibrahim Al-Amin, Editor-in-Chief of the Lebanese Al-Akhbar Newspaper: The Resistance Is Meaningless Unless It Strives to Eliminate Israel

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www.memritv.org/clip/en/3330.htm

Egyptian Author Sayyid Al-Qimni: We Have Tried Islamic Rule for 1,400 Years and It Has Failed

The Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda “Differ In Degree, But Not In Their Nature”

Interviewer: “Almost everybody agrees that the people you were talking about, who have entered Egyptian parliament – the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis – differ from the jihad organization and from Al-Qaeda, who are represented by Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and renounce their actions. Why do you lump them all together?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “For one thing, they differ in degree, but not in their nature. For another thing, when some groups say they are conducting political activity, but at the same time declare that they reject democracy, and that man cannot make laws unto himself, since Allah alone makes laws – that is exactly what Al-Qaeda and other such groups say. Therefore, the difference is not in nature, but in timing – one moment they say something, and the next moment they deny it…”

Interviewer: “But you consider them to be a single group.”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “Under a single roof. They stand on common ground, because ultimately, their source of authority is one and the same. […]

Egypt Should Not Favor Islam Over Other Religions

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “Who said that the amendment of the second article [of the constitution] would lead to bloodshed in Egypt?”

Interviewer: “They are the ones who said it.”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “One of their MPs, Mamdouh Ismail – who called to prayer in the middle of a parliamentary session… He was not the only one. They all said that any attempt to meddle with the second article of the constitution would mean that blood would flow in the streets of Egypt. The second article says that Islam is the religion of the state, and that the shar’ia is the main source of legislation.”

Interviewer: “Are you calling for the amendment of this article, sir?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “Yes.”

Interviewer: “In what way?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “This article brings only one group of citizens under the wing of the state. This means that Christians, Bahais, and even Shi’ites – because the article pertains exclusively to Sunni Islam – are not brought under the wing of the state.

“Second, religion appeals to one’s reason and conscience. The state is an entity that cannot be described as ‘Muslim’ or ‘Christian.’

“Third, as I have repeatedly stressed, Islam does not contain a concept of ‘statehood’ as we understand it.

“Fourth, the statement that the shar’ia is the main source of legislation is constantly being exploited, whenever the need arises, against liberties, and against those who hold a different creed. This is not merely a ‘decorative’ article, as they claim. They implemented it in the past against the late Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, and against many others. It is implemented against Christian Egyptians, in matters pertaining to personal status. In a conflict between a Christian mother and father who converted to Islam, her children are removed from her custody, even if they are infants, and custody, is awarded to the father, because he subscribes to the better religion. This article rips society apart.”

Interviewer: “You do not believe that one religion is better and more perfect?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “All religions are from God. In my view, there is no religion that is better than the others.” […]

Interviewer: “Do you mean to say that there is no such thing as a state in Islam?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “There is no mention of a state in the political sense in the Koran or the Sunna.”

Interviewer: “Dr. Sayyid Al-Qimni, are you saying that the notion of a state is a modern notion?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “Yes, it is.”

Interviewer: “So it cannot be turned into a religious notion?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “It is impossible to do so.”

Interviewer: “Is there no example of a religious state among non-Muslims, throughout the course of history?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “There have been examples, and they were just as bad and oppressive. We had a caliphate, and those were the worst years for the Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”

Interviewer: “Which caliphate are you referring to?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “The caliphate that continued from the Umayyads until the fall of the Ottoman Dynasty.”

Interviewer: “What about the Caliphate of the Righteous?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “The same goes for the Caliphate of the Righteous – and I should point out that it was not a state in the sense that we know it, and that religion should not be mixed up with politics… The Caliphate was full of civil strife. Were the battles of the Prophet’s Companions in the days of the Caliphate of the Righteous waged because of worldly or religious affairs? We need to understand this.

“Take the dispute with regard to the Caliph Uthman. The battle between ‘Aisha and Imam Ali [in 656 CE], the battle between Imam Ali and the Umayyads [in 657 CE], the pelting of the Ka’ba with catapults [in 692 CE], the sanctioning of a strike on Al-Madina, and the impregnation of a thousand virgins, the daughters of the Prophet’s Companion…”

Interviewer: “What is your source regarding the impregnation of 1,000 virgins?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “There is not a single Islamic source that does not mention this. Do these matters pertain to Allah? Can I say that this is the state of Allah, in which His people fight one another? Did they fight for the sake of Allah? Either ‘Aisha was justified or else Ali was justified, and we can’t say things like that. We cannot say that either ‘Aisha or Ali were believers or infidels. This is a struggle about worldly matters, not about religion. The moment we bring religion into it, we start never-ending civil strife.”

Interviewer: “So the notion of a state must never undergo a religious metamorphosis.”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “Exactly. […]

“Christians Know Everything About Islam… Muslims, On the Other Hand, Know Nothing About Their [Christians] Brethren’s Beliefs”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “Christians know everything about Islam from TV, from the Friday sermon, from the call to prayer, from the preachings he hears from five mosques around him, each one calling to prayer in a louder voice, each in his own tune, competing for ‘customers.’ They all have deep strong voices, and keep singing louder, to attract ‘customers.’

“These people introduce Islam to the Christians. Christians learn Koranic verses andhadiths at school, in the framework of Arabic language lessons. Moreover, he lives in Muslim society, and he knows how the Muslims think.

“Muslims, on the other hand, know nothing about their [Christians] brethren’s beliefs, except for what appears in the Koran and the Hadith. They know nothing about [Christianity]. Therefore, just as you use TV for Islamic preaching 24 hours a day…”

Interviewer: “You are referring to official TV, not private channels. They are private Christian channels.”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “Yes, official TV. Until recently… You’re talking about the past year and a half. The great change took place only a year and a half ago, but before that, the discourse was only that of Muslims. Bring some priest to talk to the people and tell them…”

“Despite All the Negative Consequences of This [Arab Spring] Movement at Present, They Will Not Remain Negative”

Interviewer: “So you think that the revolution brought about positive change?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “Everything that happened was bound to happen, because if we had remained as we were, we would have been a nation of dead people. Despite all the negative consequences of this movement at present, they will not remain negative. And that’s just in the short term…”

Interviewer: “So you are optimistic about the future?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “Yes, in the long run. The people will test [the Islamists in power]. They say to the people: ‘We will rule you according to Islam. Test us.’ What does that mean? Haven’t we tested you already? They say: ‘You have tried socialism, you have tried capitalism, but you haven’t tried Islam yet.’”

Interviewer: “So why don’t you try it?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “We have tried them for 1,400 years. Has this people lost its memory, or what?”

Interviewer: “You mean from the advent of Islamic prophecy?”

Sayyid Al-Qimni: “Haven’t they been ruling us in the name of Islam for 1,400 years, since they conquered our countries? They rule us in the name of Islam. We have tried them already.” […]

www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/6216.htm

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About Jerry Frey

Born 1953. Vietnam Veteran. Graduated Ohio State 1980. Have 5 published books. In the Woods Before Dawn; Grandpa's Gone; Longstreet's Assault; Pioneer of Salvation; Three Quarter Cadillac
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