Archive for April, 2010

By Tawfik Hamid

After getting a mail from one of my friends, I couldn’t stop myself from digging into Dr Tawfik Hamid’s blogs and his biography.

Dr Tawfik Hamid (aka Tarek Abdelhamid), is an Islamic thinker and reformer, and one-time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of a terrorist Islamic organization JI with Dr Ayman Al-Zawahiri who later became the second in command of al-Qaida.

A quarter-century ago, Hamid recognized the threat of radical Islam and the need for a reformation based upon modern peaceful interpretations of classical Islamic core texts. He provided a fresh and theologically valid interpretation for the Quran to counterbalance the radical teaching.

The Daily Express once commented, “Dr Hamid has predicted the attacks on the twin towers, Madrid and London.” After Sept. 11, Hamid decided to speak out through Western broadcast and print media. He has appeared on news networks from CNN to Fox News, and his articles and Op-Ed pieces have appeared in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, and the Jerusalem Post.

Hamid’s knowledge of the jihad mind-set has made him a popular guest speaker at many national and international forums. He also received the Speaker of the Truth award of the Endowment of Middle East Truth.

Hamid has a medical degree in internal medicine, in addition to a master’s degree in cognitive psychology and educational techniques. He innovated a novel model for learning and education (The Multidimensional Learning Model) for medical and general education.

Hamid, the author of Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam, is a senior fellow and chair for the Study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

Here is another interesting blog by the scholar.

Muslims must acknowledge, counteract, violent messages
By  Tawfik Hamid
http://www.tawfikhamid.com/

Many in the Muslim world repeatedly express anger when Islam and its founder are criticized. This anger is understandable, especially when we take into consideration the sensitivity of talking about religious issues.

However, it is vital that the Muslim world realize that most — if not all — of the criticism of Islam and the prophet is based on what traditional and mainstream Islamic books teach. In other words, it is unfair to say that criticism of Islam is based on or motivated merely by bias against the religion, especially when we see thousands of Mosques and Islamic schools built in and sometimes supported by Western countries.

Many more limitations are placed on the rights of minorities to build their religious temples or to practice their religion freely in Muslim countries than in the West. For example, Christians are not permitted to have their Bibles with them in Saudi Arabia while Muslims have complete freedom to have the Quran in the United States and European countries.

Muslims MUST ask themselves who actually discriminates against the other: Is the West discriminating against Islam or is the Muslim world discriminating against people of other faiths? Who needs to change and show more tolerance for religious minorities, the West or the Muslim world?

In addition, when the Taliban destroyed the historical Buddha statues, the Muslim world was virtually silent, which may indicate a form of acceptance for this barbaric act. The Muslims MUST ask themselves, what would they have felt if the Buddhists, for example, destroyed the Muslim holy mosque in Mecca?

Furthermore, Muslims enjoy full freedom in the West to preach to non-Muslims and to convert them to Islam. On the contrary, Muslims in general become very furious if they discover that non-Muslims are proselytizing to Muslims to convert them to other faiths. In fact, proselytizing to Muslims is illegal in many Islamic countries.

The Muslim world needs to ask itself again: Is the West discriminating against them, or are the Muslims discriminating against the others?

The Muslim world needs to realize that Muslims themselves have created the negative image of Islam in the West.

When mainstream Islamic books of Sira (biography of the Prophet Mohammad that was essentially written by Muslims) teach that the prophet took a woman as booty in the war after forcing her to see her father and brother decapitated. Do Muslims expect the world to say, “Wow, this is a wonderful model for tolerance!”

When we teach in several Islamic books that Prophet Mohammad said Allah ordered him to fight the entire world until they subjugate to Islam and in current shariah books that Muslims have to wage wars against non-Muslims and offer them to choose one of the following options: to convert to Islam, to pay humiliating tax, or to be killed, do we expect others to tell us that Islam is the religion of peace?

I wonder whether Muslims would consider such actions peaceful if non -Muslims declared war against Muslims to spread their religion and offered Muslims the choice of converting, or to paying a humiliating tax,, or to be killed.

When our traditional Islamic books mention that Mohammad ordered his followers to torture other human beings, does the Muslim world expect other peoples to tell us that the prophet of Islam was sent as a mercy for mankind?

When we teach in Al-Buchary [mainstream Hadith book for Sunni Muslims] that the Prophet Mohammad married and had sex with a 9-year-old child, and that he used to bring dolls for her so she could play with them, or that he used to have sex with his nine wives in one night, do we expect the world to tell us that the prophet was a role model for mankind?

If mentioning these stories is considered an insult to Islam, then Al-Buchary — not the West — should take responsibility for insulting the religion.

When non-Muslims realize that Muslims who convert away from Islam must be killed under Redda law (killing the apostates) and that this law is approved by ALL schools of Islamic jurisprudence based on the words of the Prophet Mohammad, shall we expect them to sing praises for how Islam respects the value of religious freedom?

When non-Muslims read in our mainstream books that stoning of adulterous women is acceptable in our modern times, and that it is permissible for a man to beat his wife to discipline her, and that polygamy is permissible for men up to four wives, do we expect that the world will tell us that Islam is the religion that gave women their rights?

When non-Muslims hear fatwas from some of our leading scholars that drinking the urine of the prophet was a blessing for his disciples, should we expect words of admiration or criticism?

When we teach in our approved Islamic books that early Muslim armies invaded many countries to spread Islam and that the agreement between the second caliphate and non-Muslim minorities in these countries did not allow non-Muslims to sit while Muslims were standing and did not allow non-Muslims to raise their voices while crying when following their dead, do we expect that others to be speaking loudly about the “tolerance” of Islam?

It is important that the Muslim world realize that it needs to stop discrimination against its non-Muslim minorities and that Muslims themselves — and not Westerners — created the negative image of Islam.

Denying that the above teachings exist just makes things worse, as they are in our Islamic books.

The best way to stop criticism of Islam is to admit that violent teachings exist and that Islamic scholars must work on providing modern ways for interpreting and understanding their religion instead of accusing those who expose the problem and raise valid questions of being Islamophobes.

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Islam Needs to Prove It’s a Religion of Peace

Muslims can start with a new Quranic scholarship that rejects radicalism.

By TAWFIK HAMID | From the Wall Street Journal Europe.

The film “Fitna” by Dutch parliament member Geert Wilders has created an uproar around the world as it linked violence committed by Islamists to Islam.

Many commentators and politicians — including the British government, which denied him entry to the country last month — reflexively accused Mr  Wilders of inciting hatred. The question, however, is whether the blame is with Mr. Wilders, who simply exposed Islamic radicalism, or with those who promote and engage in this religious extremism. In other words, shall we fault Mr. Wilders for showing photos of the hanging of homosexuals, or shall we fault those who actually promote and practice this crime?

There is a certain schizophrenia among many Muslims who seem to believe that it is acceptable to teach hatred and violence in the name of their religion, while at the same time expecting the world to respect Islam as “a religion of peace, love and harmony.”

Scholars in the most prestigious Islamic institutes and universities continue to teach things like Jews are “pigs and monkeys,” that women and men must be stoned to death for adultery, or that Muslims must fight the world to spread their religion. Isn’t, then, Mr. Wilders’s criticism appropriate? Instead of blaming him, we must blame the leading Islamic scholars for having failed to produce an authoritative book on Islamic jurisprudence that is accepted in the Islamic world and unambiguously rejects these violent teachings.

While many religious texts preach violence, the interpretation, modern usage and implementation of these teachings make all the difference. For example, the stoning of women exists in both the Old Testament and in the Islamic tradition, or “Sunna” — the recorded deeds and manners of the prophet Muhammad. The difference, though, is that leading Jewish scholars agreed to discontinue these practices centuries ago while Muslim scholars have yet to do so. Hence we do not see the stoning of women practiced or promoted in Israel, the “Jewish” state, but we see it practiced and promoted in Iran and Saudi Arabia, the “Islamic” states!

When the British government banned Geert Wilders from entering the country to present his film in the House of Lords, it made two egregious errors. The first was to suppress free speech, a canon of the civilized Western world. The second mistake was to blame the messenger — punishing, so to speak, the witness who exposed the crime instead of punishing the criminal. Mr Wilders did not produce the content of the violent Islamic message he showed in his film — the Islamic world did that. Until the Islamic clerical establishment takes concrete steps to reject violence in the name of their religion, Mr. Wilders criticism is not only permissible as “controversial” free speech but justified.

So, Islamic scholars and clerics, it is up to you to produce a Shariah book that will be accepted in the Islamic world and that teaches that Jews are not pigs and monkeys, and that declaring war to spread Islam is unacceptable, and killing apostates is a crime. Such a book would prove that Islam is a religion of peace.

Today, I got an interesting mail from a friend. The article, to be precise, the blog, is written by a Muslim scholar opposed to Islam fundamentalism.

“I am a Muslim by faith…. a Christian by spirit….a Jew by heart….and above all I am a human being.” Dr Tawfik Hamid.
http://www.tawfikhamid.com/

From the heart of a Muslim
By Tawfik Hamid

I was born a Muslim and lived all my life as a follower of Islam.
After the barbaric terrorist attacks done by the hands of my fellow Muslims everywhere on this globe, and after the too many violent acts by Islamists in many parts of the world, I feel responsible as a Muslim and as a human being, to speak out and tell the truth to protect the world and Muslims as well from a coming catastrophe and war of civilizations.

I have to admit that our current Islamic teaching creates violence and hatred toward Non-Muslims.

We Muslims are the ones who need to change. Until now we have accepted polygamy, the beating of women by men, and killing those who convert from Islam to other religions.

We have never had a clear and strong stand against the concept of slavery or wars, to spread our religion and to subjugate others to Islam and force them to pay a humiliating tax called Jizia. We ask others to respect our religion while all the time we curse non-Muslims loudly (in Arabic) in our Friday prayers in the Mosques.

What message do we convey to our children when we call the Jews “Descendants of the pigs and monkeys”.. Is this a message of love and peace, or a message of hate?

I have been into churches and synagogues where they were praying for Muslims. While all the time we curse them, and teach our generations to call them infidels, and to hate them.

We immediately jump in a ‘knee jerk reflex’ to defend Prophet Mohammed when someone accuses him of being a pedophile while, at the same time, we are proud with the story in our Islamic books, that he married a young girl seven years old (Aisha) when he was above 50 years old.

I am sad to say that many, if not most of us, rejoiced in happiness after September 11th and after many other terror attacks.

Muslims denounce these attacks to look good in front of the media, but we condone the Islamic terrorists and sympathise with their cause. Till now our ‘reputable’ top religious authorities have never issued a Fatwa or religious statement to proclaim Bin Laden as an apostate, while an author, like Rushdie, was declared an apostate who should be killed according to Islamic Shariia law just for writing a book criticizing Islam.

Muslims demonstrated to get more religious rights as we did in France to stop the ban on the Hejab (Head Scarf), while we did not demonstrate with such passion and in such numbers against the terrorist murders.

It is our absolute silence against the terrorists that gives the energy to these terrorists to continue doing their evil acts. We Muslims need to stop blaming our problems on others or on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As a matter of honesty, Israel is the only light of democracy, civilization, and human rights in the whole Middle East .

We kicked out the Jews with no compensation or mercy from most of the Arab countries to make them “Jews-Free countries” while Israel accepted more than a million Arabs to live there, have its nationality, and enjoy their rights as human beings. In Israel , women can not be beaten legally by men, and any person can change his/her belief system with no fear of being killed by the Islamic law of ‘Apostasy,’ while in our Islamic world people do not enjoy any of these rights.. I agree that the ‘Palestinians’ suffer, but they suffer because of their corrupt leaders and not because of Israel .

It is not common to see Arabs who live in Israel leaving to live in the Arab world. On the other hand, we used to see thousands of Palestinians going to work with happiness in Israel , its ‘enemy’. If Israel treats Arabs badly as some people claim, surely we would have seen the opposite happening.

We Muslims need to admit our problems and face them. Only then we can treat them and start a new era to live in harmony with human mankind. Our religious leaders have to show a clear and very strong stand against polygamy, pedophilia, slavery, killing those who convert from Islam to other religions, beating of women by men, and declaring wars on non-Muslims to spread Islam.

Then, and only then, do we have the right to ask others to respect our religion. The time has come to stop our hypocrisy and say it openly: ‘We Muslims have to Change’.