Muslims must acknowledge, counteract, violent messages

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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