Can Radical Islam Be Defeated by Modernizing Islam?
Posted in In the News at 4:06 PM by waltjr
May 13, 2009
Dr. Sami Alrabaa
In contrast to most religions of the world, in particular Christianity and Judaism, Islam has not yet gone through a modernization process. While Christians and Jews have managed throughout their history to reconcile religion with freedom, Muslims have not. Why is that?
Before the Industrial Revolution, the Christian Puritans
were in charge in their societies. Monks in
In 1600 Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake, accused of being heretic, by the Roman Inquisition for his scientific ideas, which were incompatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Bruno’s “crime” was that he dared to suggest the universe was boundless and that the sun and its planets were but one of a number of similar systems. He also suggested that there might be other inhabited worlds with rational beings equal or possibly superior to ourselves.
In 1633 Galileo Galilei was accused of heresy for “following the position of Copernicus,” which was “contrary to the authority of Holy Scripture.” Under torture, he was forced to his knees to renounce all belief in Copernican theories, and was thereafter sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life.
The 16th and 17th centuries also witnessed religious wars among religious and political leaders.
Religious conviction was the basis for pristine political handling. Kaiser Wilhelm launched World War I under the premise, “Gott ist mit uns“ (God is with us).
In old times, followers of Catholicism, Luther, Calvin, Anabaptists, Quakers, and Unitarians – like radical Muslims, these days – believed that their set of moral rules were superior to all others, prescribed by God, and enforced by punishment, and wanted everybody to observe and impose these rules. By failing to do so, people offend the divine being and corrupt society. For believing so, they waged religious wars.
Die-hard Lutherans attacked Calvinists in
Radical Muslims nowadays are acting like Christians in the old ages. In particular radical Sunnis; they are not at war only with the infidels, i.e. non-Muslims, but also with the Shiites, the Sufis, the Alawites, Ismaelites, the Druze, and followers of other Muslim sects.
The rise of capitalism, expansion of education and scientific research in the Western Christian world paved the way for more and more secularism. The German political economist Max Weber linked Calvinism to the rise of capitalism. Calvinism became an influential factor in modernizing religion.
During and after the Industrial Revolution and state
building, people in
In the Arab and Muslim world at large, there is no similar story to be told. The golden ages (700-1300) were followed by five centuries of Othman rule, characterized by despotism, abject backwardness, and poverty. The majority of Arabs thought of themselves as Muslims in the first place. Arab states did not exist until European colonial powers created these states by drawing arbitrary borders on the map.
During the golden ages, the Muslim empire stretched form
Historians tell the story of Mirza Abu Talib. After visiting the House of Commons in London and hearing that it was debating penalties for criminals, he was amazed and later told his friends back home that the English did not have Sharia therefore they were enacting their own laws. “How stupid!” Abu Talib commented.
Since then, Arabs and Muslims have been about where
Fundamentalist Muslims rediscovered Islam in the 20th
century. Hassan Al Banna established the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1920s
as the “only” path for development and social justice. He preached that Islam
was the solution and there was no better law on earth than the Sharia which
comprises both the Koran and Hadeeth. Al Banna stressed that
In modern history, while the majority of Christians and Jews ignore atrocious passages in the Bible and Talmud, in particular those that denigrate and discriminate against women, and interpret them in historical contexts, fundamentalist Muslims subscribe to each and every atrocious passage in the Koran and Hadeeth as sacred laws. Check out such passages from the Bible and Koran at the end of this article.
While Christianity and Judaism went through a modernization process and “civilized” their own religions, as Rolf Schieder put it, Islam has never gone through such a process, neither in the golden ages nor in modern times. Efforts to do so are choked before they are born. Influential religious establishments like Al Azhar and Wahabism oppose any reform or modernization. They adamantly adhere to both the Koran and Hadeeth as sacred scriptures, which can not and must not be re-interpreted. Critical interpretations are dismissed as blasphemy, and their “perpetrators” are persecuted as heretics.
Arab secular regimes like that of Nasser in
However, except for
Even the rule of the Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Attatürk
did not witness any efforts to modernize Islam. Attatürk focused on
In light of the fact that the majority of influential Arab “Ulama” (Islam theologians) are nowadays conservative, who rarely read a book other than the Koran and Hadeeth and relevant works, as well as lack of a modern independent economy, and the fact that more than 50% of the population is illiterate and jobless, living in abject poverty, no serious successful efforts have been made to reform Islam – i.e. modernize it.
Fundamentalist fatwas (edicts) dominate the religious scene in Arab and Muslim world.
Even Islam experts like Muhammad Arkoun, Muhammad Iqbal, Malik Bin Nabi, Muhammad Talbi, Falzur Rahman, and Ali Bulac, who are portrayed, at least in Western academic circles, as modernists/reformists, have not dared touch on atrocious passages in the Koran as unacceptable and irrational in the 20th century. They highlight those passages in the Koran which preach mercy and peace and ignore those passages which explicitly incite to hatred and violence.
Defeating radical Islam militarily has not worked either. Nasser, Assad, and most recently the West, have failed to defeat radical Islam. On the contrary, most intelligence reports indicate that the number of radical Muslims is on the rise.
Attatürk’s experiment also failed. Islamists in
Islamism is spreading very fast although, in practice, the fundamentalist project is void and has an Achilles heel. Its followers ignore the fact that the golden era flourished because of its openness to other cultures and tolerance. The utopian dream of establishing a Muslim state, Muslim Umma, (global nation) as it existed in the golden era, is wishful thinking in an increasingly sophisticated world. Apart from a headscarf, sex-segregation, and suicide bombing, the Islamists have nothing substantial to offer.
In fact, it was the same kind of radical Muslims who contributed to the collapse of the golden era when they slammed the door shut in the face of applying reason and independent thought.
In reality, Islamist fundamentalists fear free debates and freedom of expression through which they would be exposed. What remains is violence, the only “argument” they possess.
In the meantime, Islamists have succeeded in intimidating
the West and recruiting apologists. The Danish caricatures of Muhammad,
comments by the Pope in
The West is facing an unprecedented conundrum. While it is upholding freedom of expression as a priceless and indispensable value, it is passively watching how Islamists are intimidating by killing and maiming, and advancing their destructive theocratic intolerant agenda, also in Western communities.
The Islamists’ strategy is very clear. They divide the world
into “we and they” and back it propagandistically with
In addition, the U.S. State Department has repeatedly urged Arab oil-rich countries to stop their Muslim “charity” organizations from funding terrorist organizations.
In all this, the West cannot wash its hands in innocence. In one way or another, it contributed to the rise and spread of Islamism.
The West, spearheaded by the
The wake-up call of September 11th was an unprecedented
Still until today, while the West decries the dismal human
After 9/11, Samuel Huntington’s concept of “Clash of Civilizations” was hijacked by both Islamists and some non-Muslims. The truth of the matter is, such a clash does not exist. The clash is rather between Islamists and the rest of the world. However, those Muslims who are disappointed by the West for supporting Arab totalitarian regimes also tend to approve of this clash.
The majority of Muslims across the globe are ordinary people. Some of them are very religious and some are less religious. However, due to the fact that over 50% of the Muslim population is illiterate and in view of the fact that the Koran is written in old Arabic, very few of them actually understand this book. Besides, several studies indicate that only 10% of men and 5% of women read the Koran.
Hence the majority of Muslims remain unaware of the atrocious passages in the Koran and Hadeeth. They only know what their imams and religious leaders tell them about Islam. Muslims who are aware of these passages act like enlightened Christians and Jews; they ignore them or privately interpret them within historical contexts.
Basically, the core of the problem lies in Saudi schools and madrassas in Muslim communities which teach hatred, discrimination and violence against women and non-Muslims. In some of these schools, teenagers are urged to memorize the Koran from cover to cover. The content and language of the scripture are praised as unique and divine. Students at these schools become easy prey for local militants who once in a while drop by to recruit terrorists.
Verses like 89 of Surah 4 which says, “Slay the enemy wherever you find them” becomes a powerful tool for justifying the unjustifiable.
Modernizing Islam must come from the bottom of the population pyramid. The struggle for modernization must be fought on two fronts: on the economic front and on the medial informational one.
Economic development, jobs, literacy, normal schools, and medical care would make the difference and make people oppose radical Islamists. Freedom of expression would back this process. An economically independent citizen, even with a modest level of education, is usually rational. Until then, the tunnel is long and thorny. This project is costly, but promising. All efforts must be invested in it. It is worth it if the world wants to establish peace and prosperity everywhere. It must be established everywhere in an increasingly globalized world.
However, realistically speaking, neither the Arab and Islamic regimes nor their religious establishments would, at present, allow any reform of Islam in a democratic and free climate. That implies self-suicide for both. Therefore, reforming Islam will have to wait yet for two to three decades until this becomes a tangible reality.
The West, spearheaded by the
Passages from the Bible
THE REASON BEHIND PAINS OF DELIVERY
God said to Eve when she tempted Adam, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing, in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.
MENSES IN THE BIBLE
When a woman has a discharge of blood which in her regular discharge from her body, she shall be apart seven days. And WHOSOEVER TOUCHES HER SHALL BE UNCLEAN until the evening. And every thing that she lies upon in her SEPARATION shall be unclean. Every thing also that SHE SITS UPON SHALL BE UNCLEAN. And whosoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And whosoever touches anything THAT SHE SAT UPON SHALL WASH HIS CLOTHES, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
And if it be on her bed, or any thing whereon she sits when he touches it: he SHALL BE UNCLEAN UNTIL THE EVENING. And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him: he shall be unclean seven days, and all the bed WHEREON SHE LIES SHALL BE UNCLEAN.
And if a woman has an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her SEPARATION: All the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her SEPARATION, she shall be unclean. Every bed whereon she lies all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her SEPARATION, and whatsoever she sits upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her SEPARATION.
And WHOSOEVER TOUCHES THOSE THINGS SHALL BE UNCLEAN and shall wash his clothes and bathes himself in water, and he BE UNCLEAN UNTIL THE EVENING. But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest to the door of the meeting tent.
POSTPARTUM IN THE BIBLE
If a woman conceives, and bears a MALE CHILD, then she shall be unclean seven days.. But if she bears a FEMALE CHILD then she shall be unclean two weeks.
AFTER AN INTERCOURSE
If a man has an emission of semen, he shall bathe his whole body in water, and be unclean until the evening. Every garment and every skin on which the semen comes shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the evening.
WHEN THE SUN IS DOWN HE SHALL BE CLEAN.
If a man lies with a woman and has an emission of semen both of them shall bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening.
REJOICE WITH THEM !!
REJOICE WITH THE WIFE of your youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; LET HER BREASTS SATISFY YOU AT ALL TIMES.
We have a little sister, and she has no breasts. What shall we do for our sister on the day when is spoken for? I was a wall, and MY BREASTS WERE LIKE TOWERS.
WOMAN’S VEIL IN THE BIBLE
[1 Corin. 11:5]
But any woman who prays and prophecies with her head unveiled dishonors her head – it is the same as if her head were shaven, for if a woman will not veil herself then she should cut off her hair. But if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil. JUDGE FOR YOURSELVES; is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? (It seems that Christians are unaware of the obligation of the veil in the Bible, which made me put their verses in this book, and for those who attack the veil in Islam should notice these verses of their own Bible, and notice also this verse “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.)
WOMAN IS NOT THE GLORY OF GOD
[1 Corin. 11:7]
For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man, for man was not made for woman, but woman from man, neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
[1 Tim 2:11-14]
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
SILENCE IN CHURCHES
[1 Corin 14:34]
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to
speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
WOMAN IS EVIL !
The leaden cover was lifted, there was a woman sitting, and he (the angel) said: this is wickedness.
GOD MAKES PEOPLE FALL IN ADULTERY
God said to Am-a-zi’ah “You say, prophesy not against
Thus the Lord says: YOUR WIFE SHALL BE AN HARLOT in the city and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword.”
They have rejected the word of the Lord. Therefore I WILL GIVE THEIR WIVES UNTO OTHERS. [Jer. 13:22]
“For the greatness of your iniquity are your skirts discovered, AND YOUR HEELS MADE BARE. I will discover your skirts upon your face, that your shame may appear I have seen your adulteries, and your neighings the lewdness of your whoredoms.”
HIDE WOMAN’S VOICE !
[1 Corin. 14:34]
The woman should keep silence in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is any thing they desire to know let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
[1 Timo. 2:9]
Woman should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire but by good deeds.
WOMAN FOR THE MAN
[1 Corin 11:5-10]
But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovereddishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”
HOW TO RESCUE HER HUSBAND
When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall have not pity.
MARRIAGE BY FORCE !!
If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead shall not be marries outside of the family to a stranger; her husband’s brother shall go into her, and take her as his wife.
WHAT IF HE REFUSES ?
And if the man does not wish to take his brother’s wife then
his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate of the elders, and say, “My
husband’s brother refuses to perpetuate his brother’s name in
And if he persists.. Then his brother’s wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot, and spit in his face; and shall answer and say: So it shall be done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house. And the name of his house shall be called in Israel THE HOUSE OF HIM THAT HAD HIS SANDAL PULLED OFF.
And I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare….while I was still searching but not finding, I found one upright man among a thousand but not one upright woman among them all”.
KILL WOMEN, CHILDREN, ANIMALS !!
And the Lord said, “Go through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have you pity. SLAY UTTERLY OLD AND YOUNG, BOTH MAIDS AND LITTLE CHILDREN, AND WOMEN.
And the Lord said unto Moses, “Avenge the children of the Mid’-an’ites.. They warred against the Mid’-i-an’ites, as the Lord commanded Moses, and they slay all the males. And they took all women as captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods. And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
Moses said, “HAVE YOU SAVED ALL THE WOMEN ALIVE? NOW KILL EVERY MALE AMONG THE LITTLE ONES, AND KILL EVERY WOMAN that has known a man by lying with him, but all the young girls who have not known a man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.
Joshua said to the people of
KILLING, KIDNAPPING, SLAVERY
So the Canaanites have dwelt in the midst of E’phraim to this day, but become slaves to do forced labour. (see also Joshua 17:13 and Judg. 1:30)
The congregation of Benjamin sent twelve thousand of their bravest men, and commanded them, “Go and smite the inhabitants of Ja’-besh-gil’ead with the edge of the sword; also the women and the little ones. Every male and every woman that has lain with a male YOU SHALL UTTERLY DESTROY.
And they found among the inhabitants four hundred YOUNG
VIRGINS who had not known a man by lying with him; and they brought them to the
camp of Shiloh, which is the
STEALING WOMEN !!
And they commanded the Benjaminites, saying:”Go and lie in
wait in the vineyard, and watch, if the daughters of Shiloh go out to dance in
the dances, then come out of the vineyard and seize each man his wife from the
KILL THEM AND TAKE THEIR PROPERTIES
When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if its answer to you is peace and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it SHALL BE FORCED LABOUR FOR YOU AND SHALL SERVE YOU.
But if it makes no peace with you, then you shall besiege it, .. YOU SHALL PUT ALL ITS MALES TO THE SWORD, BUT THE WOMEN AND THE LITTLE ONES, the cattle and every thing else in the city all its spoil, YOU SHALL TAKE AS BOOTY FOR YOURSELVES; AND YOU SHALL ENJOY THE SPOIL OF YOUR ENEMIES. ………………………….
Passages from the Koran
Literally, the Koran says the following about the Jews, Christians, and other “unbelievers”:
“O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” (Sura 5, verse 51).
“And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah DESTROY them; how they are turned away!” (Sura 9, verse 30).
“And the Jews will not be pleased with you, nor the Christians until you follow their religion. Say: Surely Allah’s guidance, that is the (true) guidance. And if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, you shall have no guardian from Allah, nor any helper.” (Sura 2, verse 120).
“And KILL them (the unbelievers) wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.” (Sura 2, verse 191).
“Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully; and Allah makes you cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and to Allah is the eventual coming.” (Sura 3, verse 28).
“And guard yourselves against the fire which has been prepared for the unbelievers.” (Sura 3, verse 131)
“And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve will cause you distress, surely the unbelievers are your open ENEMY.” (Sura 4, verse 101).
“O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).” (Sura 9, verse 123).
“Surely We have prepared for the unbelievers chains and shackles and a burning fire.” (Sura 76, verse 4).
“O you who believe! if you obey a party from among those who have been given the Book (The Jews and Christians), they will turn you back as unbelievers after you have believed.” (Sura 3, verse 100).
“And their taking usury (interests on money) though indeed they were forbidden it and their devouring the property of people falsely, and We have prepared for the unbelievers from among them a painful chastisement.” (Sura 4. verse 161).
“Surely Allah has cursed the unbelievers (Jews, Christians and followers of other faiths) and has prepared for them a burning fire.” (Sura 33, verse 64).
“And whoever does not believe in Allah and His Apostle, then surely We have prepared burning fire for the unbelievers.” (Sura 48, verse 13).
Does Allah discriminate? The Koran says:
“You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah; and if the followers of the Book had believed it would have been better for them; of them (some) are believers and most of them are transgressors.” (Sura 3, verse 110).
Therefore, what does the Koran say about those who turn their back to Islam and commit apostasy?
“They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them (the unbelievers) friends until they flee (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and KILL them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.” (Sura 4, verse 89).
Now, what does the Koran say about women? Here are also some quotations:
“Men are superior to women because Allah has made so. Therefore good women are obedient, and (as to) those (women) on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and BEAT them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.” (Sura 4, verse 34).
“And as for those who are guilty of an indecency from among your women, call to witnesses against them, four (witnesses) from among you; then if they bear witness confine them to the houses until death takes them away or Allah opens some way for them.” (Sura 4, verse 15).
According to the Koran, a woman’s testimony is worth half of that of a man.
O you who believe! when you deal with each other in contracting a debt for a fixed time then call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses, so that if one of the two errs, the second of the two may remind the other.” (Sura 2, verse 282).
As far as sex is concerned, women are sex objects, according to the Koran. They must be ready for intercourse any time the husband wishes so.
“Your wives are a tilth for you, so go into your tilth when you like, and do good beforehand for yourselves, and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, and know that you will meet Him, and give good news to the believers.” (Sura 2, verse 223).
During menstruation, however, men should keep away from women; they are filthy. The Koran says:
“It (menstruation) is a discomfort; therefore keep aloof from the women during the menstrual discharge and do not go near them until they have become clean; then when they have cleansed themselves, go in to them as Allah has commanded you; surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves.” (Sura 2, verse 222).
Women, according to the Koran, are, in general, unclean creature. After a Muslim has washed and prepared himself for prayer, he should not touch a woman. Therefore, “pious” Muslims never shake hands with women.
“O you who believe! do not go near prayer until you have washed yourselves; and if you have touched women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth, then wipe your faces and your hands; surely Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving.” (Sura 4, verse 43).
In case of inheritance, a woman inherits half of the portion a man inherits:
“They ask you for a decision of the law. Say: Allah gives you a decision concerning the person who has neither parents nor offspring; if a man dies (and) he has no son and he has a sister, she shall have half of what he leaves, and he shall be her heir she has no son; but if there be two (sisters), they shall have two-thirds of what he leaves; and if there are brethren, men and women, then the male shall have the like of the portion of two females; Allah makes clear to you, lest you err; and Allah knows all things.” (Sura 4, verse 176).
And what kind of punishment does a thief get, according to the Koran, regardless how much they steal?
“And (as for) the man who steals and the woman who steals, cut off their hands as a punishment for what they have earned, an exemplary punishment from Allah; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (Sura 5, verse 38).
King Abdullah, the absolute monarch of
The “Hadeeth”, a collection of statements and comments which Prophet Muhammad allegedly made during his life time is also full of atrocities. Here is a sample:
“A woman came to the Prophet and admitted that she had
committed adultery and thereafter became pregnant. The Prophet summoned her
husband and all people of Median (in
Family Security Matters.org Contributing Editor Dr. Sami
Alrabaa, an ex-Muslim, is a professor of Sociology and an Arab-Muslim culture
specialist. He has taught at
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