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Misrepresenting Islam 01

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Example1: Ed Husain's Detrimental Article:

Macron is preparing for intellectual battle against Islamism

From magazine issue: 14 November 2020

□ Comment by LivingIslam.org:

Disclaimer: We condemn all forms of state terrorism (Israeli, Iranian etc.) -- only apologists and bigots would disagree. We also denounce state terrorism and local terrorism (vigilante militants) in general, and terrorising or killing of people (of whatever political, cultural, ethnic or religious background) in particular.

The rule of law, human rights (and in any case the rights of God).

We also condemn dehumanising policies, which reduce people to commodities and numbers, without rights and dignity. This is usually in the interests of international capital, greedy landlords, and the rest.fn6

Further:
Regarding the title ”Macron is preparing for intellectual battle against Islamism:” This title gives it away, it's Macron's launch of an ALL-OUT attack on Islam and the Muslims.

But this attack has been started years ago, it is not something new (2020), (prohibition of burqa, muslim swimmings suits, then the headscarf in some public buildings, denigrating Muslim activists), however we find that this attack has now entered into a rather serious phase, threatening the whole Muslim community and also the fabric of society.fn8

Also, no-one will be able to define ”Islamism,” which is rather intended, because this term will be used against any and every Muslim be he devout, following the tenets of this beautiful religion of Islam, or not, and also against Non-Muslims, who in one way or another support humanitarian, civil rights causes.

If it really was an ”intellectual battle” which Macron is preparing for, that would be fine if done with respect, but this is not at all an ’intellectual battle’ when Muslim organisations are to be moulded into propaganda modules for the French secular state,f12 or when home-schooling for Muslim kids is prohibited. There is no Muslim organisation which would support criminal acts or terrorism, so they must not be blamed, this is counterproductive! If Macron doesn't listen to scores of researchers and experts in the field of terrorism and preventions many of which his government denounces as ’Islamoleftists’fn10 then he should better ask the British secret service MI5 if terrorism can be fought this way - they'll prove him wrong:

sth

A well established religious identity protects…

French politicians have come to ways end: they demonised the Muslims, allowing dirty publications to slander the best man who has walked the face of the earth (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), among other victims of their hatred and spite and then boasting and republishing these publications again - in the name of free speech. If free speech is really such an elementary part of French society, then let them criticise Israel's unjust and oppressive policies against Palestinians (and other examples)fn13 - they don't allow it, no free speech there!

sth

Different forms of freedom of speech

The aim of parts of the French elite is to update the colonial narrative and to adapt it to the heartland: ”Become like us and we will give you political agency.”fn7

This is why they support and even advertise those ugly publications well knowing that some Muslims - for whatever personal reasons - will go over the limit and do something bad, which is exactly what happened.

We are quite certain - and Allah knows best and most - that this is no coincidence, that it was a calculated, sinister move (allowing to republish these publications and advertising them in the name of ’freedom of speech’), while at the same time telling the Muslims that Islam is in crisis, for nothing less than to provoke the intended reaction.

We need to remember that these leaders in high places - with an advanced education, including psychological, sociological, and Machiavellian political schooling - are very aware of what is at stake for themselves and their racist worldview. For their agenda of total control their only alternative appears to be the road of hatred and discrimination of ’the other’ -this is why they pour oil on the fire of Muslim disappointment and outrage. No benevolent leadership there!

By further splitting society into opposing groups, in a time of increasing pressures of globalism, the French elite imagine to hold on to power. The policy is to deflect from structural problems in this European country, France, as we have seen with the ”Green vests” protests.fn9

So it's not a battle against Islamism, but against Islam itself and the Muslims and in extension against all peace-loving people who need to live in dignity. Whatever repression they will cast on the Muslims, they will not be successful, just as their colonising wars were not successful!

- End of our comment -


Ed Husain's article: Macron is preparing for intellectual battle…

It’s easy to see why so few western leaders have come to Emmanuel Macron’s defence: when they scrutinise extremists, they are accused of being ‘Islamophobes’. Since the French President’s speech last month about Islam in the West, he has been accused — by populist Muslim politicians such as Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Imran Khan, as well as publications that should know better, such as the New York Times — of being anti-Muslim.

Yes, he was frank about the dangers of Islamism, but his speech was also a defence of what he called the ‘Islam of the Enlightenment’.fn4 Rarely for a political leader, he was able to point not just to the problem but to the alternative too. He understands that Muslims have faced these internal enemies before and won. Those portraying Macron’s speech as anti-Islamic tend not to report the bit where he promised €10 million for research into Islamic culture, history and science, and the creation of a ‘Scientific Institute of Islamology’.

sth

Freedom of expression is not freedom to abuse" in Montreal, Canada on 31 October 2020 (Reuters)
[This picture is not from the article quoted here.]

‘I want France to become a country where we can teach the thought of Averroes and Ibn Khaldun,’ he said. To hear these figures mentioned in a political speech is quite something — it shows Macron is preparing for intellectual battle, invoking the Islamic adversaries of the extremists.

□ comment: No one has ever hindered anyone to ’teach the thought of Averroes and Ibn Khaldun,’ he is depicting the Muslims as some kind of backward people, but there is more philosophy of life in the right finger of a normal Muslim than in your stale, positivistic and / or post-modernist institutions of higher education - and there are exceptions of course.

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) was one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages. He rejected the notion of creating a caliphate, and applied Aristotelian methods of thought to write on history, identity, divisions of labour, low taxes, small government, and supply and demand. In naming him, Macron underlined the importance of capitalism to the West. Islamists and the far left are often united in their hatred of capitalism, but Ibn Khaldun shows that this should not be the case for Muslims. After all, for most of his life, the Prophet Mohammed was an Arabian trader. Or, in modern terms, an asset manager.

□ comment: This one chapter is full of weird suppositions: I. K. ”applied Aristotelian methods of thought,” implying that the other scholars of Islam were less ingenious when they applied ’methods of thought’ which were not ’Aristotelian’, implying that ’we, the French government’ know better which ’methods of thought’ have to be applied, otherwise we see you as Islamists, supporters of terrorism. This is the evil thrust of this argument, which Ed Husain supports, it is wrong, counter-productive and a lie.

We abstain commenting on ’Islamism and capitalism’ at this stage and the ’asset manager’ bit.

Ibn Rushd (1126-1198) — a polymath Latinised in the West as Averroes — is the only Muslim to feature in Raphael’s ‘The School of Athens’. His inclusion in the fresco in the Vatican, alongside Pythagoras, Archimedes and other great western thinkers, makes Macron’s point: there is no inherent tension between Islam and western values. Both have an enemy in religious literalism.

□ comment: ”There is no inherent tension between Islam and western values,” 1st. Of course there is a tension, and it is not decreased by baseless generalisations. It also depends which ’Western values’ are meant, if it's equality before the law, or freedom to live your religion then there is no problem.

For Western countries, such as France, Britain, the US, ’Western values’ have the meaning of securing resources and markets through political, social, cultural meddling in Muslim communities and countries, denying rights, propping up cruel dictators, so certainly there are many, not only Muslims, who would feel some ’tension’.fn11

The intellectual threat to Enlightenment Islamfn5 came from the East where the Persian theologian Al-Ghazali (d. 1111) took a literalist approach to scripture and attacked Muslim philosophers as irreligious. He advocated bila kaif, literally ‘not asking how’, on questions of God and theology. It was a manifesto for closing the Muslim mind, the divorce of faith and reason.

This is a serious misunderstanding at best: it is definitely not asking how on questions of God and theology in general, but it is not asking how on certain specific expressions in the Quran, which would lead to problems if literally interpreted.

Generally, for those speaking Arabic, the Quran is clear and easy to understand, but there are instances, which need more explanation.fn1

Averroes penned the Decisive Treatise against Al-Ghazali’s disastrous (sic!) ideas.fn14 He appealed to scripture to explain how devout Muslims should ask questions and follow evidence. He argued that the pursuit of knowledge was a pious obligation of believers, and religious literalism a dangerous mode of human interpretation. Reason, he wrote, deepened the meanings of scripture.fn2

His work influenced Aquinas and Maimonides, and the Enlightenment was an advance of the scientific method and the primacy of independent human reason as defended by Averroes.

Today’s Islamic world is mired by the legacy of Al-Ghazalifn3 and the rejection of Aristotelian philosophy. That way of unscientific thinking — literalism and dogma — is inimical to the values of the West shaped by the Enlightenment. The problem is that today many Muslims have been dragged into a new Dark Age of fanaticism, unable to accept modernity. Averroes, Ibn Khaldun and the Enlightenment offer the way out.

In Britain, we are worryingly blind to the dangers of the narrative of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and their allies. Boris Johnson is a Renaissance man who debated the superiority of the Greeks with Mary Beard at night while he was mayor of London by day. To take on this debate in support of the Enlightenment is to join Macron in defence of civilisation. It is to remind the West again of who we are and confidently invite Muslims to come on board. Time is not on our side.

WRITTEN BY

Ed Husain, author of The House of Islam: A Global History.


Footnotes

[fn1] This is a serious misunderstanding at best: it is definitely not asking how on questions of God and theology in general, but it is not asking how on certain specific expressions in the Quran, which would lead to problems if literally interpreted. The Quran can be rationally understood in many instances, but not in all. F ex in the figurative? Speech 7 in verses where Allah's hands are mentioned.

Had he been sincere he could have simply checked up on Wikipedia which states about bila kaif correctly:

Literally, "without how" but figuratively as "in a manner that suits His majesty and transcendence". It was a way of resolving theological problems in Islam over apparent questioning in āyāt (verses of the Quran) by accepting without questioning.

An example is the apparent contradiction between references to God having human characteristics (such as the "hand of God" or the "face of God") and the concept of God as being transcendental.

What is important here when reading and pondering on the text has nothing to do with giving up on asking questions, but to guard the mind from falling into the trap of rational interpretation (alone), when human ratio or reason is incapable of understanding what is beyond itself.
That would mean to place God under the property of one’s own reason in respect of His own Self - high indeed is God ecalted above that!
SDG337

[fn2] But reason is not at all excluded from the Islamic epistemology, such as the interpretation of the Quran, he is building up a straw man here - very bad article, the author is not the only one doing it.

The Quran commands us to ponder about the verses, to think deeply about the message, as if Muslims had to wait years until Ibn Rushd (Averroes) told them how to think!

Religious literalism was only one way to interpret the Quran, and never the mainstream interpretation - in pre-modern times as well as today. This article proves to be such a narrow way of describing the 1400 years long hermeneutics of Islam, ignoring most of the Islamic tradition over the centuries, which renders this article rather useless.

[fn3] Today’s Islamic world is NOT mired by the legacy of Al-Ghazali, instead it has a dilemma with the rejection of Al-Ghazali's thought, who in any case was one of the mujaddid (revivers) of Islam.

[fn4] Re: ”A defence of what he called the ‘Islam of the Enlightenment’” So now we are told to believe in the benevolent intentions of Mr. Macron and his ’laïcistic’ clique in their endeavour is only to ’improve Islam’ and to shed some light into it (’Enlightenment’).

First of all Islam already has its light, and this is the light of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)

Secondly, it is the prerogative of the Muslim community and their scholars to interpret Islam for their situation in postmodern society, no-one else.

Thirdly, Enlightenment ideas did not hinder France only a few years after the French revolution to wage wars all over Europe - into Russia, or against Egypt. Then France went further to colonise North-Africa, incl. Algeria, where over 1 millions Muslims, Algerians were killed in their struggle for freedom and independence: Not much égality, liberté, fraternité there!

[fn5] Re: ”The intellectual threat to Enlightenment Islam” - What Ed Husain and many other non-Muslims don't like to accept is that Islam does not have a subsection called ’Enlightenment Islam.’ It's either Islam - living according to Allah's guidance and following the practice of His Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), or it is something made-up, moulded according to the nihilism and confusion of the present day.

Our concept of intellect is far more comprehensive than what is usually understood: far more than mental exercises or rational conclusions, cut-off from the Divine. (See fn6)

[fn6]
Regarding our ( Living Islam - Islamic Tradition ) stance against extremism and terror see:
- This is Not the Path to Paradise! Response to Daesh (not: ”IS/ ISIS”) by Sh A b Bayyah
- Saving Islam from the Deceit and Depravity of the Islamic State, Sh M Al-Yaqoubi
- Links Extremism
- What Is the Islamic Intellectual Tradition?

[fn7] Adapted from Sh Iyad El-Baghdadi in the Podcast who speaks about colonialism in Africa and ME.
Ep.41 The return of tyrants and foiled dreams with Iyad El-Baghdadi — The Thinking Muslim

[fn8] This is also the case in other countries, Austria nov 2020.

[fn9] ”The protesters focus on Macron as the source of their problems. Along with his early reforms to loosen labor laws and slash France's famous wealth tax, the fuel tax reinforces protesters' image of him as a president of the rich.” Who Are France's Yellow Vest Protesters, And What Do They Want? : NPR

[fn10] ”This manufactured conflict is dependent upon a curious, neoconservative redefinition of laïcité and a libertarian fetishisation of absolutist free speech.” Simon Dawes, 2 November 2020
The Islamophobic witch-hunt of Islamo-leftists in France | openDemocracy

[fn11] Russia, India and China are guided by their own brand of nationalistic, materialistic value system, so they are hardly better examples. China's collective punishment and reprogramming policies against the whole Uyghur Muslim population (and other) is a bad stain on humanity!

[fn12] Regarding the French conception of secularism - laïcité:
”While the Observatoire de la Laïcité has sought to calm tensions in recent years by explaining that laïcité means simply that the state should be neutral and that the public should be free to practise whatever religion they want, figures from the (so-called) intellectual (so-called) left, such as the Printemps Républicain and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, have sought to push an alternative conception of laïcité whereby it is the public that is expected to be neutral (so, no more veils, no getting offended, no being too Muslim).”
The Islamophobic witch-hunt of Islamo-leftists in France | openDemocracy

[f13] ”The government ministers who are so adamant about the need to celebrate the content of Charlie Hebdo as an exemplar of free speech have no problem in filing complaints for defamation against Mediapart, an independent online newspaper, for user-generated blog content they’ve hosted criticising police violence.”
The Islamophobic witch-hunt of Islamo-leftists in France | openDemocracy

[fn14] Another view on Imam Al-Ghazali.(6min)
Seyyed Hossein Nasr - About Al Ghazali thought


Δ CET -lmod: 20201219 11:54 (UTC=11:54 -1h)


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