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Reply to a Commentary in the Australian

”Beware Those Who Equate Hate Speech With Free Speech”


Gabriel Haddad, OKS

2pm November 4, 2020


Bernie Power's commentary in the November 4, 2020 online issue of theaustralian.com.au, "Beware the radicals who would put us to the sword," bristles with unwitting irony, beginning with the trite advice to beware the radicals who want to do radical acts. Rather, it is the radicals who disguise themselves as "lecturers in Islamic studies" that pose the greater threat, as they abuse their position of trust by promoting distorted views and extreme opinions.


Mr Power is intent on putting hate speech against Muslims on the same level as free speech. It is not. Hate speech constitutes a crime under the law in Australia, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and elsewhere. The issue is that the offensive cartoons constitute crimes under the law of the land in these countries, not whether those that protest such crimes are violators of free speech. Yet he writes, "How can they [Muslims in the West] live in a system that upholds values of free speech and promulgates laws that are fundamentally at odds with their own beliefs and laws?"


What he should ask as an ethical person is, How could anyone live in a system that upholds hatred of an entire religion passing for values of free speech?


As Finland's former Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said,
"When we make fun of black people, we call it racism; when we mock Jews, we call it anti-Semitism; when we mock women, we call it sexism; but when we mock Muslims we call it freedom of speech."


Power seems unaware of the irony of his claiming pre-Islamic Mecca's tolerance, yet in the same breath acknowledging that the Prophet only left Mecca because the Meccans were trying to kill him. But the real ignorance is his praise of pre-Islamic Mecca, which he compares to "many secular Western countries today" in their tolerance. Hello? Is Power praising the live burial of newborn daughters? human sacrifice of male sons? century-old tribal vendettas? legalization of the murder and mutilation of slaves? of incestuous relations with blood descendants and step-parents? of unlimitedly usurious loans? Thank God Islam abolished all such practices, and did so, not over a span of 11,000 years (the time it took the world to abolish slavery and serfdom) but in twenty-three years; the time of the Prophet Muhammad's mission.


Power then offers his contribution to this problem as an educated academic: he advises to categorize all Muslims in the West as either true preachers of hate, open subversives who are vocal in promoting the violent removal of all non-Muslim rulers; or false preachers of love, who are in fact "quietists" promoting the same goal as the first type, but by civil means.


There is no third category, no merely decent human beings, in Power's world, who will simply stand for right and justice regardless of creed and politics, and who know hate speech when they see it, and yes, who are Muslim. Charlie Hebdo always delighted in blasphemy; but in the world in which we live such is no longer -- if it ever was -- an exercise in free speech. It has turned into provocation in its purest form, incitement to hatred towards a specific group, being exploited into identity politics of the lowest order. And that is what such a piece attempts to justify.


Sh Gibril F Haddad



theaustralian.com.au/commentary







Original Article in The Australian/ above is the reply by Sh Gibril F Haddad:




(Colored text and □ comments are by the webadmin, the weirdest statements are in red.)


Beware the Radicals Who Would Put Us to the Sword


By Bernie Power, November 3, 2020


The republication of the Mohammed cartoons and subsequent attacks by Muslims in France and elsewhere highlight a dilemma for Islamic communities in the West.


Muslim protesters in London held posters saying “free speech is not insult”. Others displayed posters with caricatures of French President Emmanuel Macron as a demon, apparently oblivious to the irony that similar caricatures of their prophet had caused all this.


The dilemma they face is this: How can they live in a system that upholds values of free speech and promulgates laws that are fundamentally at odds with their own beliefs and laws?


Some would give a simple answer. Sheik Shady Alsuleiman, president of the Australian National Imams Council, speaking in Norway, stated that “the sharia commands that you respect and abide by the law of the country you are abiding in … So if you are living in a Western country … such as Norway or Australia, then the sharia commands that you abide by that law, and you cannot take the law in your hands.”


Islam did not get off to a good start in this regard. The Prophet Mohammed was born in Mecca, a multifaith town. In its centre was the Ka’ba, a black shrine surrounded by 360 idols of various Arab gods.


In Mecca, as in many secular Western countries today, everything was tolerated except intolerance. Mohammed’s preaching offended against this principle — he mocked and insulted the pagan gods,[ comment: he did not, in the Quran the claims of the pagans are rejected with sound, rational arguments, Mr. Power has never understood the Quran!] claiming that only worship of Allah was valid.


The leaders of Mecca, seeking to maintain social and religious harmony, begged Mohammed and even tried to bribe him to be more open-minded. [ comment: this was a new twist in the argumentation: the pagans were more open-minded than the Prophet of nobility of character and monotheism!] But Mohammed was committed to his beliefs and after 12 years of public preaching fled because leaders were planning to kill him.


On arrival in Medina in AD622, Mohammed would not tolerate the same civil disobedience [ comment: what does he include in it?!] he had engaged in while in Mecca.


Those who criticised him were put to the sword. Mother of five Asma bint Marwan was stabbed to death in her sleep for composing a poem against Mohammed, and others were beheaded for mocking him. Some were stoned for adultery and hands were amputated for theft. The citizens of Medina were required to obey sharia law or else.


So Mohammed presented two models: disobeying the civic leaders and the accepted Arab cultural norms when he was in Mecca, but demanding strict obedience to his own Islamic laws when he became a leader in Medina.
[□ comment: this is a common trope against Muslims]


The Koran encompasses both views. The hadith, or traditions, the second source of sharia, provides some nuance. [□ comment: Sounds like there is a ambiguity in the Quran, no - but it is a very clear message for those who have a heart!]


Mohammed is reported to have said: “It is necessary upon a Muslim to listen to and obey the ruler, as long as one is not ordered to carry out a sin. If he is commanded to commit a sin, then there is no adherence and obedience.” (Hadith al-Bukhari 4:203)


Cruel behaviour does not disqualify a leader. Prophesying a time when Muslims would suffer under oppressive rule, Mohammed gave this advice: “You will listen to the leader and carry out his orders; even if your back is flogged and your wealth is snatched, you should listen and obey.” (Hadith Muslim No. 1847)


Muslims are divided on how to respond to these teachings.


Some radicals such as the leader [ comment: then what kind of leader was this Anjem Choudary?] of Islam4UK, Anjem Choudary, have claimed that Muslims have no obligation to obey non-Muslim rulers, based on the Koranic verses above. There are other verses that proclaim the supremacy of Islamic law, such as “Shall I seek other than God as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book (the Koran) fully detailed?” (6:114). For them, the victory of Islam and the full application of Islamic law is the ultimate endgame.


The Koran states about Allah that “It is He Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it superior (or prevail) over all religions even though the Mushrikun (idolaters) hate (it).” (9:33; 48:28, 29; 61:9)


The weight of moderate Sunni scholarship is that Muslims should obey even non-Islamic law, for tyranny is better than anarchy. But this quietist outlook may not be the final goal. [ comment: fear mongering.]


Sheik Shady implied a further objective: “Our duty as Muslims is to thank those (who) helped us but at the same time try and give them the best gift that we have in our lives and that is … the beautiful taste, the peaceful taste of Islam.”


So for some Muslims, at least, the weekend’s protests are just preparation for a future sharia-based system. Such Muslims don’t understand what it means to live in the West. And it is those we have to reach to or guard against.


Bernie Power is a lecturer in Islamic studies at the Melbourne School of Theology.



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Related Links

Texts, Articles and Books by Sh Gibril F Haddad

livingislam.org/tgfh





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