Justified rage


Last night’s Newsnight on BBC2 saw Ayaan Hirsi Ali give her unique insight into the protests by Muslims we’re currently witnessing around the world today. As I listened to the insipid and predictable back and forth between the presenter Kirsty Wark and Ali, I was reminded of a recent article by Michael Muhammad Knight:

When asked to explain Muslim rage, I have an answer, but I already know the response to my answer. A defender of “Western civilization” will tell me, “Yeah, but we aren’t violent. They’re the ones who kill people over religion.” If numbers matter, however, the mythology of “America” kills many, many more people today than any myth of “Islam.” To sustain a pseudo-secular military cult, we have produced a nation of cheerleaders for blood and murder. We speak of the cult’s heroic work as “sacrifice” and say that it’s all for a divine cause of “freedom.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of those cheerleaders Knight refers to. She was on hand to tell us that Western governments should stand firm against those who are protesting and make it clear that freedom of speech will not be curbed due to Muslim sensibilities. She argued that Western leaders should not “indulge” the Muslim countries who are not at the level of Europe and America. When asked if Muslims had the right to be offended, Ali responded by saying freedom of speech included the right to offend. When pressed further about Muslims being offended, Ali was incredulous. She pointed out that the atrocities that happen daily in Muslim countries do not evoke the kind of rage being seen over the film. She claims the Muslims have no credibility when they, for example, refuse to protest over a 14 year-old girl who was recently gang-raped in Pakistan, but instead be enraged at a film made in California. Get your own house in order before you protest our art, was the basic message.

Painting them as backwards, not having the good sense to ignore a film and respect Western enlightenment and having no priorities, serves to dehumanise Muslims. It also distracts from what I think these protests are really about. Western drones patrol the skies, their tanks tend the streets and their soldiers rape and murder Muslims daily. Muslims around the world know full well that their property is not sacred, nor their livelihood, and not even their bodies. But to dishonour the Prophet is the final straw, the violation of the one thing that gives Muslims hope: their religious tradition. It’s disgusting because it demonstrates that nothing is respected; pillaging and murder isn’t enough for these thugs, they will attack the very essence of the Muslim spirit. Knight continues:

That’s what we send out there, at them. This is not simply a world in which one side has a sense of humor and the other does not, or one side is “modern” and “enlightened” while the other side needs to catch up. The modern, enlightened side is burning people alive. Innocence is simply the playground bully calling your mother a slut after already breaking your jaw, and then wondering why you can’t take a joke…But in the big picture, this isn’t really about violent religion vs. nonviolent art; it’s violence vs. violence.

I think it’s important for Muslims to represent these protests correctly and always draw attention to the underlying grievances whenever Muslims protest an insult to Islam.  It’s deeper than just an insult.

9/11 and the Formation of a Quranist Identity


Today is the anniversary of 9/11. 10 years have passed since the day I stood in my parents living room, staring at the impossible images on TV. I had a gut feeling then that life as we knew it was about to change. I remember saying to another Quranist a few laters that ‘the twin pillars of civilisation’ had come crashing down’. Whoever perpetrated 9/11 didn’t matter. What mattered was that now there were more believers in the ‘global Islamic threat’. Many, many more.

 

Ten years have now gone by. Afghanistan was invaded, then Iraq. 7/7 happened in London and we don’t know where it will all end. It all seems beyond our control but we must remember that everything comes from Allah and can, despite their difficulties, be a boon.

 

Being a Quranist does not dissociate me with the problems of Islam. On the contrary, I am now charged with the question ‘if the Quran doesn’t preach terror, why are there Islamic terrorists’. It’s a fair question. After all, it’s not like the terrorists are simply nominally Muslim. No, no, lets be honest here. They claim to be jihad-ing for Islam! They try to speak for Islam and Muslims everywhere.

 

However, Islam, like any human civilisation, has a variety of adherents. There is Traditionalist Islam (Sunni and Shia), Mystical Islam (Sufi), Puritanical Islam (Wahabi) and of course, us – Quranist Islam. We are a type of Islam.

 

Today, I was given the honour of speaking at the South African Quranic Conference where I spoke about ‘The Formation of the Quranist Identity’. I do believe that the Quranist Identity will be a powerful tool to stop the slow descent of Islam into Islamofascism. The ‘Quranist space’ is a space where free thinking is allowed, even encouraged. Free thinking is something Islamofascists fear because it unravels their lies.

 

Our job now as Quranists is to nurture this space to allow its ideas to take root in the Ummah. Please see the rest of my presentation here:

 

Formation  of a Quranist Identity A:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f_S2eWhpMg

 

Formation  of a Quranist Identity B:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO5vhYEnoE0

 

Osama Bin Ladin – ‘Death’ of a Myth


I remember when 9/11 happened. I came home to my parent’s place in Malaysia and couldn’t believe what I saw on the telly. It was horrific. I remember how the ‘War on Terror’ began and how Mr Bush effectively used 9/11 to make his neo-colonialist projects happen. We are failures for allowing such a thing to happen. 5% of the people run the other 95%

What does the Quran say about all this? Well if we see the strategies of the Quranic Personalities, they don’t go about spinning counter stories to the myths told by their people. Rather, their response is direct. It is immediate. It is simply to establish deen. Serve Allah. There is no god but he. There’s no room for myth making at all.

Firaun , the arch-enemy of islam has actual myth makers. His sahireen/magicians. Their myths are swallowed by the people of egypt who then support Firaun’s system. This is exactly like Bin Ladin’s ‘messages’ which sporadically come from the unknown. What we need to do is to implement the sunan of the messengers. Establish God’s system and put an end to all lies…