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Interfaith Dialogue (01 Jan 2020 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Islam, Reform and the Battle of Narratives: There Is No Religious, Cultural or Doctrinal Reason Why Jews Should Not Be the Allies of Muslims

By Fraser Nelson

31 December 2019

Is a wind of change blowing in the Arab world and bringing Muslims and Jews closer together? Ed Husain made the case for this in an article in our Christmas special issue: a younger generation is tiring of the hardliners, he said, asking what all the angst has achieved and wondering if Israel might be a decent ally for the Arab world. His article explored what he described as new maps of the Muslim mind, with ‘old hatreds on the run’. It drew predictable criticism from some quarters: surely this is wishful thinking, and his narrative of reconciliation has no real support in the Middle East? But that critique was blown apart a few days ago when the article was tweeted by the Emirati foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, to his four million followers. His tweet was striking because it repeated the headline: ‘Islam’s reformation: an Arab-Israeli alliance is taking shape in the Middle East’.

Benjamin Netanyahu was delighted and not only tweeted it himself but also started his cabinet meeting the next day by referring to it (minutes here). It was big news over there: here was one of the most influential leaders in the Muslim world promoting an article about Muslim-Jewish relations improving. The yuletide outbreak of Muslim-Jewish peace and goodwill horrified Hamas, who denounced it as ‘treason’. Al-Jazeera debated Husain’s article on their shows. It made newspaper headlines in Israel.

These are historic times, but we risk missing the real story by becoming fixated on the idea of a ‘clash of civilisations’ – which is exactly how the jihadis like to frame things. Their jihad is not just one of violence, but of narrative – and the narrative they preach is conflict. They present themselves as the voice of real Muslims, whose values they portray as being utterly inimical to those of the West. They are delighted when the Western press takes the bait by writing up their recently-invented lunacies as the face of traditional Islam. As the Syrian scholar Bassam Tibi has documented, political Islamism is a concoction springing from modern European fascism rather than anything found in Islamic history. For example, the idea of Muslims being at war with Jews isn’t ancient or fundamentally Islamic: it was ‘adopted more or less in its German form by secular Arab nationalists,’ Tibi writes. ‘Islam, as a faith, is free of such hatred. But anti-Semitism is a basic feature of contemporary [political] Islamism.’

So why don’t we hear more Muslims making this case – that there is no religious, cultural or doctrinal reasons why Jews should not be the allies of Muslims – as is now being advocated in Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi? Let’s go back to Hamas and its accusation of ‘treachery’: it says people who contradict the hardliners are guilty of betrayal or blasphemy.

As Tibi explains, when a totalitarian political project is dressed up as faith, opponents can be condemned as blasphemers (in the Islamic world) or bigots (in the West). ‘The accusation of “Islamophobia” now serves as a weapon against all those who do not embrace Islamist propaganda’ Tibi writes, ‘including liberal Muslims’.

We can see this trend at work in Britain. One of our Muslim writers, Qanta Ahmed, has argued against moves to make ‘Islamophobia’ a criminal offence in the UK pointing out how this would hand a legal weapon to the wrong people. Earlier this year, she ended up named in a dossier of supposed Islamophobes drawn up by the Muslim Council of Britain. She wrote about the experience and said it helps explain why normal, integrated Muslims just steer clear of this madness, rather than enter the debate and end up in someone’s crosshairs.

Before becoming anti-extremism commissioner, Sara Khan wrote a book asking how groups who have very little support amongst ordinary British Muslims get away with claiming to speak for them. Her book, perhaps the best written on the subject, is called The Battle for British Islam: Reclaiming Muslim Identity from Extremism. She asks ‘how Salafi-Islamism has become such a major influence within British Islam, crowding out voices that advocate a more reconciled British Muslim identity.’

Scrutinising jihadis and their apologists is a big part of this battle, and something we certainly do at The Spectator. But another part is giving space to the Muslim voices that others seek to drown out, voices of people who know they’ll be attacked by hardliners for challenging their narrative. We’ve been doing this for some time. Four years ago, we ran a cover story by Qanta Ahmed about saving Islam from the Islamists (she later wrote about the beauty of her faith).

Last year, Ed Husain wrote about the harmony of Islam’s place in British society. (‘The raison d’être of Islamic civilisations and the Shariah for a thousand years was to provide five things: security, worship, preservation of the family, nourishment of the intellect and protection of property. Britain provides these in multitudes for every Muslim today.’)

This year we interviewed the Mufti of Rwanda, who has made the country an oasis of liberal Islam – and has used a fatwa to ban the Niqab. ‘We saw that niqab abroad, but in Rwanda we have stopped it,’ he said – something to bear in mind for anyone who thinks those who have a problem with the Niqab (as the Mufti of Rwanda does) have a problem with Muslims.

We’ll be doing plenty more of this in the new year – in part, to give our readers a fuller view of a hugely important story. But also because this could well be where the momentum is: focus on the jihadis too much, and you’ll miss it.

Britain is one of the least religious countries on Earth, with fewer than a quarter of us going so far as to say we believe in God. This can make it harder to understand developments in a world which, as Adrian Wooldridge and John Micklethwait argued some time ago, is pretty religious and becoming more so. There is a rich variety of thought in the Muslim world, and huge changes afoot. In several places, hardliners have the power. But this could well be on the wane. The forces of moderation, fraternity and reform are a lot stronger than is commonly believed – and may well come to shape the next decade.

Original Headline:  Islam, reform and the battle of narratives

Source: The Spectator, UK

URL:  http://www.newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/fraser-nelson/islam,-reform-and-the-battle-of-narratives--there-is-no-religious,-cultural-or-doctrinal-reason-why-jews-should-not-be-the-allies-of-muslims/d/120680


  • Ghulam Mohyuddin  Why you mislead people, Yes Jizaya is still there India had paid in form of   "Asian premium" this was the new termed used for all non-abhrahmic non-Muslims dominated countries.

    This Muslims countries were playing double game with India, all the remmetisnce which come form Arab was paid back to them, some was used to make Madrses in In India and Asian country.

    Yes hypocrite Muslims of India cannot complain about this Zayia as it effects to Hindus largely, because Muslims of India anyway benefited from this Zaziya, to built of their community public places.

    Ghandi Family supported this they are the most anti-Hindu party anyway.

    By Aayina - 1/4/2020 4:26:48 AM

  • The question what is immoral or unethical is also based on different human perceptions. The humans of the past considered several things to be ethical but now after changing circumstances most of them have unethical for common humans. To cooperate with many such things, classical Islamic concepts of ‘Maaruf’ “umume balwa” and “welfare of societies” etc are employed in order to benefit all humans.   

    In Cause and Effect relationship, we can find both good and bad results. We humans should take good and step ahead in our journey of development. This is a sign of a good human being.
    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 1/4/2020 3:30:55 AM

  • Death for “apostasy” is not only referred to Islamic state but also to Bible of both Christians and Jews etc. Though in general Hinduism is more tolerant to apostasy, than other religions, and though Islamic verse ‘there is no compulsion in Religion’ is meant only for non-Muslims and not for “traitor apostates”, it should be noted that we are living in democratic countries under certain laws, hence death punishment is not allowed. So I think it is not better for me to quote all the relevant texts of religions; Islam, Christanity, Judaism and Hinduism. People who reveal such texts in unsystematic or un-academic manner willingly or unwillingly give a chance to common readers to get confused or fall prey to it.

    Apostasy plus treason was the reason of death punishment in the state governed by Islamic law. Those who were apostates were actually the traitors therefore they were punished to death. Now this law is not applicable in the democratic countries. Hence there is no use repeatedly crying over death punishment for apostates. Islamophobic extremists and Islamist extremists use such texts for their vested interests. Hence we should not pay attention to it nor should we give space to their ideology in our forum.   

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 1/4/2020 3:07:43 AM

  • Ignorance is playing into the hands of groups like ISIS or Islamophobes who are keen on burying the truth of the Quran and pushing down their own agendas instead.

    Slavery was never promoted or endorsed by Islamic texts. Slavery was inherited from pre-Islamic cultures that required to be voluntarily and gradually weeded out of society through manumission, which was highly encouraged (Quran: 24:32-33 and 16:71). In Islamic texts we find a plethora of evidences which encourage to free slaves as it was seen as a highly virtuous act.

    We do not find any evidence in Islamic texts on how to make slaves. What we find is always on eradicating slavery system.

    As for capturing women in war or otherwise to rape as sex slaves, this is not Islamic and hence it is immoral. The Quran says, “And successful are the believers who guard their chastity … except from their wives or those that their right hands possess.” (23:1-6). This reference is interpreted about sexual relations which are extremely forbidden with any woman unless she is a spouse or ‘those their right hands possess’. Clearly speaking this means a concubine, bondmaid or a slave, but intercourse has to be consensual. Rape is forbidden as it is violent and Islamic texts demanded for the proper and respectable treatment of slaves. Even the consensual sexual relations with a slave were not permissible if it caused harm and abuse elsewhere (e.g. to a wife) as all parties involved would be affected.

    Another point to note is that now after the slavery system has been completely eliminated; no man is allowed to make any free man or woman slave.

    One should also be clear that the sexual relationship made during live-in relationships is also forbidden as per Islam, be it consensual or abusive.    

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 1/4/2020 2:29:44 AM

  • Why are we stuck with jizya which does not exist in our era? Historically speaking, jizya was not an instituation created by Islam. Jizya as an institution was imposed even before Islam in different nations of different prophets, which protected minorities in exchange for a tributary tax. After the advent of Islam, Jizya was demanded from permanent non-Muslim citizens of a state governed by Islamic law in order to fund the public expenditures of the state including welfare of the poor and needy, whereas the Muslims were and are obliged to pay zakat, khums and ‘ushr. Jizya, a per capita yearly taxation, was demaned only from those non-Muslim citizens who could afford to pay. Non-Muslim women, children, elders, handicapped, the ill, the insane, monks, hermits, slaves, mustamins and those non Muslims who could not afford to pay jizay tax were exempted from payment. We do not accept that jizya was a state of humiliation of non-Muslims in a Muslim state for not accepting Islam, because if it were true, the monks, the clergy, and those non-Muslims who could not afford to pay, would not have been exempted.

    Today taxation system has completely turned into several forms and we are obliged now to pay tax in every purchase. So such debates are not healthy but for those who want to spread notion of humiliation and state of hatred between two communities.      

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 1/4/2020 1:58:02 AM

  • Yes we observe some of the people who claim to use their rational faculty but fail to accept what should be acceptable to truly rational faculty. The accepted method of attaining the Cognitive Affirmation (Tasdeeq-e-Nazari) is that one should arrange the Simple Affirmations (Tasdeeq-e-Badeehi) in such a way that they take the one to attain the Cognitive Affirmation. But this method is not arranged and in some cases if arranged, then done with irrational methods. Anyway here two masters opposing each other can fight over and their skills of reasoning will never stop working.

    We forget to reason that Affirmation (tasdeeq) is of two types; (1) Simple Affirmation which is clearly known, such as, the fire is hot and ice is cold and similar concepts (2) Cognitive Affirmation which is not clearly known and requires contemplation and thinking, such as the earth is created or the Creator of man is God Almighty.

    Here come some ‘rationalists’ who even succeed to attain the Cognitive Affirmation that God has created the creation but few of them again take a step ahead and ask that if God has created everything then "who has created ‘God’?". Here ends the light of one's mind to attain the fact and then a person with that has to take the support of light of heart and he can lighten up his heart so perfectly that he attains perfection in his faith and says God is uncreated. His light of heart here has worked in so much more convincing and affirmative way that none can darken his highest form of faith by using so-called 'rationality' This light takes one to attain the highest form of Cognitive Affirmation. Several Ahadith also support one to solve the irrational thought which attacks a person when he starts thinking “who has created God”. Ahadith say, such thoughts strike minds of the people which are captured and overcome by the devils. It is the place where the believers achieve so mcuh affirmation that they stop thinking and instead remain being satisfied with the highest form of affirmation, saying “we believe that God is uncreated and it is He Alone Who has created everything”. This is the place where the heart and mind both have worked well. (This is what i once referred to in one of my comments). Let me also make it clear that the scholars of the past who prevented one from taking one’s thought to such extreme of irrationaliy was because they had realized the facts with the highest form of affirmation and it was, in accordance with them, good for the common people who lack ability of using rational faculty not to take such thoughts which urge one to think “who has created God”. They taught that one should not use ‘reason’ which creates doubt about God. This teaching was actually the result of good rationality supported by heart’s faculty but when we do not understand such people, we blame them not to use reason.

    But the question is what about those in this age, who want to resolve such questions based on their sole faculty of ‘reasoning’ or ‘rationality’? Shall we help them solve such questions or will it be forcible nature on our part to ask them to realize the facts on truly factual grounds, in the ways employed by the scholars of the past. The questions and doubts mostly created today were already answered in the past. except for few, most of doubts are old. Before the people could solve such questions and reach the higher culmination of rational and mental development, the world has trapped them including us into debates over “Jihadism and Extremism”. So finally we should first resolve problems of all round extremism, not just one type confined to ‘Jihadists’.   

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 1/3/2020 10:57:26 PM

  • "implausible premises, non-standard interpretations, false analogies'
    Such things are very commonly used for two people who make arguments and use their respective reasons. 
    logic is not confined to one set of formulas. even the masters of logic can be defeated by the same premises they apply to reject others' logic.  

    By GGS - 1/3/2020 9:46:50 PM

  • Hats off sb, you do not need to accept your defeat. Allah Almighty does not forgive Kufr or idolatry unless one seeks Tauba. 
    By GGS - 1/3/2020 9:43:55 PM

  • Hats Off is asking questions that most of us stopped asking after we reached the age of 12.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/3/2020 10:35:11 AM

  • mr GGS does allah forgive kufr? does he forgive idolatry? does he forgive qadianis? has allah forgiven abu lahab? if he does i accept defeat in my argument.
    if he does not you have to accept that your argument does not make sense. you keep on making up implausible premises, non-standard interpretations, false analogies and are not able to assert that sex slavery is immoral and unethical.
    can you categorically say that jizya, death for apostasy, balsphemy, legitimisation of sex with female war captives, are all immoral and unethical?
    you owe it to the world.

    By hats off! - 1/3/2020 6:15:01 AM

  • इस्लामी शरिया में रेप करने करने वालों को इतनी सख्त सजा क्यों दी जाती है? इस सवाल का जवाब देते हुए कुछ उलेमा बताते हैं कि इसमें ये हिकमत है कि रेपिस्ट एक औरत की इज्ज़त बर्बाद करता है, एक बच्चे की साड़ी नस्ल ख़राब करता है, उसे लोग हरामी बोलते हैं, यानी रेपिस्ट एक नस्ल की इज्ज़त का कातिल है
    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 1/2/2020 11:57:42 PM

  • Mr hats off, any man can become a joke of the day, if not understood well. I am not an exception to that.
    It is quite simple to understand. Each word has nature of generality, specification, metaphor, etc.
    Study Shakespeare or any other masters of any languages. Such things are commonly employed.
    Sins are of different types; Gunahe Kabira, Saghira, etc. Some sins deserve forgiveness and some don’t.
    If your theory of understanding hate and sin in general term is applied, then there will be hate around the world, and each will deserve punishment, with no space for forgiveness. 
    You need to get difference of hate, forgiveness, humanity, punishment, etc and their causes.
    When we hate any rapist, we do not hate him because he is a human being, but because he has lost his humanity on his body. He is punished so that he wears the dress of humanity again. Rape is such a crime, that if not punished, will destruct the identity of human generation. It is such a crime that if not punished, progeny after progeny will have to suffer the results coming after such crimes. The crime of rape is committed when spirituality of a human being is completely lost. When punished by laws, it is for the safety of other human beings’ dignity.
    In short you do not need to hate the rapist for his being a human being. You should hate him for his being rapist. Indeed everyone does so in the same way. It does not need explanation. Laws of punishment are enacted for stopping such sins that attack human beings, their dingnity and progeny.
    ऐसा गुनाह कोई तभी करता है जब उसकी इंसानियत उसके अन्दर से मर जाती है, और जब वो ऐसा गुनाह कर के रेपिस्ट हो जाता है तो उसे इंसान समझना ही इंसानियत की इज्ज़त पर हमला है.....अगर आप रेपिस्ट को इंसान मानते हैं,,,तो ये आपकी डिक्शनरी है ...लेकिन हो सकता है शायद किसी और वजह से आप उसे इन्सान बने, हम तो उसको इन्सान के भेस में शैतान समझ लेते हैं, वो तो इंसानी जिस्म के साथ होता है, इंसान नहीं होता, रेप ऐसा गुनाह है जो जिससे सिर्फ एक इंसान की इज्ज़त ही बर्बाद नहीं होती, बल्कि नसले तबाह हो जाती है, उससे होने वाले बच्चे और फिर उसके बच्चे फिर उसके बच्चे,,,फिर ये सिलसिला चलता रहेगा, इस्लाम ने इस शय्तानियत जो इन्सान के बॉडी पर सवार हो जाती है उसके तबाही की ही वजह से ऐसा सख्त कानून बनाया है, ताके इससे दुसरे इंसानों का भला हो, नस्लों की हिफाज़त हो सके, इत्यादि
    लेकिन इसके अलावा कुछ गुनाह ऐसे होते हैं जो इतने बड़े नहीं होते कि आप उसकी वजह से किसी को इंसान मानने से ही इंकार कर दें, आप उस गुनाह से नफरत कीजिये लेकिन इतना ख्याल ज़रूर रखिये उसमे एक इंसान भी है क्योंकि वो अपने गुनाह पर शर्म्निदा भी होता, गुनाह पर शर्मिंदा होना ही इंसान की पहचान है
    अगर आप कहें की रेप करने वाला भी तो शर्मिंदा हो सकता है, लेकिन मसला ये है ये ऐसा गुनाह जिस के नुकसान बहुत हैं, अगर उस पर माफ़ी दे दी जाए तो बहुत सारे दुसरे लोग इसे करने की जुर्रत करेंगे फिर कहेंगे फिर बचने के लिए शर्मिंदा होने का नाटक भी करने लग जाएंगे.......
    ये बात भी याद रखिये कि दुनिया में कोई भी शख्श ऐसा नहीं जिसने कोई गुनाह न किया हो? गुनाह छोटा या बड़ा...इन्सान इसे ज़रूर करता है ..........ये बताने की ज़रूरत नहीं क्योंकि आप समझते हैं क्योंकि आप इंसान हैं
    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 1/2/2020 11:48:53 PM

  • Hats Off is too dense to understand that you can punish the rapist but you do not have to hate him. You can hate his sin, you can be angry with him and you can punish him in accordance with the law, but hate will only destroy you.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/2/2020 10:59:35 PM

  • how is possible to not hate the sinner and just the sin? so when some rogue rapes, what/whom do we punish? the rapist? the rape? unless you are retarded you cannot say you need to punish the act of rape. even then how do we punish the "act of rape". are you alright?
    is that why shariah punishes the woman who cannot bring four witnesses to her rape? like i said you are a joke.you seem to be a christian joke. because this is the most promiscuous stupidity mouthed by ever two bit soul harvesting church planting rogue - "hate the sin, not the sinner" does it even make any sense?
    your soul scorching tongue twisting semantics, your inability/unwillingness to give categorical responses all make you a scheming politician - not an islamic scholar.
    islamic scholars say things categorically. they never hide behind opaque masks of pretended tolerance, love-acting and other nonsense you are indulging in. most islamic scholars are straightforward and frank and honest.
    not you.nor the lying moderates.
    if you remember, one self taught islamic scholar on this forum never minced words when defending the Qur'an or any islamic issue. and never hid behind inshallahs, allah knows best and other nonsense. he was upfront.
    you could never win a point against him. remember?

    By hats off! - 1/2/2020 5:59:48 PM

  • Mr. Lancaster's comment deserves consideration. We must adopt without any qualification or reservation the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/2/2020 11:19:28 AM

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