Islam: Reformation or Transformation
John R. Houk
© March 29, 2011
Christopher Logan of Logan’s Warning is very displeased with Brigitte Gabriel’s distinction between Moderate Islam and Radical Islam. Logan is one of those that believe Islam is Islam as is inherent in Islamic holy writings.
I have long struggled back and forth internally about the existence of a Moderate Islam. I am fully aware that in America a significant amount of the Muslim community subscribe to America’s concept of constitutional freedom as is guaranteed by the first ten Amendments which are called the Bill of Rights. Of those ten Amendments the First Amendment is the big dog of civil liberty guaranteeing Free Speech, Religious Freedom, Free Press, Free Open Protest, Freedom to petition the government without fear of retribution and no government interference of the practice of religion.
I also know that most of the Mosques in America receive their Islamic religious and theological literature from the Saudi Arabian dime. This means that purist Islam of the Wahhabis (and Muslim Brotherhood) niche, which the Western media asserts is a minute minority in Islam, is what American-Muslims read. Also if one ever takes a peek at angry Muslims in Islamic dominated lands it is difficult to believe that those who are supposed to be the Islamic majority subscribe to a moderate interpretation of Islam. When one reads about mass Muslim protests over idiotic cartoons of Mohammed in an unflattering expression, there was not so much a demonstration of a religion of peace and more of a demonstration of religion threatening violence and calling for murder and revenge on embassies that allowed Mohammed cartoons to be freely published in Western media. Also it is becoming common in Muslim dominated lands for hateful and violent persecution to be executed upon Christians. This violence leads to pogrom-style destruction of Christian Churches and property that often leads to rape and kidnapping of women as well as death to Christians that are in the way of the Islamic pogrom-style madness.
Now back to those Muslims that wish us non-Muslims to believe most Muslims are moderate and religion of peace kind of guys, I need to refer to a Muslim that has really become the face of Islamic “reform” in America – Dr. Mohammed Zuhdi Jasser.
Dr. Jasser is very anti-Islamist and pro-Moderate Islam. No one disputes his antagonism toward radical Islam and his complaint that the most known Muslim organizations in America have an Islamist and/or Muslim Brotherhood connection. The many that are critical of Dr. Jasser dispute his claim that most Muslims in America are moderate because they don’t actually attend the radicalized Mosques (which seems to be the majority) in America. This criticism goes back to those that believe Islam is Islam as it is recorded in the Quran, Hadith and Sira (combination of Sunna and Hadith). This is the very purist Islam that the Muslims we call radical subscribe to. The actual reform movement in Islam is the call to a return to the Islam established by Mohammed and congealed by the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs. This is the very purist Islam that the Muslims we call radical subscribe to. The reform called by Dr. Jasser is the eschewing of the violent concepts in Political Islam which is the majority portion of Sharia Law. Though many of us kafir (non-Muslims) might call this reform, it is actually a transformative call by Dr. Jasser and the few that follow his (what I believe to be) noble call to change Islam into an actual religion of peace.
Dr. Jasser’s assertion that most American-Muslims are moderate is because American-Muslims do not follow the radical Islam that permeates most American Mosques. Dr. Jasser’s critics believe that is a deluded fallacy. Ergo, if Dr. Jasser is preaching a fallacy he must be a deceiving liar. Debbie Schlussel who complains about many prominent exposers of radical Islam as being con artists and/or plagiarists of her journalistic pieces says this about Dr. Jasser:
You see, the message Mr. Jasser is spreading is contrary to the one he claims in the movie. The movie warns of the homegrown jihad we’ve been warning about for years, since before 9/11. But Jasser’s statements regularly contradict the movie. He’s two-faced, and a liar. And you simply can’t believe a single piece of fertilizer coming out of his mouth. He openly lied to me in an e-mail, claiming he’d never discussed a topic on Detroit radio, which he expressly did discuss on the air for a full half-hour.
Jasser has consistently appeared on Detroit radio shows and TV and radio shows around the country, saying the usual bullcrap, i.e., that Islam is a peaceful religion, that the majority of Muslims are peaceful because they don’t belong to a mosque, that CAIR and MPAC and ISNA, etc. don’t represent Islam.
Sorry, but that’s baloney. Islam is not peaceful. Whether or not Muslims belong to a mosque is not the determinant of their radicalism, only an adding factor. I know some extremely secular Muslims who drink alcohol and haven’t been to a mosque in decades. But they love Hezbollah and HAMAS and hate Jews, Christians, America, and Israel. If the majority of Muslims are really peaceful and don’t support terrorist groups, why did I see ten thousand Muslims–during the workday–marching on the streets of Dearborn and Detroit in support of Hezbollah and HAMAS in both 2006 and early 2009? Why do Bin Laden, HAMAS, Hezbollah, Ahmadinejad, and Nasrallah remain the most popular figures and entities in poll after poll of Muslims? Why do a third of young American Muslims support homicide bombings?
Dr. Jasser was kicked out of his mosque in Arizona, a pretty good sign that Islam is, in fact, radical, and they don’t want his pretentious claim otherwise. I’m sorry, but CAIR, ISNA, and MPAC do represent Islam more than he does. Far more, despite his claims otherwise. It’s like when Communist fantasists and utopians used to tell me that I can’t judge Communism by its manifestation and practice in the Soviet Union or Cuba or China, because they don’t practice “real” Communism and don’t represent this silent, imaginary majority of Communists worldwide who love peace and don’t throw people in jail for a life of torture for writing a poem. Sorry, Zuhdi, but you know better. And yet, you continue to lie. I asked Jasser how many Muslim members he has in his organization, the “American Islamic Forum for Democracy,” and he didn’t respond. He’s told others it’s about 100. That’s not even negligible. It’s downright embarrassing.
Not negligible are the speaking fees and other payments and funding Dr. Jasser is getting from this speaking tour, a good chunk of it courtesy of the Clarion Foundation, which in using him as its two-faced spokesman seems not to heed its own eponymous clarion call. I dream (and will forever dream) of the day we will see a Muslim (which means an ex-Muslim) or an Arab who is actually putting forth a consistent, truthful, truly peaceful message . . . and not some uninformed double-talk, milked as a money-making enterprise. Jasser, Hanan Tudor a/k/a “Brigitte Gabriel,” Walid Shoebat, and other frauds have all made a mint after they opened up shop post-9/11 (and lying about what and who they are). Before then, they were nowhere to be seen. Apparently, the underside of the rock was quite cozy ’til then, but afterward the outside suddenly became far “greener.” (The Sad Truth About Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser–Star, Narrator, & Producer of “The Third Jihad” Mar. 12, 2009 2:45 PM)
As you can see Schlussel is not pleased with a lot of people that actually have the same agenda of exposing Islam. Schlussel seems to believe that any defense of the existence of “Moderate Islam” must have an agenda of self-aggrandizement for gain; thus the Gabriels, the Jassers and the Shoebats criticizing Radical Islam deceive to make money because they lie or are plagiarizing the Schlussel journalism. Honestly I believe every one of the people Schlussel castigates has accomplished a great service in exposing the agenda of Islam in America. I have never heard that Brigitte Gabriel’s name is Hanan Tudor (Where did that come from?). If Gabriel had an alternative name, what is the implication?
I have kind of taken the middle road about the nature of Islam. According to Islamic holy writings that affect non-Muslims, the religion of Islam is evil. Muslims that declare they practice a moderate path of Islam simply means that Moderate Muslims wittingly or unwittingly disregard the portions of Islam that are doom and gloom in this present physical time for non-Muslims. All Muslims that call for a return to the practices of the early days of Islam are calling for a reformation to the pure days of Islam. The Muslims that call for an updated or a modernized Islam are calling for the elimination of the portions that call for defending the faith with a good physical offence (i.e. with violence) to propagate or to force submission of non-Muslims to the supremacy of Allah and Islam. Frankly my friends if you find a Muslim that denies that all of the examples of the perfect man, their prophet Mohammed, that Muslim person is part of a very miniscule minority in which the Muslim will find their life is endangered.
Does this mean that Muslims no matter how few they are, such as Dr. Jasser, should be criticized because they have a vision for an Islam that is actually a religion of peace in more than in mere deceptive propaganda? As long as the desire for a new kind of Islam exists among Muslims, it will be a noble desire.
I have to admit I sense it is a bit of dangerous territory for non-Muslims to believe in an Islamic transformation. Multicultural diverse Leftists that are deluded about the validity of all cultures whether evil, good or foreign are understandable. However, for Conservatives and those that wish to expose the nature of Islam by writing about the tenets of radical Islam as distinct from Islam itself is a path with good intentions yet probably doomed to failure. The only way for a transformed Islam is for a charismatic figure within the substructure of the Islamic faith that has the ability to catch the mind of Muslims to abandon the medieval-intolerant-global empire mindset of purist Islam. I am afraid such a person would be a miracle for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It would be a miracle for Muslims in the sense that the Clerics are self-indoctrinated and they indoctrinate their followers that Islam is pure and all else is false; even if the defense of the faith requires a violent action to correct even the least insult to Islam, Mohammed and Allah. Centuries of Islamic programming among Muslims has entrenched intolerance and Islamic Supremacy into their minds. I dare say that non-Muslims living in Muslim dominated lands have also been brainwashed to the point of accepting the supremacy of Islam; i.e. in following the rules of Sharia as it applies to non-Muslims not offending anything to do with Islam. So a Muslim willfully believes a dhimmi or pseudo-dhimmi life is better Islam. The offering of basic human right to religious freedom, free speech and freedom of conscious is anathema to the Islamic Supremacist mind especially in Muslim dominated lands.
In this sense Debbie Schlussel’s castigation of Brigitte Gabriel (Christian from Lebanon) and Walid Shoebat (Converted Christian and former Palestinian terrorist) might be a bit justified except for her use of bridge burning words that offends an ally in exposing Islam. It also brings one to an understanding of Christopher Logan’s frustration with Brigitte Gabriel and Dr. Jasser for looking for a Moderate Islam.
There was a serious effort in the nineteenth century to transform Islam away from its violent nature. Islamic Supremacism marginalized and persecuted that transformation attempt. The attempt of transformation was initiated by an Iranian by the name of Sayyid ‘Ali Muhammad Shirazi. Shirazi declared himself to be the Bab which translated into English means the gate or gateway or doorway and probably other synonyms I didn’t take time to look for. The Bab imagined himself to be the Hidden Twelfth Imam of the Twelver portion of Shias who are predominantly Iranian (once called Persians). The Bab’s effort to declare himself the Hidden Imam was a transformation movement within Shia Islam. Here is a summary of the Bab’s idea of Islamic transformation:
Babism (bä’bizum) [key], system of doctrines proclaimed in Persia in 1844 by Ali Muhammad of Shiraz. Influenced by the Shaykhi Shiite theology that viewed the Twelve Imams as incarnations of the Divine, Ali Muhammad proclaimed himself the Bab, the living door to the twelth Imam and the knowledge of God, and sent missionaries throughout Persia. He also announced a series of revelations, detailing the cosmogonic sequence, abrogating Islamic obligations and replacing them by a new set, structured around esoteric concepts such as the importance of the number 19. The year was hence divided into 19 months of 19 days each; the community was led by a council of 19 members. The movement placed special emphasis on the coming of the Promised One, who would embody all the tenets of the new religion. In 1848 the movement declared its complete secession from Islam and all its rites; upon the accession of a new shah, the Babi (the Bab’s followers) rose in insurrection and were defeated. Many of the leaders were killed, and the Bab was executed at Tabriz in 1850. Two years later, after an attempt on the life of the shah, there followed more persecutions. In 1863 the Babi were removed to Constantinople and later to Adrianople and Cyprus. After 1868 one group had its center in Acre under the leadership of Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri (known as Baha Ullah), the founder of the Baha’i faith, who declared himself the Promised One. (Babism; Fact Monster)
When the Bab was captured and tried for heresy by the Twelvers and imprisoned, the Babi followers went off on a jihad that turned into a Persian civil war. During this time the Bab was executed by firing squad. The Babi Jihad went on for a couple of years until it was ruthlessly put down resulting in the deaths of most of the leadership and thousands of Babis. One of the survivors of the lost Babi revolution was Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri. Husayn Ali was disturbed by the violence of the Bab, Babism and Islam. After a period of hiding Husayn Ali eventually ended up Acre (Akka and present day Israel) of the Syrian Magistrate of the Ottoman Empire. Husayn Ali was part of a split between the Babis. At that time a greater amount of Babis joined Husayn Ali’s version of a spiritual evolution of the Bab’s teaching. Husayn Ali became Baha’u’llah the founder of the Baha’i faith.
Baha’i is a religious movement founded in the 19th century by the Persian Bahaullah. It claims members in practically every country of the world. Objecting to polygamy, slavery of any kind, religious prejudices, and politicized religion, Baha’is call for world peace and harmony. The ideals of a world federalist government and a new world language are also a part of their teachings. Recognition of the common ground of all religions is seen as fostering this move toward global unity; Krishna, Buddha, Moses, Zarathustra, Jesus, and Muhammad are all recognized as divine manifestations, a series of prophets culminating in Bahaullah. Nonresistance, respect for persons, and legal recognition of the equal rights of both sexes constitute additional aspects of Baha’i teaching.
Baha’u’llah survived brief imprisonment in Iran/Persia and then was exiled to the Ottoman Empire who basically imprisoned him or placed on virtual house arrest for the rest of his life. Effectively Baha’u’llah was persecuted as a heretic from Islam by both the Shias of his homeland and the Sunnis of the Ottoman Empire.
Considering all that had happened in the 48 years beginning with the declaration of the Báb in 1844, Bahá’u’lláh’s passing on May 29, 1892 at about 3:00 A.M. might seem anticlimactic. He died quietly at the age of 75, still marginally a prisoner but permitted to live outside the walls of Akká in a mansion known as Bahjí. The relative tranquility of His final days on Earth stand in marked contrast to the tumult that had surrounded Him for much of His life, yet it proved to be merely the calm before another storm for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, His oldest son and appointed successor. (Read the rest of essay at Reflections on the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh; Dale E. Lehman; Revised: 05/25/2001)
From a Christian perspective Baha’i is part of the many paths that are wide and lead to the destruction of the soul in which the human spirit is in danger of experiencing the second and final death. From an Islamic perspective Baha’i is the transformative path that would truly evolve Islam into a religion of peace.
Reformation in Islam is a return to Mohammed’s wickedness. A transformation in Islam will lead to the Mecca-Mohammed before the Hegira to Medina in which Mohammed became mad with power. Without that transformation there will be definitely a clash of civilizations between the West and the violent culture that is Islam.
Posted on March 29, 2011, in Islamism and tagged Baha'i, Brigitte Gabriel, Debbie Schlussel, Expose Islam, Logan's Warning, M. Zuhdi Jasser, Moderate Islam, Radical Islam, Reformation, Transformation. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.