Islamic or Islamist: Will the difference really matter?

By: Ashraf Ramelah
Voice of the Copts

Standing up to the Islamist point of view which receives much of its funding from foreign entities to cry victim in America, the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) showed up at 1 Police Plaza in NYC one morning recently to support the NYPD in an act of solidarity with American law enforcement. Encouraging them on were several high profile names that are well respected voices in the battle against terrorism along with many non-Muslim freedom-fighters.

The newly formed AILC is opposed to the theocratic Islamists who bow only to Allah’s will and instead represents moderate Muslim religious believers who separate mosque from state, advocate human rights, give thanks for a free democracy and support the U.S. Constitution. The organization is comprised of reputable, moderate, even-handed spokespersons, scholars and leaders from across North America and led by the well-known Muslim moderate, Dr. Zhudi Jasser, often seen on Fox News. In the words of an AILC spokesperson, they wish “to bring forth a profoundly spiritual, practical and beneficial manifestation of Islamic life and teachings.”

The culture of freedom and comfort of American society renders it possible to conceive and build a movement of such scope – the transformation of a 1400 year old religion deeply entrenched in societies all over the world. Muslims who adhere to Islamic ideology, totalitarian and political in nature, as opposed to Muslims who believe in Islamic ideology in its spiritual aspect only, represent a significant ideological rift and significantly, the latter contradicts the scholars of the orthodox community. The totality of the AILC endeavor constitutes a battle on a grand scale within the house of Islam and this is the difficult path ahead for the coalition.

In a private interview (stated in a March 7th update article in PJ Media entitled, The Anti-Islamist Voice by Dr. Phyllis Chesler), Manda Zand-Ervin, an Iranian women’s rights activist and founding member of AILC, is quoted as saying, “No person or organization can ever claim representation of American Muslims,” yet the AILC claims just that in giving voice to this “silent majority” and we hope their calculation is correct. The intent is noble and not to be discouraged however daunting the task.

For Americans who believe all Muslims are citizens trying to live a decent life and assimilate like any other minority, the AILC, a faith-based organization, is welcomed as normal and long overdue in condemning terrorists. For those who are already embittered by past silences and see Muslims in general as a threat to the freedom of our nation, the words of the AILC are heard with skepticism, as another attempt to whitewash America – we’ve heard “religion of peace” before. Some will miss the uniqueness of AILC’s ambitious goal and some will care enough to query what seems to be an inconsistency in an Islamic group with Islam in their name raising the banner of Islam while considering itself to be anti-Islamist. This distinction will only become clear when the distinction is no more and the AILC position becomes the sole defining and prevailing notion of Islam around the world. But would that be Islam anymore?

From the outside, Islamic groups (Islamic and Islamist) carry the same message – peace-loving, charitable, freedom-loving and democratic – and many non-Muslims predisposed to this message accept it as the wholesale truth. The fact we must face is that Islamists have been exploiting freedom and human rights rhetoric for a very long time and will use the English language convincingly in lockstep with the anti-Islamists, even though their goals and ideas diverge. Islamists also have the momentum. They have been in the race a lot longer and have the infrastructure – as in the GOP primary contest, the guy you voted for is vying against the other one who has been running for a long time, has all the money and is winning in large part because of it.

Finally, for students of Arabic, Islam and the Koran, the goal of the AILC gives rise to concerns over theological issues out of sync with their valiant attempt to define a non-political Islam. How will it successfully lead on this important effort if unable to eradicate sacred verses or expunge fear-provoking doctrine Muslims believe are sealed in heaven? Will it simply promote misreading? In her article of February 29 in the New York Post entitled, Islam and the NYP: Why we should cheer cops’ work, Dr. Qanta Ahmed, author of In the Land of Invisible Women, uses a Koran verse to justify Muslim support of the NYPD and authority in general within a Western host country.

She cites verse 59 from Sura 4 (An-nisa) which states, “O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority from among you.” Unfortunately, the verse contradicts what Dr. Ahmed intends to prove because this verse precludes infidel authority. The final four words, “authority from among you,” means authorities among “ye who believe” in Allah and obey Allah and obey His Messenger and thus signifies Muslims obeying authority held by Muslims only, ideally the Caliphate, although not explicitly stated. Herein portrays the difficult challenge facing the AILC.

Moreover, how will Koran verses instructing the use of deception in Sura 16:106, Sura 2:225, Sura 3:54, and Sura 8:30 be discounted and on the issue of the universally accepted concept of abrogation in Sura 2:106 which addresses one Koran verse superseding another according to chronology where violent verses negate and take the place of peaceful verses, how will this be handled?

The journey of the AILC is a necessarily long one, entailing re-education of an entire population of Muslims with a new interpretation of Islam to perhaps justify what’s already deep within the hearts of many now living free in America. Based upon the AILC mission statement, its mandate must be to cut away the Koran verses pointing without mercy toward infidels and Muslim apostates, the political doctrine which experts say make up as much as eighty percent of the Koran and begin to re-program an entire faith. The job of de-politicizing Islam, dealing with vast pages of Islam’s history, dogma and religious edicts (fatwas), awaits them.

We applaud the AILC for denouncing CAIR and ISNA as the voice of Muslims in politics, education and national security and for offering its service to our government in their place. We thank them for speaking tough to the MSA (Muslim Student Association) and Muslim Brotherhood and are grateful for their defense of equality before the law, an American principle, and stating opposition to a caliphate. We can only hope the AILC is punching above its weight with a game plan to cope with the range and power of its heavyweight opponents – their fellow believers.


The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results – 04/06/12

The Watcher’s Council

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

This weekend is celebrates hope and freedom, with the beginning of Passover starting tonight and Easter Sunday coming afterwards. This linkage is entirely appropriate, since Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the Passover ceremonies and the famous Last Supper was a Passover Seder… the ritual meal where Jews all over the world retell the story of the Exodus, celebrate their G-d-given freedoms and eat the unleavened bread, matzoh, to commemorate their ancestor’s journey and deliverance from bondage and slavery.

The story of the Resurrection is a story of freedom too… freedom of the soul and a promise of eternal life to believing Christians who understand what the rolling away of the stones means for them.

Both holidays change their dates on our calender from year to year for Passover because it is based on the centuries old Hebrew calender and Easter because the early Church fathers determined that Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon date of the year, which always occurs after Passover.

However, it’s rare that the two holidays occur this close together and in this momentous year, I likewise see in that a sign of hope for the future.

I and my brothers and sisters on the Watcher’s Council wish you and yours, Chag Pessach Sameach and a blessed Easter.

There’s an old quote of Neville Chamberlain, circa 1938, concerning Nazi Germany’s attempt to swallow Czechoslovakia, which he referred to as “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.”

This week’s winner, Joshuapundit’sSilent Scream; The Sudan Ethnically Cleanses Its Christians, concerns a similar kind of event… and one that is going almost entirely unnoticed or remarked upon:

The government of the predominantly Muslim nation of Sudan has stripped its 500,000 to 700,000 Christians of citizenship and has put them on notice that they have one week to leave the country. Even sub-jim crow dhimmi status is to be denied them.

According to an ENI report, the government of Sudan has declared that all whose “parents, grandparents or great grandparents [were] born in the South Sudan or [who] belong to any southern ethnic group” are no longer citizens of Sudan and must leave the Sudan by April 8..or else.

There’s more to this than meets the eye, of course.

The Sudan has always been a borderland between Arab and black African, between slavemaster and slave. And increasingly, between Muslim and Christian. During the decades long jihad by the Sudan between the early 1980 and today against the black Africans to the east in Darfur and in the south, conservative estimates put the death toll at over 2 million.The Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir has already been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, something the Arab League has thumbed their collective noses at, with al-Bashir is able to freely attend meetings and travel all over the region without fear of arrest. The charges he was indicted for, the mass rapes, the slavetaking, the wanton murders make what’s going on now in Syria look like a particularly sedate bridge party.

In July 2011, the jihad officially ended when the largely Christian South Sudan achieved independence, although sporadic attacks by al-Bashir’s military and aircraft still continue in places like the Nuba Mountains and along the South Sudan borders.

Due to the discord caused by the breakaway, al-Bashir is under pressure to turn the Sudan into a extremist fundamentalist, Muslim Brotherhood ruled Islamist state.

The key figure involved is a Muslim cleric by the name Hasan al-Turabi, who leads the Sudanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Turabi is an interesting figure, rather like our old friend the late and unlamented Imad Mugniyeh in that he has the ability to transcend the usual Sunni/Shiah divide and stay on good terms with a lot of different players and factions.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Victor Davis Hanson with a piece that may very well become a modern classic, The New Anti-Semitism, submitted by Joshuapundit.

Here are this week’s full results. Only New Zeal was unable to vote this week and only New Zeal was affected by the 2/3 vote penalty:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!