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This past weekend I flew back early into Dallas from a 160+ years in-the-making Baptist Convention, intended to heal Race Relations amongst White and Black Baptists, just so that I could attend a Conference of what we Muslims call America's leading Islamophobes.

With folks like Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post, Roger Hedgecock of Talk Radio and fill-in for Rush Limbaugh, Joe Kaufman of CAIR Watch and Americans Against Hate, Dr. Harvey Kushner of I know everything about Terrorism, Dr. Wafa Sultan of Muslims are uncivilized due to Islam, Dr. Bruce Tefft of I'm a mis-educator of Law Enforcement, Dr. Paul Williams of Muslims will reach critical mass by 2015 and take over America, to the lovely Frank Wuco who's gotten into the mind of the jihadists but shhh don't let them know; I could hardly pass up the opportunity for some entertainment.

Oh and how could I forget the Indian Hindu nuclear engineer Moorthy Muthuswamy and the Egyptian Coptic MD Monier Dawood thrown in for their brilliance and eloquence respectively. The former outlining his brilliant strategy to combat “political Islam” by outlawing the existence of Mosques first in America, then India and eventually Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The latter was helped off the stage for showing up late, rambling about Egyptian pop singers in the early 70s, discriminating against Christians by celebrating the '73 war with Israel, by crossing the Suez Canal as done by a fictional Egyptian named “Mohamed” as opposed to a “Boutrous” or “Gerges” (George) and offending his strongly Zionist hosts by even mentioning any wars against Israel without first condemning them. :)

I took the opportunity to go to the restroom and buy a drink, when a former nuclear explosive expert, Lee Boyland, started describing how to transform a grapefruit nuclear bomb into a golf ball sized one. I did so purely out a self-interest so as not to have this knowledge, in case of a future e-water boarding incident by any future E-Gustapo these folks ever set up.

On a bright note I did see a few celebrities while getting my patience tested listening through a lot of nonsense like the notable John O-Neill (Swift Boat Vets Against Kerry) and Daren Norwood (country music singer from West Texas who should be hooked-up with Kareem Salama of the Muslim Country Musicians Network). :-)

Now I can't do this event justice in just one post, so here's what I think I'll do: First I'll write up a little quick run-through of my initial observations. Then perhaps in a future Part 2 post, I will outline the network of organizations and personalities that keep this movement fed, attempting to categorize these folks according to their various agendas. Just like several other Muslim activists I've read much of this movement's writings and listened to their interviews in order to better understand what exactly their problem is. Because it obviously isn't terrorism. I think many Muslims over-hype their influence so I'll post a brief summary of the dossiers we pulled together years ago, so that it'll be obvious to everyone how frail this movement really is.

Event Information

Primary Symposium Organizer: America's Truth Forum – Jeff Epstein – President

Secondary Organizer: Basics Project – Frank Salvato – Executive Director

Event: 3rd Educational Symposium “Exposing the Threat of Islamist Terrorism”

Date and Location: February 1st and 2nd in Dallas-Fort Worth Region

Initial Observation:

Now while it's easy to dismiss these guys as a bunch of Viagra taking, grumpy old men, angry that previously lower socio-economic peoples are acting uppity and having too many babies, I really think we're doing ourselves a disservice by caricaturing them as they sometimes do to us. Yes, those are factors afflicting their movement and yes without the ability to prioritize their objectives they would be certainly spinning their wheels. But there's more to them than meets the eye.

For many of those Baptists in the room like the wonderful Oklahoma Pastor and former NFL player for the Bears and Vikings Mr. Paul Blair, they've so misinterpreted Christian teachings that it's nothing more than a corrupted form of national tribalism. While they keep on trying to become more dogmatic and fundamentalist in their understanding of biblical scripture, they can't see that they're killing their “da'wah” and ghettoizing their own folks on an ever shrinking island. The same goes for many of the Jewish Zionists in that hall (out of a couple of hundred total). While Judaism might have been a divine religion with much good for the world, its marriage with a dogmatic version of the secular nationalist philosophy called Zionism has killed faith and left them with nothing divine at all. God I hope we as Muslims never forget that we are a community of believers and always remain on guard against the corruption of our faith by tribalistic philosophies.

With folks like Dr. Bruce Tefft delivering talks called “Islam: The Foundation of Islamic Terrorism” you can be assured that it took a tremendous amount of patience sitting through the nonsense espoused from the stage about everything from the “Moon God of Arabia” to “George Wahhabi Bush”. The attendees certainly belong to a sub-culture of 'grumpy old men' who'd cheer loudest when a speaker would say that “we're loosing the Global War on Terrorism because we won't name our true enemy ISLAM”. Though I never tried to hide my identity, even announcing my registration to the organizer over a month prior to the event, I was still assigned my personal body guard from the B'nai Elim (kind of like the NOI's Fruit of Islam folks to the best I could gather). We (myself and a couple of the para-military guys from Israel and Russia doing security) ended up joking around towards the end, but it was so much a reminder for me of the way Israel does “security” that it added to my prayers for patience.

On a good note, a couple of things happened that I thought we wouldn't see for a few more years:

First, Caroline Glick and Frank Gaffney came out saying, like Daniel Pipes last year, that making Islam the enemy in the GWOT is self-defeating. I never thought those two, who are obviously smarter and more pragmatic then some of the other speakers, would risk alienation from the Fringe Right by making statements to calm down the mob.

The second was from Robert Spencer. Though I went to this Symposium intending not to engage anyone in debate, Robert coming over to my table after circling around a bit, made my non-debate plan obsolete. In response to my assertion that I saw him as part of the problem and didn't care for his approach which made Islam the problem, Robert responded with several rapid-fire responses about everything from the bogey-man (Muslim Brotherhood) to “Islamic Supremacist” (apparently Sheikh Qaradawi) obviously meant to test my intelligence. At one point, in choosing to define myself as a reformer, Robert leaned into me, and suggested,“reform something then”! Later on in our discussions I told him that with a beard like his, he should just go ahead and convert to Islam. :)

I have to say that Robert did strike me as easier to debate with than I ever thought possible based on what I knew of him. He knows enough to cut through the B/S and debate practicalities when engaging with informed individuals (religious, philosophical and socio-political). But I assume he doesn't speak like this in public because its bad for business and because Muslims aren't really looking to engage him either. I, like many, might start looking at him differently if he'd drop the Islam and Prophet-bashing, and stick to facts and information. Some aggressively intolerant folks who happen to be Muslim aren't spokespeople for Islam, though they claim to be defending Islam when engaged in their political battles for obvious political reasons.

A thought I had been toying around in the past two years seemed to have gotten reinforced during this Symposium. Most Conservatives are incapable of delineating what is Islamic from what is political in a “terrorist's propaganda”. Some think of themselves as being “highly informed” because they “listen to what the terrorists say”. This scary phenomena of the blind leading the blind goes apparently all the way up the food chain, when we see some of our policy makers truly incapable of breaking down the Iranian President's public rhetoric.

In closing, I guess I can't sum it up any better than Frank Salvato of the Basics Project and a co-organizer of this Terrorism Symposium, who suggested that “In the Land of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King”. In some private conversations with movement oriented Muslim activists here and oversees last year, I asked the question of whether it isn't our responsibility as Muslims to reach out and clear up the Right's misunderstanding of “political Islam” as its called. In 2006 I wrote an op-ed about one of those efforts engaging national policy makers, where I suggested American public diplomacy should engage “political Islam” movements on the questions associated with Civic and Religious Liberty. But post-Iraq, our government is incapable of any new initiatives. In that op-ed I wrote:

In the Qur'an Muslims are taught that they are “the best of communities” when performing three simple tasks, “believing in God”, “supporting good” and “opposing evil.” Today no one makes the argument that Muslims as a whole are providing much of a moral compass for humanity, and there's the crux of why I believe God's blessing doesn't lie with those Muslim majority societies today. I tried to put this theory to work with Ambassador Hanford advising that because the overwhelming majority of Muslims don't really think about how to create an “Islamic government” that America should as part of its conversations with Muslim majority societies oversees help sponsor those academic initiatives that would help drive political Islamists towards a more reconciled vision of civic tolerance. His answer was very direct for a diplomat stating that it was up to Muslims to spearhead these kinds of initiatives.

So there lies the crux of the problem in US – Political Islam Relations, a gun shy America can't offer leadership and a resistance oriented political Islamic movement can't offer mush more than targeted discontent. So the average American and the average Islamist continue in stalemate, as though potential allies each awaiting the Messiah to negotiate their partnership's diplomatic breakthrough.

Domestically we as American Muslims have succeeded in coalition building across society to isolate and steadily increase the siege of the intolerance coming post 9/11 from the right and folks at the Symposium were with only one exception in agreement that we're (Muslims) winning and they're (future Muslim converts) loosing. Oversees political Islam movements are generally in a state of glee over America's foolhardiness in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere; thinking it better to leave the Americans licking their wounds and psychologically demoralized to humble their arrogance. Is it possible or even our responsibility as American Muslims to engage the American Right on the subject of Political Islam? Or is it not our problem so why bother since “political Islam” has nothing to do with our community here due to our fidelity to the 1st Amendment's Establishment Clause as the basis for our Religious Liberty?

Note: By “Political Islam” I'm referring not to the Islamic values (Shariah) that should guide every Muslim's political judgments, but the organized Muslim led political mobilization to restructure the socio-political order as outlined in a nation's constitution. In America our constitution guarantees everyone's right to practice their religion 100% as they see fit, so long as they don't try to use the government to “establish” an official state religion. Since organized and voluntary Muslim immigration to Texas started happening in 1854, no Muslim group or individual has ever voiced publicly a desire to change that structure yet Islamophobes play on the fears of declining Conservative Anglo Protestant populations that Muslims secretly conspire to subjugate them and charge them a jizya tax once empowered. And God knows nothing scares a conservative more than a tax increase, just check out the Presidential Elections rhetoric.

See Also:

46 Responses

  1. Amad

    I admire you for having the guts to go this event… It probably felt like emotional strangulation!

    This guy Moorti really annoys me… he seems to be part the Hinduvta movement, that is an extreme militant Hindu movement, partly responsible for the massacre in Gujarat. I guess its not surprising then. The last time many Islamophobes got together was in a conference in Europe, joined by white supremacists. It seems that bigots do make a good party, sharing what is common between all of them— bigotry. If they could, I bet they wouldn’t have minded a few folks from KKK as well… but that would be too obvious. Bigots engage in a flavor of bigotry that shies away from what is an unpopular flavor. If tomorrow, racism becomes “acceptable” as Islamophobia is, they will be welcoming KKK into their tent!

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  2. Yasir Qadhi

    Ma sha Allah, very informative. And I share Amad’s sentiment of admiration – don’t know how you managed to garner the patience to sit through such lectures, or even the courage to attend in the first place!

    Keep up the good work, we need people like you.

    Barak Allahu feeka wa saddada khutaka.

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  3. AnonyMouse

    Hahaha, amusing and informative commentary!
    May Allah continue to bless you with the patience and sense of humour to sit through these kinds of things without popping an artery or two :)

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  4. naseer

    At what point is it allowed or not allowed to attend such a conference?

    The reason I ask is because it’s forbidden to sit in a gathering where the verses of Allah are denied or mocked. I’ve heard from one shaykh that this can be kufr ?

    4:140 He hath already revealed unto you in the Scripture that, when ye hear the revelations of Allah rejected and derided, (ye) sit not with them (who disbelieve and mock) until they engage in some other conversation. Lo! in that case (if ye stayed) ye would be like unto them . Lo! Allah will gather hypocrites and disbelievers, all together, into hell

    I know the brother only attended to gain understanding of their mentality and you can say see what they have cooking.

    Can one of the shaykhs Yasser Birjas or Yasir Qadhi explain when the prohibition would apply.

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  5. ibnabeeomar

    naseer – i cant answer that question but i did want to point out something on the etiquettes of asking questions that i learned. in these types of situations its best not to ask it directly because now no matter what the question, you are putting the author of the article on the spot.

    its better to wait for a ‘neutral’ time and ask the question generally so its not specific to the person or situation – Allahu Alam.

    in any case though, br. elibiary is in this line of work full time and working with the community to combat the ills that they are spreading, you can visit the website here:

    http://freeandjust.org/

    in that same vein i remember a yahya ibrahim lecture where he mentioned he was giving a talk and a person had just accepted islam that night. this particular brother had dreadlocks. anyway, in the q/a a person asked “what is the ruling on having dreadlocks” obviously not knowing the situation and yahya ibrahim replied “when you grow dreadlocks come ask me” :D

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  6. Doa

    Loved the post masha Allah, jazakAllah khair.
    That video is so annoying. The way they start with the adhan, and mix real islamic things with terrorist things to make the mind start reacting to them both in the same exact way.
    sick.
    May Allah swt guide us all.

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  7. Hamada

    Jazakum Allahu Khairan for all the complements especially from Sh. Yasir and Sr. Zia, and martial arts classes when younger helped with the patience. Thank you Br. Abu-Baker (instructor).

    Br. Amad, the Indian dude bugged me a lot too. That’s why I’m planning on hooking up with the brothers from IMC (http://www.imc-usa.org/) this weekend to learn more about the state of the Muslim community in India.

    Br. Naseer, hopefully a Sheikh might respond to you, but you can email me directly for questions like that at me@freeandjust.org. Rest assured that when I undertake something high-profile like this there was a lot of shura undertaken not just inside F&J’s statewide BOD but with all the major Muslim community leaders and Imams in my hometown of Dallas where this Symposium happend.

    Wasalaam,

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  8. Manas Shaikh

    Br. Hamada, there is a brother Kashif Huda who runs a couple of sites about Indian Muslims. You may get in touch with him if you want to know about Indian Muslims.

    I can give you his email if you want. The situation in India is pretty bad. Both leadership and the community is in shambles.

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  9. Suhail Inamdar

    Hamada –

    I read the original post with interest. I share the admiration of the others for you attending an event like this. I disagree that we should not attend events like this. As it is there is no common meeting ground between devout and peaceful Muslims like us and the geenral populace. The more we remain hidden, the more our image gets moulded by these bigots.
    Manas – your comment on Indian Muslims seems over dramatized. I am an Indian Muslim and while there are pockets of deprivation among the Muslim community, it is hardly the case that it is the end of it all. In fact I would wager to say that the Indian Muslim community is amongst the most progressive in the subcontinent. They are to be seen in literally all the fields from Politics to arts. And they are movers and shakers like no other. Far from the depressing picture you paint.

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  10. Zair al Kuds

    Yes, excellent that you attended this conference. Not sure I would have had the courage to do so.

    I was on ‘angryarab.blogspot.com’ and came across something that was troubing on a number of levels. A new book about a Jewish boy who gets blown up by an arab suicide bomber, and winds up in the Muslim heaven.

    I found am article about it in the Brooklyn Rail:

    http://www.brooklynrail.org/2008/02/books/fiction-the-politics-of-the-afterlife

    Why are we characterized as ‘bombers’? Why is there a Jew in our Heaven?

    ====

    On the subject of literature, I have to ask if anyone has heard of a new book called “A Heaven of Others.” I came across it at the following link:

    http://www.starcherone.blogspot.com/2007/10/interview-with-joshua-cohen.htm

    The author says: “In ‘A Heaven of Others” a Jewish boy (who is also an Israeli) is exploded by a suicide bomber, and ascends, mistakenly to the Muslim Heaven.

    I haven’t seen the book, but this sounds like utter blasphemy.

    -Rafiq824

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  11. theManOfFewWords

    Your opinion regarding Judaism’s marriage with Zionism assumes a monolithic view of Judiaism which I dont think is very accurate.

    Though I will admit that I dont know the percentage of Jews worldwide who identify with Zionism. It would be interesting to find out if anyone out there has access to the statistics.

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  12. theManOfFewWords

    The ant-Islamic personalities that you mentioned above teach us an excellent lesson.

    While reading Art of War by Sun Tzu (I recommended it for everyone btw) Sun described a tactic for dealing with your enemy. It was to always keep them in a reactionary state. Keep them busy with a hundred little problems so they cannot focus their energies on creating long term strategies and becoming proactive.

    I see Muslims are often at the other end of this tactic. The clowns mentioned above and their cronies have an agenda. They should infact be ignored. They thrive on demonstrations, protests and offical condemnations by Muslims.

    Consider people like Anne Coulter. Why is she famous? Because she thrives on being infamous though she has a relatively niche following.

    Even mentioning these people and linking to their sites is welcome promotion.

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  13. theManOfFewWords

    You said “America should as part of its conversations with Muslim majority societies oversees help sponsor those academic initiatives that would help drive political Islamists towards a more reconciled vision of civic tolerance.

    No offense, but it is insanse to even suggest that America or any other foreign power interfere with the very fabric of another society. This is like a Chinaman going into a Latino community and telling them how to run things.

    The proper course of action is to follow the “mind your own business principle” in foreign policy (more commonly know as non-interventionism to sophisticated folk.) Get out and stay out. And here you are inviting more intervention, exactly what the Muslim world needs.

    In fact I am surprised at the wisdom of the Ambassador. No neo-con flatulence er … i mean rhetoric on democracy building. No, he told you, quite diplomatically, to get your own house in order.

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  14. Ahmad AlFarsi

    Zair, the book you mentioned sounds like one messed up piece of literature written by what appears to be an extremely troubled author. May Allah guide us all.

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  15. Manas Shaikh

    As-Salamu Alaikum brother Suhail

    I disagree. This post is not the place for arguing about Indian Muslims. But allow me to refer to this report below http://www.countercurrents.org/comm-sikand090206.htm

    I hope you have heard of Sachar Report which gave a very disturbing report on Indian Muslims.

    A few achievers are to be found here and there. But the general population is in shambles. The leadership is in shambles, and the extremists are on the rise.

    Wa’Salam

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  16. Hamada

    theManOfFewWords,

    I wasn’t speaking of Zionism in general, which is essentially Jewish nationalism, but a special dogmatic version of Zionism that’s killing the faith part of Judaism. Religions can withstand a little bit of nationalism mixed into people’s cultural understanding of their faith, but when it becomes very dogmatic that’s a different state. Take a look at the Likudniks.

    Thanks for the 2500 year old warfare wisdom and I’d agree in theory but from my perspective it’s a bit more complex amongst our adversaries. No one is saying to respond to everything thrown at us, but we must conduct accurate intel studies of our adversaries in order to know whom we can work with to clear up misunderstandings. Otherwise we’re no better than the most dogmatic of our adversaries pitted in a conflict of us verses a whole lot of them. That was not the way Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) worked.

    I believe it wiser to see and plan according to the different motivations of our adversaries.

    Now concerning your assessment of the State Department I believe it flawed. I’ve held discussions with the highest senior leadership their and its not one of non-interventionism believe me. Its closer to let the local dictator keep the lid on than anything else. The local Islamic movements all around the majority Muslim countries are under pressure and can’t reform their societies while under military dictatorships and that has its own blow back upon America. Plus the Muslim world overwhelmingly is inviting America into their countries, so its not just American interventionism at work here. The Chinese and Latino example is to simple and not applicable in my opinion.

    Thus far our policy makers have seen Islam as the source of the problems. While many Muslims see Islam as the solution, that dynamic has not been on display anywhere for the West to see. Closer interaction between the West and Islamic oriented activism is the bridge-building solution to resolve that dynamic that allows the ‘clash of civilizations arguments to grow’ for oversees and American Muslims are ‘subversive’ at home.

    Walahu Alam,

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  17. SrAnonymous

    Has Muslim Matters introduced Br/Sr Hamada? It would be nice to have an introduction. JazakAllah khayr

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  18. Dawud Israel

    This is why I visit this website!

    Br. Hamada

    Since I am almost positive no Muslim will ever attempt to repeat your actions, I think we should make the most of it.

    1) If you could maybe highlight the networking you saw of these individuals in your second post, (Spencer feeds off of such and such) so the Activists among us can get a better understanding on where to focus our attention? Who is the brains, who is the brawns? You did this to a degree but some more would be really great, Insha Allah!

    2) In re: Poltical Islam, you seem to be a position where you could do some real good so ideally what I would think of is to try and gain gov’t support for bringing the American Right and Muslims so that perhaps we can engage them. I don’t know the process for this but my own guess is when they see a proposal of this sort they would happily garner interest.

    3) I wanted to ask, what sort of (Muslim) media-work can be done in this specific area of Islamophobia? I’m guessing you might have a better understanding of this or at least some sort of ideas for us Muslim film-maker types…

    Jazaka Allahu khayran! :)

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  19. Dawud Israel

    By the way, that video was made on some cheap software that anyone has on their computer, “Windows Movie Maker”—what a bunch of amateurs! I love how they inspire fear into their own heart! :)

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  20. Naseer08

    The question I asked is related to the topic not brother hamada.

    I asked what the Shari limitations are when listening to anti-Islamic speakers, and when the Quranic verse would apply. Since your talking about the topic its a perfectly legitimate question.

    To be honest I think it’s just too much to expect a shari ruling to be explained in the discussions here.

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  21. amad

    Br. Naseer, I think you brought up a valid point. And it is especially valid for people who are not experts and workers in the field (as opposed to an activist such as Br. Hamada).

    I mean for the average Joe Muslim, would this be a good place to be in, esp. if is not doing it in the spirit of a greater good? Just like the Prophet (S) disliked for one companion from reading the bible, there are times and places which are not appropriate for everyone. There has to be some purpose of sitting silently through what Muslims would find blasphemous (a purpose such as exposing the Islamophobes as Br Hamada had).

    I think that would be a good topic to address in another post.

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  22. Hamada

    Will do insha Allah BR. Dawud in the next post. You sound like a guy I’d like to know, so shoot me an email if you don’t mind (address above).

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  23. awake

    Mr. Elibiary (Hamada),

    I am curious as to what specifically you and the “Islamophobe” Mr. Spencer debated at the ATF, besides the fact that he should convert to Islam because of his beard.

    What type of “reforming” are you proposing, besides suppressing all voices that are critical of Islam in that they associate core Islamic doctrinal portions as the impetus for the jihadists, or as you would refer to as “hijackers” and “misunderstanders” of Islam.

    Besides that long list of “Islamophobes” you refer to above, and President Bush whom you have critiqued for his use of the term “Islamic fascists” who else do you have a problem with, besides Bin Laden?

    What position were you representing when you spoke at the conference on December 11th, 2004 paying tribute to the “great Islamic visionary” Ayatollah Khomeini?

    I am eagerly awaiting your response.

    Regards,

    awake

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  24. awake

    Troll?, no sir.

    Just asking for some direct clarification to that chest-thumping, yet completely unsubstantiated claim by Mr. Elibiary.

    He said he easily handled Spencer in debate at the ATF. I asked what they debated, specifically.

    He called himself a reformer. I was curious to what he felt needed reforming, specifically.

    I was also asking about his support for Khomeini.

    These are quite simple and direct questions. Mr. Elibiary of course reserves the right not to respond, and I believe he has exercized that right, as expected.

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  25. Hamada

    awake, sorry but I’m a simple man who works for a living and is rarely blogging. My email address is in a post above, and anyone who’s ever emailed has gotten a response depending on my schedule availability. So please don’t ever assume I choose to not answer something.

    As an fyi, Robert Spenser threw several issues at me as I mentioned above. Most are distractions from my perspective, so that’s why I directed the debate to Robert’s approach. All of us recognize there are violent extremists out there, but hell will freeze over before Muslims will cower before a simple media barrage and accept making Islam the problem. Islam properly practiced is the solution, not the problem; and everything else is a side show whether political or whatever. So there you have it, a debate not over whether terrorism is a real or perceived problem but on how best to resolve it. Some of that debate between myself, Robert and his Jihadwatch gang has been ongoing here: http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/019850.php

    I’d like you to point to when exactly I’ve ever called for silencing any dissenting voices. This is a straw man argument that somehow if I tell you that your approach is not the best approach that I’m denying you your freedom of speech. Want to try again?

    Yes I did call our President out publicly for using the term “Islamic fascists”, and for exercising my freedom of speech Mike Savage on his radio show called me by name a “verbal murder”. Now who’s trying to silence dissent here. Since then I’ve accepted an invitation the Whitehouse, other DC functions and hosted the Under-Secretary of State.

    Like all normal folks I have problems with lots of things, so you need to be more specific in your question of what I have a problem with.

    Due to the position I currently occupy, I say things sometimes that some folks don’t like. To keep the recored as clear as I can make it, I post on our foundation’s website the full story on these controversies. That one from December ’04 is on this page, so enjoy the read: http://www.freeandjust.org/Controversies.htm

    There was never any support for Khomeini I was a part of, but at the link above you car read the Op-Ed I published where I expressed my views on the man.

    Salaam (peace) and come back anytime. Mi casa es Su casa

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  26. awake

    Hamada,

    Thanks for the reply. I could agree with you that “properly practiced” Islam is a solution although “proper” Islam as you refer to seems to be quite a dodgy subject, open to loose interpretations by many Muslims.

    There are many Islamic scholars and the four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence that might very well disagree with your interpretation of “proper Islam”, whatever that may be.

    The fact of the matter is that you and many other Islamic “reformers” always attempt to completely seperate Islam from the equation of the problem. Isn’t that why you attended the forum with Spencer and the other Islamophobes? Isn’t that what you are doing here? Throwing out the lot in totality, dismissing all points by all of them furthering the rift?

    Political Islam, Islamism, militant Islam, Islamo-fascism, Islamic terrorism, radical Islam, extremist Islam…these are all semantical excuses. There is a common word that is shared by all of the above terms and whether it will take hell freezing over for you or any Muslim to acknowledge it makes it no less real.

    Extremism, is no more the problem than terrorism is. Islamic extremism more accurately identifies the problem, although you simply will not accept it. Thus things will continue on their present course.

    Robert Spencer has pointed out 5 things that can be done to end “Islamophobia”, the ridiculous trumped-up PC term that it is, and he makes his position explicitly clear on his site.

    If you were genuine, which I deem you not to be, you would acknowledge that their is a problem somewhere in the Muslim community specific to the Islamic faith itself and work towards a solution, but it is apparent that you have no real interest in solutions. No. You would rather demonize the likes of Spencer for drawing attention to the words and actions of your co-religionists.

    When I googled your name I got 20 articles about your participation in the Khomeini convention, so I’ll ask you to pardon me for not taking your op-ed position subsequent to the event at face value. I find it highly implausible that you did not know the focus of the convention. Are you unwittingly duped like that often?

    It is all truly disheartening. Good luck with reforming generic “extremism”, though I doubt it will have any noticable impact.

    Regards,

    awake

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  27. amad

    salam
    I suspect that Sleep, err. Awake, is well aware of the page you linked to, and the clear “guilt by association” trick in the Islamophobic hat. After reading the info. around the Khomeini story, there can be no doubt that there is ZILCH in it. But that is what Islamophobes do. They throw a story and keep grinding it until people start to believe it. It’s similar to the Swift Boat deception that led to Kerry’s demise!

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  28. awake

    Amad,

    Do you expect anyone who is not already predisposed to do so, to accept the excuse that Elibiary agreed to speak at, and then did, a convention where he did not know the focus of the convention?

    Come on. I am flexible, but there has to be limits to the suspension of reality.

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  29. Hamada

    Awake,

    Practically speaking it makes no difference whether you believe it or not. I speak wherever invited and am only responsible for what I say. You read the op-ed and it was confirmed by every media investigative source including the Christian Zionist World Net Daily itself that the Sunni leaders like myself and Dr. Kavakci were invited to speak on Sunni-Shia unity while they were massacring each other in Iraq due to our foolhardy invasion.

    You can choose to believe it or continue “phobiaing” all you want, that’s your choice and not my problem. Obviously whether its the government, media or interfaith partners none seem to have a problem with what I did. Now some would like me to limit my public speaking to more safe (PC) venues and you can argue that, but everyone who’s ever met me would tell you that I’m really down to earth and will engage anyone trying to make sense of things.

    As I told Robert during our discussion, his fan club (yourself included) don’t understand the difference between Shariah, Fiqh or even Hudood so having a constructive discussion is futile. Robert’s reply was that he’s careful to being accurate on his website, to which I told him to poll the dozens of folks watching our discussion and he’d find that they don’t understand what they’re adamantly telling Muslims is wrong with Islam though they claim to be “informed” folks who’ve learned from him.

    As an fyi for you, the 4 schools of thoughts you mentioned are not an extremism problem unless you take one of them and try to make it the official state code banning all other approaches as a heresy or something. What you don’t recognize is that there’s in Islam kind of like the 1st Amendment’s non-establishment clause that protects one’s religious freedom to choose to govern his life according to say the Malaki school of jurisprudence verses the Shafi school (2 out of your four).

    Bottom line is what I told Ambassador Hanford our country’s highest Diplomatic authority on Religious Freedom and sits on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom during a dinner in DC back in 2006, and I wrote an op-ed about it here: http://www.freeandjust.org/PublicDiplomacy.htm#2006IFTAR (2nd story)

    Average Muslims don’t generally bother with governance issues, and cut through the B/S propaganda in the GWOT that’s what America is concerned about. “Violent extremist” networks can’t flourish if there’s stability and good governance in any given Muslim majority society, so engaging Islamic authorities and pushing for good governance is what our government should be doing not pushing Liberalism as a “democracy” remedy for everything and here’s a couple of Op-Eds where I lay out why pushing Liberal Democracy in traditional Muslim societies is counter-productive and has a blowback against America. Push for good republican governance and drop the social policy promotion stuff if you want to get somewhere.

    http://www.freeandjust.org/PrintMedia.htm#liberalism

    http://www.newsoftheday.org/node/420 (this one came out of my impromptu debate with Frank Gaffney before a group of Congressmen and Senators on Capitol Hill)

    Salaam,

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  30. awake

    Hamada,

    Thanks again for the reply.

    you wrote:

    “As I told Robert during our discussion, his fan club (yourself included) don’t understand the difference between Shariah, Fiqh or even Hudood so having a constructive discussion is futile. Robert’s reply was that he’s careful to being accurate on his website, to which I told him to poll the dozens of folks watching our discussion and he’d find that they don’t understand what they’re adamantly telling Muslims is wrong with Islam though they claim to be “informed” folks who’ve learned from him.”

    Two questions.

    First, are you suggesting that the commenters at JW are misinformed as a direct result of being willfully mislead by Spencer or are they just not accurately getting his message?

    Second, whether or not you believe Spencer’s approach to identify and address a problem within the Islamic community as achievable in a realistically positive way, is there a specific inherent fatal flaw in his argument that you can point out?

    you also wrote:

    “What you don’t recognize is that there’s in Islam kind of like the 1st Amendment’s non-establishment clause that protects one’s religious freedom to choose to govern his life according to say the Malaki school of jurisprudence verses the Shafi school (2 out of your four).”

    No, I recognize that. Quite frankly, that is a microcosmic example of exactly what my retort to your earlier reply was, that “properly practiced” Islam is the solution. It appears that there are several mainstream perspectives to what “that” (properly practiced Islam) may be and countless other interpretations in action that we have seen.

    Once again, the problem seems to lie within the Islamic community, not outside of it, but of course has nothing to do with Islam in your and many other Muslim’s estimation.

    you wrote:

    “Violent extremist” networks can’t flourish if there’s stability and good governance in any given Muslim majority society, so engaging Islamic authorities and pushing for good governance is what our government should be doing not pushing Liberalism as a “democracy” remedy for everything…”

    I absolutely agree with you there. The only problem I have is that in Muslim majority societies, the ideal governance is Shari’ah, is it not? Islam and Shari’ah are one in the same, inseperable.

    There is only one main obstacle…figure out a way to eliminate violence by Muslims to which they lay claim to support by the Qur’an, Hadith and Sira, without stripping the Qur’an (specifically) of its perceived divinity by Muslims. Now that is the $64,000 question.

    To deny any correlation to the problem in the global Muslim community to Islam is preposterous in my opinion and does little to feasibly work towards a solution by a coalition that includes both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

    I fear that this continued path traps us all in a perpetual stalemate, rendering the problem to be perceived as Islam, by non-Muslims.

    Regards,

    awake

    P.S. I am aware of the thread over at JW. If it is your wish I will no longer reply here on this thread and will gladly pick it up over there, if you are willing of course.

    Peace

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  31. Amad

    There is only one main obstacle…figure out a way to eliminate violence by Muslims to which they lay claim to support by the Qur’an, Hadith and Sira, without stripping the Qur’an (specifically) of its perceived divinity by Muslims. Now that is the $64,000 question.

    Concurrently, let’s also figure out a way to eliminate the violence that is killing far more Muslims in the name of states, i.e. state-terrorism. Which Quran, hadith or Sira, or let’s say Talmudic or Biblical texts are being used to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq, Chechnya, Kashmir, Burma and so on and so forth?

    And let’s also remove the historical myopia. Why is it that terrorism has come into vogue among Muslims only recently (in 1400 years of Islamic history)? Were Hitler, Stalin, the Crusaders Muslims? Could one perhaps make that great leap (not great by an reasonable standards, which are not islamophobic standards of course) that there is an opposite and sometimes equally evil reaction to large-scale oppression against Muslims around the globe? When the West + Israel STOPS feeding the terrorist propaganda by stopping its own terrorism and large-scale assault on human freedoms and dignity, I believe that moderate Muslims like us will have a bigger opening in peeling off the extremists lies used to create “Muslim terrorists”.

    I love it when Islamophobes paint a picture where Muslims somehow just become willful agents of violence without any provocation or any wrongdoing committed by the poor Westerners and Israelis! Oh, before you jump on this as a justification for terrorism, let me be clear that there there is not! But only fools cannot see the connection. Remove the root-cause, choke the supply of daily photos and stories of the dead and maimed innocent civilians in the name of “western democracy” and “war on terrorism” that is feeding the extremist frenzy, and normal human beings will stop becoming monsters. Simple as that.

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  32. Hamada

    Awake,

    Yeah I think it’d be easier to have the dialogue on one thread at a time, so I don’t mind picking up at JW after this post.

    In short to answer your $64,000 question, there’s a concept in Islam called “al-walaa and al-baraa”. I posted on the JW thread you know on Feb 9th at 9:03pm on this. I agree with you that getting “rebellious” Muslims to understand when its permissible to declare war and peace, who has the authority to do that and what methods of warfare are permissible is the crux of the matter.

    The Christian West can not reform the Muslim East, it can only react and if things continue simply capitulate eventually. And I hope you figured out, that’s not the paradigm honest Islamicly oriented Muslims desire. As I stated on JW “Islam is a divine religion, not a Machiavellian cult cutting corners according to every individual self-described Muslim’s ijtihad to build some territorial empire.”

    This is why I’ve written Op-Eds, advised policy makers, think tanks, lectured at numerous universities and briefed senior national media folks that instead of us (Americans) chasing down an impossible path playing the role of “Islamic Reformer” we should concentrate our efforts to synchronize our own public policies to judge Islamic authorities (whether Scholars or Activist Movements) according to where they stand on those 3 points I outlined above.

    In an age where communications networks are ever expanding and technology super-empowers the networked individual, I don’t want to fight Al-Qaeda as:

    1. simply a law enforcement operation investigating the post attack bomb site,

    2. I don’t want to turn our free society and the whole globe into a “survailed” entity where civil liberties diminish as the only pro-active (being on offense) approach to fighting terrorism,

    3. I don’t want to debate with Al-Qaeda on their territory the acceptable methods of warfare in an asymmetrical battlefield because its easier for them to claim that moral clarity equals Muslim battlefield loses

    4. I want to simply undercut their whole ideology by pointing to the “fact” that their whole declaration of war fatwa is illegitimate and that Osama and Ayman don’t have the authority as “wali amr al-Muslimeen” to declare the Jihad (fight in this case) in the first place. Everything that comes afterwards in the debate is a side-show.

    If we’re able to as concerned Americans to synchronize our message, then our foreign policy in this national security sphere becomes something that would find allies from all the mainstream Islamic authorities (whether Scholars or Activists) as well as Muslim governments in a rock-solid coalition against “violent extremism”.

    But instead we’re still debating “toquiya”, “jihad” or “sharia” on JW or in the Right Wings echo-chambers (ex. talk radio).

    Wallahu A3lam (God knows better), but these are just simple thoughts off the top of my head while I’m watching Egypt win its 6th African Cup (soccer) title.

    Salaam,

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  33. Hamada

    I’d sum up your comments Br. Amad to any non-Muslim truly interested in creating a more peaceful and secure world as the following:

    Does a child growing up in Rabat, Ramallah, Baghdad or Karachi have any less of a right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” than one born in Tel Aviv, London, NY or LA?

    If the answer’s yes, then don’t bother wasting your breath. If the answer is no then they recognize that grand human rights come from God, inalienable and as MLK Jr. said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere”. One can only build on common ground, with it everything else is just geo-politics built on power dynamics and unsustainable propaganda.

    Salaam,

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  34. awake

    Oh boy, Amad. It took awhile but I was waiting for the tu quoque response as the solution. Yep it’s all the West’s fault and of course, the Zionists.

    What was Islam’s excuse before the existence of western global imperialism of the 1950′s?

    Never mind with the debate about the Crusades. there are many who believe them to be a defensive response to violent Islamic expansion so trying to persuade me there is moot.

    I know it is much easier to pin the blame on others and ignore the 800-pound gorilla sitting in your living room, but that desire alone does not make it even remotely true.

    Muslim civilians killed in Iraq are by the hands of other Muslims, by an overwhelming majority…not by coalition forces, but this drifts off topic quickly.

    I am not here to defend the Iraq war, nor do I suport it. I did support it to the extent of taking out Hussein, but in hindsight, it caused the destabilization that warranted the folly of nation-building by the US, lest the vacuum of be filled by Iran.

    Historically speaking, what country was Bush and the US invading right before 9/11 that drew Bin Laden’s response?

    Sitting back on our heels waiting and hoping this all gets worked out in short order in the Muslim community is no longer an option.

    If you read Mr. Elibiary’s responses on the JW thread he linked, he calls for respectful debate. This is exactly the accomodation he did not give Robert here in this thread, by attempting to render him a weak and ineffective “Islamophobe”, with little to no substantive reasoning behind it.

    Like everythig else, you reap what you sow.

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  35. Amad

    there are many who believe them [the crusades] to be a defensive response to violent Islamic expansion

    Yes, of course. The murder of men, women and children was absolutely justified as a response to “violent’ Islamic expansion [Source: Jihadwatch History Channel]

    Your double-standards to what reaction is justified and what is not, is what can be expected from a person with a warped sense of reality and history.

    Count the number of dead Muslim civilians, killed by non-Muslims over the last 30 years, against the reverse, and it isn’t even in the same ball-park! So, you can keep going in circles, but numbers tell the story. The 75,000 killed in Kashmir, the 160,000 killed in Chechnya, the 4500 dead in Palestine (since 2000), the 100,000+ killed in Bosnia, and I could go on and on. Now go ahead and total those killed in terrorist attacks by Muslims. It’s not even close!

    ignore the 800-pound gorilla sitting in your living room

    300-pound of which is occupied by AIPAC and the Israeli lobby.

    Like everythig else, you reap what you sow.

    Yes, unfortunately, yes.

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  36. Haamid

    Your piece is great. I admire your strength but think you are too easy on these zionists. They will continue to spread their vile Islamophobia. I was going to go to Dallas and now regret it. I’m surprised you got in. I was refunded and kicked out of their Americas un-Truth Forum hate-fest in Annapolis Maryland. I was recently threatened by your bodyguards. I would have liked to see them face to face. They’re probably a bunch of pencil pusher mossad rejects. Don’t let them fool you. The Russian and israeli agents are working with your bodyguards. I loathe Robert Spencer for the garbage he writes about our religion.
    Thank you for your blog. I will continue to keep updated. You are an articulate writer.

    Haamid

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  37. patb

    “Count the number of dead Muslim civilians, killed by non-Muslims over the last 30 years, against the reverse, and it isn’t even in the same ball-park! So, you can keep going in circles, but numbers tell the story. The 75,000 killed in Kashmir, the 160,000 killed in Chechnya, the 4500 dead in Palestine (since 2000), the 100,000+ killed in Bosnia, and I could go on and on. Now go ahead and total those killed in terrorist attacks by Muslims. It’s not even close!”

    Interesting argument but what is the point? Many of your examples are unrelated local national issues concerning separetism . The Russian issue in Chechnya is not tied politically, tactically or in any manner to Kashmir or Palestine. There is no collusion between the Govts. in these examples and no non Muslim overarching international political or theological driving force.

    Islamic extremism does have a common thread though and a link internationally that knows no boundary and really is a different issue.

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