Tarek Fatah Does NOT Represent Me: Muslims 101 for Media

John Smith, from the fundamentalist, excommunicated branch of Mormons, said regarding baptism rites of Southern Evangelicals…

Reverend Kathy Lisbon, a leftist, gay & lesbian, ardent pro-choice activist, representing the 10 people of the Protestant Church of Noone was asked about the use of birth-control by Catholics…

The preceding two statements are fictional, and made up for a point. They represent poor journalism standards and are inaccurate in what they are trying to represent. Why would you pick a Mormon, let alone an excommunicated one, who would not even be considered Christian by the Evangelicals, to talk about a matter (Southern Evangelical practices) that he really has no authority to discuss? And the reverse is also true. Would you ask an Evangelical southern baptist about the Mormon opinion on Caffeine? Similarly, in what capacity would the imaginary Kathy Lisbon, regardless of her claims of Christianity, discuss issues about mainstream Catholicism (which for the most part rejects pro-choice and homosexuality)?

Of course, all opinions can be sought because we believe in freedom of speech, but shouldn’t obvious disclaimers and representations be made available so that the public can distinguish between mainstream and fringe opinions? If fringe opinions are used, then at least shouldn’t mainstream views also be obtained? And wouldn’t it be fairer if the views were published in proportion to the views held? So, if 1% held a certain Islamic opinion versus 99% holding an opposite view, shouldn’t the space and press devoted to the 1% be close to 1% and not close to 90% as it is now?

So, “media”: please start doing their homework before reporting Muslim opinion. Please STOP picking out any Muslim (by name or claim) to represent the mainstream, everyday Muslim, even if he claims “subject expertise” but is not widely followed by Muslims. And here’s why :

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  1. Such reporting is inaccurate and flawed. You can not pick up a fringe element to represent a majority.
  2. It is unfair to the majority, especially when the majority may not agree with what the fringe is representing.
  3. When you pick and choose those figures, especially the ones despised and sidelined by the vast majority of Muslims, then the message you are sending to Muslims is:
    1. You (the media) will decide who represents us.
    2. You (the media) feels that Muslims cannot decide for ourselves who we want to represent us.
    3. You (the media) are creating “Uncle Toms” to represent the opinion that You (the media) want people to hear: the opinion that suits your fancy.
  4. It is important that you learn to discern between the sects of Islam and NOT choose people from a sect, whose practice is vastly different from mainstream Muslims (such as Aga Khanis/Habashis/etc.). Because most likely such a person will not be able to properly represent the mainstream Muslim opinion (even if he or she has no ill intentions).
  5. For God’s sake, recognize that apostates do NOT represent Islam. What else would you get from them other than a biased version of Islam? If bias is your angle, fine, but don’t try to make it sound as if this is how all Muslims feel! And also, please know that Qadiyanis/Ahmedis do NOT represent Muslims. They are not EVEN Muslims, and 99% of Muslims agree on this. So either go and change the mind of the 99% Muslims or STOP using these Qadiyanis as figureheads for Muslims!
  6. Finally, there are two reasons to report about Muslims these days:
    1. Critical analysis and the desire to send a message to everyday Muslims, whether it be to prevent extremism or encourage integration. Well, let me say it bluntly: it is FAILING! Just like the Western Al-Hurra TV experiment failed in the Middle East, similarly the choice of your Muslim talking-h eads will not help any such message. You cannot have “foreign” elements telling the “locals” what is right or wrong. Similarly, you cannot have fringe element telling mainstream Muslims what “Islam says”.
    2. Representing Islam to non-Muslims: Unless you want to feed the everyday non-Muslim a warped, fringe view of the Muslims, stop FINDING fringe elements to discuss what we believe and how we practice. A classic example of such bad reporting was the Hajj story by a journalist who does not even identify herself as a Muslim!
tarek-fatah.jpg

So, I am sick of Tarek Fatah‘s tirades, the Communications Director of the fringe organization Muslim Canadian Congress. The fact is that most of his positions are outright unIslamic and unrepresenting of the vast majority of Muslims. For instance, his organization endorsed same-sex marriage, campaigned against Islamic family courts, and pretty much came out on the wrong side of every mainstream Muslim opinion. So, WHY, does any of the media give ANY credibility to this tiny group of fringe nut-cases?

While I am at it, let me also tell you who else does NOT represent the vast majority of Muslims. I should add that there is no doubt that the fringe has a following in the fringe, and that there are followers of all sorts of nut-cases (examples: Church of Scientology, Submitters, etc.). Let me also state that the web, esp. the blogosphere probably has a disproportionate burden of extreme “Muslim” leftists, progressives, and nut-cases. A very important disclaimer: all the people in this list are not equal in their separation from mainstream Islam. Some in the list are not even Muslim, while others are Muslim and have a small following (still not close to being widespread though):

  • Irshad Manji. Do I need to say more? A must-read crucifixion by Dr. Asad Abu Khalil on DemocracyNow, and a good article on ‘Aqoul should do.
  • Thankfully, the entire slew of Islamophobic wolves who donned sheep’s clothing for the so-called “Muslim manisfesto”, provide an EXCELLENT reference list of the NOTs. ‘Aqoul nicely summarized the effort as ultra-liberal, pretentious rhetoric delivered by self-proclaimed moderate Muslims. The list includes the illustrious Muslim-bashers such as Ayan I-only-lied-to-get-asylum Hirsi, Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen, Ibn Warraq and other islamophobes.
  • Stephen Schwartz. Yes, he is a “closet” Muslim, and he tries his best to make sure his Islam doesn’t effect his worldviews and probably his life. Schwartz is a follower of the Kabbani cult, and still hangs out with the remnants of Kabbani’s group and other similar extremist-sufi cults in America. He makes no secret of his neocon identity. Justin Raimondo, editor of Antiwar.com, tears him apart on “Liar, Wackball, Creep“. Our own Amir Butler has also done a fantastic job on him. Schwartz runs the non-profit organization “Islamic Pluralism”, which Louay Safi dismissed as an effort to “invent” moderate Muslims by “hardliners” trying to discredit mainstream American Muslim organizations. Safi charged that “those who are busy producing moderate Muslims have long time ago moved from the center to the ideological fringes of the American society.”
  • Khalid Abou Fadl, who makes no secret of the fact that he follows an early Islamic sect called the “Mu’tazilah” (considered deviant by consensus of the Sunni scholars). Abou Fadl has also been active in sitting in trials and cases against other Muslims! For instance, he was a witness for the prosecution against a group of Muslims in Detroit. Abou Fadl shared the prosecution expertise alongside such Islamophobes as Waleed Phares, dueling against the team of experts of an Arab Christian (Hallaq) and an Arab of Jewish/Christian heritage (Haykel) for the defense. In other words he shared a spot on the defense team with a well-known Islamophobe against other Muslims who were being defended by non-Muslims! Abou Fadl probably has more following than any others on this list, but he still holds fringe views.
  • Also, media friends, scratch off the “ex-extremists” who suddenly become your darlings for their views and historical accounts, accounts that are usually discredited not long after. Ed Hussain comes immediately to mind, and others like him. More on him here and here. One way of figuring out who not to pick for Muslims, is someone who is actively propagated and plugged for by the Islamophobes. The fact that Melanie Phillips, the notorious Muslim-bashing UK version of Robert Spencer/Horowitz praises Ed Hussein is a tell-tale sign that Ed does NOT speak for Muslims.

I will also mention some others in passing remarks: Reza Aslan, for example writes well and many of his opinions are good. But he is of Shia persuasion and obviously progressive, so he does not represent the views of the majority of “conservative” (as are most in the mainstream) Sunnis in America. Similarly, Eboo Patel, is an Ismaili/Aga-Khani, who is eloquent, but is still someone who represents a fringe section of those who call themselves Muslims. And not because they are malicious or insincere but because they have fundamentally different beliefs. I mean, Patel’s Ismaili faith doesn’t require the hijab, doesn’t require the 5-times prayers, and most of the Ismaili jurisprudence is completely different from mainstream sunnis AND shias. How can he speak for the challenges that practicing mainstream Muslims face in everyday life?

I am not advocating that the views of these fringe elements be completely ignored. But proportion and fairness should be employed, by allowing “mainstreamers” to also speak, and preferably speak more!

Finally, on what may be a controversial note for some, there are many bloggers who represent the fringe element/opinions of those perched up by the media (as embodied in the names mentioned above), some of whom are parroting the opinions of the Abou Fadls and the Tarek Fatahs. To be fair, I should add that not everything these authors write is necessarily bad or evil. In fact, some of the articles defending Muslims and Islam are good, just like some of what Abou Fadl has written is good. But when these authors delve into Islamic theology and jurisprudence and especially, the amusing attempts at “ijtihad”, then that is where we draw the line. And that is where the media cannot let those fringe opinions represent Muslims.

So, without further ado, the list includes…

After much thought, and remembering the spat last time, I decided to withhold listing website names. Readers, most of whom already know the fringe, are nevertheless free to use this space to discuss. But I would like to share some tell-tale signs about the bloggers who do not represent mainstream views and what to look for in their posts (more often than not):

  • The constant theme of “ijtihad”, when clearly the writer has no Islamic authority or training to indulge in it.
  • The constant reference to the “fatwas” and opinions of the scholars of the fringe. So, you will find multiple uses of Khaled Abou Fadl’s opinions or the opinions of other barely-known “scholars” or if known, then notorious for strange opinions.
  • Even if a blogger sticks to mainstream scholars but frequently highlights strange opinions, jumping from one faqeeh to another to another (many times of different methodologies), then consider that as a danger sign as well. I think most Muslims recognize that if one goes “fatwa-shopping”, one can find pretty much any opinion or verdict that one is looking for among the differences of opinion. That is why scholars of the mainstream forbid a person from searching for edicts that matches with his or her desires.
  • A multitude of posts discussing strange and new opinions that most Muslims have never heard of. A “new” tafsir of a verse or prodding the “latest” ruling on a matter that reverses the traditions of the majority of this Ummah’s scholars. Moreover, many times, these opinions are based on other opinions, not textual evidences. In fact, it is not strange to find “muftis” who don’t even know Arabic, and base their “fatwas” on the available English translations! An example of prodding strange opinions is the questioning of the very obligation of hijab, while this issue has been a closed and shut topic for the vast majority of this Ummah’s MAINSTREAM scholars.
  • Posts that question the authority of Sunnah, implicitly or explicitly. Or push forth the idea of “only-Quran”. This of course is similar to what has always been pushed by deviant sects offline– take away Sunnah and you can interpret Quran anyway you want!
  • Post that mock specific ahadith or open it up to questioning, simply based on the poster’s own dislike of what it conveys. An example of this would be discarding the hadith of angelic curse upon the wife who refuses intimate relations for no reason. Remember if one can reject one hadith today based on one’s desires, then what stops this person from rejecting another tomorrow? This is a door that once opened can never be closed
  • Posts that pull out one or two “funny” fatwas to mock. Many times these posters are equal-opportunity fatwa-pullers. So, they will pick out fatwas from any of the “traditional” or what they consider “fundo” scholars, be it “traditionalist”, “salafi”, etc. And then they will pick these fatwas apart and openly mock the scholar, the opinion and eventually everyone who might follow this scholar in other opinions. These posters do not have any benefit of doubt for the scholar, and forget that what is posted is usually a translation of the answer in response to a translated question, and it is entirely possible that something may be “lost in translation”. Disclaimer: MR is not one of them (for those who know what I am talking about)

Who represents mainstream Muslims then?

Many. Find someone at CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, MAS, TDC. I think the media has gotten it right a few times with Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir. But we need more of Ingrid Mattsons too. More of Siraj Wahhajs. More of Yasir Qadhis, Johari Maliks. More of Yasser Fazaqas, more of Suhaib Webbs, more of Usama Hasans, more of Mohamed AlShareefs, more of any of the Sunni Shayookh, the Shayookh of deobandis, tablighis, ahl-hadith, ikhwanis, more of any of the signatories of the Sunni Pledge and even beyond. Why? Because most Muslims are confident that these scholars have two important foundations, even if everyone doesn’t agree on ALL their opinions: (1) a firm understanding of the religion and (2) more or less in line with the mainstream Sunni opinions.

So MEDIA, if you are having trouble locating one, contact us and we’ll put you in touch with a couple!

See also: Join the “Tarek Fatah Doesn’t Represent Me” facebook group.

47 / View Comments

47 responses to “Tarek Fatah Does NOT Represent Me: Muslims 101 for Media”

  1. Asalaamu alaikum, Br. Amad. Excellent points.

    I think local action is key. The most important thing Muslims can do is to be proactive and make yourself fully available to the press. If a reporter on deadline needs a quote or the viewpoint of a story on Muslims, who are they going to turn to? Fortunately here in Houston the Chronicle reporters see Rodwan Saleh, president of ISGH, as an authoritative source and they turn to him frequently to get a quote or clarification on an issue.

    Having regular meetings with editorial boards is also an excellent means of developing a reporter-source relationship. They are also opportunities to provide education about mainstream thinking.

  2. Musa Maguire says:

    I would caution anyone from seeing these matters as evidence of a media conspiracy. That was not expressed by the author but it is certainly in the minds of many Muslims. Everyone in media has biases, and few have clear agendas, but very few, if any, are sitting around thinking “how to we smear the Sunni Muslims because we know Islam is the truth and reject it.”

    We often like to explains things like this in the terms of “THEY think…” or “THEY want.” Yet, when you try to figure out who “they” are, there’s really nothing there. It also has the nihilistic effect of making us think change is not possible.

    To a certain degree, the choice of individuals is motivated by the idea that Islam needs a “Reformation.” This, however, is not really related to Islam as much as it reflects the dominant Western culture and experience, where Reformation, reinterpretation of texts, etc. was considered an important step in civilization marching along.

    Islam does not need a Reformation, but it does need a Renaissance, and we should perhaps phrase it in those terms.

  3. DrM says:

    Asalam Aliakum,

    Well done. T-Fat has been crowned #1 on my list of “top ten pro-regressive Moslim idiots” of 2005 and 2006.

    http://drmaxtor.blogspot.com/2005/12/top-ten-pro-regressive-moslim-idiots.html
    http://drmaxtor.blogspot.com/2006/12/top-10-pro-regressive-moslim-idiots-of.html

    Name me a single one of these dime a dozen “reformer” who isn’t in bed with judeofascists. Shabbos Goyism is the order of the day.

    • pet-assad says:

      Your last line just proves Fatah correct on all counts. That kind hatred and prejudice goes nowhere. Muslims need to rise above this eye for an eye crap and listen to the criticism because much of it is valid.

      Sure Fatah and Manji may not represent all muslims, but they do represent a significant silent majority of open-progressive islam. Just because they criticize doesn’t mean they are 100% right. It means there are deep problems to address. If you prevent self-analysis, you stagnate and become an extreme caricature of your former self….hence the world perception of men in caves sending rockets. That’s all they see because that’s the loudest voice.

      Silence only shows contempt or fear.

      • DrM says:

        Rubbish, how does mocking and exposing Tarek Fatah’s lies prove him right? Neither him or Manji represent anyone but themselves and their Zionist masters, for you to think otherwise represents nothing wishful thinking on your part. They are widely despised in the Muslim community, and rightly so.
        I see no reason to treat charlatans(right or left wing) with kid gloves. Grow up.

  4. meh says:

    Let me guess, do Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammad, Abu Hamza al-Masri, Yvonne Ridley (who openly supports al-Qaeda and regards Zarqawi as a shaheed), the rest of the al-Ghurabaa clowns, and the Islamic Thinkers Society represent mainstream views?

    You focus a lot on liberal Muslims yet you stay silent on radical Muslims in the West who openly call for the West to succumb to their view of the world, forcing women to cover, and other heinous acts.

    Why don’t you ever comment on the Islamic Thinkers Society fanatics? Maybe because you support their views and believe that the Taliban were pious brothers despite their appalling human rights records (which include the gross slaughter of 35,000 Hazaras under their rule)?

  5. ibnabeeomar says:

    meh – in the case of ITS neither the media NOR mainstream muslims take them seriously – so why need to comment? “let sleeping dogs lie”

    however in the case of the ppl amad mentioned, they ARE taken seriously by mainstream media, hence the issue.

  6. Musa Maguire says:

    Meh,

    Please keep in mind that most of us are writing from North America, where the Hizb ut-tahreeri crowd and fanatical armchair jihadists hold much less sway.

    I personally don’t support any of the names or groups you mentioned, though I never really thought of Yvonne Ridley as much of a radical. I just remember when she converted and was trying to learn how to pray.

    That said, I think the flip side of this criticism is that the media also gives too much attention to the types you mention because they provide a sensationalist radical, voice. Hasn’t the British media focused a lot on them? And the real community leaders and respected imams probably get less attention. The ultra-liberals and jihadists are both extremists in our view.

  7. 1/2AWiseMan says:

    Good response ibnabeeomar.

    I like the little blurb to start the article, got me confused and interested.
    Also, that pic is funny…

    Very good article overall. Jazakallahukhair.

  8. DrM says:

    I think Meh is high on the judeofascist kool Aid. Where did Yvonne Ridley call Zarqawi a martyr? How much would you wager islamophobic clowns like Meh were giddily supporting the invasion and rape of Iraq while demanding that “radical Muslims” have their feet held to the fire.
    Try again, shlomo.

  9. inexplicabletimelessness says:

    ” Islam does not need a Reformation, but it does need a Renaissance, and we should perhaps phrase it in those terms. ”

    Excellent point mashaAllah. Let’s start the Islamic Renaissance everyone :)

  10. SrAnonymous says:

    Wow, that’s a whole lot of name calling. I would prefer to err on the side of caution than directly label anyone like Tarek Fatah.

    By the way from what I’ve seen …sometimes the problem is that the “media” tries to contact, say, ISNA but without much success.

    So then they turn to whoever has his cellphone on and is available 24/7 ready to provide op-ed on any and every topic to do with Muslims.

    In my limited experience..proactively calling up specific reporters when a big story hits and offering to provide an angle can be very fruitful.

    I’d rather see a post on being procative with the media, not issuing blatant blacklists.

  11. meh says:

    And I bet DrMaggot is happy over the news of Assyrian Christians fleeing their ancestral homeland due to the heroes that often bomb churches and behead nuns on a regular basis. DrMaggot wants to see the Middle East 100% Muslim and the non-Muslims cleansed from Muslim lands.

  12. DrM says:

    Well, well well, if it isn’t “Eliza” the troll from Umar Lee’s blog using a different name “meh.” LoL! You pathetic scavenger, you gave yourself away! I know that deluded style of posting anywhere.
    Where did Assyrian Christians come into this? Are you normally this dumb or are you just having a blonde moment? ? Flights of fancy on your crack pipe no doubt. This coming from the same bottom feeder giddily supporting the murder of Iraqi civilians and then crying about Churches being destroyed. Should have thought about that before invading a country and killing over a million of its citizens. Infact you don’t even mean the Middle East any good, so why pretend that you care?
    I’ll give you a cleansing, flotscam.

  13. […] just read this article about how members of fringe Muslim groups tend to be over-represented in the media. I don’t […]

  14. […] Muslimmatters, they posted the following regarding this issue of “mainstream Islam,” Who represents […]

  15. Abu Ilyas says:

    With all due respect you should have restated that it is only your opinion that this list of personalities represents “mainstream Muslims”.I don’t think it is your place to tell us who is a mainstream scholar, in fact I think the word mainstream is deliberately vague.

    I also don’t think you are correct in your assertion that “most Muslims are confident that these scholars have two important foundations, even if everyone doesn’t agree on ALL their opinions: (1) a firm understanding of the religion and (2) more or less in line with the mainstream Sunni opinions.”

    Perhaps they have a firm understanding of Asharism or Sufism but they dont have a firm understanding of my religon otherwise they wouldn’t be Ashari or Sufi.

    You also state that these representatives are “more or less in line with the mainstream Sunni opinions.”

    If by Sunni you mean in the specific sense of Ahl Us Sunnah Wal Jamah then you are plain wrong. If you mean general Sunni i.e not Shia then there is so much diversity of opinion within this “sunni” group as to render your foundation meaningless.

    I consider myself mainstream but Hamza Yusuf does not represent me because he goes on TV and blames Wahabism for the mentality that caused 9/11, and he goes on al jazeera and states he does not like Wahabism more recently.

    How can you want someone like that to represent Muslims? Are you not Salafi? If you are , you must be a Sadist to want him to go on TV and poo poo your deen.

    If Hamza Yusuf or even his more extreme friend and compatriot , Abdul Hakim Murad came on TV and just stuck to representing opinions that all Muslims hold then I would not mind but when they come on TV to blame Salafiyah for terrorism and defame it then that is another thing altogether.

    I think HY was a bad example in all honesty. Having said that you omitted more vociferous “Wahabi haters” like Murad who have become specialists at Wahabi scaremongering. I don’t know if you omitted him on purpose or you were ignorant of him and those like him. But Hy was a bad example.

    I feel we need to have a better grasp of who is friend and foe .

    And Allah Knows Best.

  16. brnaeem says:

    AA- Amad,

    I’m a bit disappointed at your portrayal of Abu Fadl. While I don’t subscribe to all his teachings, I don’t believe its fair to group him with the likes of Fateh, Manji, Schwartz, and the like. The man has a solid understanding of traditional Islamic law and shares many mainstream opinions.

    I felt you were a bit disingenuous when you described his role in the Detroit case. For example, its clear that he was, in fact, the one who labeled Phares an Islamophobe:

    ‘El Fadl, his fellow prosecution witness, calls Phares an “Islamophobe,”’

    And when you wrote: ‘In other words he shared a spot on the defense team with a well-known Islamophobe against other Muslims who were being defended by non-Muslims!’, the article itself explained that strange phenomenon:

    “Defense attorneys on terrorism cases have generally avoided Muslim experts, fearing that juries will not find them credible. Prosecutors have tended to favor them.”

    And why is that so strange that he was an expert witness against Muslims, who he was convinced were conspiring to carry out terrorist acts. If in his shoes, should we all not do the same?

    So, I’m not clear on what basis you write off Abu Fadl as some fringe lunatic who needs to be ostracized. I’m no fan of his in-your-face tactics, such as the classical music, his pet dog, and affinity for smoking or his neo-Mutazili views, but the man has something to offer the Ummah and it shouldn’t necessarily be ignored.

  17. El Fadl is clearly quite brilliant and a very much a top notch scholar in the academic sense of the term.

    I disagree and speculate as to his scholastic abilities. The reason is not for his modernist/progressive views, but for what apparently seems to be academic dishonesty.

    I am referring to one of his books (cannot remember which one at the moment) in which he claims that ibn Rushd’s “Bidayat ul-Mujtahid wa Nihayat ul-Muqtasid” supports the opinion that hijab is not obligatory (!). Finding this claim bizarre, as I know that Bidayat ul-Mujtahid is the text used as a fiqh primer for first year students at Madinah University, a friend of mine referenced his own personal copy of Bidayat al-Mujtahid (on the pages that Prof. El Fadl cited), and found no such support for Prof. El Fadl’s opinion. What my friend did find in this section was ibn Rushd mentioning the disagreement on the obligation of niqab.

    Unless our good professor was referring to some extant version of the book, or barring some other possibility, apparently, it SEEMS like Prof. El Fadl had engaged in academic dishonesty here. I think it would be very worthwhile for an Islamic scholar to investigate this issue, and if it is indeed academic dishonesty, to call it out for what it is.

  18. salman says:

    salaam aleikum,

    let us not forget that mr. abou el fadl was and is fully suportive of the women-led prayer stunt done by his fellow “islamic studies” professor, Amina Wadud. Prior to performing this stunt, she herself mingled and spoke at Hisham kabbani functions.

  19. Amad says:

    Br. Naeem, you state:

    While I don’t subscribe to all his teachings, I don’t believe its fair to group him with the likes of Fateh, Manji, Schwartz, and the like.

    salam,
    Grouping doesn’t imply equality, as I did mention disclaimers:

    A very important disclaimer: all the people in this list are not equal in their separation from mainstream Islam.

    To be fair, I should add that not everything these authors write is necessarily bad or evil. In fact, some of the articles defending Muslims and Islam are good, just like some of what Abou Fadl has written is good.

  20. Shaffiq says:

    What a stupid boy you are. What a stupid person. I’ll keep my comments short. The media turn to people like Tarek, Reza, Irshad, etc. because they represent a balanced view. It may not seem balanced to you, but it is to MOST logical and sane people. Your argument that it doesn’t represent the majority of Muslims is only a matter of opinion. Perhaps not the majority of Muslims in the world, but definitely the majority of the Muslims in North America.

    1. They never deny the political reasons which help promulgate the Muslim belief system or injustice

    2. They have a good understanding of Islamic history. You don’t need to be a bloody expert in every detail! You just don’t, sorry.

    And lastly, we should be GLAD that the media turns to them and not fanatic WAHABI-type, UK-type, let’s-go-back-to-the-caveman-days-type so-called “IMAMS”. These guys make us look like fools, not progressive people who actually care about living in peace.

    And don’t forget, that IS the message of ISLAM…PEACE.

    May all of you find it. But please don’t find it by killing others.

  21. Amad says:

    Stupid boy? Is that the “balanced” “Tarek-way” of discussing matters?

    By the way, what is “wahabi-type” and more interestingly, “UK-type”?

    Thanks for humoring me.

  22. […] Muslimmatters, they posted the following regarding this issue of “mainstream Islam,” Who represents […]

  23. […] Muslimmatters, they posted the following regarding this issue of “mainstream Islam,” Who represents […]

  24. […] there is more (by the way, these situations clearly isolate the “Muslims” who do not represent the mainstream majority, and in some cases actively work against Islamic causes- like Tarek Fatah who railed against the […]

  25. […] Marc talks about the trouble with self-proclaimed “Muslim pundits“, reviewing Manji’s speech at Penn. Related post on MM: Tarek Fatah & Muslims 101 for Media […]

  26. muslim says:

    How judgemental and blinded by your own ignorance and malice you are.

    You have no right or authority to decide who is muslim and who is not (based solely on your own interpretation as well as the socalled consensus of the “scholars”). Only God can judge. Tarek Fatah, Irshad Manji etc. are all muslims. But they may not represent you. But to call them apostates – my God. Muslims do not all think alike. Tolerence is clearly not your strong side.

    Granted, you may disagree. Just like muslims may disagree with your fundamentally flawed views based on bigotry and hate.

    You are too occupied with what other muslims think and if that falls under the “accepted” jurispurdence of Islam defined and sanctioned by the “scholars”, that you forget everything that really matters.

    Islams image is suffering as it is. You have done nothing to help. On the contrary.

    I am not affiliated to any of the groups mentioned. I am just a muslim who came across your blog. Disagreeing is one thing. Labelling muslims as apostates and slamming them is just not right.

    It is a shame because Muslims should be standing together and if you think all sunnis automatically agree, then you are in for a rude awakening.

    • suhail says:

      Maybe you need a learning in what Islam is than. There are certain rules which expels a person outside the pale of Islam. When people break those rules they are deemed apostates.

      Do you know what they are? If you don’t then please go and read it because Islam is not just about saying Shahdah. It is much more than that. I wonder why Abu Bakr(RA) waged war against people who didn’t pay Zakah and called them apostates.

      What they believe in there heart is not of any concern. A person is judged by his apparent i.e. his actions and words. If they oppose the words of Allah and his Messanger than we call them out for what they are. These people have broken many establised rules of Islam and even challenged Quran and Prophet(SAW) decree.

      You should rather keep quite rather than speaking without knowledge.

      • muslim says:

        How tolerant of you berate others making claims of lack of knowledge and telling them to be quiet! A very standard approach when one feels threatened and clearly you do because you have nothing even remotely sensible to say. You are just ranting one ad hominem attack after another.

        I suggest you sit yourself down, and instead of sharing your clear ignorance, you read the Quran and really learn what Islam is about, because you do not have a fundamental grasp. In the Quran for instance, Allah says that one a person says he/she is muslim, then nobody (and certainly not you) can claim otherwise. So although your perverted heart and mind dictates otherwise, you will have have to abide by that or just openly assert that the words of the Quran mean nothing to you.Just because you have memorized the five pillars does not mean you know all of its teachings. Far from.

        Allah did not appoint you as as his representative on earth so rather than you sitting on some website making painfully clear you lack of knowledge or basic Islam as well as you appallingly ignorance nature, I suggest you do something constructive. You have no right to just Tarek Fateh or others. You have only the responsibility for yourself.

        In summary: you do not call out anybody. That is neither your responsibility or more importantly your right. You reveal only hardcore inate judgemental behavioural pattern and severe intolerence. All in contradiction with Islam. You also do not tell me or any other Muslim to be quiet. But you are more than welcome to stay quiet especially in light of your ignorance and narrowmindedness.

        So stay quiet or enlight yourself and try to be more openminded even if you do not agree. You are not the keeper of Tarek or anybody else. You are not Allah either.

        • suhail says:

          Yeah pure Irja what can else be the symptom of your idiotic speech here. Islam if not manifested in actions if of no use. Also muslims judge other muslims by actions because only Allah knows what is in there hearts.

          Tarek Fatah has opposed Islam in many ways and his actions demonstrates his nifaq and his rebellion against Allah. So please do not teach us what Islam is.

          Regarding your comment about open minded than that is a thing that all mordernists are inflicted with. Open minded does not mean we tolerate anybody who wants to change Islam, who show open rebellion againsts Allah’s religion.

          There are places were muslims can disagree and that is allowed in Islam but rebellion against Allah’s deen is not tolerated.

          Yes i am in need of knowledge as all of us are but we do not need to go on the path of Murjiah.

          • muslim says:

            The best way you could counter argue my view was to call my post “idiotic speech”?

            Wow, you sure know to win a debate. Hands down.

            NOBODY aappointed you ALLAH or even a spokesperson (i’d hate to say spokesman as that would be insulting to all real men) for all Muslimjs (all 1.5 bill. of them)

            So your pathetic rant where your claim that certain issues are debatable whiles others are not, is again subject to interpretation. I am not familiar with Fatah’s or others views nor I am concerned. He will answer for himself and the rest for themselves.

            And the underlying message of your posts apart from its blatant ignorance in Islam, seems to advocate violence and persecution of those you differ with. Perhaps you are even ready to kill. What a shame that thanks to your violent and bidah posts outsiders who read this will confirm their prejudice that Islam is violence and the work that some of us put in showing the opposite will go wasted.

            You preach hate and intolerance. Clearly not in line with Islam, so you are clearly already on the path of wrong. Congrats!

            You do not get to define what Islam is or not. Get that through your head. And your namecalling, bashing and character assassination shows you have not got the fainted idea as to Islamic etiquette stated in the Quran and ahadith. In fact nothing condones your deviant views.

  27. dilshod uzbekistani says:

    M just finishing reading chasing mirage. No doubt that the author did his homework of history and the book is doing its jobs in terms of highlighting the history of muslims fiasco. I’m sure the book is worth reading to learn islamic history but that’s it.
    In the mean time the author tries to show himself as muslim intelectual who greives for muslim umma when he hugely fails in most importants things as it may seem trivial for such arragant intelectuals as Tarek. For example in the book I coudn’t find a single place where the author refers to our prophet Muhammad sollolohi aleyhi vassalom with due respect except citation from other authors. The author fully praise western society in freedom of speach and others but completely fails how muslims in these modern western societies are being oppressed. The author frequently refers to Turkey as modern muslim state but i wonder if he is aware that in the very turkey muslimas facing tough oppression so they don’t have access to college education unless they undress their hijob.
    In general as it seems to me the book doesn’t represent muslim intelectual but rather atheist

  28. an insider says:

    Let me weigh in.

    It has nothing to do with conspiracy or comprehension. It has everything to do with Tarek Fatah and his crew calling back at a moment’s notice. All the people you mentioned as “good contacts” are horrible at calling the press back.

    I have on many occasions tried to get in touch with Mohamed AlShareef for example only to be rebuffed. Same goes for many many others I have tried to get in touch with for stories. And the bottom line is that I am a Muslim, so i try to be balanced. Why should non-Muslims go to that extent to reach people, when they can get mouthpieces to say something controversial for a 20-second soundbite?

  29. Ibrahim says:

    SUCH a true article. Tarek fatah is an idiot who’s capitalized on the post-9-11 situation by appearing as the “moderate”, sensible “representative” of Canadian Muslims. Well, he isn’t, and neither is Irshad Manji. Very very good piece.

    • muslim says:

      Ibrahim, The Quran commands and forbids any Muslim to call other people (including other muslims) names, or even question their motives without solid proof. I doubt you know this verse. Seeing as most muslims have not read the Quran.

      Nobody has the right to monopolize on Islam and its image. Fateh, Manji are as entitled as the next to speak their mind. You don’t have to agree. Or else he could very well suggest you are an idiot.

      Would it not be better for to address why you object to Fateh’s views and has he at any time forced you to agree? If he does, let me know and I will stand up for you.

      What a pleasure it must be for those who hate islam to see muslims attack other muslims. What a victory indeed for the ummah.

      United we stand, divided we fall. Clearly we have fallen.

      Tolerance is a severe shortcoming in the Ummah and that is unfortunate.

      • suhail says:

        Tolerance is allowed in religion if it is on a valid Issue. Disagreement is allowed in Islam when it is on a valid issue.

        Tolerance and Disagreement is not allowed in islam when it is on the fundamentals of the deen which your friend Manji and Tarek want to change.

        Learn your deen first rather than telling others to do it. You are a pure Murji and your posts shows it.

        • muslim says:

          I think the only one who needs to learn about their deen are people like you.

          You make up things (bidah) and then you try to speak for all muslims and Islam. Who are you? Allah?

          Your arrogance and your judgemental nature combined with your clearcut lies are in breach of fundamental Islamic etiquette. So you don’t exactly yield much credibility.

          Disagreement and Tolerance are allowed in infinete because deen is subject to interpretation. Everybody has their own interpretation and practise accordingly.

          And for calling Fatah and Manji my friends, is just pathetic. You are clearly using it in a derogatory manner and the Quran refutes on every single claim you utter.

          You are advocating some sort of facist religious order where people have to agree 100% on religion or else they are eligible for bashing and hate.Clearly not in line with Islam. Just plain ignorant of what Quran says.

  30. docta J says:

    God bless you all :) This webpage just made my day. Of those of us that have had the (dis) pleasure of seeing opportunists like T-Fat (I just learned this nickname from here, thank you I will be using it quite frequently) and the unsuccessful lesbian that dances like Elaine Benice in action . . .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku-VSuWJjDQ

    . . . there will always be more to replace them. Organizations like CAIR and ISNA are doing a great deal of work and have created structures that are democratic, inclusive and sustainable. It will take time.

    While T-Fat (royalty cheque is in the mail for using this again) is a curmudgeon dressed as a caricature, why don’t we speak out against the Elmasry’s of the world?

    • muslim says:

      When you call people names like the ones you utter above, this shows you clearly hold no respect for the tone and etiquette as commanded in Islam.

      And for ISNA doing “great deal of work” – well one of their leading members advocates violence against women at the hands of their husbands. The president, Ingrid Matthson has problems disassociating herself from taliban (not exactly known for their acceptence of women rights as determined by Allah in the holy Quran), Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt (known for their radical beliefs also classified as islamist) etc. How that is great, remains to be seen.

      There is no pride in learning how to name call. Hypocritical and defamation.

      It is fine to disagree with somebody in their interpretation or views on religion, but to stoop so low as to simply show blatant disregard to the messages in the Quran (people bashing, hate, intolerance, etiquette when discussing faith) while at the same time claiming to be muslims, is just wrong.

      Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

      • DrM says:

        @”muslim”
        Look who’s talking! You say there is no pride in defamation and hypocrisy yet you’re supporting lying, neocon bootlicking anti-Muslim fanatics like Fatah. Tell me T-Fatah, why are you so scared to post under your own name?

        • muslim says:

          @ DrM

          Indeed, look who is talking. Familiar with your hateful anti-islamic rants.

          First you accuse me of supporting him, then of being him. Confused, much?

          Your paranoid remark deserves no response, but still, I hate to burst your bubble, I am not Tarek Fatah.

          Just because I speak of tolerance, not be confused with agreement, does not mean I am that person or support a particular view. If you are entitled to hold your views so are the rest of us.

          So I can’t post under his name. Your attempts to insult and denigrate people you disagree with is directly in negation with the message of the holy Quran. Whats next, you will claim, The Quran was infact written by Tarek Fatah posing as the creator, Allah?

          Passing derogatory remarks, making false accusations and debating armed with agression and derogatory remarks all goes against the Quran. I didn’t write it. So who is really the lying, neocon bootlicking anti-Muslim here?

          Tolerance is an inherent part of Islam. It can not be divorced at whim to cater for our own mischief, hatred and desires.

          • DrM says:

            And who better to speak about tolerance then marxist fanatics like Tarek Fatah right? Fatah’s record as a con artist is well known so why should anybody with an IQ above room temperature give the benefit of the doubt to a man who has made his living demonizing the Muslim community? Reading your posts it’s obvious you simply have no interest in hard facts. You’re misusing tolerance to justify hypocrisy and kufr. Where did you learn Islam from? Irshad Manji?
            Islam comes Allah, through his messengers, not you or Tarek Fatah. I’ll call him and the rest of the frauds what they truly are. Don’t like it? Too bad, either speak the truth or stay silent.

          • Muslim says:

            Correction: Actually you are blatantly misusing, no you are raping Islam, to justify your bigotry, intolerence and hate and your continuous conspiracy theories. Thats who you are. I have fear of Allah and so I refuse to comment on who is a con artist or not. All people answer for themselves. The truth I know is the one Allah provides in his Scripture to mankind, and you are are simply trashing every single verse on what constitutes good behaviour and etiquette and you talk about truth? It is obvious, you are not interested in truth, Islam or Allah. You don’t even fear Allah. Afterall only like this can you trash people you dislike, and spin your web of lies and hate. I also have to simply disregard your blatant false accusations. The message indeed comes with the messenger and not you, so you need not act like a self proclaimed speaker on behalf of more than 1,5 billion muslims worldwide. Reality check: You are not. You don’t have a patent for interpreting/understanding the message. You disagree with TF, then take it to court like a real man. You don’t like the truth, then Islam is not for you. It doesn’t need further munafiqs who show such contempt and disregard to the very words of Allah. And his words refute your blind hate, you hatemomgering and you trashing people like this. You even stoop to false accusations to support your own misguidedness. Grow up. Tolerence is of essense in Islam and you ought to know what Allah says to people about discussing faith when in disagreement and manners in general. Clue: Hatemongering, trashing, dafamation of character, intolerence are not the answers. Now I did not author that scripture. So according to you, Allah and his messengers too need to turn to you learn about Islam? The words of Allah in the Quran are wasted on you. Hence, you pay no heed. Munafiqs rarely do. That must be where you learned Islam from. Stop defaming Islam. If you have nothing nice to stay, then stay silent. And stop dictating to me or any muslim, what “truth” (according to you) they should speak. You have no such authority, drM. Before you start attacking my sincere imaan, I suggest you take a long hard look at yourself. I am not the one justifying kufr or hypocrisy by ignoring the words of Allah which commands you to behave especially when you disagree and to not hate and call people by names or adopt sarcasm.

  31. […] 2008, MuslimMatters released an article on who represents Islam, commenting on the fact that news organizations rarely bring in mainstream […]

  32. 212 says:

    I agree with you for the most part, except Reza Aslan is great in my opinion- do you discredit him simply because he’s shia? I have yet to disagree with anything he has said- he has very reasonable opinions in my opinion which I think most muslims here in North America would agree with.