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Neocons / Ziocons / Israeli Far-Right Attack Obama’s Intel (NIC) Pick, Chas Freeman

Amad Abu Reem

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chasfreemanwebThe neocons (see this interesting, though unrelated piece on neocons) and their friends from AIPAC and other Israeli-supporters and right-wing vultures smell blood and have launched a full frontal attack on Obama’s Intelligence Pick, Charles (“Chas”) Freeman. Freeman is the former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, former top Defense Department official during the Reagan administration, and president of the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC), whose wide-ranging experience stretches from the Middle East to China.

Online Israeli foot-soldiers and mercenaries are on high-alert, as the usual suspects write alarmist pieces on blogs and newspapers, and of course FAUX joins in (picking for their “expert” Frank Gaffney, an extremist, right-wing Zionist who leads the Center for Security Policy). Consider the logic of their “alarm” based on the general sense that NIC really has any significant influence in the Middle-East.

Of course the WSJ had its nonsensical piece, where the author (who works at some unknown “Witherspoon Institute”)  highlights MEPC’s publishing of the unabridged version of the Israel Lobby by the two distinguished Professors, as being evidence that he is anti-Israel:

Mr. Freeman has both endorsed the paper’s thesis and boasted of MEPC’s intrepid stance: “No one else in the United States has dared to publish this article, given the political penalties that the Lobby imposes on those who criticize it.”

Other usual suspects include  Steve Rosen, the former official of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee who’s been indicted for pro-Israeli espionage in a long-running AIPAC scandal, and whose blog is published by a rabid, right-wing Zionist outlet led by Daniel Pipes (who is one of the “dirty dozen” smearcasters).

You could also safely rely on Weekly Standard to give their usual support to anything pro-Israel, and they simply take out quotes by Freeman on a variety of subjects with the citation listed to the fair and balanced, Israel National News!  Even these, if true, are actually pretty factual and a positive reflection that this guy (Freeman) has a good head on his shoulders. Here are the “inflammatory” and “dangerous” quotes of Freeman:

“American identification with Israeli policy has also become total. Those in the region and beyond it who detest Israeli behavior, which is to say almost everyone, now naturally extend their loathing to Americans…This makes the long-term escalation of terrorism against the United States a certainty, not a matter of conjecture.”

And the issue with the quote is? Does it take a rocket-science to see the direct correlation between American favoritism of Israel and anti-Americanism, which directly feeds terrorism?

“Very early on, the notion of achieving some sort of victory [in Iraq] didn’t take. So if victory is not possible and not feasible, even if you could define it, then what you’re left with is to find some way to mitigate defeat.”

Still in the “Mission Accomplished” mode guys? And so now recognition of the Iraqi problem is an issue for a candidate??

“It is widely charged in the United States that Saudi Arabian education teaches hateful and evil things. I do not think that is the case.”

It is also widely charged and known that the Israeli education teaches hateful things about Arabs… how about taking that up too??

“I’m a very practical man, and my concern is simply this: that there are movements, like Hamas, like Hezbollah, that in recent decades have not done anything against the United States or Americans, even though the United States supports their enemy, Israel. By openly stating and taking action to make them–to declare that we are their enemy, we invite them to extend their operations in the United States or against Americans abroad.”

This is by far the best quote, and cannot be more accurate. Has Hamas and Hezbollah ever attacked US interests or asserted that they are at war directly with USA? The answer is no, that is a fact. Does USA not openly and directly support Israel comprehensively? The answer is yes, that is a fact. Couldn’t the friend of your enemy, especially one that directly supports it, ultimately become an enemy too? That’s kindergarten logic and it still works. So, Freeman is warning of a dangerous escalation. America doesn’t need more enemies… it already has enough. Pointing out simple facts and logic is the sign of honesty and practicality. The longer we keep shoving obvious facts under the rug, the further we will be away from any REAL and LASTING solution.

The point is clear: these neocons/ziocons/right-wing Israeli pimps don’t want ANY fairminded, non-Israeli-lover in the White House, at ANY level in the Administration.

As Robert Dreyfuss writes in the Nation (I borrowed many of the facts from this great article too):

If the campaign by the neocons, friends of the Israeli far right, and their allies against Freeman succeeds, it will have enormous repercussions. If the White House caves in to their pressure, it will signal that President Obama’s even-handedness in the Arab-Israeli dispute can’t be trusted. Because if Obama can’t defend his own appointee against criticism from a discredited, fringe movement like the neoconservatives, how can the Arabs expect Obama to be able to stand up to Israel’s next prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu?

For the defense (of Chas), antiwar.com writer Jim Lobe praising the pick, as well as  Dan Froomkin at Nieman Watchdog. Thinkprogress has a column that is more of a report than a defense<– they could have done better.

What can you do?

E-mail others about this story and cross-post on your blogs. As individuals, please write to the President, commending him on his decision to choose Chas Freeman, and asking him to stay strong against hawkish, right-wing pressure, otherwise there is no hope for peace (if he succumbs to these discredited hate-mongers):

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Imad Shaykh is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Imad is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Avatar

    MUA

    February 25, 2009 at 1:19 PM

    “Has Hamas and Hezbollah ever attacked US interests or asserted that they are at war directly with USA? The answer is no, that is a fact.” Ya Amad, your assessment is incorrect here. The1983 bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut by members of Hezbollah (at least this is what US intel community continues to maintain) proves otherwise. And notice this is not what Freeman said. He qualified his statement by saying “in recent decades.” So it’s been a couple of decades since that attack. I also disagree with this statement “Does USA not openly and directly support Israel comprehensively? The answer is yes, that is a fact.”

    I think this is an important topic and the dynamic between the US and Israel really needs to be studied in depth, it is much more complex than believing that the US comprehensively supports Israel, or as others believe that Israel controls US foreign policy. I would recommend reading Undersecretary of State during LBJ’s time, George Ball’s book “The Passionate Attachement.” He connects many of the pieces of the puzzle. There is more literature coming out now, so that’s a good thing. And before there is a call to action to support Chas Freeman, I suggest we really understand the situation lest we do something out of ignorance. I know it’s tempting to support a person who seems to be evenhanded with Israel, but this shouldn’t be our stimulus.

    • Amad

      Amad

      February 25, 2009 at 1:51 PM

      MUA, I guess I should have qualified the Hezbollah/Hamas comment too… even though Hezbollah attacked the barracks, it was still in Lebanon with the motive of war against Israel, not against USA. I don’t know enough about it, but I think the main point is that either of these groups have never declared “war on USA”, like Al-Qaeda for instance. So, that is the key difference that Chas was trying to make.

      As for supporting Chas, it is based on the two media outlets that are generally reliable (the Nation and antiwar). So, if you have more to share on this issue, please feel free to add more comments… because you bring a valid point but it is not sufficient… we need to either show valid concerns against him, or in the absence of such, support him. You seem quite knowledgeable in this area, so I hope you will bring out anything we need to know.

      thanks.

  2. Avatar

    MUA

    February 25, 2009 at 5:45 PM

    Firstly, I forgot to mention this earlier, put I wanted to commend your choice (and Muslim Matters generally) to address issues like this which many people would simply refuse to entertain. Thank you.

    Amad, a declaration of war is not necessary to designate an actor/nation as an enemy. It’s all about national interests. The US does not take action against an actor only if they have declared war, and Freeman knows statecraft very well, in fact I have his book, “Diplomat’s Dictionary” – although it’s just a compilation of apothegms, it provides some insight on how statesman and leaders have defined political concepts. Freeman’s point is that Israeli actions at least in part have contributed to problems for the US, not that the other Arab groups or countries are absolved from anywrondoing and that they harbor no ill intent.

    As for the issue concerning supporting Freeman, you’re right my comment was not meant to present a sufficiently compelling reason not to call. I am familiar with Freeman’s works especially on Saudi Arabia since in my graduate studies I worked on a mock NIE with a mock NIC on an issue where I was required to read his works. I can’t say that he’s said anything against Muslims, and frankly I don’t think that should be the standard. But what I can say is that he’s an American statesman, he looks after the interest of the US, and he (like many in the intel community & state dept.), believes that US support for Israel has prevented the US from achieving its interests in that region (in fact, SAMS-School of Advanced Military Studies published a report stating that Israel has no problem killing americans and makign it seem like some radical Muslim group was behind it), likewise he has made several statements about what should be done in Saudi that any thinking Muslim would find to be hugely problematic – again he’s looking at American national interests. Moreover, your standard of supporting him in absence of valid concerns is not adequate here. We need to look at this from a broader, beaurucratic-systemic approach, not on the level of whether an individual is good or not. There are plenty of people high up in the state dept. and the intel community including the CIA who support him whole heartedly, he is objective in their assessment, and will not cower to pressure or cook the books. This is their fight, it is best to let those guys handle this against the zionist lobby and supporters within the intel community. If Muslims think they can just enter and make calls or send emails showing support, in my estimation it’s naive and can potentioanlly backfire. This is a national security post, an intel post, the ones who can really pressure the Pres. are in teh inside, the laypeople don’t matter here. And the zionists have direct connections as do all the supporters of Freeman, let them handle it. No need to give anyone fodder. I have my opinion as to why we all feel so compelled to “act” when we get info. or knowledge, which i find hugely problematic, but that would make this unduly long post longer.

    • Amad

      Amad

      February 25, 2009 at 6:44 PM

      Thanks MUA. So, what is your suggestion on Muslim action/inaction on such issues, i.e. if we shouldn’t write/call about this, then is there any benefit of even posting this, in your opinion?

  3. Avatar

    MUA

    February 25, 2009 at 8:20 PM

    Apathy and inertia have plagued Muslims for a very long time. I think that is why the call to implement what we learn resonates with our generation. We want to pull ourselves out of this self-oppression. But I think the call (hammered during khutub especially) to implement what we learn is bereft of a context and an approach that makes going from cognition to volition truly meaningful to our deen and our environment. The pendulum swings one way, but then it swings hard the other way!

    There is definitely value in discourse on the type of issues that you write on. Learning and understanding is a cumulative process, some aspects can lead immediately to action, some however become part of an outlook and knowledge-base, which inshallah through commitment and critical analysis and desire for haq may very well have a synergistic effect.

    Some people think that if I can’t practice what I learn, or if something is too theoretical it is of no value. That is certainly not how it works, nor did the aimma of the past look to knowledge in that way. They even engaged in hypotheticals (caution: strictly in the sentient realm, not something so out there that it can never have a practical effect – this they censured) and found it to be necessary to build a person up to eventually carry a bigger burden.

    We have many big burdens to carry, and in order to effectively respond, we need to build our thinking up. Maybe one day when situation permits (people like saying “when the stars are aligned just right” – maybe this smacks of too much shirk though, but you get the concept), there will be capable people ready to take the burden. Another possibility – I may never truly be able to use my knowledge in what it was meant for in real terms, but humans are innately creative they find expressions to one degree or another to manifest their knowledge for the benefit of mankind – IF they are honestly committed to advancing themselves in that area (as opposed to a dabbler).

    When it comes to politics especially international relations, this process of building oneself up is even more important. No one becomes someone important without having the requisite knowledge and skill set. Lastly, I want to emphasize the importance of Muslims thinking about their own interests. As a famous late professor at Univ. of Chicago (whom I disagree with considerably), but nonetheless correctly stated, that we can always hire non-Muslims to do work in the technical areas (e.g. sciences, engineering), but we cannot hire non-Muslims to do the thinking of Muslims.

    Again, I apologize for the length.

    • Amad

      Amad

      February 25, 2009 at 9:05 PM

      much appreciated thoughts MUA… please keep them coming.

  4. Avatar

    Mohamed Ali

    February 26, 2009 at 8:35 PM

    I believe the only viable option by Muslims living in the West is to make hijrah to the lands of the Muslims and free themselves from the disbelievers and their beliefs since we will slowly be assimilated into their culture and lifestyles whether we like it or not. See below for ibn Kathir’s explanation on surah Mumtahinah:

    “Allah says to His believing slaves ‐ whom He has ordered to be harsh against the disbelievers and to have enmity towards them, and to avoid them, and to disassociate themselves from them

    {قد كانت لكم أسوة حسنة في إبراهيم والذين معه}

    – {that there was a great example for you in Ibrahim and those with him}

    أي وأتباعه الذين آمنوا معه

    – his followers who believed with him – when they said to their people:

    {إذ قالوا لقومهم إنا برآء منكم}

    {“…We are free from you…”}

    أي تبرأنا منكم ومما تعبدون من دون الله

    meaning: we have disassociated ourselves from you and what you worship besides Allah;

    {كفرنا بكم}

    {“…and we have disbelieved in you…”}

    أي بدينكم وطريقكم

    meaning: in your religion and your ways;

    {وبدا بيننا وبينكم العداوة والبغضاء أبدا}

    {“…and there has emerged between us and you enmity and hatred forever…”}

    يعني وقد شُرعت العداوة، والبغضاء من الآن بيننا، ما دمتم على كفركم فنحن أبدا نتبرأ منكم ونبغضكم

    meaning: enmity and hatred has been legislated from now between us, and as long as you remain upon your disbelief, then we will disassociate ourselves from you and hate you

    {حتى تؤمنوا بالله وحده}

    {until you believe in Allah, alone}

    أي إلى أن توحدوا الله فتعبدوه وحده لا شريك له وتخلعوا ما تعبدون معه من الأوثان والأنداد

    – single Him out to worship Him, without any partners, and to abandon what you worship along with Him of idols and gods.”

    [Tafsir Ibn Kathir fi Surah al-Mumtahinah]

    • Amad

      Amad

      February 26, 2009 at 8:53 PM

      Br. Mohamed, please arrange the visas for 6 million Muslims and safe and secure living and livelihood in any Muslim country… once you have that down, then let’s chat :)

      If not, then let’s stick to the topic :) Perhaps emigration is a good option for some Muslims, but for the majority of Muslims living in the West, there really is not a PRACTICAL option for going to Muslim lands for many reasons.

  5. Avatar

    Mohamed Ali

    February 26, 2009 at 9:05 PM

    I don’t see why I should organize the visas for 6 million Muslims since I am only responsible for myself and will not be held accountable for anyone else. Could you imagine some of the companions saying to the Prophet after the command of Hijrah : Please arrange the financial and social accomadations for 40+ Muslims so we can properly merge with the Madinan society?

    • Amad

      Amad

      February 26, 2009 at 9:19 PM

      In fact, these muhajiroon’s visas into Madinah were pre-arranged, and when the Prophet (S) entered with them, he helped each muhajir with an ansaar. They were more secure in their new residence than they were previously, free to practice their faith, unlike their persecution in Makkah. Today, its turned on its head. You can practice better in America than you can practice in most Muslim countries. That is a fact, not an opinion.

      And you still haven’t told me what this has to do with Chas Freeman?

  6. Avatar

    Qas

    February 26, 2009 at 9:19 PM

    “don’t see why I should organize the visas for 6 million Muslims ”

    Than pipe down please :)

  7. Avatar

    Mohamed Ali

    February 26, 2009 at 9:36 PM

    “They were more secure in their new residence than they were previously, free to practice their faith, unlike their persecution in Makkah.”

    Really? What about the people of Suffah? Were they also secure in their new residence? And how were they prearranged? The brotherhood established by the Prophet came after, not on their way out to Madinah.

    These “practising” Muslims pay tax that goes towards killing Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as funding intelligence agencies like the CIA. And they also swear allegiance by the oath of citizenship that directly contradicts Islam, how Is that “practising” one’s faith? (See below)

    “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law…”

    As for Chass Freeman, I was commenting on what the Muslims should do instead of idling taking note of the increasingly dangerous environment they are in.

    • Amad

      Amad

      February 26, 2009 at 10:17 PM

      I am glad that you have the oath down mashallah :) Now we should also review the oaths of the “Muslim” countries. In a similar vein, I also guess that we should also ask all Pakistanis to emigrate from the “Muslim” country of Pakistan, because Pakistan is certainly not ruled by the shariah, and because the taxes of Pakistanis (the few that pay it) are also supporting the killing of the Muslims in the frontier region? As they say, “People Who Live In Glass Houses Should Not Throw Stones”

      I would ask you, that in lieu of focusing on the Muslims in the West, that you instead focus on helping your fellow Muslims in the “Muslim countries”: so that they may practice their deen better, and fixing their societies. I think we all need to put the effort where we live, into dawah and actions of faith, rather than idealistic discussions that are not grounded in the reality of the world we are living in. I hope you would let us decide what is important to us in the land where we live in, based on the advice of our elders and scholars who live in this land, and you can decide what is important to you where you live, based on the advice of your elders. This attitude, which resembles patronizing of Muslims in the West (though you may not have meant it that way) doesn’t help your cause or ours.

      And in conclusion, unless you have something specific to say about the ACTUAL post, this will be my last reply on this irrelevant topic. I am not going to go in circles, nitpicking remarks and bypassing their substance, esp. on an issue that has nothing to do with my friend Freeman :) Perhaps if we have a topic on hijrah one day, I am sure we can engage more. For now, 6 million of us are staying put, most of us having no choice, but we appreciate your concern.

      wasalam

  8. Avatar

    MUA

    February 26, 2009 at 9:57 PM

    Assimilation and syncretism is undoubtedly a problem, and Ibn Kathir’s comments can be taken in that regard, but the solution of “hijrah” is lacking in so many ways, and the comments by Ibn Kathir do not provide any evidence for this modern notion of “hijrah.” For the bros. who advocate “hijrah,” you really need to offer a lot more than playing a broken record. As an individual if my family is loosing their Islam, it becomes incumbent on me to give them an atmosphere to ensure or at least increase the probability that they will remain Muslim. For some, migrating to the Muslim world may work, but to use the concept of “hijrah” in an ideological sense, and in the realm of fiqh that applies as a general rule is extremely problematic and fraught with inconsistencies. The Muslim wolrd today is certainly no safe haven for Iman in any general sense, and for many it may even make things worse, just ask those who have lived in the Muslim world. Mohammad, akhi karim, Amad has a point when he says that the muhajiroon’s visas into Medina were pre-arranged, this aspect of the seerah really needs to be understood clearly. The work that Musab bin Umayr (ra) did with Aus and Khazraj, and the compact and understanding that was forged really needs to eb understood if we are to understand what hijrah truly means. To make an analogy between our current situation and the hijrah of the Prophet is a gross violation and misapplication of qiyas. Muslims are facing an unprecedented time in our history, let us really think things through. One more thing, Amad is right to point out what does this have to do with the article? My comments above were not only in reference to Muslims in the West, but all over.

    • Amad

      Amad

      February 26, 2009 at 10:28 PM

      jazakAllahkhair MUA, your style and tone of response was much better than mine… good learning for me.

  9. Avatar

    AnonyMuslim

    February 26, 2009 at 10:18 PM

    Remember taxes paid in “Muslim” countries all go to noble causes that don’t harm other Muslims in any way shape or form whatsoever.

  10. Avatar

    Samiyah

    February 27, 2009 at 1:48 AM

    Jewish Leaders Blast Clinton Over Israel Criticism
    http://wcbstv.com/national/hillary.clinton.israel.2.945238.html

  11. Avatar

    J

    February 28, 2009 at 2:51 AM

    We should be spreading Islam far and wide, to every corner of the globe. Islam is (peacefully) growing at an unprecedented rate in America. And yet some Muslims want us to make hijrah! As Imam Mawardi [r] said: “He who can establish his Deen in the lands of the non-Muslim ought not leave, for it may be the case that abiding therein he may aid Islam and others become Muslim.”

  12. Avatar

    J

    February 28, 2009 at 3:01 AM

    Brother Mohamed Ali — you have quoted Chapter 60 of the Quran, and Ibn Katheer [ra] who said that we must be harsh to kufaar..but he also said:

    “God’s statement…refers to the idolators and the disbelievers who are combatants against God, His Messenger and the believers. It is they whom Allah has decided should be our enemies and should be fought. God has forbidden the believers to take them as friends, supporters or companions.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer)

    Also, you have truncated the passage. Let me reproduce the whole thing for you, insha-Allah :

    O you who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as protectors, offering them your love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have on the contrary driven out the Prophet and yourselves from your homes, simply because you believe in God your Lord!

    If you have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, take them not as protectors, do not show love to them in secret: for I know full well all that you conceal and all that you reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path.

    If they have the upper hand of you, they will be your foes, and will stretch out their hands and their tongues toward you with evil intent, and they long for you to disbelieve. Your ties of kindred and your children will avail you naught upon the Day of Resurrection. He will judge between you, for God sees all that you do!

    There is for you an excellent example in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people: ‘We are clear of you and of whatever you worship besides God: we have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred forever, unless you believe in God and Him alone.’

    Save that which Abraham said to his father: ‘I would certainly ask forgiveness for you, and I do not control for you aught from God, Our Lord! On You do we rely, and to You do we turn, and to You is the eventual coming. Make us not a trial for the disbelievers, but forgive us, our Lord! for You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise.’

    There was indeed in them an excellent example for you to follow,- for those whose hope is in God and in the Last Day. But if any turn away, truly God is Free of all Wants, Worthy of all Praise.

    It may be that God will grant love and friendship between you and those whom you now hold as enemies. For God has power over all things; And God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

    God forbids you not–with regard to those who do not fight you for your Faith nor drive you out of your homes–from dealing kindly and justly with them: for God loves those who are just.

    God only forbids you with regard to those who fight you for your Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support others in driving you out, from turning to them for protection. It is such as turn to them that do wrong!

    (Quran, 60:1-9)

    You could obviously argue that this applies to America (and I think you’d have a valid argument there), but I just wanted to clarify that we are not told to be harsh to all kufaar; rather, we are to treat them kindly and justly…being harsh only with those who fight us for our faith, drive us out of our homes, etc.

    Fi Aman Allah

  13. Avatar

    MUA

    March 1, 2009 at 4:09 AM

    Although the discussion seems to have veered from the topic of the article, I just want to add one more point. Although I have also posted a comment critical of Br. Mohammed’s insistence on Hijrah, I think we shouldn’t deride that message all together.

    He is alerting us to a valid and very important point. Many times, if a person mentions hijrah there is a barrage of comments ridiculing the idea and sometimes even the person. One of our central points of discourse, unfortunately, in the US is between these poles: hijrah vs. integration/assimilation.

    We need to transcend this construct, and deriding the former doesn’t do it. Rather, I believe we should earnestly listen to the bros. who advocate hijrah and although I too am not convinced of the idea in a general sense especially how it’s advocated, understand that at the least those bros. are alerting us to an important fact: our existence here is problematic (We must acknowledge that paying taxes in which a substantial percentage goes to the budgets of defense is problematic, and actually devastating on our conscience and legal code of sharia. Deflecting this point by re-directing the conversation to other problematic uses of money and taxes in Muslim countries, although valid and true, in no way invalidates the former criticism. And this is only one of many very problematic aspects of our existence here!).

    Because all too often the people who deride the proponents of making hijrah think that our existence here is either 1) great – all types of opportunities we’ve never had before (they usually assimilate very quickly), 2) needs improvement – we just have to work hard like the Jews and we’ll be ok (they usually fail to place Muslims in our larger context and history and thus are ill-equipped to provide the type of answers needed today which [re-?]constructs that comprehensive system of belief and practice that generates an immediate connection between Muslims and our Lord.) Obviously both positions are unsuitable to say the least.

    The problem with the hijrah argument however is that it implies Muslim existence outside of the West is not problematic. I think a more correct assessment is that Muslim existence all over the world in contemporary times is problematic. We are collectively experiencing an identity crisis of unprecedented proportions. Our worldview (Weltanschauung) is no longer in tact and has been effectively displaced and to a very large extent decimated. For a much more substantive analysis of this problem please read “Muslim Rage and Islamic Law” by Wael Hallaq (his analysis is great his conclusion is ill-formed).

    Given the depth of our malaise we need to truly spend time understanding the gravity of our situation (this is no easy task by any means, a lot of scholarship is needed in this area), be true to our deen and meaningful to our environment. If we take this approach I believe we can hold very respectful discussions with the type of adab and critical thinking needed to break the debilitating constructs we are in and effect productive change, and make more of an attempt to understand each other. These will be the first steps and certainly not the last in the quest to provide answers to our problems.

    I want to apologize to Amad for indulging in a discussion that has veered from the topic, but thought I should be more clear on my end.

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#Current Affairs

Why Israel Should Be ‘Singled Out’ For Its Human Rights Record

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians.

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Why is everyone so obsessed with Israel’s human rights abuses? From Saudi Arabia, to Syria, to North Korea to Iran. All these nations are involved in flagrant violations of human right, so why all the focus on Israel – ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’? Clearly, if you ignore these other violations and only focus on Israel, you must be anti-Semitic. What else could be your motivations for this double standard?

This is one of the most common contentions raised when Israel is criticized for its human rights record. I personally don’t believe in entertaining this question – it shouldn’t matter why an activist is choosing to focus on one conflict and not others. What matters are the facts being raised; putting into question the motives behind criticizing Israel is a common tactic to detract from the topic at hand. The conversation soon turns into some circular argument about anti-Semitism and the plight of the Palestinian people is lost. More importantly, this charge of having double standards is often disingenuous. For example, Representative Ihan Omar has been repeatedly accused of this recently and her motives have been called ‘suspicious’ – despite her vocal criticism of other countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

However, this point is so frequently brought up, I think that perhaps its time activists and critics simply own up to it. Yes – Israel should be singled out, for some very good reasons. These reasons relate to there being a number of unique privileges that the country enjoys; these allow it to get away with much of the abuses it commits. Human right activists thus must be extra vocal when comes to Israel as they have to overcome the unparalleled level of support for the country, particularly in the US and Canada. The following points summarize why Israel should in fact be singled out:

1) Ideological support from ordinary citizens

When Iran and North Korea commit human right abuses, we don’t have to worry about everyone from journalists to clerics to average students on campuses coming out and defending those countries. When most nations commit atrocities, our journalists and politicians call them out, sanctions are imposed, they are taking them to the International Court of Justice, etc. There are instruments in place to take care of other ‘rogue’ nations – without the need for intervention from the common man.

Israel, however, is unique in that it has traditionally enjoyed widespread ideological support, primarily from the Jewish community and Evangelical Christians, in the West. This support is a result of the historical circumstances and pseudo-religious ideology that drove the creation of the state in 1948. The successful spread of this nationalistic dogma for the last century means Israel can count on ordinary citizens from Western countries to comes to its defense. This support can come in the form of foreign enlistment to its military, students conducting campus activism, politicians shielding it from criticisms and journalists voluntarily writing in its support and spreading state propaganda.

This ideological and nationalistic attachment to the country is the prime reason why it is so incredibly difficult to have any kind of sane conversation about Israel in the public sphere – criticism is quickly seen as an attack on Jewish identity and interpreted as an ‘existential threat’ to the nation by its supporters. Any attempts to take Israel to account through standard means are thwarted because of the political backlash feared from the country’s supporters in the West.

2) Unconditional political support of a world superpower

The US is Israel’s most important and closest ally in the Middle-East. No matter what war crimes Israel commits, it can count on America to have its back. This support means the US will use its veto power to support Israel against actions of the UN Security Council, it will use its diplomatic influence to shield any punitive actions from other nations and it will use its military might to intervene if need be. The backing of the US is one of the main reasons why the Israeli occupation and expansion of the colonial settlement enterprise continues to this day without any repercussions.

While US support might be especially staunch for Israel, this factor is certainly not unique to the country. Any country which has this privilege, e.g. Saudi Arabia, should be under far great scrutiny for its human rights violations than others.

3)  Military aid and complicity of tax-payers

US tax-payers are directly paying for Israel to carry out its occupation of the Palestinian people.

Israel is the largest recipient of US-military aid – it receives an astonishing $3 billion dollars every year. This aid, according to a US congressional report, “has helped transform Israel’s armed forces into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world.”

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians. Activists and citizens thus have a greater responsibility to speak out against Israel as their government is paying the country to carry out its atrocities. Not only is this aid morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal under United States Leahy Laws.

4) The Israeli lobby

The Israeli lobby is one of the most powerful groups in Washington and is the primary force for ensuring continued US political support for the nation. It consists of an assortment of formal lobby groups (AIPAC, Christians United for Israel), think-thanks (Washington Institute for Near East Policy), political action committee or PACs, not-for-profit organizations (B’nai B’irth, American Jewish Congress, Stand for Israel) and media watchdogs (CAMERA, Honest Reporting). These organizations together exercise an incredible amount of political influence. They ensure that any criticism of Israel is either stifled or there are serious consequences for those who speak up. In 2018 alone, pro-Israel donors spent $22 million on lobbying for the country – far greater than any other nation. Pro-Israel lobbies similarly influence politics in other places such as the UK, Canada, and Europe.

5) One of the longest-running occupation in human history

This point really should be the first one on this list – and it is the only one that should matter. However, because of the unique privileges that Israel enjoys, it is hard to get to the crux of what it is actually doing. Israel, with U.S. support, has militarily occupied the Palestinian territories (West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) since 1967. The belligerent occupation, over 50 years old, is one of the longest, bloodiest and brutal in human history.

Israel continues to steal land and build settler colonies the West Bank – in flagrant violation of international law. It has implemented a system of apartheid in these territories which is reminiscent of the racist regime of South Africa. The Gaza strip has been under an insufferable siege which has made the living conditions deplorable; it has been referred to the world’s largest ‘open-air prison’. In addition to this institutional oppression, crimes committed against Palestinians include: routinely killing civilian protesters, including teenagers and medics, torture of Palestinians and severe restrictions on the everyday movement of Palestinians.

The brutality, consistency and the duration for which Israel has oppressed Palestinians is alone enough reason for it being ‘singled out’. No other nation comes close to its record. However, for the reasons mentioned above, Israel’s propaganda machine has effectively painted itself as just another ‘liberal democracy’ in the eyes of the general public. Any attempt to bring to light these atrocities are met with ‘suspicion’ about the ‘real’ motives of the critics. Given the points mentioned here, it should be evident that the level of support for Israeli aggression is uniquely disproportionate – it is thus fitting that criticism of the country is equally vocal and unparalleled as well.

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An Urgent Call Regarding the Plight of Shaykh Salman al-Ouda, Shaykh Awad al-Qarni, and Dr. Ali al-Omari

Hena Zuberi

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Saudi scholars, injustice

دعوة عاجلة بخصوص أزمة الشيخ سلمان العودة، والشيخ عوض القرني، والدكتور علي العمري

الحمد لله، والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله محمد وآله

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

لقد تلقينا بقلق بالغ ما يتوارد من أخبار غير مؤكدة حول الإعدام الوشيك للشيخ سلمان العودة، و الشيخ عوض القرني، و الدكتور علي العمري

لقد علمنا الإسلام أن الحياة نعمة من الله و إن أولئك الذين يعملون على حرمان أى أحد من هذه النعمة دون أساس شرعي واضح قد ارتكبوا إثمًا فظيعًا عدّه الله من الكبائر: وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا (سورة النساء، 93)

حرمة المؤمن

إن رسول الله ﷺ وصحابته قد اعتبروا حياة كل من نطق الشهادة، وكذا ماله وعرضه حرامًا لا يُقبل انتهاكها ولقد حرصوا كل الحرص على ألا ينتهكوا تلك الحقوق الأصلية حتى في تطبيق الحدود

قال رسول الله ﷺ: ادفَعوا الحدود ما وجدْتم لها مدفعًا (سنن ابن ماجة)، وقال ابن مسعود: ادرءوا الجلد والقتل عن المسلمين ما استطعتم (السنن الكبرى)

إن حرمة دم المسلم عند رسول الله ﷺ عظيمة جدًا، فلزوال الدنيا أهون عنده من قتل امرئٍ مسلم (سنن الترمذي)

ولقد كان السلف يقولون عند طوافهم بالكعبة: ما أعظمك وأعظم حرمتك، والمؤمن أعظم حرمةً عند الله منك (رواه الترمذي)

التماس رأفة

في ضوء الهدي النبوي، وعِظم أمر انتهاك الحقوق الأصلية التي منحها الإسلام للمسلم، فإننا نطالب السلطات المعنية بأن يوقفوا أي خطة مبيتة لإعدام الشيخ سلمان العودة، والشيخ عوض القرني، والدكتور علي العمري، سواءً في المستقبل القريب أو البعيد

نطالب أولئك الذين في السلطة أن يصدروا عفوًا في حقهم في هذا الشهر المبارك

إننا نؤمن بيقين أن هؤلاء العلماء لم يقترفوا أى شيءٍ يبرر التعامل المروع الذي يتعرضون له لمدة عام وأكثر وإننا نطلق هذا النداء كنصيحة صادقة، محققين دورنا كعلماء عليهم واجب بيان الحق، ومستحضرين أن كل واحد فينا سيسأل عن عمله في الآخرة حيث الظلم ظلمات لا تفضي إلا إلى عذاب النار

والله في عون المظلومين واللهم صل وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد

17 رمضان 1440 /22 مايو 2019

كتب بواسطة (الشيخ) سلمان يونس

 

An Urgent Call Regarding the Plight of Shaykh Salman al-Ouda, Shaykh Awad al-Qarni, and Dr. Ali al-Omari

All praise belongs to Allah, and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad and His family.

Peace and mercy be upon you:

It is with great concern and perturbation that we have received unconfirmed reports regarding the imminent execution of Shaykh Salman al-Ouda, Shaykh Awad al-Qarni, and Dr. Ali al-Omari.

Islam teaches us that life is a blessing from Allah. Those who seek to deprive someone of this blessing without a clearly sanctioned religious basis have committed an act that God deems atrocious and a mighty sin: “If anyone kills a believer deliberately, the punishment for him is Hell, and there he will remain: Allah is angry with him, and rejects him, and has prepared a tremendous torment for him.”(Qur’an, 4:93)

The Inviolability of the Believer

The Prophet ﷺ and his Companions viewed the life, wealth, and honor of all who uttered the testimony of faith (shahada) as inviolable. They took immense care not to impede on these basic rights even in the context of enacting punishments.

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Avoid applying punishments as long as you are able to find an excuse to avert them,”(Sunan Ibn Majah) and Ibn Masʿud stated, “Avoid flogging and applying the death penalty upon people as much as you can.”(Sunan al-Kubra)

Indeed, the sanctity of the believer was so great in the eyes of the Prophet ﷺ that he deemed the destruction of the world as a lighter affair than the killing of even a single Muslim. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)

Similarly, the early Muslims (salaf) would remark when gazing upon the Kaʿba, “The inviolability of a believer is greater with Allah than your inviolability.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi) There are few statements one can imagine as emphatic as these in affirmation of the rank of the believer.

A Call for Clemency

In light of the guidance of the Prophet ﷺ and the gravity of depriving a Muslim of the fundamental rights granted to him or her by Islam, we urge the authorities in question to immediately cease any plans to execute Shaykh Salman al-Ouda, Shaykh Awad al-Qarni, and Dr. Ali al-Omari in the immediate or distant future.

We urge those in the leadership to grant them clemency in this blessed month of Ramadan.

It is our firm belief that the actions of these scholars do not in any way justify the appalling treatment they have been subjected to over the past year and more. We make this call in the spirit of providing sincere counsel, realizing our role as scholars duty-bound to the expression of truth, and recognizing that each of us will be held accountable for our actions in the next life where oppression will be nothing but darkness leading to perdition.

And Allah is in the aid of His oppressed servants. May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon His Prophet.

Ramadan 17th, 1440

May 22nd, 2019

Drafted by Shaykh Salman Younas

Signatories (v. 2)

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

SeekersGuidance

Dr. Yasir Qadhi

Islamic Seminary of America

Shaykh Omer Suleiman

USA

Dr. Ingrid Mattson

Canada

 

Dr. Omar Qureshi

USA

 

 

Dr. Abdullah Hamid Ali

USA

 

Shaykh Mustapha Elturk

Amir, Islamic Organization of North America

 

Shaykh Rami Nsour

Tayba Foundation

Dr. Shadee Elmasry

Safina Society

Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

Director of Darul Iftaa Leicester

 

Shaykh Azhar Nasser

Tasneem Institute

 

 

Professor John Esposito

Georgetown University

 

 

Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf

London

 

Dr. Jonathan Brown

Georgetown University

Professor Mohammad Fadel

University of Toronto

Imam Suhaib Webb

Scholar in Residence, ICNYU

Shaykh Shams ad-Duha

Ebrahim College

 

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Tayseer Seminary

 

Dalia Mogahed

ISPU

 

Imam Dawud Walid

Member of Michigan Imams Council

 

 

Dr. Asim Yusuf

UK

 

 

Dr. Ovamir Anjum

University of Toledo

 

Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick

USA

 

Shaykh Hani Saleem

Islamic Center of Detroit

Dr. Shabbir Ally

Toronto

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

Dean of IOK Seminary

 

Dr. Ihsan Bagby

University of Kentucky

 

Shaykh Mohammed Faqih

Islamic Institute of Orange County

 

Shaykh Bilal Ali Ansari

Khalil Center

Mohammad Elshinawy

Yaqeen Institute

 

Shaykh Abdur Rahman Khan

Co-Chair of National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue

 

Shaykh Sulaiman Gani

London

 

Dr. Hamid Slimi

USA

 

Mufti Taha Karaan

South Africa

Shaykh Sadullah Khan

South Africa

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi

Chairman of Fiqh Council of America

 

 

Shaykh Taha Abdul-Basser

USA

Imam Ibrahim Hindy

Dar al-Tawheed Islamic Center

 

 

Dr. Basma Abdelgafar

Vice President of Maqasid Institute Global

 

Prof. Jasser Auda

President of Maqasid Institute Global

 

Laila Mehar

Former President of UConn SJP

Hartford

Dr. Osman Latiff

Jamia Masjid and Islamic Center

 

Imam Abdul-Malik Ryan

DePaul University

 

Imam John Ederer

Muslim Community Center of Charlotte

 

Shaykh Amer Jamil

Scotland

 

Shaykh Bilal Ismail

Imam Development Project

 

Shaykh Muhammad Mustaqeem Shah

Walsall

 

Dr. Bekim Hasani

Imam and Activist

Australia

 

Imam Imran Salha

ICA

 

Dr. Tajul Islam University of Leeds

 

Dr. Mustapha Sheikh

University of Leeds

 

Dr. Ahmed Soboh

Religious Director of Chino Valley Islamic Center

 

Dr. Rafaqat Rashid

Al Balagh Academy

 

Imam Shafi Chowdhury

Leicester

 

Buthaina Hawas-Neveln

Iraqi Journalist

 

Shaykh Salmaan Parkar Australian Islamic College

 

Muslema Purmul

The Majlis

Dr. Mohammad Ilyas,

University of Florida

 

Dr. Asif Hirani

Imam and Resident Scholar of Worcester Islamic Center

 

Shaykh Ahmad Kutty

Resident Scholar of Islamic Institute of Toronto

 

Shaykh Mohammad Aman Haque

Norway

 

Imam Mazhar Mahmood

Director of Islamic Foundation of Peoria

 

Ishraq Ali

Organizing Director of MPower Change

 

Usman Qamar

Muslim Chaplaincy of Waterloo

 

Mawlana Zakariyah Harneker

 

Shaykh Shahinur Rahman

al-Rahma, UK

 

Shaykh Abdul Wahab Saleem

Salik Academy

Dr. Usaama Al-Azami

Markfield Institute

Ustadh Samir Hussain

ISNA High School

 

Shaykh Tariq Ata Dr. Zaid alBarzinji

Maqasid Institute

Shaykh Abdur Rahim Reasat

SeekersGuidance

Mufti Liaquat Zaman

Birmingham, UK

 

Imam Salim Astewani

Cheshire, UK

 

 

Shaykh Tabraze Azam

SeekersGuidance

 

Dr. Sharif El-Tobgui

Brandeis University

 

 

Ismail Royer

USA

Imam Qasim Rashid

Al-Khayr Foundation

 

Dr. Yvonne Haddad

Georgetown University

Omar Usman

Executive Director, MuslimMatters

 

Shaykh Muhammad Abuelezz

Muslim Association of Canada

 

Mufti Ismail Syed

London

Mawlana Safwaan Navlakhi

Al-Ma’aly Institute

South Africa

 

Dr. Ildus Rafikov

ISTAC

Aamir Ansari

ICNA

Shaykh Hassan Rabbani

Zia-Ul-Quran Mosque

Scotland

Ustadha Umm Jamaal ud-Din

Islamic College of Australia

Dr. Munir Elkassem

President, Islamic Institute of Interfaith Dialogue

Dr. Yusuf Salah

Khalil Foundation

 

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OpEd: The Planned Saudi Executions Have A Context

The Arab Spring and its immediate aftermath was a wake-up call to all those who feared for the security of their thrones

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By Abdullah Abu Dawud

The news of the intended Saudi execution of three prominent scholars has infuriated many observant Muslims around the world. This is no surprise considering the fact that that the three scholars have attracted a vast audience through their TV programs and social media activity. These three scholars, and many like them, have been the source of religious knowledge and inspiration for many Muslims, not only in the Arab world, but around the globe.

However, our objection Saudi Arabia’s treatment and intended execution of these scholars should not be simply rooted in emotion. In order to properly oppose such reckless decisions, we must understand the motivation behind them and the context in which they exist. For as reckless as these decisions may be, they are not arbitrary and are not devoid of context. They exist within a bigger picture; a picture that I will try to sketch in this article. We must rewind back to the early part of the 20th century. That era witnessed events that, by all accounts, changed the nature of the Muslim world. The Muslim lands that were under the rule of the Ottoman Empire were conquered and colonized by Western powers (Britain and France), and the office of the Caliph (based in Istanbul) was abolished. This was accompanied by a calculated uprooting of Islamic social and legal structures that existed for centuries; the colonizing powers imported their European structures to serve as the new order in this part of the world. By the end of the colonization project, populations across the Arab world ended up with corrupt and authoritarian regimes and social structures and legal codes which were imported from foreign countries.

Inevitably, this new reality that was imposed on the Arab populations gave rise to organic reactions which aimed to resist this new reality. Eventually, a broad movement (often labeled as the “Islamic movement”) took shape with two main identifiable goals: 1) The revival of Islamic law and values and re-establishing Islam’s role in governance and public life (which was highly reduced after the abolishment of the Caliphate), and 2) Establishing a governance system whose legitimacy was rooted in the consent of the people. It may also be said that those two primary goals also served as criteria by which Muslim governments would be measured; i.e their adherence to Islam and their respect for the will of the populations. This broad movement was largely led by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and then spread across the Arab and Muslim world. Although the Brotherhood is deemed to be an originator of this movement, today, many people share this vision of “revival” and “popular legitimacy” while lying outside of the organizational borders of the Brotherhood (but can still be described as being part of the “Islamic movement”).

Those who shared this vision, not surprisingly, were constantly pursued by the authoritarian regimes of the Arab world. It is also not surprising that those who shared this vision would be vocal supporters if not active participants in the Arab Spring. Indeed, the Arab Spring has demonstrated repeatedly that Arab populations yearn for a participatory form of government and find a certain appeal in the message of Islamic parties (as evidenced by the electoral victories of Islamic parties in all countries of the Arab Spring). In other words, the Arab Spring made it clear to all observing autocrats that, when given the choice, Arab populations will likely elect Islamic parties into power. The Arab Spring and its immediate aftermath was a wake-up call to all those who feared for the security of their thrones. In Abu-Dhabi and Riyadh, things were clear: The Arab spring is either to be reversed, or they will be next. With the successful ousting of the Brotherhood in Egypt and the unconditional green-light given by the Trump administration, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Cairo have decided to kill the Arab Spring once and for all. The recent news about the intended execution in Saudi Arabia must be seen in this context.

Clerics such as Salman Al-Ouda, Ali Al-Omari, and Awad Al-Qarni were all vocal supporters of the Arab Spring uprisings and are associated with the Sahwa movement (which is a movement of Islamic political activism in the Gulf that draws heavily on Brotherhood ideas). The Arab autocrats simply view those voices as a danger. They represent a movement which challenges the status quo and questions the legitimacy of the rule of Arab autocrats; a movement which can be traced to the movement originated by the Brotherhood following the fall of the Caliphate and beginning of colonization. The autocrats could not afford to have influential clerics and TV personalities preach about popular legitimacy or the relevance of Islamic values and principles to public life and governance; after all, these are ideas that, if believed, would seriously question the legitimacy of their rule. As such, and after getting brief a taste of what free choice would look like in Arab nations, it became clear that the to these autocrats that the danger was more real than what they thought and more immediate. It seems that their action plan is simply to silence anyone who represents the spirit of the “Islamic movement”. From their perspective, they want to chop off the head of the snake and settle the matter once and for all.

These intended executions are not about support for extremism (a laughable accusation). Nor are they about views concerning the recent blockade on Qatar. Nor are they about the clerics’ criticisms of their government; in fact, these clerics did engage in harsh criticism of the Saudi government. Their crime is that they represent a message that, by definition, calls into question the legitimacy of the Saudi government. More importantly, it calls into question the legitimacy of the entire “order” that exists in the Arab world. The Saudi government is declaring war (along with its allies in Abu-Dhabi and Cairo) against those who represent a movement that has the potential of redefining the Arab world. Even if those clerics do not engage in direct confrontation with the Saudi government and express their views in positive terms, the existence of that message and its accessibility to Arab populations is serious enough of a problem.

What these autocrats to do not realize is that the ideas which these scholars represent exist independently of the efforts and words of these scholars. The belief in the centrality of Islam and the will of the people exists in the conscience of the vast majority of Muslims. These ideas are not the product of scholars such as Salman Al-Ouda, Awad Al-Qarni, or Ali Al-Omari. Rather, those scholars are the product of the ideas which organically exist in the minds of many Muslims. As such, executing these scholars will not bring an end to those ideas whose strength was demonstrated in the aftermath of the Arab spring. If anything, such executions are an affirmation by the Saudi government that it and its autocratic allies stand on very feeble ground. If the Saudi government goes through with its plan, all it will be doing is creating a void that will inevitably be filled by other people represent the same ideas. The cycle will keep going until the feeble ground which these autocrats stand gives way.

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