Connect with us

Anti-Muslim Bigotry

The Lives and Stories of Ergun “Mehmet” Caner

Guests
Support MuslimMatters for Just $2

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

By Mostapha S.

Not that long ago, Turks seemed to be all over the news. Their overwhelming presence was mostly due to the massacre of the freedom flotilla humanitarians by the phalanges of the only apartheid regime in the world that we are all obliged to consider a true lighthouse of justice, or else we are anti-Semites. But there was another item in the Turks-in-the-news category that received a lot of attention, despite roughly coinciding with the events surrounding the flotilla massacre, which implies it contained much of what the media considers worthy reporting about these days, namely conflict, religion and dirty laundry. Of course, I am talking about the revelations that one of the pioneers of “hate-filled Muslim ‘extremist’ turned loving Christian” (and sharing his/her story in a book with a two digit price, shipping expenses not included) industry, Ergun “Mehmet” Caner, was being exposed as a fake. A man who decided to re-write the first chapters of his life before starting a new one. Most Muslims are familiar with this Baptist preacher and scholar who claims, according to the still present biography on his website, that he was “raised as a devout Sunni Muslim along with his two brothers” and  “converted (to Christianity) in high school.”

As a scholar, Caner has authored a number of books critical of Islam, purporting to “expose” its true nature and reveal “secrets” hidden from the sight of naive an unsuspecting Christians and has appeared on a number of shows presenting the same message. According to Walid Zafar of The Huffington Post: “After the 9/11 attacks, when many Americans were searching for answers, Caner stepped up with enthusiasm to present himself as an expert on Islam. He used his own “personal history” (much of it since demonstrated as bogus) to confirm his audience’s deeply-held suspicions about the faith that many of them blamed for the attacks.”

I came to know about Caner in a similar fashion, while browsing through amazon.com some years ago and running into one of his books about Islam, the title of which I cannot remember precisely now. What I do remember is the triumphant mood of many Christian reviewers who were strangely thrilled and overjoyed by the newly discovered fact that the world’s fastest growing religion, and the religion of probably some of the people they know personally, is evil (since that is what the book seems to have been all about); sadism at its strangest. After the 9/11, his rise appeared to have been unstoppable, peaking with his appointment as the dean of the late Jerry Fallwell’s Liberty University Theological Seminary in 2005, which since has tripled the enrollment of students to approximately 4000. But soon, the true story about the Caner clan began to unravel. Ironically, it began to unravel around the same time Caner was accusing fellow Christian missionaries of “heresy” and, ahem, lying for using a deceptive missionary tool called the “camel method” to convert Muslims.

The taking down of Ergun Caner was prepared by none other than himself; he made reckless omissions in his testimonies, gave contradictory statements about different details of his and his brothers’ lives, and never missed an opportunity to exhibit how ignorant he truly was of anything related to Islamic teachings of theology. But since his message was pleasing to his audience, it took what the media likes to call “an unlikely coalition of Muslim and Christian bloggers, pastors and apologists” to connect the dots. Representing Muslims in this unofficial coalition was a brother from England named Mohammed Khan, the man behind the now legendary website fakeexmuslims.com and a series of ingeniously crafted videos dissecting and analyzing many of Caner’s attempted frauds to the smallest detail. Christians were, for the most part, represented by James White, another Christian debater well-known to Muslims, and blogger Debbie Kaufmann; what’s important to note is that they’re both Calvinist, which helps to explain their conflict with Caner, who seems to have been highly critical of Calvinism, once even saying that “Calvinists are worse than Muslims.”

The results their diligent excavation effort yielded were fascinating; in short, almost all of what Ergun ever said of his Muslim past was false. Walid Zafar provides us with a sample of his greatest testimonial hits:

“The main problem with Caner’s journey from Jihad to Jesus is that much of it is fiction, a complex lie made up to give his conversion more authenticity. He fabricated almost everything. For someone who allegedly fought jihad, Caner’s understanding of the very basic tenets of the faith he is a so-called expert in is rudimentary.

Caner does not know the difference between Islam’s article of faith and the first chapter of the Qur’an. He’s claimed that the lunar month of Ramadan lasts for 40 days. In his book, he writes that he performed all of the rakats (daily prayers). The actual word is salah. It’s not a difference most people would know, but he says he is an expert on Islam. Muslims, he once said, followed something he called the “tobaad.” He’s claimed to have debated Muslim scholars who’ve never heard of him. Court records from his parent’s divorce indicate that he was in Ohio when he was a young child, long before his alleged move from Turkey. On his books, his middle name is Mehmet (Muhammad in Turkish), yet it is listed as Michael on his concealed-weapons permit in Virginia. Before 9/11, he went by E. Michael Caner.

In one speech, Caner told a crowd that outside the mosque in Kabul there was a sign that read, “Do not teach the women to read and write.” The story may or may not be true, but Caner, to give authority to the tale, told the crowd what was written in the native tongue: ‘bahasha uwtara muwtara seeteeroh.‘ That’s neither Dari nor Arabic nor Urdu nor Turkish nor Pashtu. It is an entirely made up language.”

Revelations such as this one (and as attested by the materials available on the websites linked above, there are many more interesting details in this story) were too much for his employers; Ergun Caner was demoted from the position of the dean of the Liberty University’s seminary and stopped performing this duty as of June 30,2010 when his contract expired. According to a statement from the Liberty University, “… a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory… Dr. Caner’s current contractual term as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary expires on June, 30, 2010. Dr. Caner will no longer serve as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.”  The story of the demise of Ergun Caner has thus been brought to its conclusion, at least for the time being.

But there is one element of the story that, no matter how it further develops, will never change. It refers to a very significant correlation between anti-Muslim bigotry and eventually ending up being disgraced. You see, Caner’s case is just one in line of many examples of Islam-bashers and opposers being exposed as intellectual and moral frauds. They tried to take a shortcut to fame and iconic status by spouting lies and misinformation about Islam, and presenting their ignorance about it as expertise, of which his case is probably the best example. The list of previous victims with similar autopsy reports is long and continues to grow. Most Muslims are familiar with a man named Jimmy Swaggart, a Christian preacher and debater who became implicated in two scandals with prostitutes and behind-the-scenes scheming against his fellow pastor Marvin Gorman from the “Assemblies of God” denomination (who was, by the way, also involved in a scandal involving a prostitute). He is also famous for debating Shaykh Ahmad Deedat who put him to shame, eventually forcing him to resort to cheap tricks and emotional manipulation during their debate.

Another fellow who felt sorry he met Shaykh Deedat is Anis Shorrosh, a Palestinian-American missionary. Apart from his plain dishonesty, fondness of lying and deception, which he generously displayed in pretty much all of his talks, debates and presentations on Islam, this chap became well-known for trying to burn down Loma Alta Towers by using an accelerant to set a trash can in the building basement on fire. Remember Walid Shoebat, another pioneer of the Muslim “terrorist-turned born-again Christian” industry? He’s also being exposed as a fake and an anti-Muslim crusader for money by some of the fiercest enemies of Islam who have obviously concluded that supporting such a blatant fraudster is more damaging to their cause than not using him. Another Walid, Walid Salameh, is treading a similar path, being exposed as a fake PLO member.

Kent Hovind, a Young Earth Creationist who claimed that the Catholic Church invented Islamis serving a ten year sentence after he was convicted of 58 federal tax offenses and related charges. Finally, I cannot but mention Ted Haggard, who, before being caught with a male prostitute and found to be using crystal meth, tried his luck in the Islam-bashing genre by saying, among other things, that “a close study of the Quran makes very clear the violent spirit fueling what is being spun as a ‘peaceful religion’.” And, to remove all doubts about his expertise and breadth of knowledge about our religion and developments in the Muslim world, claiming that most of the “radical” Muslim leaders were trained at the famous Al-Hazar (sic) University in Egypt.

The list is longer, and, as said before, continues to grow. But the conclusion drawn from these examples is the same, and strikes with relentless clarity and revelatory power. It is perhaps best described by a short, but concise, sentence, the third verse of surah Kawthar (the shortest chapter of the Qur’an): inna shani-aka huwal-abtar; For he who hates you (Muhammad, s.a.w.s.) – he will be cut off.

59 Comments

59 Comments

  1. Avatar

    firoz85

    December 29, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    : ‘bahasha uwtara muwtara seeteeroh.‘ That’s neither Dari nor Arabic nor Urdu nor Turkish nor Pashtu. It is an entirely made up language.” JOKEEE !

    • Avatar

      Abez

      December 31, 2010 at 6:26 AM

      That is so pathetic- he couldn’t he have put in the two minutes to get it translated online into a *real* language?

      SubhanAllah!

    • Avatar

      Literary Theologian

      January 3, 2011 at 7:51 PM

      Do you derive legitimacy of your own legitimacy by watching others get “owned?” This is demagoguery.

  2. Avatar

    Goktug

    December 29, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    May Allah guide them Ameen.

  3. Avatar

    khalifahklothing

    December 29, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    ذلكم وأن الله موهن كيد الكافرين
    … and surely, Allah weakens the deceitful plots of the disbelievers.

    • Avatar

      Mostapha S.

      December 30, 2010 at 4:31 AM

      Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaah we barakatuhu,

      To the owner of the best Youtube channel EVER!!! May Allah s.w.t. reward you for your efforts and give you determination and energy to continue your work whose ingenious combination of simplicity and marvelous results should be intensely envied by anyone seriously interested in drawing closer to Allah s.w.t.

      Wassalaam,

      Mustafa

      • Avatar

        Umar

        December 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM

        khalifahklothing, why don’t you upload the videos of these exposed christians?

        help truth prevail

  4. Avatar

    Mohammad Khan

    December 29, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    excellent article

  5. Avatar

    Justin

    December 29, 2010 at 9:52 PM

    This article, is unfounded, incorrect, and an attack on Christianity in general which is typical of Muslims. But Hallelujah, Im here to tell all of you that you are sinners, held in bondage by immorality, sexual, spiritual, you name it, but Jesus Christ died for your sins 2000 years ago so that you might be free from the bondages of sin, and satans nasty powers. Muslims might win the battle before jesus returns, but they wont win the war because their on the wrong side, Ive read the back of the book, and Christians win, Muslims need to repent from their Idle worship, and turn to Jesus. God Bless. We love you.

    • Avatar

      Mu'adh

      December 29, 2010 at 10:43 PM

      LOL

    • Avatar

      Mu'adh

      December 29, 2010 at 10:56 PM

      Oh, you’re serious? That wasn’t a clever Colbert-esque diatribe?

      This article does not attack Christianity, but rather excellently attacks those who are liars and charlatans, terrible character flaws condemned by both your religion and mine. Surely you don’t support people, like Ergun Caner, who are using false credentials to fleece YOU of money and gain positions of fame and status?

      As for the usual schpeel on being “Saved-by-being-bathed-in-the-blood-of-the-Lamb”, save it. “Say, “God has proclaimed the truth: You shall follow Abraham’s religion – monotheism. He never was an idolater.” (3:95) We worship no three-in-one God, or any other falsehood, but we worship the God of Abraham, of Moses, of Jesus, and of Muhammad.

    • Avatar

      John

      December 30, 2010 at 8:15 AM

      @Justin, You’re having a laugh right?

      @Mohammad Khan, excellent You Tube page you got!

      Happy new year to all.

    • Avatar

      Brother

      January 7, 2011 at 9:41 PM

      OK Justin, can we at least agree that lying is a sin, even if it is done to make other people’s religion look bad? That is what in fact the men in the article were exposed of doing right?

  6. Pingback: Al-Qaeda Targeting Christians in Canada, Austria – The New American

  7. Avatar

    James White

    December 29, 2010 at 10:17 PM

    Greetings:

    I would like to offer a correction to the impression left by this article at one point. I have repeatedly denied that Dr. Caner’s anti-Calvinism had anything at all to do with my engagement in exposing his false claims. Dr. Caner made the comment about Calvinists being worse than Muslims in 2006. I did not post my first article raising issues about his honesty and his claims relating to his Islamic past until February, 2010 (in reference to his having falsely claimed to have debated Shabir Ally, a matter I had taken up directly with Sheikh Ally himself). I was involved in getting this matter before the public’s attention for only one reason: as you noted in your article, I seek to respond to Islam’s claims and give a defense of the Christian proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If I believe Jesus Christ is the way, the TRUTH, and the life, I can hardly sit quietly by when someone is engaging in such behavior. His anti-Calvinism was irrelevant: had he been a staunch Calvinist lying about his past, I still would have had to do what I did. Thank you for letting me make that correction.

    james

    • Avatar

      Mostapha S.

      December 30, 2010 at 1:13 AM

      Greetings Dr. White,

      The contention that Caner’s anti-Calvinism could have something to do with your efforts in exposing him was not originally mine, and was made by Christian bloggers who followed the development of the situation; but it did made some sense, which is why I included it. The article does not claim that this was your main reason for being involved in this, but only that it “helps explain” it, and it still seem to do so; if nothing, Caner drew you attention with his attacks on Calvinism, which helped you notice the discrepancies in his testimony.

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 30, 2010 at 2:19 AM

      Thanks James for the correction and for exposing the charlatan. Truth cannot become a casualty of theological differences.

    • Avatar

      Muneeb

      December 30, 2010 at 2:28 AM

      Hello Dr White,

      “can hardly sit quietly by when someone is engaging in such behavior.”

      If that is the case, you should not sit quitely by other folks like Ergun Caner. You sit quitely next to Kamal Saleem, another false self proclaimed Jihadi. You had no problem sharing the stage with other fake Ex-Muslims like Kamal Saleem and Walid Shoebat on a live TV program. Where is your consistency? Why your belief in truth is so selective?
      If your motive is only the TRUTH, why have you remained silent until 2010? And why did your motivation to the “Truth” come only after Caner claimed he debated Imam Ally. Are there untruths that a Christian could tolerate and others that cannot be tolerated?

      If you are concerned about truth, you should stop using unscholarly materials from Sam Shamoun’s website, and paste them on your Blog as an Encyclopedia of the Arabic language.

      • Avatar

        James White

        December 30, 2010 at 7:57 AM

        Two quick points. 1) Could you tell me when I shared a stage with either Kamal Saleem or Walid Shoebat? 2) The information that prompted me to first look into Ergun Caner’s story was directly related to my own ministry, i.e., his claim to have twice debated Shabir Ally. I have debated Shabir Ally, four times (Biola, 2006, Seattle, 2007, London twice, 2008), and hence had personal knowledge of the situation, and could contact Shabir directly (he kindly responded quickly). When Dr. Caner refused to answer for his false statements in direct, personal e-mail contact, I had no choice but to publicly address the claims he then made on his own website.

        I do not know either Kamal Saleem or Walid Shoebat. I have never met either man, personally, or electronically. A few weeks ago I was asked to do a program that was to include both men appearing via Skype video. I declined. Why? Because I am aware of controversy concerning the testimony of both men, and given that I have no means of researching all the relevant material (unlike the Caner situation, which involved looking into claims made about events here in the US, not overseas), and hence I felt it inappropriate to do so in light of the Caner situation. Since I have not researched the matter (and surely have neither the time, nor the means, to do so), I could not in good conscience lend my credence, nor my denial, to their claims.

        Finally, I was asked why I “remained silent” until 2010. As I have explained, and documented, many times, I had no information relating to Caner’s claims relating to Islam until February of 2010. Mohammad Khan had contacted me, as I recall, in November of 2009, and linked me to his videos. I found them troubling, but having only viewed a couple of the earliest ones, figured this might just be another example of Caner being careless in his comments (as he had been with me in 2006). It was not until I was on my way to London to debate Abdullah al Andalusi in February of 2010 that Mr. Khan provided me with documentation showing that Caner had claimed to not only debate Shabir Ally, but Abdul Saleeb as well(!). Even at this point I did not seriously consider the possibility that his entire story was made up. (That came about when an associate dug up the records in Ohio proving that Caner had lived there since age 2.5.) I contacted Caner directly about the claims, and when his response was significantly less than truthful, I publicly commented on the topic, which began the further research that led to the entire controversy coming into the general knowledge of the evangelical audience.

        james

        • Avatar

          John

          December 30, 2010 at 8:29 AM

          @James White

          Thanks for clearing the reason why you joined against Ergun Caner. Ergun Caner has harmed Muslim-Christian dialogue.

          I noticed you said you have never shared a stage with the two stooges ( Kamaal and Walid) but this page says you work for the same christian missionary tv show:

          http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-every-christian-needs-to-know.html

          I noticed you did not answer about Mr Shamoun’s lies. The page above also mentions you using some of his lies and it also links to some audio of him saying many bad words to Muslims and to Shaykh Ally.

          Even if Mr Shamoun is your friend you should still expose him like you did to Ergun Caner. If you don’t it is not being true as a person. Mr Shamoun = a less famous Ergun Caner. Both are bad people and I think Mr Shamoun is worse because he not only lies he insults and hates on Muslims :(

          Thanks for helping to expose Ergun. Please be true and expose the other Ergun who is your friend. The page above says he is your friend. I have also seen others who have confirmed he is your friend.

          Please also expose Walid and Kamal. The videos to expose them are on Ayamen1 YouTube page and 1MoreMuslim You Tube page. Please look at mokhan247 page as well to help help you.

          Muslims will send you videos so you will not have to waste time.

          • Avatar

            James White

            December 30, 2010 at 5:09 PM

            1) I am a Christian minister, professor, author, and apologist. I am not a journalist looking to engage in muckraking. Standing up to the powers-that-be regarding Caner was very damaging to my work, not just time wise, but in many other ways.

            2) I have never had any contact with these other men, and if someone says I have, they need to provide proof. The only reference you will find to Walid Shoebat on my blog is found here: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3664 You will note that it is a negative refutation of a claim he makes in his presentations.

            3) I do not “work for” the Aramaic Broadcasting Network. I have been invited on as a guest to address a number of different topics, such as this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JikrXk51L0M If being on a television network makes you an associate of everyone else on the network, does that mean Ibrahim Hooper is pals with O’Reilly? :-)

            4) I would invite those who think I have to go after everyone they do not like in the Christian world to consider the logic of such a request, and I would likewise invite you to consider why I never see anyone exposing the silliness that is often presented under the guise of “expert” testimony of “former Christians” on such outlets as the Deen Show. For example, I provided extensive refutation of the claims of one such “former Christian” turned Muslim here: http://www.youtube.com/user/DrOakley1689?feature=mhum#p/c/7B15A84877438C38

            5) In response to the question directed to non-Muslims concerning why we read Muslim Matters, and what we think: I have listened to hundreds of hours of lectures by men like Bilal Philips, Yasir Qadhi, and Muhammad Al-Shareef. I have linked to articles on Muslim Matters on my blog as well. I find it useful to try to “hear” the other side as best I can, and normally, the extra “noise” of the more rancorous folks is not present on this site, and I appreciate that.

            6) I have a policy not to invest my time in combox discussions, let alone wars, so I will make this my final submission. Thank you for letting me comment on my motivations for seeking to call Ergun Caner to account for his claims.

            james

          • Avatar

            Mostapha S.

            December 31, 2010 at 3:36 AM

            Dr. White,

            You said:

            “I would invite those who think I have to go after everyone they do not like in the Christian world to consider the logic of such a request, and I would likewise invite you to consider why I never see anyone exposing the silliness that is often presented under the guise of “expert” testimony of “former Christians” on such outlets as the Deen Show. For example, I provided extensive refutation of the claims of one such “former Christian” turned Muslim here…”

            While I obviously do not expect you to go after every trooper in the army of fraudsters cashing-in on the widespread fear of Muslims these days, I do not think it is fair to compare people like shaykh Estes with Caner; there are no discrepancies in his (shaykh Yusuf’s) testimony, no false sensationalistic claims about his past, no stoking fear about Christians, just theological discussion with which we may or may not agree. We have nothing to expose him for; we can only point to his errors when and if he makes them, but we have no reason to believe that he would intentionally twist the truth the way Caner did. And I have so far to find just one former Christian who became a Muslim (at least a prominent one) who deserves such a treatment.
            With regards to your “refutation” of shaykh Estes, I really find it interesting that you happen to be one of the rare Christian apologists who have tried to refute him, while people (Muslim debaters and apologists) who are of a much smaller caliber get a lot of attention. I won’t comment on the reasons for that, though I’m sure most Muslims who have watched him and heard him speak have a good guess why that is so.
            Thank you for sparing some time to stop by and comment on the article.

            Regards,

            Mustafa

        • Avatar

          Muneeb

          January 1, 2011 at 10:27 AM

          Dr White,
          I said that you shared a show with Kamal and Shoebat because it was advertised on ABN website, and never removed from there even after the supposed date.
          But it’s a good thing to declined such invitation, that would only harm your ministry, and your credibility. I want to let you know, that there is enough evidence to put Kamal Saleem in the same category of Dr Caner. He fabricates Hadiths from the top of his head, with strange kind of references.

          Having said that, I find it strange that you still associate and promote ABN channel, which is dedicated to spread falsehood about Islam, such us that Islam condones Homosexuality.

          As a Scholar, you should stick to the scholarly cycle, you cannot be a scholar in debates, and switch hats on your webcast show. You blame the Muslims for using The Encyclopedia Britannica, yet you have no trouble quoting from “The Assyrian encyclopedia” and calling it “an excellent insight”. I am sure you can find a more educated tutor for Arabic language, not one who happen to be born in Arab country, but a Scholar of Arabic language.

          I would call you to review your sources, That would prevent you from posting articles about a verbs that doesn’t exist in the Quran. I, personally, would never make a claim concerning the Hebrew or the Greek, and I will never take any claim from one who cannot read or write neither Greek nor Hebrew, and Mr Shamoun can’t read nor write Arabic.

          • Avatar

            John

            January 1, 2011 at 12:43 PM

            Hello everyone and happy new year

            Muslims please pray so i have a good year :)

            I agree with Mustapha and muneeb

            Mustapha said
            While I obviously do not expect you to go after every trooper in the army of fraudsters cashing-in on the widespread fear of Muslims these days, I do not think it is fair to compare people like shaykh Estes with Caner; there are no discrepancies in his (shaykh Yusuf’s) testimony, no false sensationalistic claims about his past, no stoking fear about Christians, just theological discussion with which we may or may not agree. We have nothing to expose him for; we can only point to his errors when and if he makes them, but we have no reason to believe that he would intentionally twist the truth the way Caner did. And I have so far to find just one former Christian who became a Muslim (at least a prominent one) who deserves such a treatment.

            Shiekh Yusuf Estes is not a liar or fake. Muslims don’t have people pretending to be exchristian. We don’t need to because we have real exchristians in our masjids :)

            I think Ergun Caner has been exposed but the Christians don’t know because they have not seen this muslim blog page or mokhans pages. I think Muslims should get a reward for telling thwe truth about Ergun.

            James said
            I have never had any contact with these other men, and if someone says I have, they need to provide proof.

            Are you saying you are not with sam shamoun? The link I showed proves you know and are friends with Sam Shamoun. Why you so silent about sam?

            Why are you not exposing his lies or refusing to share shows with Sam Shamoun? If you were true scholar you would not be using his lies. Muslims caught you using his lies and you went quiet. Why so silent? Just admit it ands tell people sam is bad and not true.

            I will say it is good you have not joined Walid and Kamal. I know christians are not trusting walid. walid evebn said he will wisj to send a nuclear bomb on muslims.

            i think muslims should email their christian friends and tell them about the other fraudsters like kamal, walid, sam. It is good to see the true christians expose the fake ones.

            Thanks for the good site and thanks for letting me comment and learn from this site

            bye everyone

    • Avatar

      Sameh

      April 18, 2011 at 3:28 AM

      Dr. James,

      I have a comment for you , if I may, that isn’t related directly to this thread, but might be somewhat relevant. You once said that you are still looking for the consistent Muslim debater, citing an example of such inconsistencies by saying that Muslims object to God repenting and regretting some actions in the bible, while the Quran says that Allah (God) repented as well in the story of Adam.

      I would like to point out something here that I’d previously posted in a message on your website but never got a reply for, namely that the Quran never claims that God ever repented any of his actions, what the verse says – and I think you would know this, being well versed in Islamic teachings – is that God “accepted” Adam’s repentance, and not that he himself repented anything. Don’t you think this would constitute dishonesty on your end? Taking in mind that you’ve probably read all the English translations for the verse in question and realized that none of them say that God repented?. And even if you were reading the Arabic text, you would have at least known that “Taba Alayhi” means “accepted his repentance”, since taba alone means “repented” but adding “Alayhi” becomes a phrasal verb that means the opposite – namely “accepted repentance”.

  8. Pingback: The Lives and Stories of Ergun “Mehmet” Caner | ISLAMIC SPOTLIGHT: ISLAMIC NEWS, STORIES, HADITH, DOCUMENTARIES, LECTURES, NASHEED AND MORE DEEN RELATED ARTICLES

  9. Avatar

    Omar

    December 30, 2010 at 12:21 AM

    What about his brother Emir? He’s not as illustrious, but their story is intimately intertwined.

    • Avatar

      Omar

      December 30, 2010 at 12:41 AM

      Ergun seems to be happily twittering away, with 11,000 followers no less!

      http://twitter.com/erguncaner

      • Avatar

        John

        December 30, 2010 at 8:31 AM

        11,000

        I’m jealous:(

  10. Avatar

    Umm Salam

    December 30, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Masha Allah! I never knew there were soooooooooooo many liars. Reminds you of Phiraun and his mala’ (aristocrats) who would make up lies against Musa (as).

  11. Avatar

    Hassen

    December 30, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Nice article. Two things surprised me:

    1- Didn’t realize how ridiculously careless the fake ex-Muslims are. I was having a good laugh with the first video on Mokhan247’s channel, listening to Caner’s difficulty with the basics of Islam. But as soon as I heard his statement about Prophet Muhammad (s) my mood turned around 180 degrees. May Allah guide this man who’s surely destined to unimaginable torment if he continues in this path.

    2- Didn’t realize there were any Christians interested in MM blog (via the responses in the comments). Anyone want to comment on the overall contents of this blog?

    • Avatar

      John

      January 1, 2011 at 12:47 PM

      hello hassen

      i think christians and others have come because its about ergun caner. i never knew this blog until this article exposing ergun caner.

      i like this site and im muslim as well.

    • Avatar

      Brother

      January 7, 2011 at 9:51 PM

      You have to remember who the intended audience of these people are. The intended audience are those who are ignorant about Islam, including Muslims. Ignorant people are easily fooled. This is the unfortunate circumstance of the world today.

  12. Avatar

    William

    December 30, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Thank you for the article. I like the summary of what Ergun Caner has been up to. From what I have seen people like Caner have nothing to do with Christianity, except to use it as a pretext and a trick to gain funding and support to wage their wars of hate and racism on others. He has no understanding or perception of what he talks about. He is a clown and is only believed by dupes and warmongering hypocrites, who sadly make the majority of what is termed is “evangelical christianity”. The Reformed and many Methodist churches are a good exception to this, and apart from some individuals, these churches do respect Muslims and others of different beliefs. However, some of them do fall in the trap of working with such dispensationalists even though they know full well where these Christian Zionists stand in their inherently racist theology and Armageddon driven politics of hate.

    As to the other frauds with the fake names and stories ie Walid Shoebat and Kamal Saleem, they have both been exposed by many, including their own families, their friends, and even Israeli authorities in the case of Shoebat. All of these have also been exposed by another Christian writer and peace activist, Eileen Fleming in her writings, investigations and website. Please google We Are Wide Awake to learn more about these fraudsters and the fools supporting them.

    Thank you.

  13. Pingback: Rebuilding the Islamo-Christian civilization in Spain – Musalman Times

  14. Pingback: Religious leaders of Islam must speak up – DesMoinesRegister.com

  15. Avatar

    William

    December 31, 2010 at 6:33 AM

    Greetings everyone,

    I checked out the link that Dr James White posted regarding his claims about Mr Estes. I was surprised to notice that you can’t even comment on those videos and yet there is Dr White blaming Mr Estes for not accepting to debate him!! Also, after checking a couple of videos in Mr White’s Youtube channel, it seems to me that he is just trying to get people’s attention by splitting hairs, so to speak. There is NOTHING wrong about the thrust of Sheikh Estes’s presentation on the whole topic ie that the trinity was a hoax inserted into Christianity at a later date both for political and clerical reasons. Dr White gives some of the most ridiculous definitions of biblical so called doctrinal points, and even though he knows full well how the Bible is used and interpreted in his church by his congregation members, he pretends that everyone in Christendom agrees with him. I also found the insulting tone of Sheikh Estes as in saying for example he doesn’t know or doesn’t understand this and that throughout his whole presentation, very telling as to his objective.

    I find it very disheartening how Dr White accuses Sheikh Estes of so many things which he himself is committing as he speaks. For example he says that one should present the work to be critiqued first in an honest and authentic fashion and after that present their arguments, but while he is doing that he lashes out with one accusation after another and splices and inserts Mr Estes’ speech as he pleases to justify his own agenda rather than let the man speak first, so that people can listen and then bring in his arguments if he had any.

    I was shocked to see Dr White take the fact that some made up texts were inserted into the Bible centuries after the compilation of the bible, so lightly and it didn’t occur to him that since that was a very clear case then there would be no doubt other instances where that would have happened as if it was done so well, it would have been a very well common practice? Could this explain the so many glaring factual discrepancies in the Bible as people seemed to insert and take out verses and full books as they pleased? This is very clear without even having to speak about the different versions, and the so many other books which were much more used in churches and more popular and yet they were taken out of the bible? Was this something to do with the Apostle Paul and his disputes with other evangelists?

    Finally, I would like Dr White to explain this please: He claims that the so called Father, Son and Holy Spirit are coeternal. This means they have no beginning or end and there was never a time when they ceased to exist. It also means that they NEVER change. If this is the case how come then that the son had to go through so many changes and even ceased to exist when he was supposedly crucified on the cross?

    Thank you

  16. Avatar

    Jonathan Dupree

    January 1, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    With the name of Allah, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.
    (As salamu ‘alikum wr wb)

    The good “Dr” White and I go way back brothers and sisters. His intention behind being here is to ‘fish’ for those who may take exception to what he says so that he/she will say ‘o.k I’ll debate you!’. That’s what he does as a way of life-he debates.

    I think it was very interesting when the brother above mentioned the charades and shenanigans of people like Sam Shamoun and White was silent on this particular issue.

    Of course Ibrahim Hooper is not pals with Bill O’Reily. However, White has a very close and working relationship with one (Sam Shamoun).

    http://www.acommonword.net/2010/02/apologist-james-white-coy-about.html < Questions are still unanswered about James White's 'doctorate'. Hence those who call him "Dr" James White are being very charitable indeed.

    http://www.acommonword.net/2009/11/apologist-james-white-inconsistency-and.html < Where you can see Muslims have called James White out on his inconsistencies. Especially by using a false source in his first ever citation of an 'Islamic source' during a debate with Shabir Ally.

    We have documented Mr. White's errors again, and again and again on our site and we shall continue to do so by the will and power of Allah.

    White is trying to position himself as the no.1 Christian apologist debating Muslims. He wants so bad to look authoritative on matters relating to Islam. He wants to co-author a book about the Qur'an with Yasir Qadhi. His intention behind this? To help Christians evangelize Muslims.

    I would Sheikh Yasir may reconsider any such invitation should it be extended to him.

    The article is factual to say that intra-Christian infighting on issues pertaining to Christian soteriology was White's PRIMARY reason to weigh in on the Caner issue.

    He claims that the Qur'an is not the word of Allah because it 'got the trinity wrong'. The 'Qur'an gives an inaccurate portrayal of the trinity'. I have corrected him on this error again and again and again. But he is not interested as he needs some polemic to use against the Qur'an.

    That said he is trying, and he is learning. I pray Allah opens his heart to accept Islam.

    • Avatar

      Nabeel Azeez

      January 2, 2011 at 12:50 AM

      Jazakallahu khairan,

  17. Avatar

    dfghjk

    January 3, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    i watch this guy on youtube for laughs. his ‘arabic’ is HILARIOUS. according to him the shahada is the basmala hahaha

  18. Avatar

    Refuting Lies

    January 3, 2011 at 8:32 AM

    Dr.James White
    With all due to respect,but it seems that you have also been dishonest in your debates with Robert Price and Gregg Stafford and also have made dubious claims of “Allah repenting” and many other claims regarding Islam which are completely unfounded and have no bases in Islam,I suggest you take Islam seriously and approach the subject with extreme care as I see you in the above list in less than one years,lets hope that you will change your ways

  19. Avatar

    A white brother

    January 6, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    I personally enjoy watching Shabbir Ally debate Dr. White. It affirms my iman and reminds me why I left christianity in the first place. I recommend them to all brothers and sisters here.

  20. Avatar

    Chaz

    January 8, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    I don’t live an Islamic country, but I live and work in a neighborhood that’s 90% immigrants from Islamic nations. In visiting the neighborhood grocery store recently and noticing they beefed up security because of neighborhood kids stealing things, which is typical of any poorer section of town, right? Well, as I work with lots of kids and teenagers from the area I’ve talked to them about it and they’re honest with me. Almost all of them in one way or another defended stealing stuff with similar words, “well, my mom and dad told me it doesn’t matter if you lie or steal from the non-Muslims”. Question? Is this behavior coming from the Quran or the life of Muhammad… or is it there’s a lot of stupid parents in my neighborhood? Thanks.

    • Avatar

      Mostapha S.

      January 8, 2011 at 5:53 PM

      Hello Chaz,

      That kind of attitude could only come from ignorance, not from Qur’an and the words of the Prophet, s.a.w.s. In his answer to a very similar question, Shaykh Salih al Munajjid said: “No one is unaware of the fact that stealing is a major sin, for which Allaah has enjoined the punishment of having the hand cut off. Sharee’ah makes no distinction between the wealth of a male and the wealth of a female, or between the wealth of a minor and the wealth of an adult, or between the wealth of a Muslim and the wealth of a kaafir.”

  21. Avatar

    Chaz

    January 16, 2011 at 4:23 AM

    Great. However, are there any abrogations that we should know about since the time of his comment? Are there any other surahs of words of Mohammed that may come across as permitting Muslims to decieve to non-Muslims? Thank you.
    Chaz

    • Amad

      Amad

      January 16, 2011 at 6:26 AM

      No. Deception and lies are not part of the Muslim character. Simple as that.

    • Avatar

      Mostapha S.

      January 16, 2011 at 3:10 PM

      Hello Chaz,

      Note that shaykh Munajjid said “Sharee’ah makes no distinction…”. This means that this ruling has been given after every piece of evidence has been taken into consideration, including whether there’s any text that abrogates some other text.

  22. Avatar

    Chaz

    January 22, 2011 at 7:03 AM

    Ok. As a spiritual seeker you are sounding very suspicious. Maybe I need to phrase the question so that where’s no wiggle room. Please be honest with non- muslims, it’s more important than you may think. Was there ever a time where God permitted Mohammed to lie, or by God’s divine decree to bless another man to lie suggestion
    God’s approval or consent? Respectively, as a seeker, the concept of abrogation comes across man-invented, tring to make God say things that He did not say. Maybe… God’s eternal knowledge is limited so that he has to change His mind over and over again

    • Avatar

      Mostapha S.

      January 22, 2011 at 8:17 AM

      Hello Chaz,

      You gave an example of something that happens in your neighborhood and asked whether Islam condones such behavior; I provided a quote from a well know, conservative Muslim scholar to prove to you that it doesn’t. You asked a specific question and my response was, likewise, specific. As to whether Islam allows Muslims to lie to other people, Muslims or non – Muslims, as far as I know it is permissible to lie when one is being threatened and under danger of being harmed for some reason and when telling the truth would cause greater harm than the harm that would be caused by lying. Note that it is only permissible, not necessarily obligatory, and that it becomes permissible when someone makes that first threatening and potentially damaging move against you (not like the kids in the story you mentioned who went to steal from their neighbors without anyone doing anything against them first).

      As for abrogation, it is a very clear, common – sense principle related to what I mentioned above. God’s desire is for people to do that which is best for them, to come out of every situation with the greatest possible amount of good and least possible amount of evil. If that is to be achieved, then there is no place for literal application of Divine Orders in every single situation, because each is different, and sometimes it is so different that taking a literal approach would cause more harm, i.e. the opposite of what was originally intended by the Divine Order. I’ll provide an example with the issue of lying. Lying is a sin; however, would it be a sin to lie if during the war one was captured by enemy soldiers and forced to reveal the whereabouts of his own army? Of course not; lying would be more than acceptable in such a situation. The original prohibition of lying would, in a sense, be “abrogated” in such a situation and replaced with the permission to do so.

  23. Avatar

    Chaz

    January 31, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Hmm. Well, if you want the references I can give them to you. However I’m sure you can find them yourself. In the situations where Mohammed permitted lying to a men by God’s Holy and Glorious decree… what where the context of those situations… war perhaps? Please make reference of your knowledge of those situations that have been reliably recorded.

    When I think of the ideological consequence of the those who follow Mohammed… one might get lots of people to follow him for some time, even win some amazing battles, or even pray regularly, or eat cleaner nicer food… but that just describes every dictator in the middle East… lying to all for the better good perfectly describes them too… do you think there’s a connection?
    A true seeker,
    Chaz wanting change

    • Avatar

      Sameh

      April 18, 2011 at 3:12 AM

      “In the situations where Mohammed permitted lying to a men by God’s Holy and Glorious decree”

      The prophet never game permission to lie, the hadiths I know of (correct me if I’m missing something please) are narrated by companions of his (or perhaps his wife, I don’t really remember) in which they said that the only scenarios in which they witnessed the prophet “not objecting” to someone speaking something that wasn’t true was in one of these three cases:

      1- A man and his wife chatting (What man never lied to his wife telling her that she looked beautiful in a dress that wasn’t particularly flattering, and what woman never spoke somewhat dishonestly to her husband telling him that he was great in bed when he wasn’t – for instance – both done in the spirit of sparing a souse’s feelings)

      2- In was (actual war in the battle field) – Let me see a general who advises his soldiers to “spill all the beans” to the enemy.

      3- When a person is trying to mend broken relationships between two or more parties in society.

      Please note, that in all those cases the rule of thumb of “lying is forbidden” still stands, but they are not as major a sin as lying in other scenarios. And in Islam, we’re taught, that a person would keep lying “white or dark lies the same” until he is written in the sight of God as a “liar” and then he’s doomed. There are no infallible human beings among us who never ever lied for one reason or another, we’re only humans, but it’s making a habit of it that leads one to damnation.

  24. Avatar

    William

    February 3, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Hello everyone,

    This Chaz is here is the mother of ALL whopper lies, and yet he is coming here rostering you with his own lies about people he doesn’t know and has never spoken to or heard what he claims from them!! If he hadn’t lied to you, and was a true sincere seeker as he claims, it would have be fine. But as a bare-faced lying urchin, then you have to do what is right with him.

    Listen Chaz, you racist thug have no place on this thread. I know who you are and I know what you do and WHY you do it. Hope this message is clear to you.

    Thank you

  25. Avatar

    Chaz

    February 7, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    Lovers of Truth & Clarity,
    I spend thirty hours or more of my work week looking into the eyes of the followers of Mohammed. I have clocked lots of time with Asian Muslims, Arab Muslims, West African and Western Muslims. I am a social worker who counsels, teaches and encourages integration to Muslim immigrants full time… just so everyone knows. All of our human needs are the same, love, family and dignity.

    I am a seeker and take serious truth claims… seriously. Why you would take my questions as threatening only makes you appear to be scared… scared of hard & honest questions that may not favor what you desire to believe. This is called “cohesion”… and it’s a spirit found in the dictatorships of the world. If you had a spirit of “consent”, you would not appear scared of honest intellectual questions. If I’m to accept Islam… and it’s the religion of God. I don’t believe God would have me commit intellectual suicide? I would ask you again please, if you are willing to give us the context of the Hadith in discussion? Was it war, or any other situation you described? I also believe William is a psuedeum for Mostapha S…
    With respect and gentleness,
    Chaz the Seeker

    • Avatar

      Mostapha S.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:43 PM

      Hi Chaz,

      Dictators of the Middle East definitively do not lie for the greater good; it is more likely that they would lie for the greater evil, while being fully aware of that. Events taking place these days in Egypt and elsewhere are a perfect example of that.
      I did not quote hadiths so far so I cannot provide context for something I have not quoted. However, I’d like to say that I agree with you that the context is indeed of utmost importance for the proper understanding of the revealed text, which is why I quoted a fatwa, a religious ruling derived after all relevant texts dealing with a certain issue have been taken into consideration and interpreted while taking their proper context into account. Meaning, if you think there’s a hadith that somehow contradicts the principle laid out in the fatwa I quoted, or the principle according to which concealing the truth is permissible in order to avoid greater harm, as a Muslim I can only conclude that you misunderstood it since Muslims do not believe that any of the particular texts we believe are revealed can carry meanings that contradict the basic principles underlying our entire religion.

      You may derive very different conclusions form those same text, but for us as Muslims what matters is that the authoritative interpretative tradition within our religion and opinions of the scholars we follow and whom we believe are able to understand the religion properly point in a very different direction. You may think that Islam teaches one thing, but what really matters in terms of Muslim relationship with non – Muslims is what Muslims really believe Islam really teaches.

      If you think that this conversation will become more constructive if you quote the texts you have in mind, then please do so, just please provide references.

      And no, I am not “WIlliam”.

      Regards

  26. Avatar

    Chaz

    March 3, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    Why have my hadith quotations been deleted… very interesting.
    Some love the truth/God and other donnot it seems.
    Chaz the Seeker

    • Avatar

      Sameh

      April 18, 2011 at 2:59 AM

      Hey Chaz,

      Could you please re-post the hadith in question? and it would be beneficial if you could also cite the source from which you got it. (The book, volume, and number).

      I’m not affiliated with this blog, but I don’t think the Hadith was deleted; perhaps something went wrong as you were posting it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Current Affairs

SaveUighur Urges Muslim Community To Support Black Friday Boycott Of “Made in China” Clothing

Cotton made in China
Support MuslimMatters for Just $2

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

SaveUighur.org is urging Masjids and Islamic organizations to call for a Black Friday/Cyber Monday boycott of any clothing made in China this week.

Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, is the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States, with retailers offering deals and discounts in stores and online.

China is currently engaged in a campaign of cultural genocide and forced assimilation of its Uighur Muslim community in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) in northwest China.

SaveUighur.org is a campaign to raise awareness about this human rights tragedy.

Clothing is specifically being targeted for boycott because experts say 80% of cotton used in Chinese clothing comes from East Turkestan, where forced labor is routinely used. As well, 30% of all U.S. clothing comes from China.

“Americans must send a message to the Chinese government that its horrific abuse of Uighurs will not be tolerated,” said Aydin Anwar, an Uighur-American activist with SaveUighur.org. “We must avoid buying clothing made in China because it would mean tacit approval of the Chinese government’s genocide of Uighurs. Boycotting products made in the country will send a strong message.”

Since April 2017, the Chinese government has thrown about 800,000 to two million Uighurs and other Muslims into the largest concentration camps since those of Nazi Germany during World War II. Prisoners have been subjected to torture, gang rape, and medical experimentation. It has also forcibly separated families, sending children to state-run child welfare institutions and boarding schools without access to their parents, and without parental consent.

Outside of the camps, Uighurs are subjected to strict surveillance of all communication within and outside of China, and spies are sent to live in Uighur homes.

SaveUighur.org is calling for the Muslim community to support this campaign and to encourage family, friends, and followers on social media to do the same using hashtags like #SaveUighur #BoycottMadeInChina #boycottchina #china #uighurs #uighur #FastFromChina

(1) Take a picture of the Made In China item.

(2) Write a message saying you are NOT buying it since it comes from China.

(3) Mention you are supporting the people of East Turkestan. Tag the manufacturer and shop, if possible.

(4) Use the hashtags #SaveUighur #BoycottMadeInChina #boycottchina #china #uighurs #uighur #FreeEastTurkestan

For more information about the campaign, please visit SaveUighur.org

CONTACT: Aydin Anwar, C: 571-344-3885

“We must avoid buying clothing made in China because it would mean tacit approval of the Chinese government's genocide of Uighurs. Boycotting products made in the country will send a strong message.”Click To Tweet
SaveUighur.org is calling for the Muslim community to boycott Made in China clothing, using hashtags like #SaveUighur #BoycottMadeInChina #boycottchina #china #uyghur #uighur #FastFromChina Click To Tweet
(1) Take a picture of the Made In China item. (2) Write a message saying you are NOT buying it since it comes from China. (3) Mention you are supporting the people of East Turkestan. Tag the manufacturer and shop, if possible. (4) Use the hashtags #SaveUighur #BoycottMadeInChina #boycottchina #china #uighurs #uighur #FreeEastTurkestan For more information about the campaign, please visit SaveUighur.orgClick To Tweet

 

“The South China Morning Post reports that U.S.-based scholars and experts spoke before legislators about how Uighurs who have been forcibly held in detention centers have been put to work in factory jobs. Companies that used these factories staffed by Uighurs and other Turkic minorities would receive government subsidies for each individual trained and employed, along with shipping subsidies. This cheap labor along with the government subsidies would result in very low manufacturing costs, “undercutting global prices,” according to testimony presented at the hearing by the Center of Strategic and International Studies. This could turn Xinjiang into a hub for low-cost manufacturing.

According to reliable sources such as the agricultural research company Gro Intelligence, a vast cotton-producing industry has been developed in Xinjiang which supplies 80 percent of the country’s total cotton output. This would mean that any cotton clothing sourced from China would be suspect of containing cotton grown using slave labor.

Furthermore, the Chinese Communist Party is transferring Uighur and other Turkic people to other parts of China forcibly, so the task of tracking forced labor of Uighur is no longer limited to Xinjiang (East Turkestan) but to the rest of the country, making it virtually impossible to track the forced labor of prisoners. How can third-party auditors ensure that the workers in these factories are not Uighurs removed from Xinjiang (East Turkestan)?”

Open Letter to Costco On Chinese Products Made by Forced Labor

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

Muslims Leaders Who Are Also Foreign Agents

When American Muslim leaders are also foreign agents, you need to consider FARA, the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Ahmed Shaikh explores how this law may apply to American Muslim leaders who fall into “Team UAE” and “Team Turkey”

Foreign Agents in the Muslim Community
Support MuslimMatters for Just $2

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Foreign Agents in the US have a meaningful effect on Americans in the United States.  Should Muslims in the United States adopt the foreign policy narrative of the United Arab Emirates?  Should we be against calling the mass killing of Armenians during World War I “genocide?” Can American Muslim leaders and nonprofits be the voice of governments, give them public relations advice and do their bidding?

These questions are largely irrelevant as the American Muslim community already has some activists and Islamic Scholars who are foreign agents.

I am not claiming being a foreign agent is inherently wrong, unethical or somehow prohibited in Islam. In many instances, being a foreign agent is fine, or at least you can find examples where the activity is harmless and maybe even beneficial. Non-Muslims serve as foreign agents, peddling influence and giving advice. Why can’t ordinary Muslims, even Muslim leaders, activists, and Islamic scholars do the same? What we need though is transparency about these relationships, similar to how we keep tabs on people who carry hazardous waste. It’s often a useful and beneficial service, but also, well, hazardous. 

As we have seen from recent cases Imaad Zuberi, Mike Flynn, and Paul Manafort , it is reasonable to expect more prosecutions of unregistered foreign agents in the coming months and years.

American Team Turkey vs. American Team UAE

My purpose here is not to re-litigate events during the first world war or the UAE’s murderous worldwide batil-slinging foreign policy. It is also not to offer a further critique of American Muslim leaders and scholars who blow smoke for one foreign interest or another. For that, you can read my recent article. Instead, it is to help American Muslims involved with foreign entities to be aware of the law so they can prepare accordingly. 

The “Team Turkey” vs. “Team UAE” saga playing out among the Muslim community’s leadership, including nonprofits and religious leaders, is dangerous, and there is potential legal jeopardy to members of both “teams.” The law in an individual case is often complex, and I am not claiming anyone referenced in this article is a criminal. However, anyone who thinks aspects of this article applies to them should seek legal counsel post haste.

Pariah status may rub off

In the eyes of the US government, the UAE may be up one day, and Turkey may be down. Pakistan is pretty much always “down” no matter who is in power in the United States, so Muslims working with that government and various political parties and institutions in that country should be especially sensitive about being a law enforcement target, even if they believe they are working for a worthy cause. Keep in mind how the Muslim community has been treated historically by the Justice Department. For this or any future US Administration, American Muslim leadership may be low hanging fruit for prosecutors. 

Right now, the UAE, in particular, aggressively buys loyalty, buys people in positions to peddle influence on its behalf. It uses straw donors and funnels its money around the United States through various entities to get what it wants. These tactics work for them now, but it may not work forever. Any Muslim majority country can get “pariah” status and the social and political environment in the United States may turn against that country and its agents.

If the political winds in the United States change against the UAE, their leadership will probably not be affected. Things may be different for their agents in the United States, however. The same may well be true for agents of Turkey. We can learn from their best known non-Muslim foreign agent, former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn

The United States has a long history, going back to its founding, of being suspicious of foreign influence in government and public opinion. Various clauses of the constitution and several laws exist to address this historic concern, though many are quite weak.  The one that Muslim leaders with ties to foreign governments should be most concerned with is the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) 

Anyone who closely followed the Mueller investigation into the 2016 Presidential election is likely somewhat familiar with FARA.  However, of more interest should be the prosecution and guilty plea last year of Dr. Nisar Ahmed Chaudhry, who was prosecuted for activities that are remarkably common for Muslim leaders, especially immigrants.

It’s not a crime to be an agent of a foreign government. The crime, as those paying close attention to current events, will understand,  is in not registering with the Justice Department. In short, it’s a federal crime for agents of foreign entities or people engaged in political or other activities in the statute, with some exceptions, to not register under this law. US Law defines the term ” foreign agent”- it is not necessarily pejorative. It does not mean being a spy.

Indeed, foreign influence-peddling is an entire industry. Often, people who engage in “influence peddling” are not especially sophisticated and may not be paid at all. They may simply be immigrant activists who love their homeland.

In the case of Chaudhry, he pleaded guilty to not registering an unincorporated group he created in his home, the “Pakistan American League,” and his work as a “foreign agent.” His crime? He spoke to officials in the Pakistani government, and worked in Pakistan’s interests in D.C. area government and “think tank” circles by organizing “roundtable discussions.” He was not paid for his work as an “agent” by Pakistan.  All of this is legal, except that he failed to register.

A Law About Transparency

Foreign Agents need to report on their activities or risk fine and imprisonment. Every six months, the US Attorney General issues a report on foreign agents who register under this law to Congress. You can find the most recent report here. These reports offer a helpful description of registered foreign agents operating in the United States, but anyone can take a deeper dive into the reporting if they want to. FARA is about transparency.

FARA does not prohibit speech or activities by anyone. The purpose is to inform the public and government about the source of information used to attempt to influence them. FARA is an old law that US Muslims need in our communities right about now. 

Enforcement of this law had been mostly dormant for years, and the Mueller investigation is said to have given it new life. Registrations under the law are up.

FARA is broader than you might think

FARA is not just for agents of foreign governments. Being an agent of a foundation, royal family, oligarch, or any other entity or person can trigger the same requirements and cause criminal liability for those who fail to register. Many registrations under FARA involve agents of entities and people that are not governments. 

As we have seen from Chaudhry’s case, Muslim leaders, activists, and scholars don’t need to be paid to be “foreign agents” under the law. Congress understood foreign agents could work for nonmonetary benefits. A foreign agent does not need to agree with everything the foreign principal does and says. A Muslim leader who gives certain kinds of advice to a foreign entity may need to register to avoid criminal liability. It does not matter if the foreign principal ignores the advice. FARA is not just a law about foreign lobbying, indeed lobbyists have a separate registration system and law.  Virtually any work to influence public opinion or give advice will fall under the law. There are many opportunities for Muslim leaders to get themselves into serious trouble

Religion or university affiliation may not save foreign agents 

There are exceptions to FARA reporting requirements. For example, diplomats, many journalists, and bona fide trade and commercial enterprises do not need to report.  Say Muhammad is the agent of a Turkish exporter of Turkish delight, selling delicious packaged desserts to grocery stores around the Midwest. Muhammad does not need to register under FARA. 

Similarly, those involved in bona fide religious, academic, or fine arts pursuits are exempt. So if Saad, a US Citizen, is hired by the Saudi government to teach Quran recitation to children of employees of the local Saudi consulate, Saad would not need to register. 

 If, however, the Turkish Delight company asked Muhammad to write op-eds and hold meetings to prevent tariffs on Turkey, well, that’s different. If Saad starts to give public relations advice to his Saudi employers, he should call a lawyer. It’s worth noting that FARA is not the only registration and disclosure statute. A lawyer with expertise in this area can help them sort it out. 

Learn from others

Carrying water for a foreign entity’s political agenda, a regular occurrence by some American Muslim leaders is not bona fide religious or academic activity. Such conduct falls squarely into a danger zone under the law. The US Justice Department has confirmed the religious and academic exception’s narrow scope. The Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation, for example, wanted an opinion they are exempt from registration.   They were working on developing a museum, which is an academic institution. However, the Justice Department advised the foundation must register under FARA. The reasons, among other non-nefarious sounding things, were exhibits on bilateral relations between South Korea and the United States.

In 2017, TV station RT America and news outlet, Sputnik, “both Russian-funded but with production companies in the US, registered as ‘foreign agents’ under pressure from the Justice Department.”

Muslim leaders with ties to foreign entities should also look to the example of the American section of the World Zionist Organization. The WZO has appropriately registered itself as a foreign agent. Its work seems reasonably standard for a Zionist organization, though. WZO “participated in workshops, seminars, and conferences and distributed materials to increase support for the foreign principal’s educational, cultural, and religious goals.” The foreign principal was the World Zionist Organization in Israel, not the government of Israel itself. Still, it needed to register. 

Even if someone falls into an exception to FARA, another related statute may well cause liability. So anyone who has to look around for exceptions should check with an attorney. 

Sunshine in the Muslim community

Much of the work against CVE involved learning what Muslim leaders working with governments were up to. Because of the federal “Freedom of Information Act” and state Public Records Acts, we have a better idea of what Muslim leaders have been collaborating with the war on terrorism against our community. The availability of public records has also kept some Muslims away from unsavory funding opportunities. There is always a risk they will be found out. Who needs that drama? As the late US Supreme Court Justice Luis Brandies famously said, “sunshine is the best disinfectant.” 

Some in the Countering Violent Extremism space have looked to foreign governments and organizations, particularly in the UAE. Working against the US Muslim community, which includes naming groups such as CAIR and MAS “terrorist organizations,” and investing in anti-Muslim surveillance is fundamental to UAE foreign policy. Foreign entities are not subject to the Federal Freedom of Information Act or state Public Records Acts.

Covertness can be beneficial when prosecuting the war on terrorism in our communities on behalf of a foreign master. However, security-state contractors working with foreign entities are engaged in an inherently political enterprise and should register. Unfortunately, nobody from the Muslim community in the CVE sector has. They should either start or quit foreign-sponsored CVE altogether. 

FARA is your friend

We have a strong need for transparency among Muslim leaders and organizations. Foreign interests have been looking to influence the US Muslim civil society for several years. It may well be that agents of foreign nation-states or entities in them have valuable things to say. The purpose of FARA is not to deny your ability to hear them and learn from them. However, knowing someone is a foreign agent will help us place the information provided by a Muslim leader, activist or scholar in a better context. 

Muslim leaders and organizations should strongly encourage each other to look at FARA when any foreign entity is involved. If for no other reason, to avoid potential criminal liability.

If you are a Muslim leader, activist or scholar working with a foreign principal, retain legal counsel. You need to know if registration is required. If it is necessary, and it often will be, provide a fulsome disclosure and keep updating it. You can be sure there will be at least a few Muslims reading it. 

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

Zahra Billoo Responds To The Women’s March Inc. Voting Her Off The New Board

Women's March Board
Support MuslimMatters for Just $2

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Earlier tonight, I was voted off the Women’s March, Inc. national board. This followed an Islamophobic smear campaign led by the usual antagonists, who have long targeted me, my colleagues, and anyone else who dares speak out in support of Palestinian human rights and the right to self-determination.

The past 48 hours have been a spiral of bad news and smear efforts. Part of the smear campaign is motivated by opponents of the Women’s March, because the organization has traditionally challenged the status quo of power and white supremacy in our country. However, much of the campaign is driven by people who oppose me and my work challenging the occupation of Palestine, our country’s perpetuation of unjust and endless wars, and law enforcement operations targeting the American Muslim community.

The Women’s March, Inc. is an organization I once held dear. I spoke at the first march, spoke at regional marches every year after, spoke at the convention, participated in national actions including the original Kavanaugh protests, and worked to mobilize Muslim women for their efforts.

During the past few years right-wingers, from the President’s son to the Anti-Defamation League and troll armies, have targeted the Women’s March, Inc. For so long, I’ve admired their resilience in speaking truth to power, in working together, and in never cowering. Over and over again, the co-founders of Women’s March, Inc. put their lives on the line, winning power for all women in all of our diversity. The Women’s March, Inc. that voted me off its board tonight is one that no longer demonstrates the strength that inspired millions of women across the country.

To see and experience its new leaders caving to right-wing pressure, and casting aside a woman of color, a Muslim woman, a long-time advocate within the organization, without the willingness to make any efforts to learn and grow, breaks my heart. This isn’t about a lost seat, there will be many seats. The Women’s March, Inc. has drawn a line in the sand, one that will exclude many with my lived experiences and critiques. It has effectively said, we will work on some women’s rights at the expense of others.

To be clear, anti-semitism is indeed a growing and dangerous problem in our country, as is anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant sentiment, Islamophobia, ableism, sexism, and so much more. I condemn any form of bigotry unequivocally, but I also refuse to be silent as allegations of bigotry are weaponized against the most marginalized people, those who find sanctuary and hope in the articulation of truth.

In looking at the tweets in question, I acknowledge that I wrote passionately. While I may have phrased some of my content differently today, I stand by my words. I told the truth as my community and I have lived it, through the FBI’s targeting of my community, as I supported families who have lost loved ones because of US military actions, and as I learned from the horrific experiences of Palestinian life.

In attempting to heal and build in an expedited manner within Women’s March, Inc., I offered to meet with stakeholders to address their concerns and to work with my sisters on the new board to learn, heal, and build together. These efforts were rejected. And in rejecting these efforts, the new Women’s March, Inc. demonstrated that they lack the courage to exhibit allyship in the face of fire.

I came to Women’s March, Inc. to work. My body of work has included leading a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization for over a decade, growing it now more than six-fold. In my tenure, I have led the team that forced Abercrombie to change its discriminatory employment policies, have been arrested advocating for DACA, partnered with Jewish organizations including Bend the Arc and Jewish Voice for Peace to fight to protect our communities, and was one of the first lawyers to sue the President.

It is not my first time being the target of a smear campaign. The Women’s March, Inc., more than any place, is where I would have expected us to be able to have courageous conversations and dive deep into relationship-building work.

I am happy to have as many conversations as it takes to listen and learn and heal, but I will no longer be able to do that through Women’s March, Inc. This action today demonstrates that this organization’s new leadership is unable to be an ally during challenging times.

My beliefs drive my work, and I am not seeking accolades or positions of power. These past few days have been the greatest test of that. My integrity, my truth, and my strength comes from God and a place of deep conviction. I will continue my work as a civil rights lawyer and a faith-based activist, speaking out against the occupation of Palestine and settler-colonialism everywhere, challenging Islamophobia and all forms of racism and bigotry in the United States, and building with my community and our allies in our quest to be our most authentic and liberated selves.

Onward, God willing.

Continue Reading

Trending