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The Muslim Lords of CVE

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The main idea behind Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), is that there is a way to intelligently articulate a future “path” to something called “radicalization” by Muslims, and this can be stopped before crimes are committed.  The Intercept last month  exposed a secret study by one of the principal purveyors of CVE, the FBI, that there is no such thing.  It is important for Muslims to understand that CVE is not only damaging to the community, it is fraud.

The ISPU Debate

On Labor Day Weekend in Chicago, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) hosted a debate at the annual ISNA Convention on the Federal Government’s Muslim-only “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) initiative, if it was beneficial or harmful to “engage” with law enforcement on such programs.

Both Dr Muqtedar Khan and Kamran Bokhari, who spoke in favor of Muslim participation in CVE agreed there was no net-benefit in doing so, and yet despite this lack of net-benefit insisted that the Muslim community should do it anyway. The reasons to support CVE had to do with dealing with “extremism,” “radicalism,” and “anti-Americanism” that exist in the Muslim community.  Never mind that even if eliminating these things were laudable goals, (they are not) it is clear this is impossible to achieve through CVE.  Furthermore, attendees were told Muslims do not have a choice in the matter – either they choose to serve the government to help do away with these things or risk the government engaging with Islamophobes like Daniel Pipes to do this instead.

While all sides agreed CVE offers “no net-benefit,” there was no serious discussion of what the real benefits were and who within the community stands to benefit. Sahar Aziz and Dawud Walid argued forcefully against CVE, citing the harms to individuals, families and the community as a whole, which was what they were supposed to do.

Despite clear indications most American Muslims who know about the issues – including the speakers who spoke in favor of CVE – appear to hold a negative opinion of it, the benefits may be powerful enough for the pro CVE side to prevail.  We need to understand what we are up against.

ISPU, the convener of the debate, unfortunately failed to question or disclose whether the two speakers favoring CVE personally benefit financially from the national security state. Neither of the speakers disclosed at the event what financial remuneration they receive from the Federal Government, foreign governments, think tanks and corporations with an interest in CVE, either directly or indirectly through their employers.

 The American Muslim Intellectual class sometimes serve as tools of imperial interests, as Dr. Hatam Bazian recently observed.  CVE is a great example of why this fact matters.

To his credit, Kamran , a former “extremist” who has since become an “expert” on “extremism” was at least up front in that he did not speak as a “Muslim activist,” but rather as a “professional” who deals with “extremism.” It is too communal a view, from his perspective, to consider things such as “benefit” or “harm”, but rather Muslims should adopt the government program targeting the Muslim community because it is the right thing to do, and because supporting CVE was somehow “logical.”

Muslims should do the right thing even if there is no financial benefit. Doing the right thing is inherently beneficial if you are Muslim. But is it really the right thing if a privileged few stand on the “benefit” side of the ledger while the most marginalized fall on the “harm” side? For the Muslim community, the benefit and harm should be subject to more scrutiny.  An early “Pilot Program” City, the Muslim community in the Los Angeles area had some early experience with CVE.  The community contemplated both benefit and harm.

The Southern California Muslim community was virtually united in opposition soon after February 2015 “CVE Summit” at the White House ended. That the Government’s CVE program in Los Angeles has been stuck in a ditch for nearly two years is no accident.  It took an organized effort, though keeping CVE out of our community continues to be an uphill struggle.  At an Imam teach-in in those early days and in many other public and private meetings on the subject, Muslim leaders and activists used a wide range of historical analogies or explanations for what it was. It was alternately or simultaneously “white supremacy” or “Cointelpro,” or portrayed as something like the Raj in India.

 

One Islamic Educator then said it was like “Braveheart” because it appeared the Federal Government was creating “lords,” a special class of official Muslim leaders.  CVE documents and prior experience with “Prevent” in the UK (to be renamed “Engage”) led to a similar conclusion: CVE will divide the Muslim community between the “engagers”- those who will do law enforcement’s bidding – and the non-engagers, which comprises of everyone who disagrees with the government’s preferred narrative about the Muslim community. The creation of “engagers” sometimes involved use of “astroturfing” by funding “Muslim leaders” that claimed to be independent, but upon further inspection, turned out to not be.  While I had written about an example of this in the United States, the British Human Rights Group CAGE found several in the United Kingdom. It is the nature of Astroturf groups to claim they are independent while in fact being severely compromised by financial rewards and government endorsement.

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The medieval British nobility did not merely “engage” with the King or act as a class of official sycophants; they were oppressors who oppressed primarily to benefit themselves. As Michelle Alexander points out in her book “The New Jim Crow,” all oppressive systems have people from within the targeted group that benefit from the oppression. This was the case in American slavery, South African Apartheid, the occupation of Palestine, and everywhere else where a group was oppressed. There are always people from within the targeted group who serve as apologists for the system, justifying the fraudulent frame of dangerousness of their own group and profiting from the popular narrative they help nurture and sustain.

Muqtedar Khan, Associate Professor at University of Delaware, who has been the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the US Government for his work dealing with Islam and Muslims, relied on what could only be described as nihilism when he argued for a program with no net-benefit and in a moment of candid confession admitted that CVE was “awful.” Khan implied all government programs were bad anyway.  He is wrong of course. The National Parks Service is an excellent government program, as are plenty of others.

Muslims, according to Khan, cannot afford to be seen as being “dissidents” and at one point compared the Muslim community to a watermelon and the government to a knife. Either you get cut falling on the knife, or you get cut with the knife falling on you. The Muslim community will be cut. Get over it.  Khan readily admitted the program would do nothing to prevent any harsh treatment of Muslims that is a daily part of life in the war on terror (a frequent and easily refuted talking point by some). All we can do is assist the government so that some of us may be respectable. Nobility is nothing if not respectable.

Muslims should disagree with Khan.  We should be a community of dissidents when policies are unjust, and advocates when policies are just. We enjoin the good and forbid the evil. This is not complicated.

Neither CVE opponents Dawud Walid and Sahar Aziz’s central arguments concerning the harmful effects of CVE on the Muslim community were seriously disputed. You can see the entire debate here. The conclusion that CVE is a loathsome program and should be defeated is not a difficult one, unless a leader or activist stands to gain financially, or in some other way that provides the badges of nobility.

Advocacy has been important nationally, and organizations such as CAIR (despite some unfortunate disarray), Muslim Advocates, Muslim Justice League and others did exactly that. One insight in Southern California added a step: CVE was not merely a government program, but a system where newly constituted Muslim nobility, deputized by law enforcement to push a harmful narrative of the Muslim community and divide it. Petitioning the King would not be enough. If you want to stop it in its tracks, you must challenge the legitimacy of the nobility created by the government.

In the Los Angeles area, we were fortunate. The Muslim community has been generally well organized with solid leadership. There was just one significant organization in Southern California that supported CVE. They were unusual in that they also previously supported the Egyptian coup by General Sisi and the religious and ethnic profiling by police in Los Angeles. Their support of CVE was in character and easy to dismiss. They were exposed as compromised, which helped diminish their pro-CVE advocacy. A unanimous vote by the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California against CVE sent a clear message to Law Enforcement and all government agencies: We will not violate our community’s trust. We will not be servants of the national security state. We will not accept the narrative that our children are more dangerous than non-Muslim children. We will not be the oppressors.

Stronger Watermelons

Either the Southern California Muslim community is made of stronger stuff than watermelon, or the knife has been unusually dull.

Unfortunately, other Muslim communities in the United States have not been so fortunate. For example, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), which serves as the regional council for Muslim groups in Chicago, developed its own CVE Program, funded by both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. Amazingly, it utilizes the “four stages of radicalization,” from the New York Police Department. This includes the notion that indicators of religiousness, such as giving up cigarettes, gambling or growing a beard can lead to terrorism. The concept was so obscene that the NYPD, after a lawsuit, agreed to remove the report “radicalization theory” comes from.  Yet, an organization of Mosques was somehow using this Islamophobic garbage as the basis for their program.

One speaker at the ISNA convention, in a panel unrelated to CVE, veered off his subject and spoke about his work with CIOGC in “deprogramming” Muslim youth as part of CVE. The narrative of Muslim leaders promoting CVE is to dehumanize Muslim youth and peddle Islamophobia by this portrayal of the future of our community as budding T-1000s, programmed killing machines in need of fixing. In exchange, Muslim leaders receive financial compensation and perhaps earn the respect of law enforcement and politicians.

The CIOGC move results in a community organization accepting government funds to act as a servant of law enforcement interests and against the interests of the most marginal within the Muslim community. Moreover, Muslim leaders are taking dictation from the government based on a fundamentally Islamophobic frame.  This is  perhaps an example of what Muhammad Ghilan recently referred to as the world’s largest Pavlovian experiment.  CIOGC is financially dependent on the fame of Muslims as inherently violent.  If they don’t perpetuate this frame, the money will stop.

As Dawud Walid pointed out recently, CVE programs are a particular danger to Imams, and participation in CVE represents a fundamental breach of trust. By obvious extension, it is a breach of trust for any Muslim leader to financially benefit from the exploitation and stigmatization of our community. This needs to stop.

In Greek legend, King Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia so his ships get some fair wind on the way to Troy. Are we as a Muslim community willing to sacrifice the most marginalized and defenseless among us to avoid being seen as a “dissident community,” so some of us can perhaps get that fair wind?

Ahmed Shaikh is a Southern California Attorney. He writes about inheritance, nonprofits and other legal issues affecting Muslims in the United States. He is the co-author of "Estate Planning for the Muslim Client," published by the American Bar Association. His Islamic Inheritance website is www.islamicinheritance.com

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Avatar

    soraya

    October 19, 2016 at 5:04 PM

    Some of the violent extremism, beheading, crucifixtion is rooted in the text. Let’s put our house in order. Send a message to the extremists that these Surahs have no place today. We must stop claiming the innerency of the Quran.

    • Avatar

      Abdullah O

      October 19, 2016 at 6:20 PM

      May Allah humiliate you.

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      October 19, 2016 at 7:07 PM

      Can you please give examples of surahs you would like removed?

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      October 19, 2016 at 10:06 PM

      Salaam Soraya,

      You said:
      <>

      I would argue that said extremism, etc is more the result of the de-contextualization (historically and textually) of said verses and not necessarily what said verses actually preach.

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      October 19, 2016 at 10:07 PM

      Salaam Soraya,

      You said:
      “some of the violent extremism, beheading, crucifixtion is rooted in the text”

      I would argue that said extremism, etc is more the result of the de-contextualization (historically and textually) of said verses and not necessarily what said verses actually preach.

    • Avatar

      Hue Man

      October 20, 2016 at 2:22 PM

      Its impossible to be Muslim and at the same time claim that the Quran has error. Its not the fault of Islam or Muslims that some people choose to interpret the Quran in their own way while ignoring 1400 years of scholarship. Whats odd is that the people who hold their very own opinion above that of the scholars tend to come to the same conclusions. Then they fall into two opposing camps. One that says all the scholars are wrong and no one is on the true path but them. One that says Islam is wrong or the quran is wrong. But what is most odd? Its that both these opposing views actually carry the same exact opinions of the Quran!

      So lets stay in the middle path, learn from the scholars, learn the meaning as intended to be understood. And lets not be arrogant in our personal opinions lest we fall into extremes.

    • Avatar

      Ash

      November 5, 2016 at 7:05 PM

      There is no violent extremism rooting in the Text…! And stop trying to pretend your Muslim, my Christian friend.

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      November 10, 2016 at 5:58 PM

      There were various classical scholars who rejected abrogation within the Quran. Such as Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd and Qadi Abdul Jabbar.

      Zaidi and Mu’tazila madhab rejected abrogation in the Quran.

      Abu Muslim Muhammad ibn Hajr al-Asfahani (d. 322/933) refuted the concept internal abrogation in the Quran.

      He used the following verse as evidence:

      (Quran 18:27) “AND CONVEY whatever has been revealed to you of the Sustainer’s Book. There is nothing that could alter His words and you can find no refuge other than with Him.”

      Abu Muslim concludes; Hence any abrogation, as could be interpreted in verse 2:106 relates to earlier divine messages and not to any part of the Qur’an itself.

      Also those who claim internal abrogation, strongly differ as to the number of verses being abrogated. Which proves that their concept is seriously flawed.

      Ironically Shah WaliuAllah only recognised five instances of abrogation. Even those five verses have been explained by scholars such as Muhammad Ghazali to show no abrogation but rather examples of specification or rulings for different situations.

      Relatively recent scholars who rejected abrogation in the Quran are; Sayyid Khah, Rashad Rida, Muhammad Ghazali and Muhammad Amin.

      Another point worthy of note is that there exists no verse from the Quran in which there is Ijma’a about its abrogation. In other words, for any scholar who claims that a particular verse has been abrogated, we can find other scholars who claim the same verse was not abrogated.

  2. Avatar

    Muqtedar Khan

    October 19, 2016 at 9:05 PM

    Salam. This article falsely claims that I have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the State department. But I do want to ask the author to identify when I personally received any money from the State Department? Please mention the years, and I will be happy to share (only with the editors of this website) my tax returns. It is unIslamic to make such serious accusations about fellow Muslims. The editors also did not have the basic journalistic courtesy to check with me or verify facts before printing such false accusations.

    The author links to my CV. He is perhaps referring to a grant received by the University of Delaware (I was the Principle Investigator) to bring scholars from the Muslim World to address Americans and take American scholars to Egypt and KSA to speak to Muslims. This grant, also received by ISNA, was done to improve people to people contact between Muslims, an exercise in public diplomacy and has nothing to do with CVE.

    Besides CVE is a DHS initiative and not a State department initiative. This is a deliberate attempt to malign a Muslim who had nothing but the bet interests of the community at heart. You may disagree with my Ijtihad but speculating on motive is dirty.

    Hardcore Islamophobes are more honest than this article, see how they reported the same thing: http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/4782

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Shaikh

      October 19, 2016 at 9:51 PM

      Thank you for your comment Dr. Khan. You should read the article again. I said hundreds of thousands from the US Government, some of which is from the State Department, but that is not all. Your CV makes it clear you have benefited from government funds, including the Department of State and Department of Defense, both are agencies in the National Security establishment. For some reason you claim to be unaware that CVE is a major State Department priority. You can learn more about it at the State Department’s website https://www.state.gov/j/cve/

      I have no objection to you taking grants. However money influences behavior, this is well established. You have been dependent in large part on government funds and are advocating policies that are adverse to the interests of the Muslim community and by your own admission are “awful.” These are policies well respected civil rights organizations are fighting, and for good reason. My concern is that this should have been disclosed by ISPU and should have been part of the discussion.

      In many other environments, including the courts, conflicts of interests and financial ties that can cause bias are relevant. They should have been part of the discussion at the debate as well.

    • Avatar

      Ash

      November 5, 2016 at 7:03 PM

      You must be an American version of Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam foundation that we have here in the U.k…The Lord in Chief of CVE in the U.K.
      In the U.K. we have had toddlers investigated for reciting Bismillah, toddler investigated for drawing a picture of a Cucumber the teacher thought the child said he was drawing a “Cooker Bomb” another one investigated because he made a spelling mistake and wrote ” Terrarest House instead of the word “Terraced” House. The catalogue and buffoonery goes on and on! Witch hunts being carried out against Toddlers.

  3. Avatar

    Muqtedar Khan

    October 19, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    I am not aware of any DOD grant I have received. Please enlighten me. The State department grant was 2008 and done by 2009 and the idea of CVE is 2015. You do not mention that Sahar Aziz actually worked for DHS. She took a regular paycheck (her work like my grant had nothing to do with CVE) but atleast be “fair and balanced” :) US is my country and I am an American and like Human Khan who actually died fighting for this country, sone of us actually care for the safety of our country and believe in cooperating with our government specially since we voted for it (President Obama).

    BTW here are my views on CVE which were ignored. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/muqtedar-khan/countering-violent-extrem_1_b_9713132.html

    • Avatar

      Kobie Williams

      October 20, 2016 at 12:04 AM

      Allah says, “Then, you are those [same ones who are] killing one another and evicting a party of your people from their homes, cooperating against them in sin and aggression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their eviction was forbidden to you. So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. ” Quran [Baqarah 85]

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Shaikh

      October 20, 2016 at 12:39 AM

      Perhaps you were not aware an entity you received funds from was part of the DOD? Please run your funding sources though Google and perhaps you will gain the awareness you seek.

      Look, I have no beef with you. Do your thing. My concern is the integrity of Muslim leadership and disclosures of actual or potential conflicts. Sahar Aziz was advocating in the interests of the marginalized in the Muslim community and against the policy goals of her former employer, DHS. We are not really concerned about the conflict, rather her employment history enhances her qualifications to speak. Furthermore, unlike what happened in your situation, her experience with DHS WAS disclosed.

  4. Avatar

    Kobie Williams

    October 20, 2016 at 9:24 AM

    When I hear about Muslim organization and leaders who are directly or indirectly involved with CVE this ayah in the Quran comes to mind when Allah says, Allah says, “Then, you are those [same ones who are] killing one another and evicting a party of your people from their homes, cooperating against them in sin and aggression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their eviction was forbidden to you. So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do ” Quran [Baqarah: 85]

    These leaders are selling the ummah of Muhammad (PBUH) up the river. They are wanting the life of this world in exchange for the hereafter. What a miserable price!
    Allah says, “Those are the ones who have bought the life of this world [in exchange] for the Hereafter, so the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be aided.” [Baqarah: 86]

  5. Avatar

    Guest

    October 20, 2016 at 2:30 PM

    You mean the verses that tell Muslims to defend themselves against non-Muslim aggressors? Like the verse below from the same Surah:

    “Would you not fight people who violated their treaties, tried to banish the messenger, and they are the ones who started the war in the first place. . . ?” [Quran 9:13]

    That’s what you find “troubling”?

    Also You obviously don’t know the context or meaning of what you’ve posted, which you probably cut and pasted it.

    There is no abrogation in the Quran. The Quran says:

    “Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt. The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. NOTHING SHALL ABROGATE HIS WORDS. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient. If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of GOD. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.” [Quran 6:114-116]

    The theory of abrogation was formulated centuries after Muhammad’s death by Sunni scholars like al-Shafi’i and ibn Qutaybah. Initially, abrogation was applied to resolve the contradictions between Sunni hadiths. But when Sunnis started applying it to resolve the numerous contradictions between their hadiths and the Quran, it caused quite a controversy.

    Needless to say, 7th century Muslims like Muhammad weren’t applying a theory that was formulated in the 9th century. That’s anachronistic.

    • Avatar

      Ash

      November 5, 2016 at 7:15 PM

      He is clearly an Islamaphobe who has cut/paste partial verses from Surahs… and thinks he is being clever by pretending to be muslim.

  6. Avatar

    Ahmad

    October 20, 2016 at 7:17 PM

    @ Muhammed A

    if you are a non-muslim or a murtad then stop trying to deceive us by using a Muslim name.

    Regarding Surah 9, verse 1 indicates that the mushriks broke the treaty with the Muslims. treachery and perjury was made manifest from the side of idolaters. Therfore Allah, the Exalted, instructed His Prophet (peace be upon him) to break their covenant, too.

    The Quran is clear and surah 9 shows clearly the context of the following verse

    “When the sacred months have passed, then kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them. Capture them. Besiege them. Lie in wait for them in each and every ambush but if they repent, and perform the prayers, and give zakat then leave their way free.” 9:5

    the previous verse clearly shows which pagans are being referred in order to fight. these pagans were militant and broke the treaty by supporting aggressive groups against the Muslims.

    i noticed that you completely ignored the whole context of the surah and thus ignoring which pagans are discussed in the verses. you are just simply following the Typical tactic of kuffar and have just copied their foolish arguments against the Quran.

    The reasons for the ayat about the mushriks are summarised in verse 13:

    “Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they did attack you first? Do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers.”

    The above verse proves that the surah was revealed in relation to times of war. Also the ayat proves that all the verses about fighting were revealed to command the believers to defend themselves against the militant mushriks who tried to kill or exile the Messenger.

    regarding the verse:

    “O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are filthy, so let them not approach al-Masjid al-Haram after this, their [final] year. And if you fear privation, Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Wise.” 9:28

    The command was given since the mushriks do not have pure belief in Allah being the only God. hence the mushriks were spiritually unclean. Since Makkah is the spiritual centre of the Muslims and has the Kab’ah, it was necessary to keep it spiritually pure hence the prohibition of the mushriks to approach the Sacred Masjid.

    Maintaining the Masjid and its custodianship needs some conditions:

    From the point of belief, Faith in the Quran.

    From the point of practice, establishing prayers and paying alms are obligatory.

  7. Avatar

    Ahmad

    October 20, 2016 at 8:14 PM

    the verses about jihad such as:

    “Fight against those who do not obey Allah and do not believe in Allah or the Last Day and do not forbid what has been forbidden by Allah and His messenger even if they are of the People of the Book until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” 9:29

    need to be understood with the context of the surah which is:

    “Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they did attack you first? Do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers.” [Quran 9:16]

    Context of all the verses about jihad shows that fighting was ordained against those who were hostile to Muslims and who tried to exile the Messenger.

    verse 29 also proves besides militant mushriks who broke the treaty, there were also aggressive groups from people of the book. So the verse directs Believers to take jizya from them so that the defense for integrity and security is maintained and in return those who gave jizya will have protection.

    about the ayat; “Oh you who believe, fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you and let them find harshness in you.” 9:123

    verses 120 – 123 shows that the believers were intructed to be cautious and not go out of Madinah all at once since there were hostile disbelievers nearby. This is explained in the following ayat;

    And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious. [Quran 9:122]

    So all your pathetic arguments against Surah 9 have been refuted. your lies and misquotations out of context have been exposed.

    Regarding the ayat in surah 8:

    It is not for a prophet to have captives until he engages in strong fighting in the land. You desire the commodities of this world, but Allah desires [for you] the Hereafter. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. [Quran 8:67]

    The above verse gives a rule that captives should not be taken unless there has been fighting and the enemies have been defeated. The verse only allows taking captives in case of war and thus prohibits taking captives when there is no fighting. This is a very just and reasonable principle given in the Quran.

    Quran directs us to strive against oppression and thus verses about fighting were revealed.
    It is obvious that many verses of the Quran mention justice. (5:8)
    The Quran invites people to peace (2:208).
    War is permitted in self-defense so the oppressors are defeated and societies become safe and stable. (8:60)
    Quran promotes peace, while deterring the aggressive parties (60:8,9; 8:60).
    Quran stands for peace, honesty, kindness, and deterring from wrongdoing (3:110).

  8. Avatar

    Ahmad

    October 20, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    regarding the concept of abrogation,

    Quran explictly states that is has no contradictions so it is impossible for latter verses to abrogate earlier verses since no verses oppose one another.

    [4:83] Will they not, then, meditate upon the Qur’an? Had it been from anyone other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much disagreement.

    Regarding the ayat which is used to support abrogation in the Quran;

    Whatever Sign We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than that or the like thereof. Do you not know that Allah has the power to do all that He wills? [Quran 2:107]

    the signs mentioned in the above verse refers to the previous Revelations. It is pointed out that the previous Scriptures contained two kinds of commandments: (a) Those which, owing to changed conditions and to the universality of the new Revelation, required abrogation. (b) Those containing eternal truths which needed resuscitation so that people might be reminded of the forgotten truth. It was, thereof, necessary to abrogate certain portion of those Scriptures and bring in their place new ones, and also to restore the lost ones.

    Any reports which allege abrogation in the Quran should be rejected since it goes against the more authentic proof, the Quran. The Quran has been preserved as proven by many narrators and by carbon dated manuscripts. the hadith in sahih muslim Book 12, Hadith 156 should be investigated since its possible that abu musa was referring to a hadith which he used to recite and he forgot some of it. so what he referred to was not the Quran but a prophetic narration.

    There is no verse in the Qur’an which clashes with any other verse of the Book and which may therefore have to be regarded as abrogated. All parts of the Qur’an support and corroborate one another.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad

      October 21, 2016 at 9:03 PM

      people who put the Quran together were able to distinguish between hadith and Quran since the quran was recited in prayer. prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recited the Quran while leading the prayers so his companions could easily distinguish between Quran and hadith.

      Also the Prophet would tell his scribes to write the Quran and inform them which surah contains which verse. During the Prophet’s lifetime; the Quran was written on seperate sheets of leather or camel skin however it was not compiled into one mushaf since the Quran was still being revealed during his lifetime. But after the Prophet’s death, the revelation was complete and the Believers were able to compile the Quran in one mushaf.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad

      October 23, 2016 at 1:56 PM

      Quran explicilty states:

      “Alif.Laam.Raa. This is a book whose verses have been perfected.” 11:1
      “……the words of God are unchangeable” 10:64

      These Quranic verses state clearly that the Quran has been perfected and cannot be abrogated or changed.

      On topic of intoxicants, the Relation between the verses;

      “O you who believe! do not go near prayer when you are Intoxicated until you know (well) what you say.” (4:43) and

      “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.” (5:90)

      verse 4:43 simply states that an intoxicated person should not do salah. Hence the verse’s rulng still applies, the rule has not been cancelled at all therefore no abrogation. No where does the verse allow consumption of alcohol. The verse just gives a condition that a person must be sober for salah.

      regarding the different rations;

      O Prophet, urge the believers to battle. If there are among you twenty [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome a thousand of those who have disbelieved because they are a people who do not understand.” (8:65) and the very next verse which states:

      “Now, Allah has lightened [the hardship] for you, and He knows that among you is weakness. So if there are from you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you a thousand, they will overcome two thousand by permission of Allah . And Allah is with the steadfast.” (8:66)

      verse 8:65 gives ideal standards which some can still follow. while the next verse 8:66 gives a concession to the weak. so again there is no clash. the ruling of both verses still apply.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad

      October 27, 2016 at 9:50 PM

      regarding verse 2:106

      the substitution mentioned in 2:106 refers to previous scriptures since those books were forgotten and thus needed to be superseded. abrogation cannot refer to the Quran because:

      1. Quran says in 10:64 that the words in the Quran cannot be abrogated or changed.
      2. The words “cause to be forgotten” could not be applicable if the word ‘Ayah’ in verse 2:106 meant a verse in the Quran. How can a verse in the Quran become forgotten? For even if the verse was invalidated by another it will still be part of the Quran and thus could never be forgotten.
      3. The words “We replace it with its equal” would be meaningless if the word ‘Ayah’ in this verse meant a Quranic verse, simply because it would make no sense to invalidate one verse then replace it with one that is identical to it within the same book!

      thus its clear that verse 2:106 refers to the previous scriptures being abrogated and replaced by the Quran.

      As for 8:67

      it refers to taking prisoners only in case of war. it does not constitute a rebuke to Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) for letting the prisoners go due to several reasons:

      1. no previous commandment was given in the Quran to forbid ransom of prisoners therefore the prophet could not be rebuked for it
      2. the Prophet already took ransom for captives in nakhla prior to battle of badr and God did not rebuke him for that
      3. only two verses later in 8:69; God permits Muslims to take what they won in war

      it is onconceivable that God would rebuke the Prophet for accepting ransom and then at the same time allow war booty to be lawful.
      so verse 8:67 gives a rule that captives should only be taken after fighting.

      verse 9:29 gives permission to Muslims to defend themselves against hostile people of the book. Surah 9 gave persimssion to Muslims to fight those who have violated the peace treaty and killed people because of their belief. verse 9:29 needs to be understood with other verses;
      Quran encourages us to stand against aggressors on the side of peace and justice. (See 2:190,192,193,256; 4:91; 5:32; 8:19; 60:7-9). We are encouraged to work hard to establish peace (47:35; 8:56-61; 2:208).

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      October 29, 2016 at 11:07 PM

      Who exactly was oppressing Prophet Mohammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)?

      As regards the non-Muslims torturing the Muslims in Makkah at the beginning of the Prophet’s mission, then this is something confirmed without any doubt, as it was reported by many narrators and is well documented in seerah ibn ishaq.

      Also the makkan pagans tortured some of the Prophet’s followers such as khabbab, ammar ibn yasir and bilal. The pagans killed te parents of ammar. Abu Jahl speared old lady Samiya to death. Muslims bore their troubles patiently. They remained calm. Their faith in God and His Prophet was firm.

      It is this torture which was the cause of the first migration of the Muslims to Abyssinia and then the second migration to Al-Madeenah. In addition to this, Quraysh had plotted to kill the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) himself, and that was the cause of his migration (to Madeenah).

      in Madinah; the Prophet made a pact with the Jews and the other tribes of Medina. It was agreed that both non-Muslims and Muslims should live peacefully. Both should enjoy freedom of faith. Both would respect life and property. In all disputes the Prophet was to be Judge. Both agreed to defend Medina.

      The Makkan pagans failed to stop the Muslims emigrating to Madina which caused them rage. they changed their normal caravan routes and took to routes lying through areas around Medina and incited local tribes against Muslims. However no madani people responded to the pagans wish so the makkan pagans prepared for war. First a small party of Meccan pagans raided a place three miles outside the town which eventually triggered battle of badr.

      regarding khaybar; the Jews of Khaybar began hostilities. Efforts to make peace with them failed, which led to the conflict. it is worth noting that it was the jews of bani quraiza who broke the treaty and helped the pagan makkans to attack madina and that is why they were punished.

      regarding the battles by the Caliphs; the byzantine empire occupied northen arabia for centuries and thus the Muslims and arabs defended northen arabia and liberated it from the byzantine occupation. the sassanid empire was defeated since they occupied yemen for many years prior to the rashidun caliphate glory. So the semitic people defended semitic lands from two major empires.

      What good have Muslims brought to the world?

      some of the great contributions by the ummah:

      Development of algebra, trigonometry, and usage of arabic numerals.
      Muhammad bin Moosaa Al-Khawaarizmi developed algorithms and quadratic equations. Al-Khawarizmi’s work, in Latin translation, brought the Arabic numerals along with the mathematics to Europe, through Spain. The word “algorithm” is derived from his name.

      Two Muslim women, Fatima and Miriam al-Firhi, created the world’s first university, Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, in 859.

      Ibn Khaldun is another one of the most important Muslim thinkers in history. Recognized as one of the greatest historians ever and the founder of sociological sciences.

      As far as geography was concerned, Muslim scientists established that the world was round in the 9th century CE, and the first map of the globe was made during the Caliphate of Ma’moon.

      Medicine is another crucial contribution to civilization made by Muslims in addition to education and the university system. In 872 in Cairo, Egypt, the Ahmad ibn Tulun hospital was created (first hospital with nurses and a training centre).

      surgeon named Al-Zahrawi, often called the “father of surgery,” wrote an illustrated encyclopedia that would ultimately be used as a guide to European surgeons for the next five hundred years. Al-Zarawhi’s surgical instruments, such as scalpels, bone saws, and forceps are still used by modern surgeons.

      Jabir Ibn Hayyan, the founder of modern chemistry, transformed alchemy into chemistry through distillation, or separating liquids through differences in their boiling points. In addition to developing the processes of crystallization, evaporation, and filtration, he also discovered sulphuric and nitric acid.

      Al-Razi the famous physician and scientist, (d. 932) was one of the greatest physicians in the world in the Middle Ages. He stressed empirical observation and clinical medicine.

      Ibn Sina (d. 1037) was perhaps the greatest physician until the modern era. His famous book, Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, remained a standard textbook even in Europe, for over 700 years.

      11th century Muslim scientist, Ibn al-Haytham, who developed the field of optics and described how the first cameras work. He was the first person to describe how the eye works. He carried out experiments with reflective materials and proved that the eye does not sense the environment with “sight rays,” as scientists had believed up until then. He also discovered that curved glass surfaces can be used for magnification.

      soap and shampoo was invented by Muslims.

      Although the first paper to write on was papyrus, a more superior type of paper, with better quailty, was produced by the Muslims, like the paper we know today. Also fountain pen was developed by Muslims.

      Many universal values are given in the Quran such as freedom of faith, no racism, proptection of minorities and upholding justice.

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      October 30, 2016 at 10:43 PM

      Ibn Sina was a Muslim since he believed in the Quran. No other peron can decide what he believd in.

      the question is why are you using a Muslim name on a muslim matter format.

      So what if many of the great contributers were Persian? Islam is based upon belief in the Quran which they believed in. It is not based upon one’s race or skin colour.

      Anyways Ibn al-Haytham was a famous arab scientist. He made significant contributions to the principles of optics, astronomy, mathematics, visual perception, and the scientific method.

      Another famous arab who contributed to humanity was Ibn al-Nafis a great physician mostly famous for being the first to describe the pulmonary circulation of the blood.

      What did the Prophet’s direct followers contribute to the world:

      Rashidun Caliphate introduced comprehensive welfare system to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled.

      Rashidun caliphate was fundamentally based on justice and compassion. These are the central values of Islam that are expressed through a sincere belief in the existence of one God and by seeking to act in a way that is pleasing to Him. By singling Him out for worship and being conscious of one’s accountability.

      The Qur’an clearly states in this regard:

      “O you who believe, be steadfast in your devotion to God and bear witness impartially: do not let the hatred of others lead you away from justice, but adhere to justice, for that is closer to being God conscious. Be mindful of God: God is well acquainted with all that you do.” [Quran 5:8]

      The popular historian Karen Armstrong points out how these values established an unprecedented coexistence:

      “The Muslims had established a system that enabled Jews, Christians, and Muslims to live in Jerusalem together for the first time.” [history of Jerusalem]

      lets see what some famous thinkers had to say about the Prophet of Islam:

      Montgomery Watt (Scottish historian, and Emeritus Professor in Arabic and Islamic studies)

      “His readiness to undergo persecutions for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement – all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.” [W. Montgomery, Mohammad at Mecca, Oxford 1953, p. 52]

      George Bernard Shaw (Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics) stated

      “He must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness.” [The Genuine Islam]

      Michael H. Hart (professor of astronomy, physics and the history of science) wrote

      “My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.” [The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History, New York, 1978, p. 33]

      Now to the many Islamic teachings which the world benefits from;

      esteems knowledge, education, and learning (35:28; 4:162; 9:122; 22:54; 27:40; 29:44,49).
      rejects intermediaries between God and people (2:48; 9:31-34).
      promotes consultation and representation in public affairs (42:38; 5:12).
      stands for accountability, and defiance of false authorities (6:164)
      prohibits bribery (2:118)
      promises justice for everyone, regardless of their creed or ethnicity (5:8).
      acknowledges the rights of citizens to publicly petition against injustices committed by individuals or government (4:148).
      encourages the distribution of wealth, economic freedom and social welfare (2:215, 59:7).
      recognizes and protects individual right’s to privacy (49:12).
      recognizes the right to the presumption of innocence and right to confront the accuser (49:12).
      provides protection for witnesses (2:282).
      does not hold innocent people responsible for the crimes of others (53:38).
      protects the right to personal property (2:85,188; 4:29; exception 24:29; 59:6-7).
      stands for peace, honesty, kindness, and deterring from wrongdoing (3:110).
      encourages charity and caring for the poor (6:141; 7:156).
      stands for the oppressed (4:75).

      “O you who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God….” [Quran 4:135]

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      October 31, 2016 at 10:22 PM

      well you asked what Muslms have contributed to the world and I gave you a comprehensive list of scholars and scientists’ contributions. Then you reject that by saying most of them were not arabs, which is a bizarre argument since most Muslims are non-arabs. Muslims do not have to be Arabs since the religion is based upon belief in the Quran and not based upon ethnicity.

      Now when i gave you more proofs of successful muslim works, you change the topic by mentioning the contributions of non-muslims, which does not refute anything of what I said earlier. The list i gave refutes your pathetic allegation about Muslims doing nothing beneficial to the world. Unlike you, I don’t reject other people’s contribution simply because of their ethnicity or religion.

      now to your other allegation about Islam being spread by the sword. The historian De Lacy O’Leary stated in the book “Islam at the cross road” (Page 8): “History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myth that historians have ever repeated.”

      As for Michael Hart, Muslims resort to quoting a Jewish author and other non-muslims for unbiased perspective. Nothing amusing about it whatsoever.

      Why not quote Winston Churchill? Because he was a racist, a coloniser and fascist.

      other notable contributions of Muslims:

      Al Hassar, a mathematician from Al-Maghreb, developed the modern symbolic mathematical notation for fractions, where the numerator and denominator are separated by a horizontal bar.

      In the field of technology, engineers such as Al-Jazari, who invented the crankshaft – an essential component in the steam engine and internal combustion engine

      The mechanical alarm clock was invented by Taqi al-Din.

      The question is why are you still using a Muslim name if you are so hateful of it. Clear hypocrisy shown there!

      Also what has the Islamophobes contributed to the world?

    • Avatar

      Ahmad

      November 3, 2016 at 9:35 PM

      Proper understanding of 16:101

      “When We substitute one Ayat (revelation) in place of another, and God is fully aware of what He reveals, they say, “You made this up”. Indeed most of them do not know.”

      The substitution spoken of here is concerned with one of two things:
      a- The substitution of one Scripture in place of another.
      This first meaning is given evidence to in the following verse:
      “Then we revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them.” 5:48
      Here, the words “superseding them” confirm that the previous scripture were substituted with the Quran.

      b- The substitution of one law within one Scripture with another in a subsequent Scripture
      This second meaning is also given evidence to in the Quran where various issues that were prohibited to the previous people of the book were made lawful in the Quran.

      As an example, we are told in 2:187 that sexual intercourse between married couples during the nights of the fasting month was made lawful, while it was prohibited previously.
      We are also told in 6:146 that God prohibited for the Jews all animals with undivided hoofs; and of the cattle and sheep the fat was prohibited. These were made lawful in the Quran.

      This verse 16:101 does not speak about the substitution of one verse in the Quran with another.

      The evidence to that is given within the same verse (16:101):
      The key to the meaning of the verse lies in the words:
      ” …… they say, “You made this up”

      Here we must stop and ask, who is likely to tell the messenger “You made this up” ? and why? For sure it cannot be his followers, his followers are not likely to tell him “You have made it up”…………….it has to be those who do not believe in him, which focuses on the followers of previous scripture who feared that their scripture was in danger of being “substituted” with the Quran. In actual fact, till this day, the Jews and Christians accuse Muhammad that he fabricated the Quran himself!
      Once it is established that this verse speaks of the reaction and words of the disbelievers, then the next question would be : are they accusing Muhammad of substituting one verse in the Quran with another? The Jews and Christians do not care if one verse in the Quran is substituted for another, after all they do not believe in the whole book! They will not complain that one verse in the Quran is being substituted with another!

      However, if they fear that their Scripture is being substituted by the Quran, they will immediately accuse the messenger that the Scripture he brings (Quran) is not from God but that he “made it up” himself.

      The words “You have made it up” indeed stand as a true indicator from God Almighty that the substitution spoken of in this verse is not related to one within the Quran, but indeed a substitution between one scripture and another.
      As mentioned before, the substitution of the previous scripture with the Quran is confirmed in 5:48

      Also there has always been disgreement as to the number of verses abrogated by those who claim there is internal abrogation within the Quran. Which again refutes the abrogation theory within the Quran.

      all the examples you gave were explained and have been shown that they were examples of either exception to the general rule or specification or different rulings based upon various situations. None of the verses you quoted prove internal abrogation.

  9. Avatar

    Shiraz Canucki

    October 20, 2016 at 9:58 PM

    Salam Ahmad

    The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) also published the four point NYPD garbage theory in a booklet they published.

    Please check it out on their website, they are so proud of it:

    http://www.nccm.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/UAT-HANDBOOK-WEB-VERSION-SEPT-27-2014.pdf

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Shaikh

      October 20, 2016 at 11:06 PM

      Thank you for that information. I hope there are people willing to hold leadership accountable for malfeasance.

  10. Avatar

    Mohammed K

    October 21, 2016 at 12:50 PM

    Salam Br. Ahmed Shaikh,
    This is only about one paragraph you have included in your report concerning CIOGC. I have not read the rest of the report yet and hence not commenting on it.
    Regarding the CIOGC work, your information is 100% incorrect, except for the fact that CIOGC is working on some violent extremism aspects. The rest of your information regarding funding sources, topic areas we are working on, any relation to the NYPD report, etc. are 100% incorrect. I do not know what your sources of information are.
    You probably do not intend to be spreading false information, nevertheless, please consider the following hadith and consider publishing the correct information:

    Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, كَفَى بِالْمَرْءِ إِثْمًا أَنْ يُحَدِّثَ بِكُلِّ مَا سَمِعَ “It is enough sin for a person to speak everything that he hears.”
    Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4992
    Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to As-Suyuti

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Shaikh

      October 21, 2016 at 7:15 PM

      Is this Muhammad Kaiseruddin? If so you know you failed to return my call, same with Ms. Haleem. I have been sitting on this information about CIOGC’s program for almost a year now, though the information in my post has been confirmed to me by more than one person as well as documentary evidence. It is unfortunate that you did not read the article (nor did you presumably read the links I provided) that support what I discussed. Your organization is involved with CVE. You might as well own this fact and defend it if you can. I provided a link to a slide deck that is from CIOGC concerning the “Bystander program”- which is CIOGC’s CVE product. It contains a reference to the “four stages of radicalization.” This, to anyone know knows the subject, is discussing the discredited “radicalization theory” that came from the NYPD. If may be that you don’t know this history. However the mere fact that you don’t know these things does not make them untrue. You should know that you are pushing discredited junk science on a mostly trusting community.

      CIOGC’s program being funded by DHS does not necessarily mean you received funds directly, but rather people who helped develop the program were funded by DHS. The CVE grants have not been issued yet to non-profits, though I am informed CIOGC applied. CIOGC has stated that it has received money from the Department of Justice, and I linked to this as well.

      I invite you to return my phone call, perhaps we can clear everything up and I can update my post about your program with information you have provided. I do hope that I can update it with an announcement that you are scrapping your CVE program and will not involve your organization in anything that stigmatizes Muslim youth or assumes a presumption of dangerousness of Muslims not present with other population groups.

  11. Avatar

    a stupid brave beard....oops.....

    October 22, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom.

    • Avatar

      Ash

      November 6, 2016 at 10:25 AM

      @Mohammed A the truth finally revealed … An evangelist pretending to be a Muslim cutting/pasting and regurgitating European colonial propaganda against Islam from Islamaphobe websites . Firstly all your propaganda was dismantled point by point by Shaykh Ahmed Deedat more then 30 years ago, that too with debates with your biggest Evangelists. In addition to that many of Your ex- Christian priests and preachers have dismantled your propaganda on The Deen show those interviews also available on youtube… atleast have the courage and conviction to be open about who you are , instead of making a rather poor attempt @ practicing deceit, and subterfuge.

  12. Avatar

    Ahmad

    November 12, 2016 at 6:16 PM

    God sent Jesus to bani Israil to revive the spirit of the Torah and to clear their misunderstandings. Also Jesus was sent as the Messiah to warn the misguided clerics of their hypocrisy since some preached what they didn’t practise. For example some rabbis forbade gambling to the people but they themselves practised it.

    Historically there were many sects in early Christianity who had a range of beliefs regarding Jesus. Early Christians who denied Jesus being God were persecuted by the Roman Authorities. From this point onwards the Trinitarian belief became widespread amongst Christians. There were various movements in early Christianity which denied the Trinity, among the more well known of them is Arianism.

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#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”

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Foreign Agents in the Muslim Community
Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

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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. 

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A Closer Look At The Congressional Hearing on Human Rights in South Asia

Hena Zuberi

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Kashmir hearing in Congress
Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

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Expectations on Capitol Hill were pretty low going into the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation’s historic hearing on “Human Rights in South Asia”. Previously, hearings on India have not been critical and the Kashmiri Muslim point of view has not been discussed.

Chairman of the sub-committee Brad Sherman (D-CA) wasted no time setting the stage for where he wanted to go with this hearing, stating, ”the entire world is focused today on what is happening in Kashmir.” He also pointed to the state of the 2 million-minority population in Assam. Missing from his opening statements were remarks on the state of the rest of the minorities in India, esp. Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and Muslims. Ranking member Ted Yoho (R-FL) was soft on the gross realities of the occupation, highlighting one case of a Kashmiri constituent, and referred to the abrogation of Article 370 as an internal matter of India. He also brought up the Indian talking point of economic progress in the region but this concept was thoroughly dismissed by later testimony and Q&A.

The State department veteran Alice Wells, Acting Secretary on South and Central Asian Affairs seemed woefully ill-prepared for the critical nature of the hearing. Both Wells and Assistant Secretary for Human Rights Destro could not or did not present solid facts and figures about detention and tried to explain away the oppression as “inconveniences”. They were unable to comment or provide clarity on the situation on the ground in Kashmir, with Destro saying, “we are in the same information blackout as you are.” Some of Sec. Wells’s comments were of direct Indian government persuasion.

Several of Justice For All’s talking points were raised during the hearing.

There was commentary on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar asked about the anti-Muslim program. She questioned the panel on the public statements by Indian officials that only Muslims have to prove their birth records. Rejecting the notion that a democratic ally cannot be policed, she said that the United States does that in many situations and “this should not be an exception.”The human rights abuse doesn’t cease to exist even if it is the law. Is it consistent with international human rights?” asked Chairman Sherman, along the same lines.

Destro observed that the appeals process “may disadvantage poor and illiterate populations who lack documentation”. “We are closely following this situation and urge the Government of India to take these issues into consideration,” he added.

”The human rights abuse doesn’t cease to exist even if it is the law. Is it consistent with international human rights?” asked Chairman ShermanClick To Tweet

Wells testified that “violence and discrimination against minorities in India, including cow vigilante attacks against members of the Dalit and Muslim communities, and the existence of anti-conversion laws in nine states” are not in keeping with India’s legal protections for minorities.

Congresswoman Alice Spanberger, (D-VA) a former CIA intelligence officer, asked whether India has shared examples of terror attacks and incidents that have been thwarted due to the communications blockade. When Wells stated that she could not comment, Spanberger asked for a classified hearing so that US officials could give their assessment on the validity of the national security argument of the Indian government. Chair Sherman associated himself with her questioning and vowed to take her suggestion seriously.

Chairman Brad Sherman, as well as several other Congresspeople both on and off the House Foreign Relations Committee, asked several pertinent and critical questions.

Questioning the Indian Government narrative Chairman Sherman asked if the United is “supposed to trust these government of India officials when the government of India doesn’t allow our diplomats to visit?” Representative Sheila Jackson asked if reputable Indian diplomats or journalists had ever been denied entry into any state in the United States?

Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) referred to a report about the detention of dozens of children in Kashmir and said detention without charges is unacceptable. She expressed her concerns about religious freedom in India and said that she proposes to bring a bipartisan resolution in Congress.

Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and David Cicilline of Rhode Island both had a heavy human rights approach to the questioning. Congresswoman Lee asked Assistant Secretary Destro if he would describe the situation as a “humanitarian crisis,” Mr Destro said, “Yes, it is.” She then went on to call the United States government to stop a potential genocide.

Washington has not changed its stance on the designation of the Line of Control. Chairman Sherman brought up the issue of disputed territory to the State Department.“We consider the Line of Control (LoC) a de facto line separating two parts of Kashmir,” answered Wells. “We recognize de facto administrations on both sides of LoC.”

The subcommittee focused on personal testimonies as well as human rights organization Amnesty’s testimony during the second half of the hearing.

Though no Kashmiri Muslims testified, the panel presented electrifying testimonies from Dr. Nitasha Kaul, a Kashmiri and Dr. Angana Chatterji, an anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Bearing witness to the rising fascism and Hindu nationalism’s grip on India, both witnesses brought up beef lynchings, with Chatterji raising the concern of the genocidal inclinations of the Modi government. 

“Hindu majoritarianism – the cultural nationalism and political assertion of the Hindu majority – sanctifies India as intrinsically Hindu and marks the non-Hindu as its adversary. Race and nation are made synonymous, and Hindus –the formerly colonized, now governing, elite – are depicted as the national race,” said Dr. Chatterji.

Kashmiri witness Dr. Nitisha Kaul stated in her testimony that “human rights defenders, who were already under severe pressure, since August 5 are unable to function in Kashmir. For instance, every year on 30 August, the UN Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons led by Ms Parveena Ahangar, organises a vigil protest involving hundreds of elderly women and men whose sons had become victims of for instance, in the most recent parliamentary elections, the voters’ turnout was very low and in many booths, not a single vote was cast.”

Kaul emphasized the extension of the oppression, by highlighting that this year the peaceful gathering of elderly parents mourning and waiting for their disappeared sons was not allowed. She shared Ahanga’s quote: “This year we have been strangled, and there was no coming there was no coming together because, through its siege, India has denied us even the right to mourn.”

Ilhan Omar challenged Indian journalist Aarti Tikoo Singh’s take that the siege was in place to save Muslim women from “terrorists.” This is a trope that is often used to wage war and is especially used in the so-called “war on terror.” “It is a very colonial move on the part of the nation-states around it as if they are “liberating Kashmiri women,” said Dr. Kaul.

Chatterji bore witness to the woes of Kashmiri women who bear the brunt of the Indian occupational forces’ sexual brutality. “The woman’s body becomes the battlefield,” she said replying to a question by Congresswoman Houlahan from Pennsylvania. Dr. Kaul stated that the 1944 new Kashmir manifesto contained an entire section on gender rights. She spoke on the equity and equality in Kashmir: “They go to protests. Women become heads of households because of dead husbands.”

She also reminded the committee that BJP’s Amit Shah, also part of the government in 2002 and responsible for the program on Muslim community stated that Western human rights cannot be blindly applied here in India.

Representative Wild from Pennsylvania asked why the Indian government would not allow transparency. When human rights organizations and journalists can work in active war zones, she rejected the anti-terrorism narrative pushed by Ravi Batra, a last-minute BJP addition to the panel. “When there isn’t transparency something is being hidden and this is what really concerns me terribly,” said Wild.

A Sindhi-American witness spoke on minority rights in Pakistan, especially the forced conversion of Hindus. This is a concern that needs to be tackled by Muslims as there is no compulsion in Islam and is antithetical to the religion.

During the hearing, Amnesty International reported thousands in detention under the Public Safety Act while the State Department numbered it at hundreds. Dr. Asif Mahmoud, a key organizer, presented the health situation in Kashmir.

The overall situation of the Rohingya was covered and links were made to the start of the genocide in Burma and the parallels in India. The members of the House referred to it as genocide with the State Department still calling it ethnic cleansing.

Although the hearing focused on the current state of Jammu and Kashmir and not much was brought up about self-determination or the plebiscite, Kashmiri-Americans and their supporters left the hearing room satisfied that their voices were heard for the first time in the halls of the US Congress.

What was most concerning point of the entire hearing was that Kashmir was not brought up categorically as disputed territory and the issue was referred to as an integral matter of India. This needs deep, consistent and long-term work by advocates of Kashmir. With the continuous rise of RSS, Indian minority issues need a much sharper focus, and a regular pounding of the pavements of Congress to educate the Foreign Relations committees.

Some action items for American Muslims post-hearing.

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What We Should Know About The Slaying Of An Imam 10 Years Ago In Dearborn

Dawud Walid, Guest Contributor

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informant jibril imam Luqman
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October 28, 2019 marks 10 years since the tragic homicide of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah who was shot 20 times in Dearborn, Michigan by a special FBI tactical squad. The homicide of Imam Abdullah was the culmination of the FBI spending over a million dollars in a so-called counterterrorism investigation which included rental of a commercial warehouse and freight trucks, the purchase of expensive electronic items and payment to at least 3 confidential informants. The raid on that fateful day in which Abdullah was killed and some of his congregants were arrested had nothing to do with terrorism-related charges, yet the imam and by extension the Detroit Muslim community was smeared in the process.

The FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) claimed that agents were compelled to kill Abdullah because he purportedly shot a law enforcement canine during the arrest raid. CAIR-Michigan filed a lawsuit against the FBI for wrongful death and fraud in this matter because there was no forensic evidence that corroborated that Abdullah had a firearm much less shot an FBI dog, which the bureau considered a law enforcement officer. There were no proofs provided that any gunpowder was on Abdullah’s hand or fingertips which would have existed if he had fired a gun, and none of his DNA nor fingerprints were found on the alleged gun. In fact, there was not even a picture of a gun at the scene nor did the Dearborn Police see any gun. The FBI blocked the Dearborn Police from entering the scene of the homicide for over an hour after the shooting which allowed the FBI special tactical team to leave with the purported firearm. In other words, the shooters of Abdullah, who headed back to DC without even being questioned by the Dearborn Police, are the only source that he had a gun. We believe that the FBI used what is known as a throwaway gun in a coverup when they killed the imam.

To add insult to injury that tragic day when Abdullah was shot 20 times including in the back and groin, law enforcement used their helicopter to fly the injured FBI dog, which was most likely shot by friendly fire, to a veterinarian hospital instead of using it to fly the imam to a close-by hospital. When the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan and the Acting US Attorney held a press conference about the incident, it was followed up later with special recognition for “Freddy” the FBI dog while the imam was painted as a type of extremist who wanted to establish sharia in the Westside of Detroit.

To add insult to injury that tragic day when Abdullah was shot 20 times including in the back and groin, law enforcement used their helicopter to fly the injured FBI dog, which was most likely shot by friendly fire, to a veterinarian hospital instead of using it to fly the imam to a close-by hospital.Click To Tweet

The lawsuit which we filed against the FBI was dismissed not because of the merits of our arguments but due to the federal government during the Obama administration suppressing information. The FBI would not release the names of their shooting squad which forced us to name them as John Does. The DOJ countered that we did not have standing on behalf of the family because we did not name actual persons. When we refiled using the names of the Special Agent in Charge and the head of the tactical team, neither who were actual shooters, the DOJ argued that the statute of limitations ran out in our complaint. We submitted an appeal to the US Supreme Court regarding the coordinated suppression of evidence; however, our appeal was denied. We still hold to this day that the FBI wrongfully killed the imam which was followed up by a systematic coverup.

Since the homicide of Abdullah, we now know that government surveillance against the Muslim community and the suspected terrorist watchlists grew tremendously during the Obama years in comparison to the Bush era. Also, the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) which further targeted the community began under the Obama administration. Government spying and the broad usage of confidential informants, some who act as agent provocateurs, in our community are still concerns of ours. Where Americans pray or who we associate with that may have unpopular political views should not be predicates for FBI surveillance. In many cases, this has led to young American Muslims being criminalized. For Imam Abdullah, it led to his demise.

During the 10th anniversary of this tragedy, I ask us all to recommit ourselves to standing for the civil liberties of all Americans to not be mass surveilled and for none of us to aid and abet any governmental programs that facilitate of the violation of our 1st Amendment rights falsely in the name of public safety and national security. Click To Tweet

As my mentor, the late Ron Scott with the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality said when he stood with us in this case, “We are not anti-police; we are anti-law enforcement misconduct.” It is not our position that law enforcement be completely abolished. We are, however, against the unethical usage of informants which is part and parcel of the prolific history of the FBI in targeting prominent Americans such as Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, whose religious and political views were viewed as threatening by the status quo. During the 10th anniversary of this tragedy, I ask us all to recommit ourselves to standing for the civil liberties of all Americans to not be mass surveilled and for none of us to aid and abet any governmental programs that facilitate of the violation of our 1st Amendment rights falsely in the name of public safety and national security. We never want to see another homicide such as what took place to Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah due to overzealous actions predicated upon misguided FBI policy.

Photo: Luqman Abdullah, second from left. FBI informant “Jibril,” third from left. Credit: Intercept

21 Shots and the Pursuit of Justice: An Imam (Luqman Ameen Abdullah) Dies in Michigan

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