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October 2016

Southern Poverty Law Center: Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz Are “Anti-Muslim Extremists”
October 27, 2016 by Hemant Mehta
If you know anything about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, maybe it’s that the Somali-born activist was the victim of faith-based genital mutilation. Maybe it’s that her friend, director Theo van Gogh, was murdered by a Muslim extremist who then stuck a knife in his body with a note that said Hirsi Ali was next. Maybe it’s that she’s been on a mission to reform the religion.
She understands that there’s a direct connection between a literal interpretation of the Qur’an and the terror we’re seeing in parts of the world. She knows that a non-trivial percentage of believers feel that violence in the name of Islam is sometimes justified.
Maajid Nawaz is another activist working to reform the faith, most recently with his book Islam and the Future of Tolerance (co-authored with Sam Harris).
Both of them believe that Islam is uniquely problematic compared to other religions and moderate Muslims have a role to play in helping steer the ship in the right direction.
And both of them were just named to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of “Anti-Muslim Extremists” alongside actual hate-mongers like Walid Shoebat (who once said “All Islamic organizations in America should be the No. 1 enemy”).

September 2016

Upon reviewing this lengthy blog post, I have realized that other people have said this much better than I have, but that they require the same detailed explanation to make the necessary points. So please Google or YouTube both "Sharia Law" and "Freedom Of Speech" for some very interesting information. In short:

Freedom of Speech - Good
Sharia Law - Bad
Could it happen Here? - Yes

A response to critics: The death of critical thought is the death of civilization. In ancient Greek mythology Phobos (morbid fear) was the twin brother of Deimos (terror). If you say that I have Islamophobia, what is the term for the Islamic hatred of western values (kafir-phobia)? Most people are decent people; although I am deeply opposed to various core ideas of Islam, I feel no animosity toward those Muslims who hold no animosity toward me, or toward the ideals of the country that I love.

"You have enemies? Good! That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
— Winston Churchill

America and Islam; Now That's Just Far Enough.

Imagine that you and I are naturally kind, gentle, and peaceful souls recently born into the world.  As our vision clears we see our mother, our family, and our neighborhood.  We have no control over where we were born, and so we receive and accept willingly the world (and the world view) in which we live.  As each of us grow, we learn to live in our society; we learn what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior, what is right and wrong, what is good and what is evil.  Each day as we grow, the lessons are reinforced where we live, where we learn, and where we worship. The two of us may live out our lives never knowing each other even existed, or we might be thrown together by forces we don't anticipate or fully understand. Now imagine that one of us was born in rural Pakistan and the other was born in suburban America.

This may seem a strange opening for a series of short essays which argue that… no… proclaim that American values and American society are demonstrably superior to Islamic values and society.  Yes, I said superior… not equivalent or proximate, but superior.  I hope to make clear, and express freely, my compassion for the individuals while struggling to contain my contempt for the Islamic ideology.  I will argue that the doctrines of Islam are damaging at their core, and dangerous to the modern world.  I will argue that moderate Muslims who hope to re-interpret Islamic doctrine so it can integrate into and thrive peacefully within western democracies are loosing the battle.  I will argue that Shari'a law (and yes there is a clear definition of that, no matter what Islamic apologists say) is completely incompatible with and unacceptable in a western democracy.  And I will argue that we must actively reject… yes, ACTIVELY reject… any weakening of the 14th Amendment (equal rights) or the 1st Amendment (freedom of speech), even when that freedom of speech offends us.

Since the religion-based actions of ISIS (stoning, maiming, beheading) are in fact based upon Islamic doctrine, and any Muslim must, to be Muslim, acknowledge that same doctrine; most fundamentalist Muslims do in fact support what ISIS does without perhaps supporting ISIS.  This has been borne out by many polls of Muslim communities which have been taken over a number of years.

The vast majority of Muslims are born into the faith, so the only choice they might make is to NOT to be a Muslim, and few people have the will to do that.  Islam's strength is that it is a complete answer for the individual; a comprehensive  religious, social, and political system.  At the time Muhammad founded* the religion, it contained some advanced innovations for that time and place.  It outlawed the killing of infant females (which was previously common), and also allowed women to own property and initiate divorce proceedings.  It made clear that personal accountability superseded tribal law.  It denounced aristocratic privilege, rejected hierarchy, and adopted merit-based careers based on talent rather than family connections.  In the next post I will write about how Muhammed only survived due to his family connections, and some facts about the man himself; but this is not an attack on the man, it is a discussion of the ideology.

If you decide to research the information I present, you will immediately encounter what I will refer to as "the battle of the quotations". Critics of the religion will cite specific quotations to make a point, Islamists will  counter with other quotations, then followed by critics quoting others… and on and on.  A very interesting property of the Koran is how often it contradicts itself; that's a strange property for the "perfect and unquestionable word of god" recorded by "the ideal man".  It turns out that the softer side of the Koran was revealed to Muhammad during his years in opposition (610-622) when he was primarily in Mecca; and the harder, crueler side is written during his years in power (622-632) when he ruled from the town which would become known as Medina.

The posts I have planned include:

A.  "All In The Family", about the development of Islam.
B.  "Where was Moses when the lights went out?", about the links between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
C.  "When in Rome…", about integration within American society, and why I'm not afraid of Amish people.
D.  "The King and I", about Islam and Politics.
E.  "A Bridge Too Far",  about modern, moderate Muslims; and why all the other Muslims hate them.
F.  "Say it with meaning",  about when a Muslim refers to a "person", he doesn't mean you.

….. It may take me a while to finish them, but I hope you will give them a read. Thanks!


* Muhammad did not consider that he was founding a religion.  In his view, he was restoring the worship of the god of Abraham.  Christians and Jews had lost the true faith and had developed an imperfect understanding of God's way, which Muhammad would correct.

Part A - All In The Family

When I was young I had a picture book titled "The Family Of Man" which contained beautiful portraits of people from around the world. I've always liked that idea… a family of man. Prophets are cool too. We all knew that Neo wasn't really dead when Trinity said that the Prophet had told her she would fall in love with "The One". I even got to see a prophet. I have been baptized twice; the first time when I was a baby, and later into the Mormon Church (we prefer LDS) when I was in my 30's. Although the Prophet (think "president") of the Mormon Church at the time came to Bozeman MT for a visit, that second baptism didn't take; and before you ask, yes, there was a woman involved.

So now we are going to talk about a different Prophet and his family. Muhammad ("Allah's Messenger") did not indicate who would lead Islam when he died, and because of that the Shia and Sunni have been trying to kill each other ever since. When there is a power vacuum, the individual with the strongest personality will usually prevail; and that's what happened in year 632. Umar bin al-Khattab made a power grab by nominating Abu Bakr as the first Caliph, pushing aside Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib who was Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law. If you read about the succession, you will see that it was a real mess. There is a (pro-Bakr) Sunni view of what events actually happened, a (pro-Ali) Shia view of what events actually happened, and a number of western academic views of what events actually happened… it's all very confusing. Families often are. In 656 Ali finally got his chance to be Caliph, but over only part of the previous Caliph's state and while in a constant state of civil war. He was assassinated in 661. As we all know from the television, both the Shia and Sunni (along with other sects) consider anyone who was not part of their group an unbeliever. Seeing how they kill each other gives an accurate window into how they ALL view the rest of us unbelievers.

The Sunni believe that Muhammad was afraid when he first saw the angel Gabriel, while the Shia say he was not… but I get ahead of myself.

Muhammad's dad died before he was born, and his mother passed when he was a small child. Later his uncle Abu Talib agreed to take in the young Muhammad. This was very fortunate for Muhammad, since Abu Talib had many trading connections and was an important person in the Banu Hashim. The Banu Hashim was in charge of the Ka'ba, the big stone cube that you see during the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca. That's where the Arabs kept their stone idols which Muhammad would destroy (thereby cleansing the structure Muhammed said the biblical Abraham and Ishmael had built), and now the empty stone box (with a meteorite embedded in the side) is what Muslims pray toward 5 times a day. As a trader, Abu Talib took Muhammad on journeys, and it is possible that it was on these journeys that Muhammad initially became acquainted with Jewish and Christian doctrine. Khadija, Muhammad's first wife… and the first convert to Islam… was the niece of a man named Waraqa, who was a Christian priest. So, even though Muhammad could not read or write himself, the Koran need not depend on the angel Gabriel at all. Much of it is strikingly similar to Christian and Jewish texts of the day. And that's the kicker… some of the texts in the Koran which are not found in the modern Christian bible have subsequently come to light as alternate texts rejected by the early Church. Some of the Koran also seems to come from non-biblical Jewish religious texts (the Talmud) as well.

I had thought that Muslim hate of Jewish people was caused by Palestine becoming Israel in 1948, but in the Koran we find that hatred of Jews starts at the very beginning. That gives us some insight on how Muhammad later treats the Jews in Medina (the Nadir, Qaynuqa and Qurayzah).

Also interesting is what Muhammad decides NOT to include. Although he was obviously familiar with Christian doctrine, the whole "turn the other cheek", "prince of peace", "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" line of Christian thought didn't make the cut. In fact, even though the Koran includes the story of Moses receiving the word of god on the mountain and retuning to see the Israelites worshiping idols, WHAT Moses brings down with him is not mentioned. The Islamic faith has no 10 Commandments. This is convenient for Muhammad since later he gets his cousin to let him to marry that cousin's wife (…so much for thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife).

While I'm thinking about it, neither his first wife nor his cousin's wife were Muhammad's favorite. That honor was reserved for Aisha, who Muhammad married when she was six, and with whom at age nine enjoyed what we now call statutory rape. I mention this because pious Muslims see Muhammad as the ideal man, someone to be emulated in every respect, and to them it does not matter that he was doing what he was doing 1400 years ago. Can all of us nonbelievers agree that statutory rape of a 9 year old is unacceptable in 2016? However, for devout Muslims, it's just… all in the family.

Part B
Where was Moses when the lights went out?

Beliefs (even acting as though a person believes) inform actions and actions have consequences. It is true that the christian Anders Breivik used the defense of Christianity as a reason why he killed 8 people with a bomb and then shot 69 children in Norway, but I contend that such acts do not define modern Christianity. I was brought up in the Lutheran Church. In Catechism class they never mentioned Martin Luther's lengthy diatribe about the Jews. It is a later work written while he was under the protection of the Elector of Saxony; a work which is deeply anti-Semitic. However, when the leaders of the Lutheran Church in 20th century America got together and decided what was important to teach the young, they left "On the Jews and Their Lies" out of the curriculum; and rightfully so. John Knox, a founder of what was to become the Presbyterian Church said that believers have no duty to deal truthfully with heretics (incidentally, a concept Islam is calls "al-Taqiyya"), and… when pressed… he said that idolators (Roman Catholics) should be killed. Today could we find even one Presbyterian who would agree with either of these statements? Not likely. So why do so many Muslims not only agree with… but even act upon… the same statements made by Muhammad? Because here, today, a person can be a devout Presbyterian or Lutheran and NOT agree with everything John Knox or Martin Luther once said, but by Islamic doctrine, a person CANNOT be a devout Muslim unless they agree right now with every word and deed of Muhammad. Look at the sheer number of terrorist acts by Muslims, look at the doctrines of Islam, it is valid to ask if the doctrines do significantly contribute to those terrorist acts.

From the website

Quran: The word "Quran" means "recitation" in Arabic.
This book is the sacred text of Islam and the highest authority in both religious and legal matters. Muslims believe the Quran to be a flawless record of the angel Gabriel's revelations to Muhammad from 610 until his death in 632 AD. It is also believed to be a perfect copy of a heavenly Qur'an that has existed eternally.

Hadith: The word "Hadith" means "narrative" or "report" in Arabic.
The book is a record of the words and deeds of the Muhammad, his family, and his companions. Although not regarded as the spoken Word of God like the Quran, Hadith is an important source of doctrine, law, and practice.

According to Islamic doctrine, the Koran (or Quran, either one is correct) must be read in the original Arabic text preserved from the time of the revelation. Since the meaning of words we use in everyday language changes over time, the meanings of some the words in the 1400 year old Koran are sometimes disputed. For an example, instead of Virgins, the martyrs may be greeted in paradise with sweet white grapes. ( That's a little disconcerting when you believe you are reading an infallible document. Although by doctrine, even the translation of the Koran into other languages is forbidden, we do have both translations supported by the Muslim religious community and some that are not. If you try to argue quotations with an Islamist, they will often tell you that you are simply using the wrong translation. Here is an example. In the original Arabic one passage states that if a wife displeases her husband, the husband may beat her. In a common and approved English translation it says that the husband may beat her SOFTLY. Where did the "softly" come from? I will leave that to you.

Part C - When in Rome…

I have often taken a Greyhound Bus to visit family in Cleveland, and on nearly every trip, shared the bus with Amish people. The bus meets their horse-drawn buggies on the outskirts of small towns in rural Ohio. As the bus continues on, they speak with each other in their own language (a dialect of German) and mostly keep to themselves. It must be mentioned here that we bus-riders usually keep to ourselves, so they are not unusual in that respect. I have had the occasion to speak with some of them; always only the men, and always one who is obviously in a leadership position. We talk about farming. We talk about the dangers of driving a buggy on a busy rural roadway. We never talk about religion; I don't ask and they don't offer. They wear different clothes, speak a different language, and live separately from the rest of the people on the bus. They seem to prefer it that way. Good for them. As far as the great majority of Americans are concerned, being different or separate from the general society is not sufficient reason to bear animosity against them. All, of course, is not flowers and sunshine. Although there isn't anything even close to the supposed "Amish Mafia", the community represents a significant economic and social force, and any small businessman knows to treat them well. You don't mess with the Amish. Also, there was a case recently where an Amish man beat his horse to death on a public street. He was arrested, as he should have been. There is the difference between devout Muslims and folks like the Amish; devout Muslims want us… all of us… to live under Sharia law.

We have not taken a poll in the U.S. like the one they did in Great Britain, but I am convinced that the result would be similar. From that poll (ICM Survey, BBC Chanel 4 "What British Muslims really think") we find that Muslims don't want to become part of western society, they want to be accommodated until they can make Sharia the law of the land. 23% of Muslims said that in the survey, but I contend that this and all the following numbers are LOW (recall the Muslim principle of Al-taqiyya; to cheat, lie, and cover their feelings when dealing with non-believers). 35% support Polygamy. 44% rarely visit or socialize with non-muslims, 21% have never been to a non-muslim's home. 39% say women should always obey their husbands. 18% say violence is OK when someone makes fun of Islam. 33% say stoning is appropriate punishment for adultery. Only 4% actually say they support suicide bombing, but that amounts to 100,000 individuals; and… and here's the big one... only 35% would report a terrorist.

A pious Christian, Jew, Buddhist or atheist can also fully and in every detail support the Constitution of the United States; a pious Muslim cannot. I believe Khizr Khan when he says that he supports the Constitution, and I grieve for his son Captain Humayun Khan who died in service to this country which is based upon that document. That does not change the clear fact that Islam as a political system (in addition to being a religion) is incompatible with our Constitution. The way I explain that there are certainly an overwhelming majority of peaceful and good citizens of the United States who are also Muslims is that; a good American is a bad Muslim.

For most of us when we think about our personal religion, we rarely have to choose between conscience and creed; the more we follow our religion's creed, the clearer our conscience. Common decency is part of who we are; all of us… Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist or atheist. As individuals we struggle with the requirements of the world while trying to be a good person, and at most times and in most places our religion assists us in this. But sometimes it does not.

Part D
The King and I

Mazin AbdulAdhim, a prominent Imam of Iraqi descent in London, Ontario who is affiliated with the radical Islamic global movement of Hizb ut-Tahrir, asserts that…

“Islam and democracy are contradictory and absolutely incompatible."

I have a tendency to agree, although the Muslim Reform Movement is committed to building a new Islam "based on three principles: peace, human rights and secular governance.

However, Shabir Ally, another Canadian Muslim Leader has written: " If Muhammad is our model, than religion and governance cannot be separated.  Older muslims adopted western values for convenience; older people have forgotten about religion. But our youth studies the true meaning of Islam. The Islamic state can truly come, but it must be born out of a grass roots movement. It has to be a situation where people voluntarily, through the preaching of Islam, have accepted the Islamic ethos and they want something that we will call an islamic state.  When we call it an islamic state, it will not actually resemble what it was 1400 years ago.  It will be a modern state with all of the workings of the modern environment. The time of Muhammad was a time of monarchy, but this is the age of democracy. Islam embraces a democratic system. The people will voluntarily embrace a religious view and that religious view will naturally be reflected in their laws. This is rooted in the Quran itself. "

So Shabir Ally indicates that Muslims must control the narrative and emphasize the Quran; that the goal of Islam is to present the tenants of the religion to the public and then use democracy to install the Umma on earth. Simply put, to use an existing democracy as a mechanism to install an Islamic theocracy.

It is important to keep in mind that this time we live in is not the end of history.  Fascism and Communism seem to have been subdued by Capitalism, and even the poorest of us are living a better life than did most people of the recent past; but still, for every winner there are many who see themselves losers; and discontent continues to fuel both peaceful and violent rebellion.

It is also important to remember that the differences within the various political systems are often greater than the differences between them; there are many kinds of democracy… some are in practice actually dictatorships, and some are quite socialist. Secularism can be despotic (the Soviet Union is an example). In America the tyranny of the majority is constrained by the Constitution. This current range of political systems makes talking about how the political aspects of Islam may influence the world even more confusing; a certain policy will have a different impact in different places. This confusion should not distract us from the clear, stated goal of Islamists to institute a worldwide theocracy. Islam has kept middle eastern tribal culture stuck in time.  What made that culture exceptional and intriguing in the 20th century has made it harmful and dangerous in the 21st.

Part E
A Bridge Too Far?

From history we learn that Islam need not be the breeding ground for violence that it is today. Muslims like to point out that in the period from 800-1100 AD, areas under Islamic influence experienced a flourishing of mathematics, science and literature. From that time we get the concepts of algebra, the arabic numbers that we still use, the root of the word "algorithm", and the names of three quarters of the visible stars. All of that ended because the influence of one man; Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (1058-1111). He has been called the most influential Muslim besides Muhammad himself, and because of him (as Prof. Neil deGrasse Tyson states) "we can only guess what later brilliance may have expressed itself but did not.”

Al-Ghazali (Hujjat al-Islam)wrote that mathematics is the work of the devil. In his “The Incoherence of the Philosophers”, he condemns rationalist muslim neoplatonists (like Ibn Sina) as not only wrong, but dangerous heratics. Unlike later when in the west rationality gained prominence, under Al-Ghazali's influence revelation replaced investigation… and likely because of him there have only been 2 Muslim nobel prize winners in the history of that award. Knowledge was frozen in place, and the only true way of Islam became that of the desert dwellers at the time of Muhammad. One bright spot was that the Iranian safavids (shia) and turkish ottomans (suni) put up with each other for 250 years because they realized trade was more important than conquest. Still, while the west was evolving, Islam was stagnant; which is one reason we found the cultures of the middle east quite charming… until they started blowing us up.

But there are people who are trying to bring Islam into the 21st century.

Islam as we see it now, seems uniquely resistant to secularization.

Part F
Say It With Meaning.

Notes:     I intend to turn the following into paragraphs like the previous ones, but in case I don't, I wanted to get the information out there.

D.  The King and I

There are 52 Islamic countries (as designated by various Islamic organizations), so one would expect a wide range of social and legal conditions.

It has been said that most Muslims abhor jihad, and no matter how insulted they are they will still abhor violence. Most muslims live in democracies. running in elections, stepping down when they loose.

Divinity may remain unquestioned, but statecraft must be challenged. Begin an institution of debate.

Before attacking to remove Sadam, the US State Department prepared a full-page ad in Arabic to explain the reasons the US was invading. All the Arabic language newspapers in the mideast refused to publish it.

“difference between ideal, heavenly law and everyday human practice, where forgiveness should be the norm.. a case of condemning the sin but not the sinner.” Eamonn Gearon

What if Muslims don'g want to be secularized?

The Turkish model of a democracy in an Islamic country failed partly because a single party grabbed power.

Concept of "kafar"

Istambul declaration
2. The Gaza flotilla initiative was a step in the implementation of the Jihadi "Istanbul declaration", which was issued at a conference held in Istanbul on 14-15 February 2009 under the title "Gaza victory". The conference was attended by around 200 Arab and European Sunni sheikhs and clerics and members of Hamas and signed by 90 of them (see appendix). According to a BBC reporter who attended the event, "speaker after speaker called for jihad against Israel in support of Hamas".[1] The Istanbul declaration set the ideological Jihadi confrontational violent formula for future materialization of its decisions as demonstrated in the events of the flotilla to Gaza. The Gaza Flotilla initiative has to be linked and understood within the radical pan Islamic context and the set of mind as reflected by its initiators in light of the Istanbul declaration and the 90 radical Muslim scholars and clerics from around the world who publicly sanctioned the legitimacy and support of Hamas and its military actions.
3. The Jihadi Istanbul declaration affirmed "The obligation of the Islamic Nation to find a fair formula of reconciliation between the sons of the Palestinian people, under whose responsibility a legitimate authority will be formed that will attend to the fixed norms and the legitimate and national rights; and will carry on with the jihad and Resistance against the occupier until the liberation of all Palestine. It also affirmed "The obligation of the Islamic Nation to open the crossings -- all crossings -- in and out of Palestine permanently, in order to allow access to all the needs of the Palestinians -- money, clothing, food, medicine, weapons and other essentials, so that they are able to live and perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty. Additional affirmation has noted that: "We affirm that the victory that Allah accomplished by means of our brothers the Mujahidin, our defiant and steadfast kinsfolk in Gaza, was indeed achieved through His favor and help - exalted be He! It was also achieved through fulfilling the religious obligation of jihad in His way".
4. According to the Istanbul declaration, there is an obligation for "the Islamic Nation to regard the sending of foreign warships into Muslim waters, claiming to control the borders and prevent the smuggling of arms to Gaza, as a declaration of war, a new occupation, sinful aggression, and a clear violation of the sovereignty of the Nation". It continues: "This must be rejected and fought by all means and ways." [2]

7. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard everyone standing with the Zionist entity, whether countries, institutions or individuals, as providing a substantial contribution to the crimes and brutality of this entity; the position towards him is the same as towards this usurping entity.
8. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard the sending of foreign warships into Muslim waters, claiming to control the borders and prevent the smuggling of arms to Gaza, as a declaration of war, a new occupation, sinful aggression, and a clear violation of the sovereignty of the Nation. This must be rejected and fought by all means and ways. To conclude: the Nation's scholars and proselytisers remind the Islamic Nation, rulers and ruled alike, of the necessity of returning to its religion, adhering to the book of its Lord and the sunna of his Prophet, working for its unity, and seizing control of the instruments of power that will make possible its supremacy and the preservation of its holy places and provisions 'Allah prevails in his purpose, but most people know not.' [Quran, 12: 21]).

85 Sharia councils in Britain - Parallel and Separate lives. Sharia local ordinances. — Islam means "submission".  Shari'a is the perfection and beauty of divine law, not the darkness of man-made law; its justice invites one to a superior way of life, a solution for every problem.  Striving to institute worldwide shari'a law is a religious duty.  Governments and free speech are abominations and must be eliminated.

Simply because a young girl is born into a Muslim family in the United States, and that family chooses to live within Shari'a law, is that young girl to be denied her rights under the Constitution?

Muslim Brotherhood Motto:  "Allah is our way; The Qur'an is our constitution; Muhammad is our leader; Jihad is our way; Dying for the sake of Allah is our highest aspiration."

A fanatic always conceals a secret doubt.

From his 1994 book The Methodology of Ijtihad quotes the twelfth century Maliki jurist Ibn Rushd: “Muslim jurists agreed that the purpose of fighting with the People of the Book…is one of two things: it is either their conversion to Islam or the payment of jizyah.” Nyazee concludes: “This leaves no doubt that the primary goal of the Muslim community, in the eyes of its jurists, is to spread the word of Allah through jihad, and the option of poll-tax [jizya] is to be exercised only after subjugation” of non-Muslims.
A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law endorsed by the most prestigious institution in Sunni Islam, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, says that the leader of the Muslims “makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians…until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax,” and cites Qur’an 9:29 in support of this idea: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden-who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book-until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o9.8)

Western governments have often extended their influence with a sword in one hand and a bible in the other. I offer no excuse for past actions, but do hold my country accountable for present and future actions.

Shariah - Islamic religious principles, a divine perfected code of moral law which does not actually exist.  A rule of law which does not change because of a despotic dictator.
Fiqh - Islamic Law as practiced and studied.

preservation of morality falls upon the women, 
marriages which are not recorded women left penniless and homeless
deeply patriarchal communities


E.  A Bridge Too Far?

Brothers in Islam, Islam is goofy.

"No idea is above scrutiny, no people are beneath dignity" - Maajid Nawaz

Malala Yousafzai - british pakistanis questioned why all the attention

ishtaha / ichdihad - independent reasoning - can everyone do it?
the trouble with islam today, tribal culture is not islam.
believers conduct yourself with justice - call for moral courage.
what is islam - a way of life defined by muslims, behavior defines blasphemous 
moderate muslims do denounce violence but deny islam is 
reformists acknowledge inspired by religion
silence and passivity.
defensiveness, angry hiding behind punctuation.   The idiom of the society,
a specialist area? 3 times as many verses tell people to analize.
none of us can claim to have the right to self confidence
what are islamic ethos — defer to experts?

Islam is a utopian vision.

"The Qur'an is perfect, it is universal, it is eternal and it is complete."

There is a very wide range of people who self-identify as Muslim, it is difficult to intellectually consider anything that does not have a clear, widely held definition. It often seems that the definitions of "Muslim" are mutually exclusive among Muslims.

"Don't ask difficult questions".

American Muslims say:
Public freedom vs. private morality.  Disagreement with Roe vs. Wade.  Do not oppose another marginalized people, there are LGTB Muslims.  Sins vs. Illegal.  The American government is not in charge of morality.  
biggest challenge to american muslims is discussing.  No one can speak for Islam.  
what happens in the mideast influences american islam, conferences should include Shias as well as Sunni, african americans as well as mid-easterners.  Allow constructive criticism? Innovation is the biggest sin a believer can commit, and it makes him a heretic.

Some of the acts that entail leaving Islam are as follows
(these are only a few examples and the list in Islamic law is extensive)
1. To intend to commit unbelief, even if in the future.(1)
2. To deny any verse in the Qur’an, which by scholarly consensus, belongs to it. (7)
3. To mockingly say, “I don’t know what faith is”(8)
4. To deny the obligatory character of something which by the consensus is Islamic.(14)
5. To be sarcastic about any ruling in Sacred Law.(19)
6. If someone says, “trim your nails, it is sunna” and then replies ” I would not do it even if it were”
If it is believed that the person has purposely denied sacred knowledge, has reached puberty and is sane, then the person will be executed as an apostate (Reliance of the traveller 0.80) An apostate is called a murtad. Apostasy is one of the biggest sins within Islam and is described as the ugliest form on unbelief and is seen as fighting against Allah.

More books were translated into Spanish last year than all the books translated into Arabic in the last thousand years.

Ishtahad was banned in response to hellenistic ideas.

You have to learn to be good. Jordan Peterson

White society is as diverse as Muslim, subcultures within Judism self-ghettoize, ethnic neighborhoods, some people choose to cross boundaries, individual choice.


F.  Say it with meaning.

An ideological commitment to a belief that a strict interpretation of Koranic Islam, particularly as a socio-political structure, is a self-justifying end. This includes the belief that the Koran is uniquely correct for all people, and thus there is a moral obligation to to bring everybody to believe it, by whatever means.
(defined by Prof. P. Boghossian)

Islamists actually believe what they claim they believe. We only need to accept that they take their interpretation seriously.

Ideologically motivated moral community, certain articles are scared. (secular too)
they are not acting without morality, but consider themselves absolutely moral

An ideological commitment to a belief that a strict interpretation of Koranic Islam, particularly as a socio-political structure, is a self-justifying end. This includes the belief that the Koran is uniquely correct for all people, and thus there is a moral obligation to to bring everybody to believe it, by whatever means.
(defined by Prof. P. Boghossian)

Islamists actually believe what they claim they believe. We only need to accept that they take their interpretation seriously.

Ideologically motivated moral community, certain articles are scared. (secular too)
they are not acting without morality, but consider themselves absolutely moral.

In western law, to speak the truth about Muhammad is not slander; but In Sharia, slander is telling something about someone which they don't want known.

It is simple intellectual dishonesty to say that Islamic values include Justice, Freedom and Protection of Human Life.

Dhimmi - a contractual agreement by non-muslims under Sharia law which provides protection in exchange for a tax (jhizia) and humiliation as a constant reminder of their subjugated position.

A religion of Peace? Jihad "until every mouth proclaims the unity of Allah".

"Killing one person is the same as all of mankind; and whoever saves a it is as if he has saved all mankind" is followed by Verse 5:33 : "Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land."

Creeping Shari'a. Orders death for both muslin and non-muslim critics of Muhammad, the Qur'an and even Shari'a law itself.

Islam is a religion of peace - what they mean: the world will be a peace once Islam and Sharia are (successful) over the world. 

al-kitman - to not tell the truth (deceive)
al-taqiyya - to lie about a mission
al-murunah - to say what ever you have to and ask Allah to forgive you later.

Archaic Arabian



Central defining cultural values.

Jonestown Guyana 909 people poisoned with valium and cyanide 1978, Indianapolis (1950's), christian apostolic socialism revival.

The depravity of american culture is cited as why islam feels under threat.

Islamic Jahadies link islam to terrorism.
Human rights abuses in islamic law. 
Islamic supremisism 
chapter 9 verse 29

If I make a factual statement such as "the Koran states that idolators should be killed", is that hate speech?  Or if I make the factual statement that Muhammad had sex with a 9 year old girl, is that hate speech?


A Courageous and Necessary Advancement:

We are Muslims who live in the 21st century. We stand for a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam. We are in a battle for the soul of Islam, and an Islamic renewal must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states, as well as an Islamic caliphate. We seek to reclaim the progressive spirit with which Islam was born in the 7th century to fast forward it into the 21st century. We support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by United Nations member states in 1948. We reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam. Facing the threat of terrorism, intolerance, and social injustice in the name of Islam, we have reflected on how we can transform our communities based on three principles: peace, human rights and secular governance. We are announcing today the formation of an international initiative: the Muslim Reform Movement.
We have courageous reformers from around the world who have written our Declaration for Muslim Reform, a living document that we will continue to enhance as our journey continues. We invite our fellow Muslims and neighbors to join us.


A. Peace: National Security, Counterterrorism and Foreign Policy
1. We stand for universal peace, love and compassion. We reject violent jihad. We believe we must target the ideology of violent Islamist extremism, in order to liberate individuals from the scourge of oppression and terrorism both in Muslim- majority societies and the West.
2. We stand for the protection of all people of all faiths and non-faith who seek freedom from dictatorships, theocracies and Islamist extremists.
3. We reject bigotry, oppression and violence against all people based on any prejudice, including ethnicity, gender, language, belief, religion, sexual orientation and gender expression.

B. Human Rights: Women’s Rights and Minority Rights
1. We stand for human rights and justice. We support equal rights and dignity for all people, including minorities. We support the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
2. We reject tribalism, castes, monarchies and patriarchies and consider all people equal with no birth rights other than human rights. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Muslims don’t have an exclusive right to “heaven.”
3. We support equal rights for women, including equal rights to inheritance, witness, work, mobility, personal law, education, and employment. Men and women have equal rights in mosques, boards, leadership and all spheres of society. We reject sexism and misogyny.

C. Secular Governance: Freedom of Speech and Religion
1. We are for secular governance, democracy and liberty. We are against political movements in the name of religion. We separate mosque and state. We are loyal to the nations in which we live. We reject the idea of the Islamic state. There is no need for an Islamic caliphate. We oppose institutionalized sharia. Sharia is manmade.
2. We believe in life, joy, free speech and the beauty all around us. Every individual has the right to publicly express criticism of Islam. Ideas do not have rights. Human beings have rights. We reject blasphemy laws. They are a cover for the restriction of freedom of speech and religion. We affirm every individual’s right to participate equally in ijtihad, or critical thinking, and we seek a revival of ijtihad.
3. We believe in freedom of religion and the right of all people to express and practice their faith, or non-faith, without threat of intimidation, persecution, discrimination or violence. Apostasy is not a crime. Our ummah--our community--is not just Muslims, but all of humanity.
We stand for peace, human rights and secular governance. Please stand with us!
Affirmed this Fourth Day of December, Two-Thousand and Fifteen By the founding authors who are signatories below

Twitter: @TheMuslimReform
Instagram: @TheMuslimReform
Facebook: Muslim Reform Movement
Email: Website:
Please sign our declaration

Founding Signatories
Tahir Gora, Author, Journalist, Activist, Toronto, Canada
Tawfik Hamid Islamic Thinker and Reformer, Oakton, VA, USA
Usama Hasan Imam, Quilliam Foundation, London, UK
Arif Humayun Senior Fellow, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Portland, OR, USA
Farahnaz Ispahani Author, Former Member of Parliament, Pakistan, Washington, D.C., USA,
M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Phoenix, AZ USA
Naser Khader Member, Danish Parliament, Muslim democracy activist,
Courtney Lonergan Community Outreach Director, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Professional facilitator
Hasan Mahmud Resident expert in sharia, Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada
Asra Nomani Journalist, Author, Morgantown, WV, USA
Raheel Raza Founder, Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada
Sohail Raza Vice President, Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations
Salma Siddiqui President, Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations, Toronto, Canada
Copenhagen, Denmark
...affirmed at 8 AM this Fourth Day of December, Two-Thousand and Fifteen