Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It Is Time to Clearly Understand the Pristine Message of the Qur’an Rather Than Reading It with the Eye of Its Medieval Era Jurists, Scholars and Ideologues

By Moin Qazi, New Age Islam
30 September 2015

MODERN ISLAMIC THOUGHT IN A RADICAL AGEReligious Authority and Internal CriticismBy Muhammad Qasim ZamanCambridge University Press, 2012
363 Pages$32.99
Few books have handled the theme of modern Islamic thought with such competence as   Muhammad Qasim Zaman. This book combines academic rigour with a focus on the practical ramifications of Islamic thought and how it has influenced the discourse in this radical age.  For those known nowadays as Islamists or fundamentalists, the failures and shortcomings of modern Islamic lands afflict those lands because they adopted alien notions and practices. They fell away from authentic Islam and thus lost their former greatness. Those known as modernists or reformers take the opposite view, seeing the cause of this loss not in the abandonment but in the retention of old ways, and especially in the inflexibility and ubiquity of the Islamic clergy, who, they say, are responsible for the persistence of beliefs and practices that might have been creative and progressive a thousand years ago but are neither today. The modernists' usual tactic is not to denounce religion as such, still less Islam in particular, but to level their criticism against fanaticism. It is to fanaticism—and more particularly to fanatical religious authorities—that they attribute the stifling of the once great Islamic scientific movement and, more generally, of the freedom of thought and expression.
This book examines some of the most important issues facing the Muslim world since the late nineteenth century. These include the challenges to the binding claims of a long-established scholarly consensus, evolving conceptions of the common good, and discourses on religious education, the legal rights of women, social and economic justice, and violence and terrorism. The debates, marked by extensive engagement with Islam's foundational texts and legal tradition, afford vital insights into the ongoing contestations on religious authority and on evolving conceptions of Islam in the Muslim public sphere. A new crop of intellectuals revived the reformist debate in the twentieth century.
They picked up the strands from the epic works of intellectual colossuses and polymaths   such as Al-Farabi (872-951 AD), Al-Ghazali (1058-1111 AD), Ibn Rushd (1126-1198 AD), Ibn Arabi (1165-1240 AD), Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406 AD) .Much of the work of eclectic scholars had already been jettisoned by self seeking despots who portrayed themselves as sentinels of everything that constituted Islam. The spectrum of exegetical guesswork had already been exhausted. The new intellectuals, riding on the cusp of a new wave of enlightenment, immediately captured the Muslim minds. Most of them tried to resurrect the hallowed scholarly tradition of the great reformist thinkers of the Golden Age. By the same token the local would diffuse across the global.
 Among those who laid the foundations for the reformist ideology and hermeneutical approach to Qur’an  were Jamal al-Din al Afghani,(d.1897)Muhammad Abduh (1849 –1905) )Shah Wali Allah(1703–1762)Hassan al Banna (1906–1949)Sayyid Qutb (1906–(1966)Rashid Rida (1865–1935 )Mohammed al Ghazali (1917–1996) Muhammad Iqbal1877–1938)Abul A'la Maududi (1903–1979) Mohammed Arkoun (1928–2010)  Ali Shari'ati (d.1977)Yusuf al-Qaradawi, (1926-  ) Ubaid Allah Sindhi (1872-1944)  .
The iconoclastic strain they inaugurated has been a powerful engine in Islamic discourse, expressing strong criticism either of the stagnation of scholarly institutions and religious practices postdating the early Muslim generations or of those institutions and practices themselves. It has characterized the revival and reform movements of the eighteenth century and has crystallized in the modern reformist movement. Since it desacralised   the Ulema, it was stridently derided by the traditionalists who still endorsed servile conformity to the Ulema.
With great insight and erudition, Zaman opens a new window on the ways in which the heirs of the pre-modern Muslim scholarly tradition think, rethink, and argue about contentious issues in the modern world, some of them wielding a soft power that few of their counterparts in the western academy can emulate. Zaman addresses a plethora of interesting topics with admirable subtlety and meticulous detail.
 They range from debates about knowledge formation and tradition within the madrasas of South Asia and their counterparts in the Middle East; women in law and society; a very rich chapter on socioeconomic justice where the views of a select number of Deobandi Ulema are ventilated in engaging ways; and, finally, a review of the justification of religiously sanctioned violence in claims made by advocates of jihad and suicide bombings as well as the views of those who refute such practices. It would be impossible to summarize any of these debates since they involve multiple and complex angles and the reader ought to relish those arguments first hand. In fact, the strength of this book lies precisely in its rich and textured detail, where Zaman surveys as well as analyzes valuable aspects of Islamic law and theological practices that were not previously available in English
This book is bound to influence the current discourse on the relevance of reform and the importance of Ijtihad .The author examines the entire spectrum of Islamic thought onTaqlid (imitation) and Maslaha (common good).The verse Q4:59 which refers to “those in authority” comes in for a derailed treatment with special emphasis on Rashid Rida’s and Iqbal’s formulations on what constitute “authority”.
A unique feature of this book is that Zaman builds a superstructure on the strength  of the mainline scholarship and then goes on to elucidate how the second tier scholarship enriched it.  Of particular relevance is the contribution of Indian scholars. What Zaman has successfully accomplished is to present multiple themes and contentious debates with a critical resonance by highlighting the tensions in the arguments of the various contenders. In his view, the inherent paradoxes, ambiguities, silences, and difficulties in making sense of the discourses of the Ulema also amount to the strength of their tradition. Paradoxes and contradictions, in his view, invite rival discourses and these, in turn, shape the public discourse. Seeking coherence in Ulema discourse, one understands the author to be saying, might be an overrated virtue. What this reviewer seemed to have grasped, among many other things from Zaman’s learned study is that the Ulema, as both collectivities and individuals, occupy discrete life worlds.
It is time to clearly understand the pristine message of the Qur’an rather than reading it with the eye of its medieval era jurists, scholars and ideologues. There is an urgent need to understand the core message of Islam that remains buried under layers of medieval interpretation.
The  world is now too complex, too interconnected, too globalised to be divided into ‘black’ and ‘white’: ’the abode of Islam’ and ‘the abode of unbelief’. The overall message is: break the monolith wherever it comes from. The   fundamentalists must realize that their blind literalism could lead them to follow the letter of the law, but betray the intents of foundational texts. The future of freedom in the Islamic civilization lies the unique insights that modern discourses have provided -- that the Shari’ah was made for man, and not man for the Shari’ah. Luckily, the sources that will help nurture that insight are more abundant in Islamic theology and jurisprudence than what is often thought. 
Alfaz-O-Maani Mein Tafawat Nahin Lekin
Mullah Ki Azan Aur, Mujahid Ki Azan Aur
Parwaz Hai Dono Ki Issi Aik Faza Mein
Kargas Ka Jahan Aur Hai, Shaheen Ka Jahan Aur
(There is not a speck of difference in words and meanings
Bu the clarion call of a muezzin and Mujahid are poles apart
The vulture and falcon soar in the same skies
But the world of falcon is far far different from that of vulture)
 Moin Qazi is a well known banker, author and Islamic researcher. He holds doctorates in Economics and English. He is author of several books on Islam including bestselling biographies of Prophet Muhammad and Caliph Umar. He writes regularly for several international publications including Daily Sabah (Turkey) Moroccan Times, Chicago Monitor, Sudan Vision and Times of Malta. He was also a Visiting Fellow at the University of Manchester. He is based in Nagpur.

What a Pity That an Event Meant To Foster Spirit of Unity and Brotherhood among Muslims Has Descended Into an Embarrassing Spectacle Feeding On the Deep Divisions within the Islamic World

By Hasan Suroor
An event meant to foster a spirit of unity and brotherhood among Muslims has descended into an embarrassing spectacle, feeding on the divisions within the Islamic world
“Is nothing sacred anymore?” was the title of a 1980s famous rock album lamenting a love gone sour. But, today, many are asking the same question as last week’s Hajj stampede, in which more than 1,000 pilgrims died while performing one of the most sacred Islamic rituals, is being dragged into a bitter political row between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with both accusing each other of “politicising” a grave tragedy.
The increasingly shrill war of words, with bizarre conspiracy theories floating around on both sides, is not just embarrassing but an insult to the memory of the dead and their grieving relatives, including those of the 45 Indian victims.
Iran, which lost 155 of its citizens, has blamed the incident on Saudi “mismanagement and negligence”, with an angry Ayatollah Ali Khamenei personally leading calls for an apology. He wants Muslim countries to hold Riyadh accountable for the deaths.
“Instead of blaming this and that, the Saudis should accept the responsibility and apologise to the Muslims and the victims’ families,” he said in a statement posted on his official website.
“The Islamic world has a lot of questions. The death of more than 1,000 people is not a small issue. Muslim countries should focus on this,” he said, warning that “this issue will not be forgotten and the nations will pursue it seriously.”
Saudis have retaliated by accusing Iranian pilgrims of “misbehaviour”, and the government in Tehran of “arrogance”. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir charged that Iran was exploiting the tragedy, and “playing politics”.
“This is not a situation with which to play politics. I would hope that the Iranian leaders would be more sensible and more thoughtful with regards to those who perished in this tragedy and wait until we see the results of the investigation,” he said.
Conspiracy theories
The media in the two countries have loyally thrown their weight behind their respective governments. A cartoon in Iran’s Tasnim news agency showed King Salman of Saudi Arabia as a camel trampling pilgrims. Reports in the Saudi daily Asharq al-Awsat meanwhile have accused Iranian pilgrims of triggering the stampede, claiming that a group of 300 Iranians set off to perform a ritual ahead of their assigned schedule, leading to a collision with other pilgrims.
In a conspiratorial mood reminiscent of post-9/11 attacks (“Americans did it themselves”) Sunni and Shia grapevines are buzzing with dark hints, suggesting that the incident was staged by the “other” side to defame its rivals. Saudi officials have reportedly claimed that Iranian pilgrims raised “Shia slogans” to incite sectarian hatred. They have also alleged an “Iranian conspiracy” to vilify the kingdom.
A friend, speaking from Toronto, told me that he heard an Imam of a local Sunni mosque, saying in an address after Eid prayers, that Tehran did it to malign Saudi Arabia with which it is locked in a battle for supremacy in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The row looks set to get uglier as Iranians demand a “de-Saudisation” of the holy sites and the Hajj.
“There is a strong case for a more representative mechanism to manage the Hajj to give a sense of participation to Muslims around the world.”
It is distressing to see a human tragedy of such proportions, which should have united the global umma (community of the faithful), being mined for scoring political points by rival Shia and Sunni powers in their quest for regional dominance. This includes controlling — Mecca and Medina, and conducting the Hajj. There are no limits, it would appear, to the toxic sectarian divide which is already tearing the Muslim world apart, and has turned the region into a vast killing field.
Iran has historically resented the House of Saud’s unilateral “annexation” of the holy sites by designating itself as “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques”, and treating them as its personal fiefdom. And the Hajj has frequently been a source of tension. The divide has deepened since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, with Tehran stepping up its campaign for greater influence in the region. In 1987, some 300 Iranians pilgrims were among the more than 400 people killed in a stampede, triggered by clashes between Iranians and Saudi security personnel.
Iran is actively campaigning for an international Islamic body to oversee the management of the holy sites in Mecca and Medina during the Hajj. It has said it would pursue the issue in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Notwithstanding Iran’s motives, there is a strong case for a more representative mechanism to give a sense of participation to Muslims from around the world, irrespective of the sect to which they belong. Islam takes pride in being just more than a religion; but a global brotherhood bound by a unique sense of belonging to a common faith.
Ending the monopoly
What can then be more appropriate than making sure that the management of Islam’s most important event is not monopolised by any one sect even if it has numbers on its side? Lest questions are raised about my own sectional affinity, I must declare at this point that I’m a Sunni, but I don’t subscribe to the idea of Sunnis appointing themselves as custodians of Islam because they are in majority.
There is, however, another important issue: the Saudis, for all the money spent on organising the biggest show on earth, have not been great managers. Ask anyone who has been on a Hajj — Sunni or Shia — and they will have stories about poor crowd management, inadequate facilities, and police “high-handedness”. The Saudi government says it has spent more than $100 billion to improve facilities but its logistics management on the ground remains inadequate — and frequently fails to rise to the challenge of dealing with the rising number of pilgrims, which this year exceeded two million.
Also, as Rashmee Lall, a commentator, pointed out on her blog, the “relatively confined pilgrimage sites are pretty much the same as they always were’’ while the number of pilgrims has grown phenomenally. The valley at Mina, where the stoning of the devil takes place, she wrote, was “just 1.9 miles by 1.9 miles’’ making it a potential trap in the event of a stampede. Saudis have blamed “undisciplined” pilgrims, with one senior official pointing the finger at people of “African nationalities”, prompting accusations of racism.
What a pity that an event meant to foster spirit of unity and brotherhood among Muslims has descended into an embarrassing spectacle feeding on the deep divisions within the Islamic world, and further exacerbating the existential crisis facing Islam. And, all thanks, to its own self-styled gatekeepers.
Hasan Suroor is a London-based commentator and writer.

Once Temples, Now Madrasas: Dars Among Deities

 By Haroon Khalid
 29 September 2015
We stood at the entrance of the temple, not sure if we would be allowed to go inside. It was a double-storey structure with a small round balcony. I stood before a wooden door with intricate patterns, and fading remnants of frescoes on the wall next to it. I could only imagine how beautiful this structure must be from the inside.
The only problem was that this temple was not vacant. It wasn’t even taken over by an individual family, as has happened in so many cases. In that situation, I could have requested them to allow me to see the temple from the inside. But this was now controlled by the women's wing of an Islamic religious organisation called Minhaj-ul-Quran, founded by the famous preacher turned politician Tahir-ul-Qadri.
I rang the bell not sure what would be the response of the people inside. A young boy emerged at the entrance and after listening to our request disappeared into the house. He returned after a little while, saying that they would not allow the men to enter the temple but the ladies with us could come in.
We implored, but the response was final. There was a dars, a lesson of the Quran, under way, in the courtyard, attended only by women. My friend Rida with her camera, and my wife Anam, disappeared into the temple, now an Islamic school.
We were at the historical city of Malka Hans, about 200 kilometres from Lahore, to visit the historical mosque of Waris Shah in the city. Waris Shah is a celebrated Punjabi poet known for re-composing the folk tale of Heer-Ranjha. With his rendition, he managed to leave such a stamp on it that all former versions are forgotten and the story is now known as Heer-Waris. Waris Shah is believed to have written this story in the basement of the mosque at Malka Hans where he used to work as an Imaam.
The temple was across the street from the mosque. In Waris Shah's time in the 18th century, it was not unusual to find a mosque and a temple sharing a wall. Today, of course, that is an anomaly.
There are several stories about this relationship between the mosque and the Hindu temple, about Waris Shah and his Hindu beloved who, it is believed, used to come to this temple regularly. The temple belonged to the sect of devotees of Chajju Bhagat, a 17th century Hindu saint from Lahore.
There were old houses located in this street, which must have once belonged to Hindu families living here. I wondered in what condition they must have left their homes in 1947, temporarily locking their doors, perhaps burying their precious belongings, hoping to return one day.
They never returned, but perhaps they told their loved ones about the homes they left behind and this temple. Perhaps their survivors have fragments of memories of stories they heard about this temple?
Rida and Anam returned after a little while, ecstatic. “It was a surreal feeling,” said Rida. “There were wooden figures all around the temple, perhaps angels, and sitting under them were these women clad in burqa, reciting the Quran. There were pictures of Hindu deities on the wall while these women talked about the unity of God. No harm had been done to any of these idols or figures on the wall.”
These women saw no contradiction in studying Islam in a Hindu temple.
About 200 kilometres from Malka Hans, in the ancient city of Multan believed to have been once ruled by Hiranyakashipu, the tyrant father of Bhakta Prahlada (Bhagat Prahalada, in Punjabi), we saw a similar anomaly. Deep within the walled city, we located a Jain Temple. Even before we entered the main room of the temple we could hear a humming sound of children reciting the Quran, memorising it.
Inside the hall there were rows of mats with small tables in front of them where children had placed their copies of the Quran, rhythmically moving back and forth as they recited their lesson.
The sound of the children came to an abrupt end as we entered the room and all eyes fell on us. “Assalamualaikum,” I said. “Walaikum assalam,” replied everyone in unison. “Can we see and photograph your temple?” I asked. This time, only the teacher replied: “It is all yours.” The students went back to memorising the Quran.
The ceiling of the temple was made with wood, decorated with small pieces of glass. There were beautiful geometrical frescoes on the wall. On one side of the room was a gilded door that led inside the main sanctuary. Near the door were pictures of the 24 tirthankaras, who are supposed to grace each half of the cosmic time cycle in Jain cosmology.
I was too lost in beauty of the temple to notice that the sound of the recitation had stopped. All the children and their teacher had presumably finished their lessons and left the premises.
Later as my friend Iqbal Qaiser and I stood facing the turret of the temple at a shop, drinking a cool bottle of Pepsi, we were told by the shopkeeper that this temple like other temples around Pakistan was also attacked by fanatics in 1992, in reaction to the demolition of the Babri masjid in India.
However, the administration of the temple was able to dissuade the mob from causing much destruction to the temple.
“It is not a temple anymore. It is a madrassah,” they had argued.
Just a little outside the city, located on the top of a mound facing the walled city, once stood the temple of Bhagat Prahlad, the patron Hindu saint of the city of Multan.
The wall of his temple touched the wall of the Muslim saint Shah Rukn-e-Alam’s shrine, the new patron saint of Multan, after the creation of Pakistan. This temple too was being used as a madrassah. After the riots, the madrassah was permanently shut while the temple suffered heavy losses.
Same is the story of the Sitla Mandir in Lahore. In the same building, now, a madrassah is being run.
This article was originally published at and has been reproduced with permission.
Haroon Khalid has an academic background in Anthropology from LUMS. He has been traveling extensively around Pakistan, documenting historical and cultural heritage. He is also an author of A White Trail: a journey into the heart of Pakistan’s religious minorities and an upcoming book In Search of Shiva: a study of folk religious practices in Pakistan.

Heed Pope Francis' Exhortation مشورة البابا فرانسيس لتفسير مناسب لآيات القرآن الاستعارية والسياقية: يقوله سلطان شاهين للمجتمع الإسلامي العالمي في مجلس حقوق الإنسان


بيان شفوي في مجلس حقوق الإنسان للأمم المتحدة، جينيف، الدورة ال30 (من 14 سبتمبر حتى 2 أكتوبر عام 2015)
سلطان شاهين، رئيس التحرير لنيو إيج إسلام
30 سبتمبر عام 2015
الحوار العام على البند الثامن من جدول الأعمال: " متابعة وتنفيذ إعلان فيينا وبرنامج العمل
(ترجمه من الإنجليزية)
قد ساهم صاحب السعادة البابا فرانسيس مساهمة بارزة في بحثنا عن السلام والمعركة ضد الإرهابيين الإسلامويين. وأود الوصول إلى المجتمع المسلم في جميع أنحاء العالم مع الرسالة أن موعظة البابا يجب أن تمارس على محمل الجد وتعمل على أساسها، لأنها ليست مجرد نصيحة حكيمة ولكن أيضا بما يتفق مع النصائح المتكررة من القرآن الكريم نفسه.
قد وصف البابا فرانسيس أن القرآن الكريم بأنه "كتاب السلام النبوي"، وطلب من المسلمين الحصول على "تفسير مناسب".
كما يطلب القرآن من المسلمين مرارا وتكرارا أن يفكروا في آياته وإيجاد أفضل معناها، كما هو الحال في آيات القرآن الكريم: 39:55، 39:18 ، 39:55 ، 38:29 ، 2:121 ، 47:24، وغيرها من الآيات الأخرى.
ووفقا لما جاء في القرآن الكريم فإن البابا فرانسيس يقول إنه لا ينبغي للمسلمين أن يتبع الآيات حرفيا ولكن يجب عليهم أن يسعوا إلى تفسير القرآن الكريم في أفضل أو أنسب وسيلة ممكنة.
بسبب ترجمة حرفية لآيات القرآن التي لها سياق خاص والتي نزلت إلى النبي عليه الصلوة والسلام أثناء الحروب التي شنها كفار مكة وبسبب الاعتقاد السائد في الوحي الإلهي من الأحاديث أو أحاديث النبي (صلى الله عليه وسلم) التي جمعت بعد عقود وقرون من وفاة النبي (صلى الله عليه وسلم)، نحن نواجه الأزمة الحالية من الإرهاب وكراهية الأجانب والتعصب، الفاشية وكراهية النساء.
ليس الأمر هو أن المسلمين لم ينعكسوا على هذه الآيات من القرآن الكريم والأحاديث ولكن حتى قراءات علماء الدين الكبار مثل الإمام الغزالي، ابن تيمية، عبد الوهاب، شاه ولي الله الدهلوي والشيخ السرهندي وغيرهم من العلماء قد قادونا إلى أزقة عمياء من التفوق والجهاد. ومن الواضح أن التفسير غير كاف لتلبية احتياجات الوقت الحاضر.
ما هي الا مع إيجاد أفضل معنى وتفسير كاف أننا سوف نكون قادرين على تطوير لاهوت جديد ومتماسك للسلام والتعددية، وقبول التنوع والمساواة بين الجنسين والحرية الدينية وحقوق الإنسان للجميع، بما يتفق مع تعاليم الإسلام ، ومناسبة للمجتمعات المعاصرة والمستقبلية.
سعادة الرئيس،
لقد حانت موعظة البابا فرانسيس في وقت حرج. بعد أربعة عشر عاما من هجمة الحادي عشر من شهر سبتمبر فإن العالم الإسلامي لا يزال يخبط في محاولته لوقف تيار التطرف داخل صفوفه. ولكن المشكلة تتعمق والتطرف ينمو فعلا في جميع أنحاء العالم. والبنات والأولاد الصغار يهربون من منازلهم للانضمام إلى ما يسمى الجهاد التي تقوم بها ISIS لتوسيع أراضيها في العراق وسوريا، مع الهدف المعلن لانتاج عقيدتهم الخاصة كي تسود في العالم. انضم ثلاثين ألف مجند إلى تنظيم داعش في العام الماضي من 100 دولة.
أكد رئيس جامعة الأزهر في وقت مبكر من هذا العام في مؤتمر مكافحة الإرهاب في مكة المكرمة أنه يجب إعادة النظر في المناهج الدراسية من المدارس لوقف المد من التطرف المتزايد. قال فضيلة الإمام الأكبر الشيخ أحمد الطيب أن سوء قراءة تاريخية من القرآن الكريم قد أدت إلى تفسيرات متعصبة للإسلام. ودعا إلى إصلاح جذري للتعليم الديني على القضاء على انتشار التطرف الإسلاموي.
في خطاب متلفز في يناير 2015 في مركز مؤتمرات الأزهر في القاهرة، دعا الرئيس سيسي من مصر إلى "ثورة دينية" في الإسلام. وأضاف قائلا للباحثين الإسلاميين أن فكرة التطرف أصبحت "مصدرا للقلق والخطر، والقتل والتدمير لبقية العالم". ويجب تغييرها – ويجب على العلماء القيام بدور قيادي في المدارس والمساجد وعلى موجات الأثير. وقال: "أنتم الأئمة، مسؤولون أمام الله والعالم كله ينتظر. العالم كله ينتظر لكلمتك القادمة لأن هذه الأمة يتم تمزيقها على حدة"
وبالمثل بدأ المغرب برنامجا لتدريب الأئمة على تعاليم الإسلام المتسامحة والمنفتحة، استنادا إلى المذهب المالكي ومذهب الأشاعرة. الدول الأفريقية النيجيرية وأخرى أيضا ترسل أئمتهم إلى المغرب ليتم تدريبهم هناك لتعزيز الوسطية في الإسلام.
والدول إسلامية الأخرى مثل الأردن وإندونيسيا وماليزيا أيضا تحاول بكل ما في وسعها لوقف التطرف المتزايد.
لا يزال يتم إصدار الفتاوى من جميع أنحاء العالم بما في ذلك الهند مؤكدا أن الإسلام هو دين السلام وليس له أي علاقة مع الإرهاب. وحاليا ما لا يقل عن 120 عالم من علماء الدين الإسلامي من جميع أنحاء العالم أرسلوا رسالة مفتوحة إلى ما يسمى الخليفة "أبو بكر البغدادي". وهذه الرسالة كانت في أكثر من 14000 كلمة. هذه الفتوى تدين البغدادي وأعماله الوحشية. وهي تبين بالتفصيل ما هو الخطأ الذي وقع في أعمال وأحكام "الخليفة" البغدادي.
ولكن، الأهم من ذلك، فإن هذه الرسالة المفتوحة تظهر أيضا ما هو الخطأ مع المسلمين المعتدلين في الظرف الحالي. لماذا لا تعمل النصائح المعتدلة وولماذا يهرب أطفالنا إلى داعش ومراكز إرهابية أخرى. في الواقع، هذه الفتوى المعتدلة تأخذ الريح من أشرعة الإسلام المعتدل. إنها تتحدث عن الأشياء التي يمكن أن يستولى عليها المدافعون من الأيديولوجيات العنيفة فيستخدموها لزيادة تبرير لاهوتها. على سبيل المثال:
"وسبب هذا هو أن جميع ما جاء في القرآن حق وكل ما جاء في الحديث الصحيح وحي..."
هذا ما اتفق عليه علماء الاعتدال أن المنظرين الإرهابيين يتم تبريرهم في استخدام الآيات السياقية والآراء المتطرفة في الحديث المنسوب إلى النبي (صلى الله عليه وسلم) كأدوات تجارتهم الإرهابية. بعد كل شيء، فإنه بالضبط حجتهم. لا فرق بين القرآن والحديث، كل منهما وحي من الله تعالى. آية القرآن الكريم جيدة مثل الأخرى. وحديث النبي عليه السلام جيد مثل الحديث الآخر. كل منهما غير قابل للتغيير فعالمي وتوجيه أبدي لجميع الوقت في المستقبل.
سعادة الرئيس،
وأرجو التكرم لمناقشة رسالة مفتوحة من العلماء المعتدلين في بعض التفاصيل ويجب أن نفكر أنه لماذا جهودنا في القضاء على التطرف قد فشلت والعكس من ذالك قد غذت التطرف فقط.
في الفصل الثالث عشر من الرسالة المفتوحة - الإكراه - الفتوى المعتدلة تقول: "من المعلوم أن آية "لا إكراه في الدين" نزلت بعد فتح مكة ، فلا يستطيع أحد أن يقول بأنها منسوخة". ثم تدين الفتوى البغدادي لاستخدام الإكراه. ولكن الشيء المهم هو أنه حتى الفتوى المعتدلة قد وافقت على الفكرة الأساسية للبغدادي وغيره من الإرهابيين أن الآيات المكية السلمية التي نزلت قبل فتح مكة، والتي تشكل العمود الفقري للإسلام السلمي، قد ألغيت أو، على الأقل، قد تكون منسوخة، ومن الآيات المتعلقة بالحرب التي ينبغي أن تسود الآن.
في النقطة السادسة عشر حول الحدود، قد جعلت الفتوى المعتدلة قاعدة عامة:
"الحدود واجبة في الشريعة الإسلامية لا محالة. لكن الحدود لا تطبق إلا بعد البيان، والإنذار والتحذير واستيفاء شروط الوجوب ، فلا تطبق في ظروف القسوة. فعلى سبيل المثال كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قد درأ الحدود في بعض الحالات. وعمر بن الخطاب رفع الحدود في عام المجاعة كما هو مشهور". وبعد قبول الفرضية الأساسية لقبيلة البغدادي تدين عملية تنفيذها في ما يسمى الدولة الإسلامية. وتقول: " وفي كل المذاهب الشرعية للحدود إجراءات واضحة ينبغي أن تنفذ بالرحمة وشروطها تجعل تطبيقها صعبا. والحدود تدرأ بالشبهات ، أي إذا وجد أي شك فلا يطبق الحد. ولا حدود لمن له حاجة أو فاقة أو كان فقيرا معدما" وهلم جرا. ولكن عندما قبل العلماء المعتدلون الفرضية الأساسية للحدود (العقوبة) على أساس القرن السابع من الأعراف القبلية العربية البدوية كونها "واجبة في الشريعة الإسلامية لا محالة" فما الفرق يبقى في الواقع بين الاعتدال والتطرف.
وفي النقطة العشرين يبدو أن العلماء المعتدلين يبررون هدم الأصنام والأوثان. إقرأ العبارة التالية من الرسالة المفتوحة:
"أما بالنسبة لقول أبي عمر البغدادي : "نرى وجوب هدم وإزالة كل مظاهر الشرك وتحريم وسائله لما روى مسلم في صحيحه عن أبي الهياج الأسدي قال: قال لي علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه (ألا أنبئك على ما بعثني عليه صلى الله عليه وسلم: ألا تدع تمثالا إلا طمسته ولا قبرا مشرفا إلا سويته))" ، فنقول : إن كان كلامكم صحيحا فهو لا يعني قبور الأنبياء والصحابة بدليل أن الصحابة أجمعوا على دفن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في بنيان ملاصق للمسجد، وكذالك صاحبيه أبي بكر وعمر رضي الله تعالى عنهما."
والانطباع هو واضح أن العلماء المعتدلين لا يعارضون إلا تدمير "قبور الأنبياء أو الصحابة الكرام" ولا يعارضون الالتزام المفترض لتدمير وإزالة جميع مظاهر الشرك. وهذا ليس وسيلة جيدة للحفاظ على العلاقات بين الأديان في العالم المعاصر حيث تحترم جميع الدول المتحضرة الحقوق لبعضها البعض في ممارسة شعائرها الدينية بالطريقة التي يحبونها ويعبدون الأوثان في أجزاء كثيرة من العالم. وبعد كل شيء، ينبغي أن يستند الاعتدال في الإسلام على قبول التنوع الديني كما نتعلم من القرآن الكريم. عندما سمح النبي (عليه السلام) وأصحابه للدفاع عن أنفسهم لأول مرة بعد 13 عاما من ظهور الإسلام، قيل لهم في القرآن للدفاع ليس فقط عن حريتهم الدينية الخاصة ولكن الحرية الدينية في حد ذاتها، والحرية الدينية لجميع الطوائف الدينية. أراد الله تعالى مواصلة عبادته ليس فقط في المساجد، ولكن أيضا في الكنائس والمعابد والأديرة والصوامع، وفي كل مكان. وقوله تعالى في القرآن الكريم:
(الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَنْ يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ۗ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ لَهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا ۗ وَلَيَنْصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَنْصُرُهُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ ) (القرآن الكريم 22:40)
 في النقطة ال22 من الرسالة المفتوحة بعنوان الخلافة، يتفق العلماء المعتدلون مرة أخرى مع المسألة الأساسية المتمثلة في زمرة البغدادي: "الخلافة أمر واجب على الأمة باتفاق. وقد افتقدت الأمة الخلافة بعد سقوطها عام 1924م". ثم يذهبون إلى انتقاد البغدادي لعدم وجود إجماع من المسلمين ويتهمون بالتحريض على الفتنة وغيرها في لغة قوية إلى حد ما. ولكن المشكلة تبقى حتى الآن. يتفق العلماء المعتدلون مع البغدادي على الفرضية الأساسية لما يسمى الأمر الواجب على الأمة أن تكون لها الخلافة. هذا أمر سخيف في هذا اليوم وهذا العصر. من الواضح أن مجموعة البغدادي والعلماء المعتدلين على قدم المساواة، وعلى ما يبدو أنهم يعيشون في السابع عشر للميلاد.
هل الفرق بين الاعتدال والتطرف إلى هذه الدرجة فقط في الإسلام؟ درجة التفوق ودرجة الكراهية والتعصب، ودرجة كراهية الأجانب، ودرجة القسوة في فرض العقوبات الواقعة في العصور الوسطى، الخ
ومن الواضح أن المشكلة هنا هي أن العلماء المعتدلين يؤكدون اعتقادهم في نفس اللاهوت مثل الجماعات الإرهابية مثل داعش و تنظيم القاعدة، وحركة طالبان، وبوكو حرام أو لشكر طيبة وما إلى ذالك.
والسؤال الآن هو ما هي المكونات الأساسية للاهوت الحالي و ما هي اللاهوت المقبول عالميا للإسلام كما هو مبين من أعظم علماء الدين من بداية الإسلام وحتى اليوم.
سعادة الرئيس،
وأود أن أطلب العالم الإسلامي أن ينظر إلى الأحكام التالية من بعض علماء الدين العظيم ويقرروا بأنفسهم ما إذا كانت لهذه كلها أي مكان في العالم في الوقت الحاضر، و هل علينا أن نستمر في تعليمهم وتدريسهم في المدارس والدراسات الإسلامية.
"(الجهاد) هو واجب على الكفاية في كل سنة مرة وااحدة في أهم الجهات"..........."يجوز نصب المنجنيق على قلاعهم ، وإن كانوا فيهم نسوة وصبيان، وكذا إضرام النار وإرسال الماء ، ولو تترسوا بالنساء"........."والغنيمة كل ما أخذته الفئة المجاهدة على سبيل الغلبية دون ما يختلس و يسرق ، فإنه خاص ملك المختلس ودون ما ينجلي عنه الكفار بغير قتال ، فإنه فيء ودون اللقطة ، فإنها لآخذها"....."ويجب إهلاك كتبهم التي لا يحل الانتفاع بها"...."وهو كل كتابي عاقل بالغ حر ذكر متأهب للقتال قادر على أداء الجزية ، أما الصبي والعبد والمرأة والمجنون فهم أتباع ولا جزية عليهم"...."(الثالث : الإهانة) وهي أن يطأطئ الذمي رأسه عند التسليم ، فيأخذ المستوفي بلحيته ويضرب في لهازمه ، وهو واجب على أحد الوجهين حتى لو وكل مسلما بالأداء ، لم يجز ولو ضمن المسلم الجزية لم يصح لكن يجوز إسقاط هذه الإهانة مع أسم الجزية عند المصلحة بتضعيف الصدقة ويجوز ذالك مع العرب والعجم".....(كتاب الوجيز في فقه الإمام الشافعي : كتاب السير ، وفيه ثلاثة أبواب (الباب الأول في وجوب الجهاد) ، وكتاب عقد الجزية والمهادنة وفيه بابان ، الباب الأول : في الجزية )
الإمام ابن تيمية (1263 - 1328) الذي يعتبر فقيه حنبليا وباحثا كبيرا بين المسلمين الوهابيين الذي قد تطور تأثيره بشكل كبير مع انتشار عقيدته من قبل النظام الملكي السعودي يقول:
"بما أن الحرب المشروعة هي الجهاد وهدفه هو أن الدين كله لله وكلمة الله هي العليا، وبالتالي، وفقا لجميع المسلمين، فإن أولئك الذين يقفون في طريق هذا الهدف يجب أن يحاربوا ... أما بالنسبة لأهل الكتاب والزرادشتيين، فيجب القتال معهم حتى يصبحوا المسلمين أو يدفعوا الجزية من جهة. وفيما يتعلق بالآخرين، فإن الفقهاء يختلفون فيما يتعلق بمشروعية أخذ الجزية منهم. معظمهم يعتبرونه غير قانوني ... "(ترجم من المقتطف الإنجليزي من كتاب الجهاد في الإسلام الكلاسيكي والحديث لرودولف بيترز (برينستون، إين جي: ماركوس فينر، عام 1996)، ص 44-54)
الشيخ أحمد السرهندي (1564-1624) - الداعي الإسلامي الهندي الفقيه الحنفي، المعروف بمجدد ألف ثاني يكتب:
1. "... تضحية البقرة في الهند هي أنبل ممارسة من الممارسات الإسلامية."
2. " هناك معارضة بين الكفر والإسلام. تقدم أحدهما غير ممكن إلا بعد القضاء على الآخر، و التعايش بينهما غير وارد.
3. "شرف الإسلام يكمن في إهانة الكفر والكفار. واحد، وكل من يكرم الكفار ويهين المسلمين".
4. "إن الغرض الحقيقي في فرض الجزية عليهم هو إذلالهم إلى حد أنه، بسبب الخوف من الجزية، فإنهم قد لا يقدروا على اللباس بشكل جيد والعيش في العظمة. وينبغي أن يظلوا باستمرار في حالة الرعب والخوف.
5. "أيان يقتل يهودي، فإنه يفيد الإسلام".
 (ترجمه من المقتطف الإنجليزي من كتاب Muslim Revivalist Movements In Northern Indian in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries" لأطهر عباس رضوي (آغرا، لكناؤ: جامعة آغرا، شركة كتاب بالكريشنا، 1965)، الصفحة من 247 إلى 250 ، وكتاب يوحنان فريدمان: Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi: An outline of His Thought and a Study Of His Image in the Eyes of Posterity" (مونتريال، كيبيك: جامعة ماكغيل، معهد الدراسات الإسلامية، عام 1971)، ص: 73-74).
والشاه ولي الله المحدث الدهلوي الفقيه الكبير من الهند الذي له احترام كبير بين الناس يكتب في كتابه (حجة الله البالغة): "ومنها أن يجعل هذا الدين غالبا على الأديان كلها ولا يترك أحدا إلا قد غلبه الدين بعز عزيز أو ذل ذليل فينقلب الناس ثلاث فرق: منقادة للدين ظاهرا وباطنا ومنقادة بظاهره على رغم أنفها لا تستطيع التحول عنه ، وكافرة مهانة يسخرها في الحصاد والدياس وسائر الصناعات كما تسخر البهائم في الحرث وحمل الأثقال ويلزم علهيا سنة زاجرة وتؤتي الجزية عن يد وهي صاغرة" .............."ألا يجعل المسلمين أكفاء للكافرين في القصاص والديات ولا في المناكحات ولا في القيام بالرياسات ليلجئهم ذالك إلى الإيمان إلجاء".....(حجة الله البالغة : باب الحاجة إلى دين ينسخ الأديان ، الصفحة 209)
"وقال الشيخ محمد عبد الوهاب (1703- 1792) حتى ولو كان المسلمون يبتعدون عن الشرك ويكونوا موحدين، لا يمكن إيمانهم كاملا ما لم تكن لهم العداوة والبغضاء في عملهم وكلامهم ضد غير المسلمين" (مجموعة الرسائل والمسائل النجدية 291/4
وقال أبو العلاء المودودي (25 سبتمبر عام 1903 – 22 سبتمبر عام 1979) ""فكل حكومة مؤسسة على فكرة غير هذه الفكرة ومنهاج غير هذا المنهاج، يقاومها الإسلام ويريد أن يقضي عليها قضاء مبرماً، ولا يعنيه في شيء بهذا الصدد أمر البلاد التي قامت فيها تلك الحكومة غير المرضية أو الأمة التي ينتمي إليها القائمون بأمرها. فإن غايته استعلاء فكرته وتعميم منهاجه، وإقامة الحكومات وتوطيد دعائمها على أساس هذه الفكرة وهذا المنهاج، بصرف النظر عمن يحمل لواء الحق والعدل بيده ومن تنتكس بذلك راية عدوانه وفساده................... "
"والإسلام يتطلب الأرض ولا يقتنع بقطعة أو جزء منها، وإنما يتطلب ويستدعي المعمورة الأرضية كلها، ولا يتطلبها لتستولي عليها وتستبد بمنابع ثروتها أمة بعينها، بعدما تنتزع من أمة أو أمم شتى، بل يتطلبها الإسلام ويستدعيها ليتمتع الجنس البشري بأجمعه بفكرة السعادة البشرية ومنهاجها العملي اللذين أكرمه الله بهما، وفضله بهما على سائر الأديان والشرائع............. وتحقيقاً لهذه البغية السامية يريد الإسلام أن يستخدم جميع القوى والوسائل التي يمكن استخدامها لإحداث انقلاب عام شامل، ويبذل الجهد المستطاع للوصول إلى هذه الغاية العظمى، ويسمى هذا الكفاح المستمر واستنفاد القوى البالغ، واستخدام شتى الوسائل المستطاعة " بالجهاد "............. وإذا عرفت هذا فلا يعجبك إذا قلت : أنّ تغيير وجهات أنظار الناس، وتبديل ميولهم ونزعاتهم، وإحداث انقلاب عقلي وفكري بواسطة مرهفات الأقلام نوع من أنواع " الجهاد "، كما أن القضاء على نظم الحياة العتيقة الجائرة بحد السيوف وتأسيس نظام جديد على قواعد العدل والنصفة أيضاً من أصناف الجهاد. وكذلك بذل الأموال وتحمل المشاق ومكابدة الشدائد أيضاً فصول وأبواب مهمة من كتاب " الجهاد " العظيم............" (الجهاد في الإسلام للمودودي)
إنها بالضبط عينة صغيرة ليتم حتى اعتبارها غيض الفيض المحتوي على الأحكام الفقهية، والأحاديث والشريعة، والتفسير من القرآن الكريم، وكتب السيرة وهلم جرا.
سعادة الرئيس،
يظهر التطرف والتفوق الإسلامي في عروق المجتمع المسلم. لا نكاد نفكرعندما نتحدث أو نسمع حديث التفوق. وقد يوجد التطرف والتفوق في التاريخ الإسلامي، تقريبا من البداية. حارب المسلمون فيما بينهم وبشدة جدا حتى قبل جمع الأحاديث وبناء الشريعة التي يعتبرونها الآن إلهية. لم يجد المسلمون أي ترياق للآيات المتعلقة بالحرب والقتال في القرآن التي متوفرة الآن لأي شخص لديه إمكانية الوصول إلى الإنترنت. والاعتقاد أن جميع آيات القرآن الكريم تنطبق على المسلمين لجميع الأوقات دون الإشارة إلى سياقها لن تحل المشكلة. والاعتقاد أن الشريعة والحديث كليهما وحي لن يقدم الاجابة على الأسئلة من اليوم. يجب على المسلمين التخلي عن اللاهوت الذي يؤدي إلى العنف والتفوق والبحث عن لاهوت جديد، لاهوت متماسك للسلام والتعددية، بما يتفق من كافة النواحي مع التعاليم الأصلية للإسلام، ومناسبة للمجتمعات المعاصرة والمستقبلية.
وهذا اللاهوت الجديد يجب أن يقوم على تفسير كاف من القرآن الكريم، كما اقترح البابا لنا، وإيجاد أفضل معنى لآيات القرآن كما ذكر في القرآن نفسه. ويجب التخلي عن القراءة الحرفية للآيات السياقية، وإعطاء الأولوية للآيات التكوينية الأساسية من القرآن الكريم التي يمكن اعتبارها حقا من أهمية الأبدية.
يجب أن نتخلي عن الإحضار الواسع من التفسيرات، والأحكام الفقهية من أعظم اللاهوتيين الذين احترمناهم منذ قرون. والقراءة الحرفية من آيات القرآن مثل "لا إكراه في الدين" أو "لكم دينكم ولي دين" هي حجر الزاوية في كل فلسفة معتدلة اسلامية. هذه هي الآيات التأسيسية للقرآن والأبدية في الأهمية. وهذه كلها صحيحة بالنسبة لنا في جميع الأوقات.
تنشأ مشكلة مع الآيات السياقية والاستعارية عندما يتم اتخاذ معناها حرفيا أو حتى تفسيرها وفقا لفهم المرء. والمشكلة تنشأ عندما تؤخذ ما يسمى الآيات المسلحة حرفيا، وتعتبر صالحة لجميع الأوقات من حيث أحكام الله تعالى لجميع المسلمين إلى الأبد، واتباعها كما هي اليوم. ويجعل قادة داعش التصاميم الخاصة بهم، ولكن لدينا أطفال والشباب والفتيان والفتيات الذين يهربون ويبتعدون عن بيوتنا المجهزة جيدا والمدارس الخاصة بسبب المعنى الحرفي لهذه الآيات التي تسمى المسلحة واعتبارها عالمية في الطبيعة. وتعتبر جميع الآيات القرآنية غير مخلوقة وتدرس في المدارس على أنها قيمة أبدية وكتوجيه للمسلمين في جميع الأوقات القادمة.
يتم تفسير آية مجازية من القرآن للدلالة على أن الملحمة ستقع في غضون سنتين. ويقال إن تنظيم داعش يقاتل الحرب النهائية المعروفة بالملحمة. وهذا هو أيضا أحد الأسباب التي تجعل شبابنا يهربون إلى الانخراط في معارك نهاية الزمان. ولذلك فإننا نفكر أن مجرد المعنى الحرفي لجميع الآيات القرآنية، دون الرجوع إلى سياق الآيات السياقية، أو حتى التفسيرات الشخصية والملتوية من الآيات الاستعارية سيكون كارثة، ويقود في الواقع بالفعل إلى كارثة.
يجب أن نتعامل مع القرآن كعمل خلق الله، الذي يحتوي على آيات تأسيسية، وسياقية واستعارية يجب معالجتها من قبلنا في أوقات مختلفة وسياقات مختلفة بشكل مختلف. وهو ما يعني أننا يجب أن نلاحظ المشورة القرآنية أنه يجب أن نستخدم عقلنا ونفكر في كل وقت قبل قبول أي شيء على نحو أعمى، ويجب أن نحاول العثور على أفضل معنى أو تفسير لائق كما يضع البابا فرانسيس. المعنى الحرفي لكل الآيات القرآنية لا يمكن أن يكون مقبولا.
وأود أن أحث مرة أخرى الدول الإسلامية الممثلة هنا لأخذ المشورة الحكيمة من البابا والنصائح المتكررة من القرآن لإيجاد تفسيرات كافية وأفضل معاني للآيات الأساسية للقرآن وإنشاء لاهوت جديد على هذا الأساس. لدينا الموارد الفكرية للقيام بذلك. ما نحتاجه هو الشجاعة للتخلي عن اللاهوت القديم والرغبة في خلق لاهوت جديد من السلام والتعددية، والتعايش المشترك وقبول التنوع الديني، والعدالة وحقوق الإنسان للجميع.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How Dragging Our Feet On Refugees Creates More Terrorists

By Anne Speckhard
September 29, 2015
THE Syrian refugee crisis, building in a horrifying crescendo over the past four years, has set in motion a debate in this country: Should America open her arms to the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” or fold them in a defensive posture born out of fear that refugees will harbor terrorists among them?
President Obama directed his administration to take in some 10,000 Syrian refugees this year, a tiny number in relation to the total needing help. The administration emphasized that it would not relax the lengthy criminal and terrorist background checks demanded of refugee applicants, a vetting process that can take 24 to 36 months.
Those of us in the security community know this is dangerously long. It is in America’s best interest to speed up the refugee acceptance process for humanitarian reasons and our national security. Not helping refugees resettle as quickly as possible is, in itself, a factor that can increase risk for Americans the world over.
No doubt it is important to weed out radicalized individuals seeking entry into the United States. But while the Islamic State has threatened to embed itself among refugees heading to the West, terrorists don’t need to go through the entry process to operate in our country. The Islamic State is already recruiting vulnerable, born-in-America citizens by connecting with them through social media.
Counterterrorism data is clear: Most of the terrorists on American soil do not come from the ranks of refugees but are individuals who are born here and who become vulnerable to recruitment because of mental illness, social marginalization, issues of discrimination and other factors that have nothing to do with admitting refugees into our country.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of war-torn Syrian refugees are fleeingterrorist groups. But they are at risk. Experience from many conflict zones teaches us that the longer these refugees are left to languish in despair in camps the more prone they become to radicalization. Just as gangs attract youth in inner cities, terrorists are adroit at exploiting the most vulnerable who might turn to them for security, justice and even hope. Young men, in particular, gravitate to perceived models of strength and protection. In my book “Talking to Terrorists,” I wrote about a young Chechen in a refugee camp in the Russian Republic of Ingushetia, who explained that his father had been crippled by the conflicts and the youth wanted to join the “Islamic brothers” (meaning Chechen terrorist groups) because they, unlike his father, “were real men.”
There are cases where resettled refugees have become terrorists, but the examples are very rare, and the radicalization most often happened after they entered the United States. Since 2007, a small number of Somali refugees in Minnesota joined the Shabab in response to events happening in Somalia, which played into their own traumatic memories and failure to integrate well here. It bears noting that those who became terrorists left the United States to fight for Somalia rather than attacking the country that gave them refuge.
No doubt the Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev comes to mind as a counterexample. His parents came to the United States, where they sought asylum, while Tamerlan, at the age of 16, was left behind for almost two years, waiting to join his family. He was not an extremist when he entered our country. He was radicalized primarily through Internet seduction, well after he arrived. And his first impulse, just like that of the Somalis, was to join the fighters overseas.
There are feasible ways to process refugees quickly without taking security shortcuts. In 1999, 20,000 ethnic Albanians, mostly Muslims, were not left to languish in refugee camps but instead evacuated from Kosovo to the United States, given asylum here and efficiently processed at Fort Dix, N.J. But in the case of the Syrians, there is anarchy in the region, and the United States doesn’t have in place the resources required to vet refugees fleeing the conflict.
Short of evacuating the Syrian refugees, as we did for the Albanians from Kosovo, we can commit sufficient staffing and resources in the region to process the refugees faster. Currently, refugees are vetted in multiple layers and separate screenings by the F.B.I., the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, the National Counterterrorism Center and other agencies. When similar delays held up visas for Afghans and Iraqis who had provided support for our forces in those countries and whose lives were in danger, a bipartisan push from Congress motivated the responsible agencies to speed up the process.
Yet in the current crisis, the United States foreign assistance budget to help refugees overseas remains flatlined.
With four million Syrians having fled their country, the United States has accepted only a small number to date, and many have become desperate. Our national security interest requires us to diminish the Islamic State’s recruiting grounds wherever they are. We have failed to enact efficient practices and sufficient resources to allay our fears that within the refugees’ ranks might lurk a soldier of misfortune who wishes to do us harm. Denying safe haven to thousands of suffering Syrians because of that is itself the threat — to our security, to our role as a leader in today’s complex world, and to our compassion as a nation.
Anne Speckhard, an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, is the author of “Talking to Terrorists” and “Bride of ISIS.”

Journalism In Pakistan: Fear And Favour

By Bina Shah
SEPT. 28, 2015
KARACHI — In this summer’s feel-good Indian movie “Bajrangi Bhaijaan,” a Pakistani TV reporter telephones his boss to tell him he has an explosive story about an Indian spy on Pakistani territory who’s not actually a spy, but a man trying to help a lost Pakistani child find her parents. The boss tells him the story isn’t sensational enough, then hangs up, leaving the reporter grumbling that the channel’s executives care only about making money, rather than telling a good story.
To anyone familiar with Pakistan’s broadcast media today, the scene will ring true.
While Pakistan is already known as the most dangerous country in the world for working journalists — one journalist in Pakistan dies every 38 days according to the Sri Lankan media expert Ranga Kalansooriya — Pakistan’s journalists also come under another insidious type of pressure. Corporate interests, political influence, and government attempts to regulate and censor information all put great strain on an institution still emerging from decades of suppression under military dictators. And while recent chaos and conflict have enabled Pakistani print and broadcast media to flourish, the industry now faces a crossroads: It is struggling to maintain journalistic ethics that run contrary to the commercial ethos in which it operates.
Sherry Rehman, a Pakistani senator and prominent journalist, said recently that the newsroom was no longer a “hermetically sealed environment.” Rather, it has become the “domain of a corporate invasion.” That pattern matches a larger trend throughout South Asia, where a nexus among media proprietors, investors and advertisers limits the media’s ability to report without bias.
Ms. Rehman was speaking at the recent introduction of a program in which International Media Support, a Danish-government-supported organization, will provide technical, logistical and institutional training and support for the Pakistani media to address some of these issues over the next two years. Mr. Kalansooriya advises the organization.
Until 2002, Pakistan’s broadcast media was a narrow field; it had one radio station, Radio Pakistan, started in 1947 and one state-owned television channel, Pakistan Television, started in 1964; both were mouthpieces for officially slanted information, alongside privately held print media dominated by three major consortiums: the liberal Jang Group, owned by the media magnate Shakeel ur-Rahman (this group now owns the broadcast and web outlet GEO); the Nawai Waqt Group, which treads a right-wing line, and the English-language Dawn Group, the most moderate of the three (the newspaper Dawn was founded in 1941 in Delhi, India, by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of Pakistan’s independence movement, to promote the moderate ideals of his Muslim League).
In 1962, the military dictator Ayub Khan curbed the press with an ordinance that gave the government powers to arrest journalists, confiscate newspapers and partly nationalize the press. Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq followed in the 1980s by allowing the state to prosecute publishers for printing stories his administration didn’t like.
Nevertheless, Pakistani print media gained strength and credibility in that era by fighting the censorship and by reporting, critically and openly, on Pakistan’s myriad ethnic and political conflicts.
Then, in 2002, Gen. Pervez Musharraf decided to open Pakistan to the global flow of information in order to reverse decades of isolation. He allowed private television channels and FM radio stations to obtain licenses, setting off a media boom. Their reporting during the conflicts that followed 9/11 and spilled over into Pakistan allowed these television channels to flourish, taking viewers away from state media in favor of more independent reporting.
Ironically, General Musharraf himself forced GEO off the air temporarily in 2007 when the channel criticized his suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. But today, out of office, the general once again flirts with the media as he tries to return to politics.
The media have grown to 40 news channels, 143 radio stations, and hundreds of national and regional newspapers. For that they are often called “vibrant.”
Another descriptor is “vulgar.” On prime-time television, news is sensationalized, with ratings the first consideration; alongside hysterical reporting are thrilling or tragic music and crude, insensitive graphics; virtually everything is “breaking news” in no hierarchy of importance. Meanwhile, large corporations like ARY and the Lakson Group have acquired media companies after discovering that controlling media can protect their corporate interests.
Advertisers get huge influence over what’s published or aired. Advertising breaks are frequent, and banners for commercial products run incessantly. Advertising also dominates front pages: one major newspaper group recently gave front-page ads prominence over headlines on all of its papers.
Meanwhile, the government still seeks to control the media; Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority wants an existing law amended to permit “de-linking” of television channels from their satellites if they broadcast “objectionable” or “unwanted” material.
While many in the media retain editorial integrity in the face of these pressures, Pakistani media houses have yet to come up with an industrywide code of conduct or self-regulatory body. Nor have they been able to stay unbiased. Often they blatantly take sides in political conflicts, even while describing themselves as protectors only of the public good.
So, what is the way forward? Ensuring the safety and security of Pakistani journalists is the best starting point; the industry’s foot soldiers need more training, as well as job tenure and pensions. Forming unions is another necessity, as well as creating a framework of regulation that offers protection against state and corporate pressure.
But what Pakistan’s media needs most is a unified sense of its own professional conscience, so that it can continue to thrive as it fulfills its ultimate duty to Pakistanis: to report the news free from bias and influence, while telling a good story that will catch citizens’ attention.
Bina Shah is the author of several books of fiction, including, most recently, “A Season for Martyrs.


What To Do About The Refugees In Calais?

By Anders F Jellberg
Sep 28, 2015
CALAIS, FRANCE — Imagine yourself in a sleepy French city by the Channel. There’s a nice beach where you can get an ice cream and take a selfie with the White Cliffs of Dover on the horizon, and a couple of boardwalk restaurants and cafés where you can go for coffee and a croissant.
Now get in a car and drive east, past the ferry terminal ringed by barbed wire and police officers toward the chemical plant. The first thing you’d notice is another fence, five meters high, of steel and barbed wire. It runs two miles along both sides of the highway in the direction of the ferry to Dover, England. Behind it lies another country known as the Jungle.
Between 3,000 and 5,000 refugees (estimates vary and the fluid population is hard to count), live in this lawless, pestilent slum. What’s worse, thanks to the seeming indifference and indecision of European leaders, this makeshift camp is taking on aspects of permanence, morphing into an impoverished island nation right before the eyes of decision makers on both sides of the Channel.
Though the French government has provided funds to alleviate the situation, stop-gap measures won’t help the people in the Jungle, and the waters of the Channel don’t exempt British leaders from their share of responsibility in the migrant crisis. Calais would have been a natural place for them to take a stronger role.
London’s pledge to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees from camps in Syria’s neighboring countries over the next five years is a step in the right direction, but British leaders opted out of a deal last week in which European Union interior ministers agreed to resettle 120,000 migrants already on the Continent. Though some E.U. countries, such as Hungary, oppose the deal, Britain is currently the only union member that will not help relocate any migrants who have already made it to Europe.
Most of the refugees in the Jungle, who are mainly from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sudan, along with a growing number of Syrians, and people from Ethiopia and Somalia, believe that restarting lives from scratch in Britain would be far easier than in France, largely because of the language and family connections. Many have tried to make their way there, hiding in trucks heading for the ferry or the Eurotunnel, or by breaking into the terminal at night, desperately trying to jump on a train.
There are no certain numbers on how many make it across. Estimates by aid workers and government officials last year suggested that between 20 and 50 people were getting to England every day. The Jungle’s population is constantly shifting, turning over by about 70 percent every four months, according to the French police. There’s no way of knowing where they go when they leave. Nevertheless the camp’s overall population has jumped dramatically from roughly 2,000 in late April.
As a more permanent settlement takes shape, refugees have opened makeshift shops; there are hairdressers, restaurants, a couple of mosques, a church and even a bike repair shop. The French have provided about 30 portable toilets and more water collection points, but living conditions remain execrable. Disease and infection — scabies being among the most common — are widespread.
London has chosen to see the situation primarily as a border security issue. Prime Minister David Cameron has warned of the “swarm of people” wanting to get to Britain; his foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, has stated that Britain needs to protect its borders from “marauding” migrants, warning that Europe’s standard of living cannot be preserved if it has to absorb millions of refugees.
On Aug. 20, the home secretary, Theresa May, signed an agreement in Calais with her French counterpart, Bernard Cazeneuve. The aim is to break the gangs of human traffickers operating in and around Calais, and to make the Eurotunnel terminal an impenetrable fortress of fences, police officers, sniffer dogs and high-tech detection systems.
Regardless of how you look at it — vulnerable refugees with a valid need of protection, or illegal migrants who should be returned to their homelands — the response from British and French authorities has left the people of the Jungle in limbo.
As their lives grow more difficult, attempts to find a way to England are getting more desperate, and more deadly. Last year, the bodies of two young Syrians in wetsuits, Mouaz Al-Balkhi, 22, and Shadi Omar Kataf, 28, washed ashore, one in Norway, the other on the Dutch coast. Both drowned in an apparent attempt to swim the 22 miles across the Channel.
Last year, 17 deaths were reported among refugees leaving Calais for England. This past summer, 11 fatalities were reported in just two months. Most of the dead lost their lives in accidents on the highway or at the Eurotunnel site. In July, an infant named Samir from Eritrea was born prematurely when his mother, a woman in her 20s, fell from a truck. He lived less than an hour, according to Medecines du Monde. On Sept. 18, a Syrian man in his early 30s was found dead, apparently electrocuted, on the roof of a freight train. On Thursday a young East African man was struck and killed by a train.
People in the Jungle do not seem to care that their quest is dangerous. Most of them have already gambled their lives by crossing the Mediterranean in small boats. Their dream of finding safety and a better life is not easily broken.
In late August, I met five-year-old Shewa, from the Kurdish part of Iraq. She was living in the camp with her father under a plastic tarp and a commercial banner stretched between two trees. Her father said he had tried to enter the Eurotunnel and carry her the 31 miles to England. But they were intercepted and sent back.
The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, promised to allocate five million euros, partially financed with E.U. aid, to help turn the Jungle into a “humanitarian camp” that will accommodate roughly 1,500 people in 2016. This is the first substantial effort to improve living conditions since January, when the government opened the Jules Ferry center next to the camp, a place where refugees can get a hot meal and a shower. The center currently shelters about 100 women and children.
But plans to accommodate 1,500 refugees do not count for at least half of the Jungle’s current population, and next year’s improvements are several cold months away. Improving the dire living conditions of as many as 5,000 human beings — a situation in which newborns die and children live under plastic tarps — must be an immediate priority.
Rather than spending millions on new fencing and surveillance, Britain should acknowledge that the quest of many of the refugees in Calais is valid under the United Nations Refugee Convention. This is not to advocate the blind acceptance of all who apply; the Jungle of Calais is without doubt the tragic product of multiple regional and global crises. But to allow people who have fled war and brutal dictatorships to languish without hope is a stain on British and French traditions and Europe’s humanitarian ideals.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Heed Pope Francis' Exhortation to Find 'Adequate Interpretation' Of Holy Quran's Contextual, Allegorical Verses, Sultan Shahin Asks the Global Muslim Community at UNHRC in Geneva

Oral Statement, 30th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva (14 September to 2 October 2015)

By Sultan Shahin, Editor New Age Islam
General Debate on Agenda item 8: Follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
28 September 2015
Mr. President,
In our search for peace and battle against Islamist terrorists, His Holiness Pope Francis has made a signal contribution. I would like to reach out to the worldwide Muslim community represented here with the submission that the Pope’s exhortation be taken seriously and acted upon as it is not only a wise counsel but also in conformity with repeated exhortations of Holy Quran itself.
Pope Francis has described the holy Quran as a “prophetic book of peace,” and asked Muslims to seek “an adequate interpretation.”
The Quran also asks Muslims repeatedly to reflect upon the verses and find its best meaning, as in Chapter 39: verse 55, 39: 18; 39: 55; 38: 29; 2: 121; 47: 24, etc.
So the Quran and Pope Francis are both saying that Muslims should not follow the verses literally but seek to interpret it in the best or most adequate way possible.
It is a literal reading of the contextual verses of the Quran that had come to guide the Prophet during the wars imposed upon him, and common belief in the divine inspiration of Ahadees or sayings of the Prophet collected decades and centuries after the demise of the Prophet, that has led us to the present crisis of terrorism, xenophobia, intolerance, fascistic supremacism and misogyny.
It is not that Muslims have not reflected upon these verses of Quran and ahadees. But even the readings of major theologians like Imam Ghazali, Ibn-e-Taimiya, Abdul Wahhab, Shah Waliullah and Sheikh Sirhindi, etc have led us into the blind alleys of supremacism and Jihad.  Clearly the interpretation is not adequate for the needs of the present times.
It is only with finding the best meaning and adequate interpretation that we Muslims will be able to evolve a new and coherent theology of peace and pluralism, acceptance of diversity, gender equality, religious freedom and human rights for all, consistent with the teachings of Islam, and suitable for contemporary and future societies.
Mr. President,
Pope Francis’ exhortation has come at a critical time. Fourteen years after 9/11, the Muslim world is still floundering in its attempt to stem the tide of extremism within its ranks. But the problem is deepening and radicalisation is actually growing around the world. Young school girls and boys are running away from homes to join the so-called Jihad being carried out by ISIS to expand its territories in Iraq and Syria, with the stated objective of making its version of Islam prevail in the world. Thirty thousand new recruits joined the ISIS in the past year from 100 countries.
The head of Egypt's top Islamic institution Jamia Azhar asserted early this year in a counter-terrorism conference in Mecca that that the curriculum of madrasas will have to be revised to stem the tide of growing radicalism. The Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb said that a historical misreading of the Koran had led to intolerant interpretations of Islam. He called for a radical reform of religious teaching to tackle the spread of Islamic extremism.
In a televised speech in January 2015 at an Al-Azhar conference centre in Cairo, President Sisi of Egypt called for "a religious revolution" in Islam. Radicalised thinking, he told the audience of Islamic scholars, had become "a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world." That had to change – and the scholars had a leading role to play, in schools, mosques and on the airwaves. He said: "You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting. The entire world is waiting for your next word because this nation is being torn apart."
Similarly Morocco has started a programme for training imams of a tolerant and open Islam, based on the Malekite rite and Ashaarite doctrine. Nigerian and other African countries too are sending their imams to Morocco to be trained there to promote moderation in Islam.
Other Muslim countries like Jordan, Indonesia and Malaysia too are doing what they can to stop the growing radicalisation.
Fatwas keep pouring in from around the world including India reiterating that Islam is a religion of peace and has nothing to do with terrorism. Recently as many as 120 ulema from around the world belonging to most schools of thought sent an Open Letter to the self-declared Khalifa ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’. Written in over 14, 000 words, this fatwa condemns Baghdadi and his brutalities. It shows in detail what is wrong with “Khalifa” Baghdadi's rulings.
But, more importantly, this Open Letter also shows what is wrong with moderate Islam at the present juncture; why moderate exhortations are not working and and why our children will keep running away to ISIS and other terror centres. In fact, read between the lines, this moderate fatwa takes the wind out of the sails of moderate Islam. It say things that will quite rightly be seized upon by the apologists of violent Islamist ideologies and used as further justification of their theology. For instance:
"... everything in the Qur’an is the Truth, and everything in authentic Hadith is Divinely inspired."
This is confirmation from moderate Ulema that terrorist ideologues are justified in using contextual, militant, verses of the Quran and extremist opinions in Hadees attributed to the Prophet (saw) as tools of their terrorist trade. After all, this precisely is their argument. No difference between Quran and Hadees; they are both divinely inspired. One verse of the Quran is as good as the other. One Hadees narration supposedly from the Prophet (saw) is as good as the other. All immutable, universal, eternal guidance for all time to come.
Mr. President,
I would seek your indulgence to discuss the moderate ulema’s Open Letter in some detail as it shows as nothing else why our efforts at de-radicalisation have failed and have indeed only fuelled radicalisation.
In the chapter 13 of the Open Letter - Coercion and Compulsion - the moderate fatwa says: "It is known that the verse: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’ was revealed after the Conquest of Mecca, hence, no one can claim that it was abrogated." Then the fatwa goes on to criticise Baghdadi for using coercion. But the important thing is that even the moderate fatwa has accepted the basic premise of Baghdadi and other terrorists that peaceful Meccan verses revealed before the conquest of Mecca, that constitute the backbone of peaceful Islam, have been abrogated or, at least, may have been abrogated, and it is the militant verses relating to war that should now prevail.
In point 16. Hudud (Punishment), the moderate fatwa establishes a general rule: "Hudud punishments are fixed in the Qur’an and Hadith and are unquestionably obligatory in Islamic Law." Having accepted the basic premise of the Baghdadi tribe it goes on to criticise its implementation in the so-called Islamic State. It says: "however, they are not to be applied without clarification, warning, exhortation, and meeting the burden of proof; and they are not to be applied in a cruel manner." And so on. But once moderate ulema have accepted the basic premise of Hudud (Punishment) based on 7th century Bedouin tribal Arab mores being "unquestionably obligatory in Islamic Law" what difference does actually remain between moderation and extremism.
In point 20, moderate ulema seem to be justifying the destruction of idols. Read the following from the Open Letter:
"Your former leader, Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi said: ‘In our opinion, it is obligatory to destroy and remove all manifestations of shirk (idolatry) and to prohibit all means that lead to it because of Muslim’s narration in his Sahih:  on the authority of Abu Al-Hiyaj Al-Asadi, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said: “Should I not tell you what he [i.e. the Prophet (saw)]  sent me to do: not to leave a statue without obliterating it nor a raised grave without levelling it.”’ However, even if what he said were true, it does not apply to the graves of Prophets or Companions, as the Companions were in consensus regarding burying the Prophet (saw) and his two Companions, Abu Bakr and Omar, in a building that was contiguous to the Prophet’s Mosque."
The impression is unmistakable that the moderate ulema are only opposed to the destruction of "the graves of Prophets or Companions," and not quite to the supposed obligation to destroy and remove all manifestations of shirk (idolatry). This is not a very good way of maintaining inter-faith relations in contemporary world where all civilised countries respect each other's right to practise their religion in the way they like and idols are worshipped in many parts of the world. After all, moderation in Islam should be based on acceptance of religious diversity as taught to us by the Holy Quran. When the Prophet and his companions were allowed to defend themselves for the first time, 13 years after the advent of Islam, they were told in the Quran to defend not only their own religious freedom but religious freedom per se, religious freedom of all religious communities. God wanted His worship to continue not only in mosques, but also in churches, synagogues, monasteries, temples, everywhere. Here are the exact words of God from the Holy Quran translated in English:
 “And had it not been that Allah checks one set of people with another, the monasteries and churches, the synagogues and the mosques, in which His praise is abundantly celebrated would have been utterly destroyed.” (Holy Quran 22:40)
 In point 22 of the Open Letter, titled, The Caliphate, the moderate ulema again concur with the basic proposition of the Baghdadi clique: "There is agreement (Ittifaq) among scholars that a caliphate is an obligation upon the Ummah. The Ummah has lacked a caliphate since 1924 CE." Then it goes on to criticise Baghdadi for lack of consensus from Muslims and accusing him of sedition, fitna, etc in fairly strong language. But the problem remains the same. Moderate ulema agree with Baghdadi on the basic premise of the so-called obligation of the umma to have a Caliphate. This is absurd in this day and age. Clearly both Baghdadi group and moderate ulema are equally outdated, seemingly continuing to live in the 7th century CE.
Is the difference in moderation and extremism in Islam then only that of degree? Degree of supremacism, degree of hate and intolerance, degree of xenophobia, degree of cruelty in imposing medieval punishments, etc.
Clearly the problem here is that moderate ulema are confirming their belief in the same theology as terrorist groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram or Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, etc.
Now the question is what are the essential ingredients of the current and almost universally accepted theology of Islam as depicted by the greatest theologians from the beginning of Islam till today.
Mr. President,
I would request the Muslim world represented here to look at the following rulings of some of our great theologians and decide for themselves if these should have any place in the present-day world, and should we continue to teach them in our madrasas and Islamic Studies programs.
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058 - 1111), considered the greatest of all theologians, and by many as next only to Prophet Mohammad in his understanding of Islam:
 “… one must go on jihad at least once a may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them…One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide... Christians and Jews must pay...on offering up the Jizya, the Dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits on the protuberant bone beneath his ear ... they are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells... their houses may not be higher than a Muslim’s, no matter how low that is.  The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle is of wood.  He may not walk on the good part of the road.  They have to wear an identifying patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the baths... dhimmis must hold their tongue...” (Kitab Al-Wagiz FI Figh Madhad Al-Imam Al-Safi’i pp. 186, 190, 199-203)
Imam Ibn Taymiyya (1263 - 1328) Most revered Hanbali jurist and scholar among Wahhabi-Salafi Muslims whose influence has recently grown immensely with the propagation of his creed by the Saudi monarchy:
“Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God's entirely and God's word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought... As for the People of the Book and the Zoroastrians, they are to be fought until they become Muslims or pay the tribute (Jizya) out of hand and have been humbled. With regard to the others, the jurists differ as to the lawfulness of taking tribute from them. Most of them regard it as unlawful...”  (Excerpted from Rudolph Peters, Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 1996), pp. 44-54)
Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi (1564-1624) - Indian Islamic scholar, Hanafi jurist, consideredMujaddid alf-e-Saani, the renewer of Islam of the second millennium:
1. “...Cow-sacrifice in India is the noblest of Islamic practices.“
2. “Kufr and Islam are opposed to each other. The progress of one is possible only at the expense of the other and co-existences between these two contradictory faiths is unthinkable.
3. “The honour of Islam lies in insulting Kufr and Kafirs. One, who respectsKafirs, dishonours the Muslims.”
4. “The real purpose in levying Jizya on them is to humiliate them to such an extent that, on account of fear of Jizya, they may not be able to dress well and to live in grandeur. They should constantly remain terrified and trembling.
5.    “Whenever a Jew is killed, it is for the benefit of Islam.”
(Excerpted from Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, Muslim Revivalist Movements in Northern India in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries(Agra, Lucknow: Agra University, Balkrishna Book Co., 1965), pp.247-50; and Yohanan Friedmann, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi: An Outline of His Thought and a Study of His Image in the Eyes of Posterity(Montreal, Quebec: McGill University, Institute of Islamic Studies, 1971), pp. 73-74.)
Shah Waliullah Dehlawi (1703–1762): Highly revered Indian scholar, theologian, Muhaddis and jurist.
 “It is the duty of the prophet to establish the domination of Islam over all other religions and not leave anybody outside its domination whether they accept it voluntarily or after humiliation. Thus the people will be divided into three categories.
“(Lowly Kafir (unbelievers), have to be tasked with lowly labour works like harvesting, threshing, carrying of loads, for which animals are used. The messenger of God also imposes a law of suppression and humiliation on the Kafirs and imposes Jizya on them in order to dominate and humiliate them …. He does not treat them equal to Muslims in the matters of Qisas (Retaliation), Diyat (blood money), marriage and government administration so that these restrictions should ultimately force them to embarrass Islam.”
(Hujjatullahu al-Balighah, volume – 1, Chapter- 69, Page No 289)
Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, (1703 – 22 June 1792):
“Even if the Muslims abstain from Shirk (polytheism) and are Muwahhid (believer in oneness of God), their Faith cannot be perfect unless they have enmity and hatred in their action and speech against non-Muslims. (Majmua Al-Rasael Wal-Masael Al-Najdiah 4/291)
Abul A'la Maududi (25 September 1903 – 22 September 1979):
“Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam, regardless of the country or the nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a state on the basis of its own ideology and programme, regardless of which nation assumes the role of the standard-bearer of Islam or the rule of which nation is undermined in the process of the establishment of an ideological Islamic State.
…"Islam requires the earth — not just a portion, but the whole planet.... because the entire mankind should benefit from the ideology and welfare programme [of Islam] ... Towards this end, Islam wishes to press into service all forces which can bring about a revolution and a composite term for the use of all these forces is ‘Jihad'. .... The objective of the Islamic ‘jihad’ is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of state rule.” (Jihad fil Islam)
This, of course, is too small a sample to be even considered the tip of the iceberg containing the vast corpus of juristic rulings, volumes of Ahadees, Sharia, Tafasirof Quran, Sira books and so on.
M. President,
Extremism and Islam supremacism appear to have seeped into the veins of the Muslim society. We hardly even notice when we ourselves speak or hear supremacist talk.  Extremism and supremacism have been endemic in Islamic history, present almost from the beginning. Muslims fought among themselves and quite vehemently even before the collection of Hadees and creation of Sharia, which they now consider divine. Muslims have still not found an antidote to contextual, militant verses in the Quran that are now available to anyone with access to internet. Calling all verses of the Quran, without reference to their context, as of eternal value, and applicable to Muslims for all times, is not going to solve the problem. Calling Hadees and Sharia divinely inspired is no answer to the questions of the day. Muslims will just have to  abandon the theology that leads to violence and supremacism and look for a new theology, a coherent theology of peace and pluralism, consistent in all respects with the original teachings of Islam, and suitable for contemporary and future societies.
This new theology will have to be based on an adequate interpretation of the Quran, as the Pope has suggested, and finding the best meaning of the verses as the Quran has repeatedly called for. It will have to abandon the literal reading of contextual verses, and give primacy to essential, constitutive verses of the Quran that can be truly considered of eternal significance.
We will have to abandon the vast corpus of interpretations, juristic rulings of the greatest theologians whom we have revered for centuries. A literal reading of Quran’s verses likeLa Ikraha fid Deen (There is no compulsion in religion) or Lakum Deeanakum waleya Deen (For you your religion, for me mine) is a cornerstone of every Islamic moderate's philosophy. These are constitutive verses of the Quran and eternal in significance. They are valid for us for all time.
The problem arises with contextual and allegorical verses when they are taken literally or even interpreted according to one's own understanding. The problem arises when so-called militant verses are taken literally, considered valid for all time as exhortations of God to all Muslims forever, and followed as they are today. ISIS leaders may have their own designs, but our children and youth, boys and girls who are running away from our well-appointed homes and private schools are doing so out of a literal reading of these militant, aggressive verses and considering them universal in nature. All Qur’anic verses are considered uncreated and taught in madrasas as having eternal value and as guidance for Muslims for all time to come.
One allegorical verse from Quran is being interpreted to mean that Malhama(Armageddon) is only two years away. Daesh (Islamic State) is said to be fighting the end-time battle called Malhama. This is also one reason why our youth are running away to engage in the battles of end-times. I therefore, think, merely literal reading of all Qur’anic verses, without reference to the context of contextual verses, or even personal, contorted interpretations of allegorical verses will be a disaster, is indeed already leading to disaster.
We must treat Quran as a created work by God, which contains constitutive, contextual and allegorical verses which have to be treated by us in different times and different contexts differently. Which means that we should observe Qur’anic advise that we use our rationality and think all the time before accepting anything blindly and that we try to find the best meaning or adequate interpretation as Pope Francis puts it. A literal reading ofall Qur’anic verses cannot be acceptable.
I would again urge the Muslim states represented here to take the wise counsel of the Pope and the repeated exhortations of Quran to find adequate interpretations and best meanings of the essential verses of the Quran and create a new theology on that basis. We do have the intellectual resources to do that. What we need is the courage to abandon the old theology and the will to create a new theology of peace and pluralism, co -existence and acceptance of religious diversity, and justice and human rights for all.