The World Needs a Muslim Martin Luther

Living in denial and deluding themselves about the real Islam will not help "moderate" Islamic states.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

OpEds Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Eliran Aharon
The Muslim world is reeling in shock from Islamic State, witnessing the horrible actions perpetrated in the name of Islam with revulsion. Human beings butchered and burned to death on camera, women and young girls sold in the slave markets, thieves' hands cut off, volunteers continuing to pour in from all over the world and the head of ISIS announcing that he is the caliph, no less. And how ISIS metes out a most final punishment to any Muslim who disagrees with its methods.

The shock evinced by the Islamic world is caused in no small part by the fact that all the terrible things ISIS does are derived from the Quran and reflect Islamic tradition as it was in the seventh century, when it was "pure" and unsullied, and before gentler and less violent interpretations crept in. The deep seated problem facing Islam today is how to be against real, true, original Islam, because if what ISIS does is not Islam, then what Muhammad and his followers did is by definition not Islam, an absurd and prohibited thought.

Part of the problem results from the fact that Muslim states such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia are on the ISIS hit list and the royal families in both countries view themselves,  quite  correctly, as the next ISIS objective.

The Islamic solution to the problem is on several levels: military, political and theological. On the military level. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, , Qatar and the UAE have joined foreign powers such as Australia, America, and European countries to fight ISIS. Muslim countries see a real threat to their regimes, whether by an attack on their borders from the outside or a rebellion caused by incitement from within.

On the political plane, there are meetings between representatives of Western and Muslim countries, where they all tell each other that this is not the real Islam and that this is not a local problem but one that threatens world stability. This kind of remark, when made by an Arab or Muslim, makes the West feel that he is "one of us" and can be relied upon.

An example of a political event of this nature occurred several days ago, when the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Al Thani, visited the US for a meeting with Obama. At this meeting he stressed Qatari commitment to defeating Islamic State, and the American president expressed his trust in the Emir and his commitment to war against extremists and support for the moderate rebels in Syria.  The two leaders ignored one little, but rather significant, problem: Qatar, the country of the honored guest, is the source of funding for ISIS, just as it is the source of funding and support for Islamic State's mother organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar is part of the problem, and now there are some naïve people who think it can also be part of its solution

However, the theological aspects are the most complicated as far as the Muslim world is concerned, because Muslims must justify a war against policies that are most similar to Mohammed's behavior and that of the four caliphs who succeeded him, termed "righteous"  in Islam. Their biggest problem is the Quran itself which contains the verse (Chap. 8, verse 60) "Prepare your strength against them [the heretics] as well as you can, and harness horses for battle, with which you sow fear in the hearts of Allah's enemies and your own..", a clear command of the Quran to sow terror and fear in the hearts of enemies. 

The Muslim Brotherhood took the first word of the verse, "prepare" and placed it on its logo. This is the Quran's instruction dating from the seventh century, now being carried out by all the Islamic terror organizations – Sunnis and Shiites – Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, Jebhat el Nusrah, Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, Al Qaeda and Islamic State. All of them are the ideological offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now that the entire world has awakened to the horrors perpetrated by Islamic fanatics in Syria, Lebanon and even Paris, London , Brussels, Toulouse Boston, New York, Sydney and Oklahoma City (a partial list), Muslims are trying to show a nicer image of Islam that can be more acceptable to the West, before the West gets nervous and expels all Muslim immigrants to Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Syria and Yemen. That is what brought an apologetic Muslim sheikh to "explain the truth about real Islam to the world", not the one that has supposedly been "appropriated by a small and unimportant minority".

An example of this effort is a conference in Mecca, Islam's capital, under the sponsorship of the Saudi king, ruler of an unenlightened country that spends billions of petrodollars to spread the most fanatic Wahabee brand of Islam in the Muslim world. The conference was organized by the Muslim World League and meant to cleanse the Saudis of accusations that they help spread terror.

The speakers at the conference hailed from Saudi Arabia, Qatar (why not?) Lebanon (controlled by the Hezbollah), Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Sudan, Morocco, Bosnia, the UK and US.

They claimed that terror is a dangerous and misleading word, and that there is controversy surrounding its definition. They forgot to say that those who are vehemently against defining terror are the Moslems themselves, because, as shown above, the Quran commands them to strike terror into the hearts of their enemies. 

In their view, terror has nothing to do with religion or ethnic groups, but is instead a human phenomenon that must be separated from armed struggles that even the UN allows a group trying to achieve self determination or to liberate conquered lands. Those attending the conference separated historic jihad that involved Muslim wars against other nations, their subjugation and forced conversion by the sword and force of arms, from today's terrorist acts which some call "religious violence."

One of the conference sessions discussed religious motivation for terror. The participants attacked Muslim ignorance of Sharia law, its precepts and goals, calling that ignorance one of the main causes of terror. Their claim was that "terror has many diverse causes, ideological, psychological, political, economic, social and educational, but ignorance of the goals and precepts of Sharia is the major cause of terror". This must mean that if the jihadists knew that the Quran forbids terror they would turn their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Teaching Sharia law properly is the only way to build a Muslim society based on equality and justice, the way it was in ancient times, they insisted

The participants could not ignore the growth of sectarian violence in the Muslim world, especially Sunni-Shiite violence, with its long daily list of victims. They, however, did not suggest a real solution to this painful situation.

According to  them, the Muslim world suffers from the appearance of extremist and violent groups which act in its name because of the unclear theological policies held by international groups and international media, as well as Arab and Muslim countries and Muslim institutions that do not do their part to spread a culture of moderation. The significance of this fact is that Islam is a perfect, good and beautiful religion but political and international groups and the media, of course, have ruined people and pushed them towards terror.

One session of the conference dealt with social and economic factors behind all forms of terror and how to deal with them. The representative of America's CAIR, Dr. Nihad Awad Achmad, claimed that the weakness of social and civic institutions is an important cause of terror and extremist aberrant opinions. It is interesting to note that NIhad himself has been linked to funding of terror organizations.

A Saudi participant spoke about administrative corruption as one of the economic reasons for aberrant thinking that gives rise to terror. Others spoke of cultural shallowness in the lower classes, arising from a faulty school curriculum,  as a cause of terror.  Graduates end their schooling with a skewed culture and are easily dragged to extremism, stereotypical thinking, hatred for the other, violence and terror. The Moroccan delegate talked about the feeling of marginality as a cause of religious extremism, probably referring to the youth of North African origin living in France.

The bottom line of the whole conference was that the Muslim religion and its seminal texts – the Quran, Hadith (Oral Law) , the history and biography of the Prophet Mohammed – are all perfect, beautiful and pure, exuding tolerance and the acceptance of the other, civil rights for women and minorities, and if some Muslims are attracted to terror, butchering people, burning enemies, selling women and cutting off the hands of thieves, that is not bcause of Islam the "religious of peace", its ideas or holy works, but because external factors push young Muslims into doing these things that are against Islam and its spirit, ideas, way of life and goals.

The problem with these conferences is that they never have even one person who is prepared to state the painful truth: the Quran, the Hadith, the history and biography of our prophet are filled with ideas, commandments, precedents that push our youth to terror, just as they motivated our forefathers to conquer most of the known seventh century world. The concept of conquering strange lands, the rule of Islam through terrible violence is what got Islam out of the Arabian peninsula to conquer the region from Indonesia  in the east to Spain and Morocco in the west, and it is this that pushes our young men and women to join jihad and continue subjugation of the rest of the world.

True, there are other factors - political, social and economic - that help promote terror, but the main, basic reason is the ideas and precedents in islam's holy works, and until real reformers arise and insert significant changes into these writings, instead of holding meaningless conferences like the recent Saudi one, Muslims will continue to hide their heads in the sand, and the world will continue to think that Islam is a religion of peace, because that is what the distinguished speakers at these conferences say. Denial of the real problem will perpetuate the problems derived from it.

We need a Muslim Martin Luther, who will ask the right questions, start an Islamic reformation, one that will quarantine all the notions of subjugation, violence, hatred and repulsion, changing Allah's religion into something that will bring the cycle of violence and death to an end, giving life to Muslims and others. Until that reformer is born, the Islamic world will continue shedding its own blood and that of others into the bloody swamp, fire and tears called Islamic state whose methods are exported from the depths of the seventh century to today's entire world