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Takfir and Moderate Muslims

By: Kishan Bhatia
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Islam like Christianity is a version of Judaism. Similarities and differences are interesting. Unlike Christians both Muslims and Jews don"t eat pork. Basic religious tenets are comparable in three faiths; details of social and political systems differentiate three faiths into open and closed societies. Political ideology is either faith driven closed society or a constitutional democracy. The constitutional democracies are open societies as they value human rights, gender equality and separation of state and church/temple/mosques, etc. Sharia following Muslims compared to those of other faiths in 20th-21st century continues to advocate a closed society and culture to promote gender and faith based inequalities.

The RFM (reactionary or extreme right wing fundamentalist Muslims) are guided by virulent Islam ideology advocated by Salafi/Wahabi (Saudi) and Maududi (Pakistani) in pursuit of the Pan-Islamic ideology. Jihad against infidels and apostates is advocated. Takfir is an Islam ideology that advocates killing of and violence against infidels or apostates (kafir). Unlike Maududi"s advocacy for universal application of takfir against all they disagree with some pan-Islamists - Muhammad Abduhu and Rashid Rida - advocate a selective application of takfir against the relatively newer sects in Islam. Insisting that wrongly accusing another Muslim of being an infidel is a major sin in Islam the Pan-Islamist fear indiscriminate use of takfir would lead to endless strife (fitna) within the larger Muslim community. Such arguments did not prevent Pakistan - first under Z. A. Bhutto (in 1977) and later Dictator Ziaul Haq (in 1984) leaderships - to declare Ahmadiyya sect outlawed.

The Pan-Islamists are hell-bent on colonizing the world and eliminating those who don"t conform to their ideology. Before it became nuclear armed in 1998 Pakistan - a weak military power - galvanized the RFM forces to wage jihad in Afghanistan against Soviet occupation (1979-89). The attention of RFM forces as al Qaeda co-linked Taliban operatives are now focused on other targets in the region as well as America and West. The suicide bombings called martyrdom missions are a favorite tool of RFM against soft targets inflicting loss of life and property killing a few to tens of thousands of civilian including women and children. With such state sponsored terrorism and unleashing of al Qaeda co-linked Taliban to occupy Afghanistan Pakistan aims for Pan-Islamization/colonization starting with South and Central Asia.

Christianity and Islam are proselytizing religions that for more than 14 centuries have promoted colonization of lands held by followers of all other faiths, usually branded pagans or Kafirs for economic growth and spread of the faith.

Aggressive colonization policies of Pakistan in 21st century are against the tide of democratic political order globally adopted by majority of nations. With a separation of state and church and reformation to a democratic political philosophy the Europeans, America and many more nations have adopted a political model to replace colonization with economic development. Many developed nations invest in under-developed nations to promote commercial enterprises using cheap labor and for sustained supply of commodities and markets for mass produced industrial products necessary for improving living standards.

In last several centuries with industrialization some states are developed nations with economies to build robust military-industrial complexes, to provide good paying jobs to masses and to expand middle-class to enjoy a high standard of living. Unlike West and America Islamic nations (57 OIC members) continue with feudal practices following political Islam. Most of these states, unless they hold black gold resources, have remained agrarian in nature with masses burdened by generational cycles of poverty. Poor masses (up to 90+ %) in these states continue to live miserable lives in a science-less and senseless society.

Politically these states are managed by BACWAS (bureaucrats, army, clerics, warlords and scholars) groups to protect interests of ruling elites and leave masses to fend for a marginal living. The well educated children of upper class families tend to immigrate to developed countries - UK, Europe and America - for economic opportunities. Socially these immigrants follow the traditions of Islam that are in conflict with the society of adopted lands. Starting first decade of 21sr century UK, Europe and America have experienced suicide terrorist attacks.

Takfir associated suicide attacks are justified on the doctrine of religious-political and psycho-social "rationale" to kill thousands of Muslims by fellow Muslims and less frequently on soft targets to kill non-Islamic faith followers in attacks such as the World Trade Center (2001, New, Your), train/bus bombing (2005-08, London, Madrid, India) and the Mumbai massacre of 2008. The peddlers of the ideology of hate target symbol of South Asian religious diversity and scholars dedicated to a life to preserve and promote pluralist thought.

Recently, Faisal Shahzad was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in an American court (October 6, 2010) for a failed (May 2010) moronic attempt to detonate an explosive device in New York"s Times Square. Faisal told the court: "Brace yourselves: the war with Muslims has just begun." This man is far removed from the West"s perception of Islamic terrorists: educated, seemingly Westernized, an American citizen and successful - the characteristics of moderate Muslims. He was the antithesis of the angry, bearded faces Americans have come to associate with Islam. If he could become radicalized, the argument goes, surely all Muslims are vulnerable to extremist ideology. Ideology of Islam in general and political Islam in particular is a basis for such an argument.

Muslims want us to believe that most Muslims are moderate often by citing Gallop polls such as one that showed 93pc of all Muslims were peaceful and against acts of violence. The statistics is 7% or 105 of 1.5 billion of Muslims are not peaceful or are RFM (reactionary fundamentalist Muslims). That"s 105 million too many.

Sixty-three percent or 103 million Pakistanis were 25 or younger (2008 data) and less than 750,000 students or less than 1% were enrolled in its about 1,500 universities and colleges. A survey showed that about 93% of students were religious; 28% wanted sharia and 51% considered hybrid legal system was for Pakistan. Political violence is rampant on campuses.

Radicalization of Muslim youth is a global phenomenon but it is particularly severe in Pakistan. Based on a number of surveys, conservatively, an estimated more than 40 million of 180 million Pakistanis in 2010 may be RFM. Most are sympathizer of jihad and terrorism promoted by clerics and army generals.

A 2008 Gallup World Poll of more than 9,000 interviews in nine Muslim countries showed that Muslim radicals have more in common with their moderate brethren than is often assumed. Poll results for percentage of moderate Muslims significantly go down after each successful terrorist attacks. In a Google search for polls conducted five years after the 7/7 London bombings as many as 58% British Muslims stated that terrorist attacks were justified. Similar poll results were reported almost every successful terrorist attack in America, West and India.

Political correctness keeps major world leaders refrained from giving excuses to Muslims to carry out terrorist attacks. Anxiety levels in America, West and India go up whenever a major international event is staged in these nations. Just before the start of XIX Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi from Oct 3 -14, 2010 America and West issued many warnings of potential terrorist attacks in India. With extraordinary security measures India succeeded in inhibiting any such attacks.

President Obama is scheduled to visit India from November 6 to 9, 2010 and pay homage to Mumbai by staying at the Taj Mahal Hotel, the site of 26/11 terrorist"s attacks executed by LET co-linked to ISI of Pakistan in 2008. The ISI over four decades has funded and weaved a close network of al Qaeda co-linked Taliban groups, with major terrorist cells of home-grown and immigrant Muslims in America, Britain and India. Some of these cells were recently activated to conduct terrorist attacks for unsuccessful attacks in America. Presumably these cells may be activated for attacks almost anywhere in the world. Home grown terrorists make it possible for Pakistan to deny that it is engaged in the state-sponsored terrorism.

All the commitment and fanaticism not withstanding, terrorist operations cannot be run without funds. Funds for jihad are required for procuring weapons, financing training camps, providing logistical support, compensating the families of jihadis, paying instructors and also the wide networks of agents and running recruitment offices. In a report published by the Aga Khan Development Network in 1998, approximately 50 percent of Pakistanis gave an estimated amount of Rs 770 billion in money, goods and time, of which 90 percent of the surveyed donors cited religious faith as the motivation for giving.

Many Muslim immigrants, not just the radical fringe, have more respect for and commitment to Islamic law than to laws in their adopted countries. Their aim is to change Western culture, not to be changed by it. Muslim attitudes can, of course, evolve, but the demographic trends of the next couple of decades are pretty well set. There is no reason to believe that Muslims Ummah is working on necessary reforms to promote human rights to accommodate gender and faith bases equalities, separation of state and mosque, and incorporate human rights in to Political Islam.

The ambiguities on the issue of allegiances to Sharia by the promoters of Cordoba House with have raised many questions.

1. How can the Sharia be fully compatible with the U.S. Constitution?

2. How can the seven Articles of the U.S. Constitution, which safeguard its institutionalized secular democracy that guarantee freedoms and equality to all citizens, be compatible with the Islamic Sharia, which places the fate of countries and peoples in the hands of religious elites, moderate or otherwise?

. The U.S. Constitution is man-made, modern and compatible with today"s reality. It separates church from state; guarantees rights and dignity even to criminals; grants freedom of speech, worship and the press; prohibits violating the citizens" right to protection; grants equal status to all citizens and safeguards the political rights of women.

3. How can this constitution be compatible with the Islamic Sharia, which is immutable and not compatible with the times, makes religion a political matter and politics a religious matter, advocates chopping off body parts as a punishment for criminals, designates Islam as the true religion and all other religions as heresy, threatens the safety of non-Muslims and treats them as dhimmis... and subjects women to male domination?

4. What is going on with some American moderate Muslims? Are they trying to Americanize Islam or Islamize America, sooner or later, by demanding to implement the Islamic Sharia and to convince the Americans that Islam and the Islamic Sharia are compatible with the American culture and constitution?

Kishan Bhatia

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References & Notes:

1. RFM: Reactionaries are extreme right wing radicals. The dictionary meaning of radical is simply "going back to the roots". Radicalization is a process through which the movement towards the pristine takes place. A purely religious radicalization may mean nothing more than the believers of a religion beginning to observe their religious duties strictly in accordance with some core ideas. In Pakistan radicalization entails politicization of a religion; it became a source of power contest for a political Islam ideology and the RFM groups dominate politically. The army and warlord clerics responsible for Taliban co-linked terrorist groups are radicalized and they have placed huge demands on the distribution of scarce resources, power and status.

. "Funding Pakistans jihad" by Ali K Chishti at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20101027story_27-10-2010_pg3_6

2. A survey reported by Pak Institute For Peace Studies (PIPS), September 2010 issue: "Radicalization: Perceptions of Educated Youth in Pakistan," http://san-pips.com/download.php?f=45.pdf

3. Radicalization of educated Pakistani youth by Ishtiaq Ahmed 10262010 http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20101026story_26-10-2010_pg3_2

4. Takfir: the ideology of hate by Dr Mohammad Taqi; http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20101014story_14-10-2010_pg3_2

5. The late chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Syed Maududi, has written against invoking takfir in religious-political polemics. See, "Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Quran - The Meaning of the Quran"; http://www.englishtafsir.com/

6. Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism http://www.start.umd.edu/start/announcements/July07_LondonMetroBombing_2010.pdf

7. If the West wants to reach the extremists, and empower the moderate Muslim majority, it must first recognize who its up against. http://media.gallup.com/WorldPoll/PDF/MWSRRadical022207.pdf; http://muslimmatters.org/2008/03/01/93-worlds-muslims-moderates-gallup-poll-didnt-believe-us-first-time-round/

8. Mehdi Hasan, "7/7 bombings, London and British Muslims: five years on," Statesman, http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2010/07/british-muslims-london-stared

9. Anti-American feelings soar among Muslims, study finds, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1415550.ece

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