Sunday, March 12, 2006

Egyptians vie for Islamists leadership

Two Muslim preachers compete for the leadership of Islamists: Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, an Egyptian radical cleric living and preaching in exile Qatar. Qaradhawi wears the Muslim uniform - a turban and a Jilbab (gown). The other, Amr Khaled, is a young soft-spoken Egyptian who wears a Western suit and a necktie.

Mishari Al-Thaidi writes in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (March 7): "A row has broken out between Khaled and Qaradhawi. The latter objects to Khaled's mission to Denmark, with 50 other preachers, to present 'real Islam' to the Danes." Qaradhawi does not believe that Khaled's mission would bring in any good results. On the contrary, it would kill the momentum which the anti-Islamic cartoons have generated. "At last, Muslims, all Muslims express their indignation and are united around their Prophet (PBUH)." Qaradhawi told Al-Jazeera.

Fahmi Huwaidi, also in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (March 8) stands by Al-Qaradhawi. "Amr Khaled should confine himself to preaching and should not interfere with theological issues. He should listen to learned people like Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi," Huwaidi argues.

My comment: Qaradhawi wants to exploit the Danish cartoon row to advance his political agenda. Qaradhawi, a traditionalist, wants to silence "modern" Muslim young preachers like Amr Khaled. Khaled seems to be palatable to young moderate Muslims. He addresses practical, contemporary issues. He is less dogmatic than fundamentalists like Qaradhawi. Preachers like Khaled are perhaps in a position to influence young Muslims and keep them off extremism.
Qaradhawi is not interested in dialogue and in spreading a moderate form of Islam. For his political Islam, he needs radical ideas, radical events, and radical preachers. Moderate Islam would dilute the line drawn between Islam and the rest of the world. Islamophobia and Westophobia nourish his "Kampf" (struggle) for Islam, Qaradhawi-style.

Both Qaradhawi and Huwaidi characterise Khaled as naive and simple-minded. For them, the West has "declared war" on Islam and this war must be ferociously fought. Radical Islamists like Qaradhawi hate to have competitors like Khaled. Moderate preachers would take the wind from the sails of radicals. Qaradhawi and Huwaidi would love to have radical preachers who charge young Muslims with hatred and violence against Westerners, the unbelievers.
Barbaric West!

Under the title "Barbaric West!" Abdulmin'em Saeed observes in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (March 3) that whenever Islamists and Pan-Arabists talk or write, they severely attack the West. Here are some samples: The West exterminated the Native Americans. The West is decadent. There is racial discrimination in the West, etc. All these things are true. Nobody denies them.
It seems, however, that we, Arabs and Muslims, know more about atrocities and decadence in the West than about our own atrocities and deficiencies. We excoriate atrocities everywhere, but not in our societies.

My comment: This may be attributed to the fact that the West is more critical of itself and more honest and freer than we Arabs and Muslims are. Let us count just a few instances of Arab and Muslim atrocities: Who murdered one and a half million Armenians? Our fellow Muslim brothers in Turkey. For half a century we have been demanding the liberation of Palestine, but we have denied 20 million Kurds a homeland. Who is to blame for that? Again our fellow Muslim brothers in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran.

According to UN reports, we have in our Muslim societies as much prostitution,homosexuality,rape and women trafficking as Western societies have. We have in our Muslim societies more corruption than Western societies have. In practice, we Muslims discriminate against people from certain countries/regions and colours. We also discriminate against women,homosexuals,Ethnic minority groups and look down on them, especially in the Arab Gulf region.

Muslim countries rate top in terms of child labour, something that is almost non-existent in the West. Where is more freedom, justice, and tolerance? In the West. Most Muslim countries lack freedom of speech, religious freedom and social justice. It is even forbidden in some Muslim countries to erect churches and temples.

Ethnic minorities in the West are protected per constitution and in practice. The small Danish community in northern Germany, for example, is allowed to have its own schools and cultivate its own culture. Until recently, the Kurds in Turkey were not even allowed to use their own language in public. Laila Zen, a former Kurdish MP was imprisoned for fifteen years because she used Kurdish in the Turkish Parliament.

Who is more civilised? The West? Or the Muslim Orient? Shame on those who deny atrocities amongst us.


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