Islamists or Islamicists? The Language of Islam

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Ban Blair-Baiting

PLEASE NOTE: The content of this blog and opinions expressed here or pointed to are all my choice and mine alone. In particular, the controversial postings on the present Wilders/Islam issues implies NO reference whatsoever to Tony Blair’s opinions on Islam. (This note is a result of an e-mail I received from a well-respected online friend and commenter, expressing concern that the title of my blog [Tony Blair] might lead some to incorrect conclusions, or even to weaken Mr Blair’s position on interfaith dialogue. That is NOT, repeat NOT my intention or desire.)

10th December, 2008

If you haven’t yet signed the Stop Sharia Law petition and wish to do so, please go here.

At long last the debate on Sharia Law seems to be moving, as is surely needed.

There is also an online debate about Sharia Finance, though that is as yet more informational than deeply interrogative.  Not everyone notices the join between to the two Sharias, and many do not as yet see any threat. So there is work to be done. But perhaps more worrying or more justified, depending on your outlook, there is an increasing occurrence of sites questioning Islam itself, as well as Islamicism.


No Sharia – One Law For All

Another One Law For All video. I disagree with America-hater Johann Hari’s thoughts on Tony Blair and his relationship with the USA, but on Sharia I agree with him. Roy Brown’s evidence from the Human Rights Council is very enlightening – it is “taboo to mention sharia … completely taken over by Islam.”

Clips from a panel discussion on sharia courts and sharia law with Johann Hari, Ibn Warraq, Roy Brown, Maryam Namazie.  ‘One law for all’ – No Sharia campaign, for more info go to www.onelawforall.org.uk


THE LANGUAGE OF ISLAM – ISLAMISM & ISLAMIST v ISLAMICISM & ISLAMICIST?

Since “IC” are the only two differentiating letters in the search for the REAL ISLAM, and they sound like “IS” in the above words, my mind is wandering. I’m tempted to suggest that it all depends on the meaning of “is”. (Bill Clinton)

While we are busy educating ourselves and others as to the meaning of jihad, fatwas, hijabs and debating whether or not Muslims could possibly worship the same God as Christians with our opposing views on music, culture, women’s place in society, we are completely dumbstruck on the basics.

What and Who are they?

Here at thefreedictionary.com “Islamicist is described thus:

1. A specialist in the study of Islam. 2. A member or supporter of an Islamic revivalist movement; an Islamist.

And “Islamism” is described thus:
1. An Islamic revivalist movement, often characterized by moral conservatism, literalism, and the attempt to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life. 2. The religious faith, principles, or cause of Islam.

So you pays your money ….

Well, I’m sorry. That’s not good enough.

These ongoing difficulties with the language used to describe followers of Islam/Fundamentalist Islam are muddying the already-polluted waters.

DO ‘ISLAMISTS’ and/or ‘ISLAMICISTS’ follow ISLAM and/or ISLAMICISM?

Don’t ask me.

“Islamicism” has been recently understood to refer to those who have a fundamentalist approach to Islam – as here described as militant Islamists. In other words those who adhere to jihad, extreme acts of punishment for crimes and misdemeanours, and who ascribe limited rights for women and girls, always subjugated to men.

But if  fundamentalists follow Islamicism, how do we describe the beliefs of those Moderate Muslims who do not agree with the fundamentalist position?

Islamists?

If so why do we say “militant Islamists”?

It’s all too close for comfort and too easily confused.

So perhaps it is time for the huge majority of moderate Muslims to think about how they’d like to describe themselves in a way which doesn’t confuse them with the terror-inclined extremists in their fold.

Let’s say – “JIHAD-REJECTING MUSLIMS” or “JRMs”

Citizen Warrior came up with this interesting suggestion. Sadly, it is unlikely to have any legs.

Sounds good to me, except for this:

For Muslims to adopt a new description for themselves would indicate that they have conceded defeat to the extreme fundamentalists within their midst. Why would moderate Muslims do this if they are convinced their brand of Islam does NOT call for Jihad against “non-believers”?

Also, it would be likely to exacerbate the situation, becoming divisive within Islam itself.

CIVIL UNREST FEARS?

Now some might say – “Fine. Let them sort it out”.  But Muslims are living within western societies, some in large numbers. I contend that the reason that western governments including ours do not tackle this and other issues surrounding Islam is that they are afraid of civil unrest. To set Muslim onto Muslim would solve nothing. Sadly, the fundamentalists among their number would rise to any bait, willingly.

Still, the nomenclature is important. Without understanding the difference between the goodies and the baddies, how is anyone going to tackle how the goodies integrate properly? And how to identify the baddies?

I suggest they give this some thought.


Citizen Warrior’s article with some useful links:

THIS MAY BE one of the most difficult issues to deal with for those of us who are working to defeat the third jihad: What about the moderate Muslims? Is there such a thing? What does “moderate” mean?

I think what most of us hope it means is “a Muslim that openly and definitely repudiates the violent, intolerant, supremacist passages in the Qur’an.”

But the more I read about mainstream “moderate” Muslim organizations in America, the more I realize that what I hope “moderate” means and what those “moderate Muslims” mean by the term are entirely different. I am getting the feeling that the term “moderate Muslim” is not only pointless, but misleading — perhaps even deliberately misleading.

I think we should all stop using the term. We should come up with a name for Muslims who straightforwardly reject the violent, intolerant passages in the Qur’an and openly reject the supremacist ideology strewn throughout Islamic teachings.

In my opinion, someone who does that is not really a Muslim, but maybe they still enjoy praying five times a day and fasting during Ramadan, so they might prefer to call themselves Muslims. Maybe they don’t want to feel ejected from their community and family. Who am I to tell someone what they call themselves?

On the other hand, we non-Muslims need a term that draws a distinction between the two types of Muslims. One type is dangerous to non-Muslims and one is not. A Muslim may not care about this distinction, but it’s pretty important to us non-Muslims.

I heard Walid Phares use the term “democracy-seeking Muslims” and I thought that was pretty good, but it doesn’t go far enough. Until a Muslim acknowledges that there are, in fact, calls to violence and intolerance against non-Muslims in their central holy book, and then repudiates those specific Qur’anic passages, I don’t feel that Muslim can be trusted.

I know that would sound terrible to someone who doesn’t know anything about Islam. But really, this is a pretty straightforward matter. If you call yourself a Muslim, almost everybody on earth is assuming you think the Qur’an contains the core teachings you will follow. For us non-Muslims who have read the book, that’s a scary thought. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, these passages will give you an idea: What the Qur’an Says About Non-Muslims.

So a firm repudiation of those passages would at least acknowledge that the Muslim knows those passages exist and acknowledges that they should be rejected. I know it is entirely possible someone saying so could be lying, but it would at least be a start.

What should we call Muslims who repudiate intolerant and supremacist Islamic teachings? “Moderate” isn’t good enough. How about “Scrubbed Muslims?” “Jihad-rejecting Muslims?” “Freed Muslims?” “Friendly Muslims?” “Non-jihadi Muslims?” “Pluralist Muslims?”

I like “Jihad-rejecting Muslims,” or JRMs. As far as non-Muslims are concerned, JRMs are the only ones we should engage in “interfaith dialogs” and the only ones allowed to provide counsel for the FBI and the only ones translating documents for security services.

JRMs are the only Muslims who should be allowed to preach in mosques in free countries or teach in madrassas. This is just simple, reasonable self-preservation. A person who calls himself a Muslim but does not openly reject the killing of non-Muslims for being non-Muslims, and who does not reject the overthrow of legitimate democracies, and who does not reject Shari’a law, should not be allowed into those positions. That should be a no-brainer for any person who cares about their government’s survival.

So far there aren’t many Muslims who are clearly JRMs. The term “moderate Muslims” lets them off the hook — they don’t have to risk rejection by their families or perhaps even risk their lives openly repudiating specific Qur’anic passages, and non-Muslims are left with no way to tell who is a friend and who is a foe.

The term “moderate Muslim” also allows Muslims to remain “undeclared.” They don’t have to decide whose side they are on. They can secretly harbor a wish that some day their democratic country will be ruled by Shari’a, that some day Islam will reign supreme over the whole world, and that some day all kafirs will pay the jizya (tax on non-Muslims), and yet they may look in every way like a good citizen, trusted by non-Muslims, allowed into influential positions, etc. But if circumstances permitted, they would work toward their Islamic supremacist fantasy. They can function like a kind of sleeper cell in our midst.

By making our own term and defining it, we can make a clear distinction for ourselves and for Muslims, between who is an enemy and who is a friend.

I don’t know if simply rejecting jihad would be even be enough, however. One of the most fundamental principles of Islam is that loyalty to Islam comes before loyalty to anything else, including one’s country or even one’s family. Wouldn’t that be a potential problem if the person is working for the government? But maybe our definition of a JRM could include a repudiation of this Islamic hierarchy of loyalties as well.

Another problem is that it says in the Qur’an over seventy times that a Muslim should use Mohammad as an example to emulate. And Mohammad ordered the torture of people, personally participated in beheading 600 people in one night, ordered and led raids on caravans, captured, owned and had sex with slaves, and spent the last ten years of his life conquering and subjugating people. So the definition of a JRM would also have to include a bold rejection of the idea that Mohammad is someone who should be imitated.

Since the stakes are so high for us non-Muslims (being the target of the violence), and since it is easy enough to find out what it actually says in the Qur’an (that it’s a Muslim’s duty to fight against the unbelievers until no god is worshiped in the world but Allah), we would be foolish to cavalierly grant our trust to Muslims until they prove themselves trustworthy.

The onus, the burden of proof, is not on non-Muslims.

Muslims will have to prove themselves trustworthy. This whole thing is difficult for all of us, but this distinction must be made. It’s a sane response for non-Muslims to make to this sticky situation.

If any Muslim thinks this is offensive or intolerable or somehow outrageous, I think we have discovered someone who is trying to pretend those dangerous passages are not in their holy book, and that sounds like someone we cannot trust.

But if non-Muslims named and defined who we would be willing to trust, and we did it clearly and defiantly, we might find out how many Muslims are on the side of freedom, equality, and pluralism. What do you think?

Go here to comment at Citizen Warrior’s site


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11 Responses to “Islamists or Islamicists? The Language of Islam”

  1. Stan Says:

    I think Citizen Warrior’s article raises legitimate concerns and deserves wide consideration. Of course there are all kinds of barbaric practices that can be justified by the writings of other religions but Islam is the only one which poses a world-wide threat on the basis of these writings.

    I note that moderate Jews have rejected fundamentalist extremes in what is known as Reform Judaism http://www.reformjudaism.org.uk/about-us/what-is-reform-judaism.html and I think moderate Muslims can do the same under the name of Reform Islam.

    • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

      Sounds sensible, Stan. But what’s the betting that “Reform Islam” has no legs? They can’t all agree on the need for reform and when there is NO high earthly authority and a child (male, of course) can preach to a congregation of his elders, if so inclined, he’d have to be pretty smart or stupid to suggest doing anything that the Jews had thought of first!

      Or am I being prejudiced here?

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  10. Carmine Hosendove Says:

    artigos militares

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