No need to 'rebuild' Islam - understand it

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Rand Corporation Views: 6358
6358

A new policy document published by conservative think tank the RAND Corp., "Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources and Strategies," presents yet another attempt by the neoconservatives to impose their hegemonic agenda in "rebuilding" Islam by aligning Muslims against each other.

Author Cheryl Benard is otherwise unknown except that she is married to Zalmay Khalilzad, a special assistant to President Bush and the chief official on the national Security Council for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia.

Khalilzad is a protege of the neoconservative mastermind Paul Wolfowitz and received his training at RAND.

Prior to this, Benard published feminist themed novels that ridiculed Muslim women who wear hijab as a symbol of "female subordination."

Benard's grandiose ambition is to "rebuild" Islam, despite admitting: "It is no easy matter to transform a major world religion. If nation building is a daunting work, religion building is immeasurably more daunting and complex."

The fact that the majority of Muslims are traditionalists seems to frustrate Benard. She is, moreover, unaware that reform movements of awakening (ihya) and renewal (tajdid) are natural occurrences in traditional Islam.

Thus Islamic reform comes from within this traditionalism and has taken place several times in the Islamic history. It cannot be imposed from outside.

In a blind zeal characteristic of neocons, she castigates leaders of the mainstream moderate Islamic reformist movements who are opposed to any acts of violence and committed to bring about the desired change only through democratic means.

These she categorizes as "fundamentalists" who "put forth an aggressive, expansionist version of Islam that does not shy away from violence"- while quite the opposite is the actual reality.

Consider the following quotes by Graham Fuller (Foreign Affairs, March/April 2002), a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA.

"Islamism has become, in fact, the primary vehicle and vocabulary of most political discourse throughout the Muslim world. When Westerners talk about political ideas, they naturally hark back to the Magna Carta, the American Revolution and the French Revolution."

"Muslims go back to the Quran and the Hadith to derive general principles about good governance (including the ruler's obligation to consult the people) and concepts of social and economic justice."

Moreover, "Non-Muslims should understand that democratic values are latent in Islamic thought if one wants to look for them, and it would be more natural and organic for the Muslim world to derive contemporary liberal practices from its own sources than to import them wholesale from foreign cultures."

Surprisingly, even though the thrust of Benard's report is to promote secularism, "with religion relegated to the private sphere," she says she believes those within cannot be trusted, because "many important secularists in the Islamic world are unfriendly or even extremely hostile" because of their "anti-Americanism and aggressive nationalism."

Which brings us to the crux of the problem - the policies the U.S. administration adopts toward the Arab and Muslim countries.

Current rhetoric to the contrary, it colludes with the entrenched dictators and authoritarian rulers of these countries, by aiding and abetting their ruthless crushing of any opposition.

In his 2003 book "Power and Terror," Noam Chomsky prophesies the mind-set of the U.S. administration regarding Iraq. "The real problem is that a new regime must be imposed, and the new regime must be completely undemocratic."

And, "So somehow you have to have a regime change that restores something exactly like Saddam Hussein, a Sunni-based, military regime that will be able to control the population."

This is obvious because "Iraq has the second-largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia," and the United States must control it.

Thus, the Muslims will judge America not by what it says, but by what it does. They want their genuine grievances to be understood, rather than have neocolonialist designs imposed on them.

Siraj Mufti, Ph.D., is a retired University of Arizona cancer researcher and freelance journalist.


  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Rand Corporation
Views: 6358

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Older Comments:
ATIF SUHAIL SIDDIQUI FROM INDIA said:

The war fought against Islam on all fronts whether it is intellectually, militarily, economically all are the wars of existence for the West and America and especially Jews. The sheer humiliation faced by the Westerns because of the strong spiritual sources of Islam and the total negligence of ethics and morality in their own life and civilization is rapidly attracting the sensible masses towards the only religion of God. For creating havoc they are defining Islam in two manners, the fundamentalist and the moderate. These two created terminologies are only to embarrass the common and unaware people, while Islam is only one which depicts in Quran and the Traditions of the Sacred Prophet which ultimately leads towards a rational, healthy, ethical, morally elevated and human life and finally leads towards the salvation. All the mentioned characteristics are absent in the current western and American civilizations which finally turned them in committing the heinous crimes against the humanity. It also has brought some absent mind and ignorant Muslims to act in un-Islamic manners which provide another opportunity to the westerns waging war against Islam. But at all, Islam and Muslims are two different ingredients of a single component, where religion is principle and the community is sub-ordinate to it. In the past, we have witnessed even sheerer attacks on the Islamic ideology and Muslim existence but finally we witnessed Islam prevailed. The ultimate need of the period is we need again to revert towards our spiritual sources and to shelter again under Islam. Islam is invincible and plays always crucial role in defending its adherents as it did in the history. Those who shelter under Islam they survive and those who embarrassed and go astray they are perished and like the Mongols Islam converts even its own staunch enemies in its staunch adherents. May Allah bless us by understanding the true meanings of Islam which is peace for all.
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HABEEBA FROM USA said:
Assalaam Alaikum,
May Allah bless us all. I would like to thank the author for bringing new information to light; however, I am hesitant to believe it all. I would have appreciated if the author backed up his claims. May Allah strengthen each Muslim's faith so that he/she is not persuaded by the glittering persona of the un-Islamic features floating around in the "civilized" world. Amen

I am frustrated of hearing that America has gone into Iraq for the oil. It hurts me to see Americans and Iraqis die in what seems to be an endless battle, (May Allah help us here).
Why can't we be optimistic? Maybe President Bush has some good intentions at heart. Even if he doesn't, we have to appreciate the efforts of the American military (except for the abusers of prisoners). Why can't the Muslim countries pitch in to stabilize the government in Iraq? After all, Allah orders us to help innocent Muslims in peril. If the Muslims in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa etc. are not in peril then who is? I plead to the leaders of the Muslim countries to use their obvious power and wealth in this time of need. Inshallah, we will find the peace at the end of this long tunnel of war.

May Allah knock some sense in the minds of Islamic extremists. I believe that most of them have good intentions at heart (that is to help fellow Muslims) but are blinded by their hatred, especially for Americans. This causes them to do reject the order of Allah: don't hurt innocent people and don't commit suicide etc, and follow the path carved by Satan. Terrorists, please, set your hatred aside because you are mostly hurting innocent people and causing retaliation towards innocent Muslims. May Allah guide you on the right path so that you spend you outpour of energy and enthusiasm towards helping needy Muslims using an Islamic method of peace.

One last note to all:Please never ever assume things because hatred takes roots in suspicion...
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S. SHAIKH FROM USA said:
Assalamo Alaykum

Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters,

I can only say this that those who are planning to change Islam we invite to them to Islam to worship one god Allah the almighty and get freedom from the slavery of man made ideologies, from the slevery of mankind and from the slevary of materialism and submit to ISLAM (I Submit to the Law of Allah and Mohammed (pbuh). ISLAM is the only way to get FREEDOM from the slevery.

Allah says in the Quran close meaning of which is " The disbelivers want shut off the light of AAlah with their mouth but Allah will perfect it even though the disbelivers do not like it" This verse is the big blow against those who are plotting against ISLAM.

Again Allah says in the Quran close meaning of which is "Forces of evil plan against allah so Allah also has his plan agaist the forces of evil, Allah is the Best of the planners."

I thnik we all mankind need the read the message of Allah in the Quran so the mankind will get the real guidance n will saved from ingnorance n foolishness.

Let all the mankind worship our creator the Almighty Allah.

A Servant of Allah

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SAYF UDEEN SHABAZZ FROM U.S.A. said:
This is a very sad tragedy that such attempts to "alter and water down" our great religion of Islam is taking place. The disbelievers and hypocrites want Islam to become altered and un-pure just as Christanity and Judaism has become. Whats next?? Attempting to change the Qur'an!!?? There is a war going on today, a war on Islam, which is a mind one and a physical one. Allah instructs the Muslim female in the Qur'an to wear the hijab, to dress modestly, as well as in the Hadiths of the Prophet(SAW). Those who wish to destroy the light of Allah are evil, and they should be treated as such.
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MADHAVI RUPARELIA FROM USA said:
the religion is for the benefit of all and for muslims especially it would be a lot better if they understood their religion from its basic sources viz. Quran and sunnah. the lack of this knowledge is the greatest tragedy in the muslim world.
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AHMED ASGHER FROM BAHRAIN said:
Sadly they (the neocons, Christian/Judo Zionists and their cabal) will go to whatever length to discredit Islam and Muslims. Their talk is cheap and they are good at it with their Zionist-controlled media.

They will use women's causes, education, human rights, hijab, terrorism and any other arsenal in their fight against Islam to discredit us.

What they can not see is that majority of us se thro their lies and their ill-gotten designs. They think we are fools busy with life's pleasures like their own populace. Take a look at their polls. 70% of Americans think Iraq did 911. Do they have a brain of their own? So, these new-cons (it is actually an old-con) think we are idiots and that we will cheer them and their democratic ideals whereas they openly advocate imperialism, forceful control and theivery.

Here are three areas America has failed for a long time and it contnues its arrogant behaviour to justify its immoral acts:

1) Its unflenching support for the State of Israel as if it can do no worng whilst attacking Palestinians as if they can do no right.

2) Support for self-elected desportic rulers in the Middle East and sabotaging democratically elected leaders.

3) Stationing its troops in ME generally and in the Holy Land of Mecca in particualr. A regime that uses force and WMD to promote its ideals and this has been their policy throughout the last 50 years.

They can weave whatever stories they want. None of us will believe them so long as they continue pushing above 3 points.

Sadly between them and us, is their own people who have the power to change things but they seem to be in deep slumber or denial or some in pure ignorance.
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M FROM USA said:
Muslims should busy themselves finding solutions for their present problems. Muslims should not busy themselves with the USA. America is a dying country, it is just a matter of time before it can be laid to rest. Muslims should prepare to take leadership to bring humanity to peace and justice and not be like Europe and America who thrive on destruction.
May God Bless the Good.
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MEDINA FROM ERITREA said:
In the name of Allah the most precious & mercyfull
One of the many point that make Islam unique & powerful is that it doesn't rebuild for thousand years, Allah will always keep the brightness and power of Islam & we have also to keep the brightness of our religion. We don't need any rebuilding to Islam.
Thanks
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