Can Islam ever be reformed?
Muslim reformer Zuhdi Jasser has recently attacked leaders of the anti-Jihad movement in America. He equated them with jihadists when he called them the derogatory word, alt-jihadists, meaning that Americans who speak and write against the evils of Islamic jihad and sharia are just as bad as jihadists. Jasser attacked by name freedom fighters like Stephen Kirby, John Guandolo, Diana West, Clare Lopez, Andrew Bostom, Robert Spender and Pamela Geller.
Jasser claims that he coined the word ‘alt-jihadists’ but in fact Arab media beat him to it when they equated vocal anti-jihad leaders with jihadists. To silence critics of jihad and Islam, Muslim media have habitually come down hard on critics of jihad and Islam and treated them worse than terrorists.
Traditionally, Arab media placed terrorists on a pedestal and called anyone who discouraged jihad “apostates.” But after 9/11, when the evils of Islamic jihad became clear to the world, Arab media was caught in a quagmire; it could no longer openly applaud jihadists who were the heroes of Muslim society. They had to blame critics of jihad who were exposing Islam’s dirty little secret. Thus Arab media started a campaign to equate critics of Islam, sharia and jihad with terrorists.
In 2007 a horrific article was written against Wafa Sultan and myself in the cover of a prominent Egyptian magazine Rose El Yousef, in which we were both condemned as “apostates” who are just as bad as Muslim terrorists, Taliban leaders and the blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who caused the 1993 world trade center bombing. Note that the Egyptian magazine did not place a photo of Usama Bin Laden, because he was popular among many Muslims.
The article which was entitled “American Style Islam” had Sultan and myself together with three well known Islamists and terrorists wrapped in an American flag that insinuated that America was responsible for creating both terrorists and apostates. The message to the average Arab reader was that Islam had nothing to do with all this worldwide fear of Islam and that America is allowing apostates to speak out against the peaceful Islam. The article warned Muslims against listening or reading such claims coming from America regarding Islam and that all this evil by terrorists is a creation of America.
Articles like that in Arab media were also aimed at scaring and silencing both Sultan and myself. Death threats became a daily part of our life that we had to put up with as price for speaking out to warn America. The progressive Left in America even believed Arab media and joined them in branding us “Islamophobes.”
I have always respected what Zuhdi Jasser was trying to do and avoided contradicting him in public, even though I do not believe that Islam is reformable. I have kept my opinion to myself regarding the false hope Muslim reformers are giving to the Americans regarding Islam. But when Jasser attacked leaders of the anti-jihad movement in America I decided to speak out.
Jasser knows that Arab media calls him ‘apostate’ and ‘Islamophobe’ for his efforts to reform Islam and for his attacks on jihad and sharia. Islam by its nature is considered perfect and unchangeable and any attempt to reform it is considered apostasy.
The majority of Muslims and Arab media have shunned Zuhdi Jasser as an apostate and an Islamophobe. Some of Jasser’s Muslim supporters whom I know personally are in fact apostates, but are trying to help in any way to reform Islam.
Below is an article in Arab media in which critics of Islam, reformers and apostates are all called traitor ‘Islamophobles’ and guess who was included in this attack? Yes Zuhdi Jasser, Walid Shoebat, Walid Fares and myself.
I am not sure what is Jasser’s motivation in attacking leaders of the counter-jihad movement in America, but my guess is that Jasser wishes to get on the good side of Islamic leaders and media in the hope they will start accepting him as Muslim.
Jasser’s reformation movement and criticism of Islam, sharia and jihad have mostly brought Jasser rejection and isolation from the Islamic community. Jasser’s movement, however, have succeeded in convincing US media that there is good and reformable Islam. The West is desperately trying to find that ‘good’ Islam and Jasser is an eloquent representative of that who meets that need in the West.
But suddenly Jasser discovered that all he has was approval from Western media, but total rejection by the Islamic community, and he had to start appealing to Islam. The seeming solution was to throw a bone to the Muslim community by attacking leaders of the counter-jihad movement. But I refuse to stand by watching the reputation of honorable Americans being smeared in order for the Muslim community to approve of Jasser. I also do not think that this will work, because Jasser has gone too far in his criticism of sharia and jihad and he will not be able to take that back.
The reform Islam movement is nothing new and Muslims have attempted to reform Islam for fourteen hundred years and always failed. Leaders of such movements were often beheaded for apostasy. Jihad and sharia are foundational principles of Islam and no mincing of words will change that. That in addition to lying, deception and terror as approved Islamic tools to stay in control, could never help any reform movement to build on. How can anyone build on a foundation of lies and violence? But the so-called reformers tell us they can and that keeps American media happy and that is all that counts.
Nonie Darwish Author “Wholly Different; why I chose Biblical Values over Islamic Values”