Silence of Moderates - A Rebuttal
Mike Ghouse, December 15, 2007
Mike Ghouse, December 15, 2007
Ayaan Hirsi Ali starts her article Silence of Moderates with a verse from Qur’aan. "The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with 100 stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day." (Koran 24:2). Indeed, it is one of the thirteen authentic translations referenced below.
Ms. Ali has deliberately omitted a few verses that follow 24:2 making it impossible to mete that punishment. One is innocent until proven guilty.
Religion is not a divider for moderate Muslims. In practicing their faith they give room to some flexibility and rigidity. Like moderates anywhere they can also be called average Muslims and they seldom wear a glaring religious neon sign. Indeed their presence holds through the turbulent storms of the world.
The values of each family and a society differ on issues of premarital sex, adultery, rape, robbing, lying and cheating. They range from draconian to casual in how they deal with these issues. No single group can claim superiority over the other; they are different systems with their own fluid equilibriums.
Sex & Murder
Parts of Dutch society may not consider sex with a friend’s mate as a taboo. In America it is adultery! Hypocritically an adulterous wife might be brutally murdered if caught in the act. The Saudis and Iranians mete out 100 lashes for fornication or stone them to death for adultery.
The following statistics is baffling. Countries selected were top and the bottom of the list along with the US, UK and Netherlands.
Population in (000)
Sources: FBI, Nation Masters, Interpol and domestic violence.
Please click this link for checking the above table out properly - http://www.mikeghouse.net/Articles/Silence-of-moderates-a-rebutttal.asp
Punishment may not be a deterrent. However, the figures suggest that a woman is safer from rape in Saudi Arabia than in South Africa. It is also possible that since the rapes are a rarity in Saudi Arabia, each one gets the headlines.
To save a life is like saving the whole humanity, and God loves those who forgive the most.
Qur’aan - 11:52 "Hence, O my people, ask your Sustainer to forgive you your sins, and then turn towards Him in repentance-[whereupon] He will shower upon you heavenly blessings abundant, and will add strength to your strength: only do not turn away [from me] as people lost in sin!"
How many societies approve adultery or premarital sex? Should the rapist be punished? Who should bear the responsibility for consequences of sex crimes or spread of STD’s?
A savage murderer gets the electric chair in Texas. Europeans may think us barbaric, but that does not shame us into changing our laws. The state continues capital punishment as the law of the land. I oppose that law and the punishment meted out to the Qatif girl. I condemn both the punishment and the Saudi Government for not mitigating it. Would Ms. Ali speak against American capital punishment? And to whom?
Ms. Ali concludes, “More compelling even than the order to flog adulterers is the command that the believer show no compassion. It is this order to choose Allah above his sense of conscience and compassion that imprisons the Muslim in a mindset that is archaic and extreme.”
It sounds archaic. However, Ms. Ali has omitted the verses that make it virtually impossible to mete that punishment out.
24:4 And as for those who accuse chaste women, and then are unable to produce four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes and ever after refuse to accept from them any testimony - since it is they, they that are truly depraved!
24:5 excepting [from this interdict] only those who afterwards repent and made amends: for, behold, God is much forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
24:6 And as for those who accuse their own wives, but have no witnesses except themselves, let each of these [accusers] call God four times to witness that he is indeed telling the truth.
Americans are used to raising their right hand in front of a judge and affirming to tell nothing but the truth.
The functioning of a society runs amok when there is no punishment for crime. Most of the codes are designed to protect the innocent and to apply the laws uniformly.
God is compassionate and merciful.
Compassion is Islamic and must be applied. Our efforts ought to include the four nations in the 53 of the 57Muslim majority nations who follow compassion. Those who do not want to follow the law of their lands are not welcome to our shores either, although we are a compassionate and forgiving people.
We must understand how societies function and work towards a common goal. We should not divide societies as “western” or “eastern,” but follow what is human. We must focus on creating a just society, where every human enjoys the day and night without fear.
Verse ref: http://www.mikeghouse.net/Articles/Silence-of-Moderates-flogging-24-2.asp
Tariq Ramadan also has written a piece two days after I have written, the international Herald Tribute editor has my piece as well on the 12th. It is listed below
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net. Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com
A response to Ayaan Hirsi Ali
A CASE OF SELECTING HEARING
Monday 17 December 2007, by Tariq Ramadan
OXFORD — In a recent article, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Dutch legislator and author of “Infidel,” accused the so-called “moderate” Muslims of remaining silent instead of condemning acts done in the name of Islam by individuals or governments.
Surprisingly, I was mentioned among the “moderate” Muslim scholars who did not condemn what happened in Saudi Arabia (the lashing sentence of a female rape victim) or Sudan (the indictment of a grade school teacher for allowing her students to name their teddy bear after the Prophet). All the while, I have been paying the price of my regular criticisms of such kinds of actions these past few years by being banned from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and . . . the United States.
Let us start first with Ayaan Hirsi Ali's quotation of the Koran. The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with 100 stripes: Let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. (Koran 24:2)
What kind of message does she exactly want to convey by quoting a verse referring to corporal punishment? That Islam, per se, is advocating violence? That violent Muslims or the so-called Islamic governments acting undemocratically are in fact genuinely implementing the Islamic message? Through her text, the message becomes clear: Islam is an archaic religion, the Koran is a violent text and the only way to reform Islam is simply to “de-Islamize” the Muslims.
Would it not be possible to quote here tens of passages from the Bhagavad Gita, the Torah, the Gospels and the Epistles that are violent without reaching the conclusion that Hinduism, Judaism or Christianity are violent per se? Is it difficult to understand that this is a question of interpretation and that to condemn in such a way a religion, by its very essence, is not only unjust but deeply counterproductive? It does not help the inner dynamic of reforms.
Contrary to what Ayaan Hiri Ali said — that no “moderate” Muslims, and in particular myself, had spoken out in protest over these incidents — I wrote a piece during the Sudanese story (11/28/07) about the situation in Pakistan, in Saudi Arabia as well as in Sudan. I started by rejecting any kind of victim mentality on the part of Muslims, for it would have easily been possible to claim that the media were once again covering only damaging stories about Muslims and the Islamic majority countries. For Muslims to simply blame this “ongoing campaign against Islam, its Book, its Prophet and its values and practices” is no longer enough.
There comes a time, I wrote before Hirsi Ali's accusation of silence among Muslims, where one should take a hard look at the state of affairs of the legal system in the Islamic majority countries and draw some imperative (and constructive) conclusions. It is simply a shame! In the name of Islam, innocent, poor people and women are accused, jailed, sometimes beaten and sometimes executed with no evidence and, moreover, no way to properly defend themselves. A woman, victim of a rape, becomes the accused in Saudi Arabia while a British teacher is jailed because her students decided to name a teddy bear “Muhammad”! And then, in Algeria, two recent suicide bombings have killed innocent civilians. If all this is done in the name of Islam, where are we heading?
Though it should remain neutral and protect justice and people's rights, in the Islamic majority countries the judiciary system is often used for political reasons or so-called “religious concerns.” The problem is much more serious and deep than the series of stories we have been getting in the media. These countries need profound reform, an imperative reassessment. Let's face it. A rape is a rape. While all the evidence has not been shown, it remains unacceptable to start by blaming the woman. To use and instrumentalize the story of an innocent British teacher to show how much “we care about Islam” is pure nonsense and should be utterly rejected!
It is as if the teacher had become a vehicle through whom a government is showing its dedication toward Islam and for some Muslims to convey their anger toward the West. First, anger is not good in itself; second to send it through a wrong and unjust means must be condemned. Did not the Prophet Muhammad say: “What is built on wrong foundation is wrong”?
One must ask these Islamic majority societies to be more consistent with their own values and to stick to justice by refusing to abuse Islam.
They must protect the independence of the judicial system and protect innocent people, poor or rich, Muslims and non-Muslims, men and women equally. We cannot remain silent when we read about such unacceptable situations either in the petromonarchies or in the poor Islamic countries. These actions are not done in the name of one of the accepted interpretations of Islam. Because they are plainly unjust, they are purely anti-Islamic.
My condemnation — as well as those of many other Muslim scholars around the world — has apparently not been heard. Unfortunately, global information does not mean efficient communication. In the Western countries as well as in the Islamic majority countries, we witness a kind of selective hearing. People are invited to listen only to what apparently comforts their prejudices or suits some ideological agenda.
This polarization is dangerous because it engenders enmity. Our world needs more courageous, but also more consistent, voices. The reason why voices such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali's are not heard in the Islamic majority countries is not because she raises irrelevant questions (some of her arguments are indeed very relevant) but because her criticisms appear to be obsessive, excessive and unilateral. It is as if she wants to please the West and, yes, the West is pleased. But the Muslims are deaf to her voice.
The future belongs to those who are able to consistently exercise self-criticism in the name of shared universal values and not because of blindly belonging to the artificial construct of “Western” or “Islamic” civilization, or because of a hidden ideological agenda.
All betrayals of faith and principles must be denounced with the same energy: those of the Muslims when they kill innocent people, or sentence to jail (or death) poor women, as well as those of democratic Western societies when they illegally invade another country, or use torture or extraordinary renditions. It would be good, indeed, to hear more often these non-selective — and non-selected — voices.
Published today in The International Herald Tribune