Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seema Chisthi: Defense of Islam

Alliance between Islamists and Communists is not just legendary. It is still very much in existence and for Islamists these leftist ideologues are just useful idiots who could be dealt with after they assume power just like, (Late) Khomeini, after coming to power, has thousands of communists put to death who initially supported his revolution. Yet, leftists remain blindfolded about Islamic ideology because of their shared hatred towards US, democracy and freedom.

I do not know much about Ms Seema Chisthi, on her religion and her political ideology, except that she is wife of Mr Sitaram Yechuri, an important leader of CPI(M), and an editor in Indian Express.

Considering the possibility of her having leftist leanings and being an atheist, one can not be surprised to see her scathing contempt for Hinduism and her frequent vitriol against BJP.

But, what I am surprised to find is that in an article she wrote for Indian Express under the title 'Taking up the defense of Islam' (her original article can be read from this link) she literally extolls the non-existing virtues of Islam and tells us about how one Islamic scholar from Pakistan, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, issues fatwas against terrorism and explains present day Islamic terrorism is not real Islam. But, she never ventures in to Islamic theology - may be, she is not familiar - nor tries to crosscheck some historical facts mentioned by her. It is unbelievable that she could write this piece! When I tried to think what made her to turn in to such a miserable apologist for Islamic supremacism, I could only think of present day fashionable trend of writing against Hinduism and praising other religions.

Overall, who needs facts! not definitely our main stream media which completely ignores or conceals Islamic extremism in India from violence by some Muslim groups to what some Ulema are saying. One can not expect politically correct media to write what Sharia law says but they should at-least stop publishing this kind of  views as it is bound to have some impact on some readers and emboldens Islamic extremists further.

Note: Excerpts from her article are in italics and blocks with background and my comments are below.

Under-reported in recent times has been the fierce debate within the Muslim community on the wisdom of “defending” Islam. Several scholars have held there is no need to provide explanations. Any “defence” of the Book or the Word is in effect seen as a defensive move, and so, a tactless one, bound to complicate matters and implicate the Faith, eventually.
'Fierce debate'! God, we must have missed  some thing? Because, I have not seen any debate, let alone a fierce one, that too on the mentioned subject 'wisdom of defending Islam'. Other important question that should be put to her is who made this 'defending Islam' a subject and a necessity: Muslim terrorists or non-Muslims?

The way she has put words and statements is confusing and misleading, is equally amounting to intentional deceit because she herself does not define what constitutes 'defending Islam'. Her statements are also trying to create an image of Islam and Muslims being victims brushing up its its basic tenets, evil ideology, its past deeds, suffering of religious minorities in Islamic nations at present and incessant efforts of Muslims - even if they are in minority - to make Sharia as part of law in non-Muslim majority nations.

Lets look at this in detail. On numerous occasions, Al-Qaeda, other Islamic terrorist organizations and many more terrorists involved in acts of terrorism have quoted numerous verses from Koran and teachings of Prophet Mohammad for justifying their murderous acts and their fascist ideology. With this, how should non-Muslims and media, which is supposed to inform public about happenings world wide, react to quoting of verses from Koran? Is it the fault of non-Muslims if terrorists blowing up things quote verses from Koran!

This is where so called scholars of Islam come in to picture with their lies and falsehood, telling willing media and non-Muslim politicians that verses mentioned by terrorists do not mean what they say and Islam of terrorists is an aberration of 'real Islam'.

If so-called Muslim scholars are defending Islam in media then it is the result of some actions of Muslims themselves. So called 'defending Islam' is a concerned and natural reaction from Muslims to abominable Islamic crimes followed by statements of verses from Koran and abhorrent Islamic ideology. Nether non-Muslims nor West has anything to do with it.

When Islam is trying to expand - as always it tried to do by all means, to say that Islam is being forced to defend itself  theologically is preposterous esp. in the light of Islamists murdering both Muslims and non-Muslims who ever tried to criticize major tenets of main stream Islam; this amounts to shutting down criticism and curtailing freedom of expression, a basic human right which is anyway never respected by leftists and Islamists, both ideologies being totalitarian and fascist.

If murder is the weapon of violent Islamists, using democracy, freedom of expression, political correctness  and using faultlines in national politics is part of strategy of peaceful Islamists in trying to shut down any discussion on Islam by coining and using the word 'Islamophobia' and terming any discussion as hatred towards Muslims.
More than a decade before the attacks in New York, the emerging Samuel Huntington idea that a civilisational “clash” was central to all conflicts in the world did find supporters. But as the debate sharpened between the “free” world and the world of the “terrorists”, Muslim scholars of all hues knew what were absolutely the wrong things to do: entering the debate from a point in which one was offering clarifications about the faith — or telling those who don’t know that Islam is a religion of “peace” (Islam itself, literally stems from the root “salam”, or peace).
This kind of reasoning is the result of combination of ignorance of basics of Islam,  intention to cheat non-Muslims and compulsions of leftist ideology.

The 'Huntington's theory came in early nineties, esp. much after the collapse of Soviet Union and First Gulf war. So, if her intention was to show that this current phase of Islamic extremism and consequent debates or discussions are result of that theory, no one is bigger fool than she is, for the simple reason that laws of Saudi Arabia and many other Islamic nations are same before as now (Islamic and discriminatory towards non-Muslims and women) and statements issued by OIC (organization of Islamic countries) in the year 1990 in Cairo remove any doubt about intolerant nature of Islam.

Seema Chisthi's indulgence reaches peak when she shamelessly admonishes people for not knowing that Islam is a religion of peace and that Islam itself comes from the word 'salam' meaning peace.

Sure, 'salam' means peace. But it has no relation to the word 'Islam' apart from the fact that both share the  common root word i.e. Si-La-M (S-L-M). At the time of so called revelation of Koran to Prophet Mohammad, Arabic language has no written vowels. Many words can be developed from this root word by inserting vowels between these 3 root consonants (S-L-M). Thus we have 'salam' meaning peace and 'Islam' meaning submission. Some other words also sprang from this root word one such is 'salama' meaning the stinging of a snake or the tanning of leather. Should this mean that 'islam' is related to these two. (one can read on this etymology from here)

Best place to look for what 'islam' means is Koran itself in the verse 19 of chapter 3.
The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will)..... But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in calling to account. (3:019;YUSUF ALI). 
She even talks of debate between free world and Islamic world as if it has occurred and is allowed. Western world along with India are continuing to live in delusion that Islam is like any other religion and Islam of terrorists is not real Islam, a concept that is pernicious to these civilizations. And to talk of debate, considering she is a journalist - taking place when media censors every thing that is unfavorable to Islam and Muslims is also pure hypocritical.
It is, however, precisely for this reason — for taking up the gauntlet of “defence” — that those like Pakistan-based scholar-cleric, Dr Muhammed Tahir-ul-Qadri deserve to be lauded. He has gone out and developed a large body of detailed notes from the Quran to denounce the view that many hold of some sort of link between Islam and those who claim to kill in its name.
To show Islam is religion of peace, she names a scholar [I am not sure about whether he is based in Pakistan or Canada] with a name Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri and wants every one - for also which we should be grateful - to believe that he speaks truth and tells what is 'real Islam' because he made detailed notes from reading Koran! This is the standard of opinion makers and 'enlightened people' in India.

If not by killing or violence, can Muslims by other means establishing a system where discrimination is directed against non-Muslims - I call it Islamic apartheid - be justified? Violence or killing is not end in itself but tactics for imposing Islamic superiority over others. Muslim apologists cleverly try to deviate non-Muslims from knowing about Islamic apartheid by condemning violence and terrorism which are only means; their silence on elements of Islamic supremacism [Islamic apartheid] is too conspicuous.

For more than 13 hundred years, Jihad was understood as warfare against non-Muslims by almost all Islamic scholars (both Sunni and Shia) and it is only in the 19th century that Jihad as concept of inner struggle has come and that too, when Muslim empires were weakest in power and are in descendancy and European powers have acquired greater military power and are in ascendancy.
Qadri takes on interesting questions ranging from the abstract — “Islam allows for the killing of people because of doctrinal differences” — to historical debates, as on the Kharijites. The Kharijites were a controversial sect that appeared during the lifetime of the Prophet, claiming to be truer and more pious believers, and waged a war against the Caliphs, claiming that they were better Muslims. It is the contention of scholars like Qadri and Reza Aslan that what is being seen as a battle on behalf of Islam against non-Muslims is in fact a battle within the faith, of claiming its true soul. The Kharijites are part of this larger battle as the fundamentalists or puritans of the 7th century, who fought other Muslims declaring themselves the sole faithful and others “worthy of death”.
If all these lies are because of ignorance, she continues to flaunt her ignorance with purpose.

Yes, there was a group called kharijites that emerged in the late 7th century. At present, it survives in some parts of Muslim world in small numbers [albeit under a different name] and they also distinguish themselves from both Sunni and Shia.

Vice versa, both Sunni Islam and Shia versions denounce kharijites as heretical. And it is noteworthy that all major (4) schools of Sunni Islam [Hanafi, Shafi'i, Hambali and Maliki] and school of Zafari [Shia Islam] support Jihad and define it as warfare against non-Muslims to bring their lands under Islamic rule and subjugating them.

Considering that extremism, exclusiveness and intolerance of Islam towards non-Muslims is the subject here, kharijites are not different from present day Sunni and Shia Islam in their outlook towards non-Muslims and Jihad and concept of dhimmah.

Kharijites never emerged during the life time of Prophet Mohammad as there was never any opposition nor resentment towards his rule and his orders, as, one obligation of all Muslims is to obey the command of Prophet Mohammad - whatever it be - as Allah tells Muslims in numerous verses (about 90). This statement -  that kharijites emerged during life time of Prophet - by Ms Seema Chisthi speaks about her ignorance of history too.

Kharijites first sided with Ali, fourth caliph of Islam, [cousin and son-in-law of Prophet] and later opposed and fought him too on the grounds of differences in theology when Ali agreed to appointing an arbitrator for truce between him and a revolting, powerful Governor of Syria, Muawiyah.

If kharijites are extremists and radicals - in the words of Seema Chisthi - then, how should Ali be considered as he was fighting kharijites? It is enough to tell that Ali was equally killing apostates i.e. Muslims who left Islam to e.g. Christianity.

Kharijites are just another face of Islam with not much difference from Islam of today in theology or jurisprudence according to all 4 schools of Sunni Islam and Zafari school of Shites.
This, is nowhere more visible perhaps, than in Pakistan, which, formed as it was as an “Islamic republic”, cannot seem to agree on a self-definition. Several competing ideas of identity — region, language, ethnicity and colonial leftovers, and then the Cold War — went on to shape and almost consume the region and confuse the picture totally on the place of Islam in the idea of Pakistan.
Inability of Muslims of Pakistan to come to a unanimous definition of 'muslim' is not proof of Islamic tolerance towards non-Muslims. But they all agree on who is a non-Muslim; people calling themselves  Hindu, Christian and as Jew are definitely not Muslims. So, there is no confusion here.

On the failure of reaching definition of 'muslim', it is understandable because two predominant sects of Pakistan, Deobandi and Barlevi, literally disagree on how Prophet Mohammad should be viewed besides some other issues. For Deobandi, Prophet Mohammad was just a human and only a messenger of Allah. For Barlevi, Prophet Mohammad is a semi God. This difference causes problem in the first pillar of Islam i.e Shahada, itself and thus disagreement.
The Kharijites serve to make an important point about how those killing in the name of the Almighty are not up to anything new, but bearers of a medieval tradition that blighted Islam even when the Prophet was alive. There is much talk usually, of Muslims not saying “enough” or not being critical “enough” about ills amongst those who kill in the name of Islam, but the first fatwa against terror came on September 12, 2001, by Yusuf Qaradwi who quoted from the Quran emphasising that even one death “shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he has saved the life of all mankind” (5:32). In his discussion of fatwas on terrorism, Qadri quotes a discussion on two sets of documents, one (the “Amman message”) in 2004-05, and another in 2007, that emphasised the need for keeping the Faith distinct from what al-Qaeda’s tapes were keen on reducing it to.
Dr. Qatri is not the first and only Muslim to quote present day Jihadists as kharijites; many have attempted this portrayal thus keeping non-Muslims in a state of ignorance and confusion of Islamic goal of whole world under sharia. Interestingly,  jihadists and terrorists denounce kharijites and in their websites they state that they are not like kharijites and give justifications for their actions by quoting from Koran and teachings of Prophet Mohammad, two primary and most important sources of Islam.

Only an ignorant or an ideological lunatic can quote an Islamic supremacist (fascist)Yusuf Qaradawi in defense of Islam. Probably she did it because she expects all her readers to be ignorants and thus remain unchallenged. His (Qaradawi) comments on the verse 5:32 needs a separate post. But, Yusuf Qaradawi advocates death penalty for apostasy, issued numerous fatwas for killing of Jews including civilians, women and children, advocates destruction of state of Israel and proudly states that Muslims can not reject sharia for secularism. He foresees Europe being conquered by Muslims or Islamized. His definition of Jihad differs from that of terrorists only in the ways but not in the concept itself.
While several other scholars have tried to draw a distinction between an innocent victim and a “more political” victim, Qadri in his 500-page recent work on anti-terrorism fatwas leaves no room for the theological masking of any act of violence as a legitimate tool or response. Combing the Quran for even a slender justification for violence as a response, Qadri finds none.
Rahther than giving one mans rendering as proof, Ms Seema Chisthi could have done well by addressing and explaining why Sharia law of all 4 major schools of Sunni Islam define Jihad as warfare against non-Muslims and treat non-Muslims as second/ third/ fourth class citizens and Muslim women as cattle.

I can quote more than a dozen Islamic scholars, from both classical and modern times, who define Jihad as warfare against non-Muslims and as striving to bring the world under sharia law, as enough was already documented in this blog.

This is what I meant when I said in my earlier posts that when we read Koran and teachings and life of Prophet from Hadith and Sira, we develop our own independent view of Islam and are not dependent on what some scholar said. It is like we ourselves become some kind of scholars who can not be cheated by people like Ms Chisthi or Dr. Qadri.

To be blunt, lets ask Ms Seema Chisthi on whether this so called fatwa worked wonders? The duplicity and impotency of these statements can also be seen from fact that many opinion polls conducted in Islamic countries show that more than significant majority of Muslims want more Islamization in their country and support punishment of death to apostates.

All the time, Ms Chisthi is shamelessly barking about so and so issuing fatwas condemning violence and terrorism. First, these fatwas do not matter much because they do not address very basic Islamic concepts and tenets which are completely supremacist (or imperialist).

These fatwas contain statements like Islam prohibits killing innocent people but they never define who is an innocent.

These fatwas, for the sake of consumption of infidel public, condemn terrorism and suicide bombings but they never define what is Jihad and say anything against Jihad.

These fatwas do not address vital elements of Islamic culture like bringing sharia law to non-Muslim lands. In the view of Dr. Qadri itself, Gods law (sharia law) is much superior to man made laws; here one can see that fog is being lifted off  with real Islamic character of Dr Qatri becoming gradually visible.

Finally, as Jihad means striving to bring the world under Sharia law, some Muslims use violence and terrorism as means - and we call these Muslims as terrorists - while some use peaceful means. Now, should use of peaceful means bringing world under sharia be lauded as tolerant?
Yet while Qadri finds a resonance between the Kharijites and modern-day terrorists, it may be useful here to emphasise that these ideas are not frozen in time, but constantly adapting. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, for instance, currently, defines Pakistan as a bigger enemy than the US (or Israel or Christendom).
This is again to confuse non-Muslims. With large proportions (more than 65%) of Muslims in Pakistan wanting more Islamization and only 13% opposing Islamization, it is unlikely that such organizations can be contained. In fact, this latest opinion poll simply renders likes of Dr Qadri and Ms Chisthi useless and you guess the reasons.
The problem is not so much that they are old and medieval — but that they are a frighteningly modern and adaptive idea. To quote from Karen Armstrong’s The Battle for God; “these movements are not an archaic throwback to the past; they are modern, innovative and modernising. Protestant fundamentalists read the Bible in a literal, rational way, quite different from the more mystical allegorical approach of premodern spirituality... Muslim thinkers produced an anti-imperalism ideology that was in tune with other Third World movements of their times... [The ultra-orthodox Jews] who seemed to turn their backs on modern society ... adopted a novel stringency in their observance of the Torah, and learned to manipulate the political system in a way that brought them more power than any religious Jew had enjoyed for nearly two millennia.”
This statement gives an impression that if one takes off violence from the equation, agenda of Islamists i.e. bringing world under sharia is humane and genuine. At the end of the day what Ms Chisthi is saying that non-Muslims deserved to be humiliated and subjugated in the larger interest of humanity or these terrorists are no different from other fundamentalists.

Ms Chisthi's quoting of Karen Armstrong's reasoning  shows her side of antisemitism - another tolerant feature of Islam and antisemitism is also a feature common to leftist (communist) ideology.

If we go by views of Karen Armstrong, we all are seeing and hearing every day that those orthodox jews are stoning their women to death for adultery, imposing all kinds of prohibitions on their women and also are engaged in a world wide war to make Torah supreme law or those Bible thumpers are blowing themselves up !!!

Reasoning of Karen Armstrong, in the last few lines, is similar to the reasoning used by Hilter and Nazis for holocaust.

Note: I have not given hyperlinks to prove what I said because of time, but I will do it in short time. 

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