The Mufti of Australia and New Zealand, Taj Al-Din Hamed Abdallah Al-Hilali (the one who claimed Australia was originally Muslim), has come under fire for his remarks praising jihad and suicide bombing. His defense? His remarks were “taken out of context.”
I couldn’t begin to count the times that Muslim spokesmen have told me I am taking Qur’an quotes, or Hadith quotes, or the words of radical Muslims, out of context. It is an all-purpose defense, but it’s a lazy and ultimately ineffective one. What possible context could justify or mitigate incitements to mass murder? And even if the Qur’an’s injunction to “slay unbelievers wherever you find them” (Sura 9:5) really does only apply to some of the Prophet Muhammad’s opponents, it is not being wrenched out of this context by “venomous Orientalists” like me, but by radical Muslims around the world who seem unimpressed by arguments that this behavior was restricted to Muhammad’s day. And why are they unimpressed? Because the entire context of the Qur’an and the way it is traditionally interpreted by Muslims does not teach that this verse cannot be applied to contemporary situations. Moreover, if the Prophet behaved that way, his actions in this as in everything else are exemplary — so even the argument used by the “out-of-context” folks doesn’t blunt the force of this verse or keep it from being used by radicals.
What is needed is thoroughgoing reform that will rule out radical Muslim exegesis of the Qur’an as an option for Muslims. Shallow, tiresome bleats of “out of context” and “religion of peace” don’t quite accomplish this.
From The Australian, with thanks to Kevin:
A SENIOR Liberal MP today urged the Federal Government to consider action against the leader of Australia’s Muslims for praising Islamic suicide bombers and calling for a holy war against Israel. . . .
Christopher Pyne, parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Family and Community Services, said he was appalled and horrified by Sheik Alhilali’s alleged support for violence.
But a spokesman for the Sydney-based Mufti said he had been taken out of context. . . .
The Mufti’s spokesman in Sydney, Keysar Trad, said MEMRI had taken the Muslim leader out of context.
“The Mufti is a proponent of peace and peaceful solutions to any conflict,” he told ABC radio.
“I spoke to him today and he assured me that the context in which he made his message was not in the way that it was reported by these people.”
Mr Trad said the Mufti believed Muslim resistance fighters may target occupying military forces, but not civilians.
He said the Mufti was not urging people to carry out suicide bombings.
“He is saying, let’s not condemn them because these people are making a major sacrifice to protect their country,” said Mr Trad, of the Lebanese Muslim Association.
Nor was the Mufti calling for a war against Israel.
“He was not so much calling for a jihad in the nature of war, but in the nature of what will get that country to respect the United Nations resolutions.”
Hmm. A peaceful jihad to force respect for UN resolutions. That’s a new one.