A couple of Dutch imams try to stay in the country by making religion-of-peace noises. Of course, Islam is so misunderstood, etc. (What monumental complexity it encompasses! How few have grasped it properly!) But they nonetheless can’t manage to hide their desire to see Islamic law come to Holland. A translation of a Dutch article, courtesy Cid Martel:
“We are against violence and we are not against Western society. We think everyone should abide by the Dutch rule of law; Muslims as well.” Both imams belong to the Al Fourqaan mosque in Eindhoven. Minister Verdonk wants to take away their permission to stay in the country. During the interview in the boardroom of the mosque, the men don’t seen very impressed.
Abou Tareq, 41, who has the Bosnian nationality but comes from Sudan originally, as well as Mohammed Mahmoud, 34, from Kenya, maintain that they haven’t done anything which is against the Dutch law. Their lawyer has protested against the minister’s decision.
“Yes, we are Salafist,” both admit, “if by that you mean that we wish to go back to the original roots of Islam. But that doesn’t mean we”re against Western society.” Both imams do admit that it would be ideal for the secular laws of a nation to corresponded with Islamic law. “But that does not mean you can push Islamic law onto society. You can only do that after a democratic choice. Which is what orthodox Christians would also like to do.”
Both imams deny they ever called Muslims to jihad. Someone like Osama bin Laden also doesn’t have the right to issue a fatwa and call for jihad against the West, both insist. “He does not have the authority, he’s no scholar. Osama bin Laden has done much damage to Islam.”
Whew. I feel so much better. I guess that’s why no Muslims around the world are waging jihad today.
“But on the other hand,” Mahmoud says, “Muslims are often cornered and accused of being followers of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.”
“The AIVD (secret service) has never been able to register anything illegal over here, even though the mosque is being tapped, including our phone conversations,” Tareq says.
Tareq studied at the Islamic University of Khartoum in Sudan and then studied English in Bosnia. His colleague studied at the Islamic University of Medina in Saudi Arabia, and after that at the University of South Africa in Pretoria. Both are considered scholars by the Muslim community in Holland, and authorities because of their great knowledge of Islam.
But all their scholarship hasn’t won them any points among those who think more highly of Osama than they do:
Both claim to have been threatened by Muslims who think they are henchmen of the AIVD. “So the AIVD is about to deport its own people,” the imams say jokingly. Tareq gives an example of him calming Muslims down. Three years ago things got very tense between Israel and Palestine, and a young Muslim in Britain stabbed a Jewish woman. “We made clear that it’s not what Islam is about. You can’t take matters into your own hands.”
You can’t take matters into your own hands. So the way it was done was wrong, but not the action itself. So presumably if an army of Palestinian Arabs massacred a group of Jews with the permission of a mufti, that would be all right.
In 1998 two men supporting the Takfiri came into the mosque. They think they alone represent true Islam. Everyone else is an infidel. “I tried to get them to debate me. I told them: it’s not up to you to decide who is a true Muslim. But they wouldn’t debate me,” Mahmoud says.
I would have liked to have seen this debate too, because there has been little or no success, and hardly any attempt, by Islamic moderates to disabuse their jihadist coreligionists of their supposed errors about Islam. Can it be done at all? It would seem to be prohibitively difficult given the fact that the jihadists have the texts on their side.
Things like Muslims having the right to steal from infidels and do things to harm the Dutch nation are silly fantasies, according to Tareq. “You”re supposed to follow the law of the land. Besides, stealing does not belong inside Islam.”
But what about the plunder in which Muhammad’s armies engaged after victorious battles? And isn’t he al-insan al-kamil, the perfect man?
The fact that young Muslims like those of the Hofstad network think they can use violence is based on a completely false idea about Islam. “Never history has shown us that violence solved anything,” Tareq says. “The AIVD and politicians have a totally wrong impression of what Islam is. They should get their education from people that really know about Islam,” both imams think. The AIVD is welcome to learn from them as well.