The other day I criticized FMCAT’s statement supporting the Spanish fatwa. Some have accused me of supporting the terrorists by trying to make things difficult for moderate Muslims. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All I am saying is this: if someone wants to identify himself as a Muslim and yet eschew the jihad ideology now and in the future, a good way to start would be by being honest about what his religion actually teaches, and working from that basis. Saying that Islam actually teaches peace is not only inaccurate and deceptive; it also won’t hold up against questioning from jihadist Muslims. Unless the vision of peaceful Islam that these groups put forward is strong enough to convince Muslims that violent jihad is not the way, it has no value.
Why is that so? Because if they say they are Muslims but their Islam is not coherent on Islamic grounds, then they are either trying to deceive non-Muslims or they are deceiving themselves. There are many Islamic sects, and there is room for another that teaches peaceful co-existence with non-Muslims instead of jihad warfare. But if the theology of this hypothetical new sect is so easily refutable, then how will it win recruits? How will it sustain itself against charges of heresy? It won’t.
And these problems are made even more urgent by the fact that the Qur’an allows for religious deception (see 3:28 and 16:106). Is FMCAT trying to deceive? I doubt it — but it cannot be dismissed as a possibility. They would allay all such suspicions by producing proof, or at least viable support, of what they say, if they be truthful.
But this Spanish fatwa, at least as published so far, contains no such proof.
From AP, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
The fatwa, issued on the anniversary of the Madrid train bombings that claimed 191 lives, was believed to be the first cleric-sanctioned condemnation directly against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. But it highlights a wider, critical dialogue emerging across the Islamic world.
Moderate Muslims are turning to Islam’s sacred core — the Quran and the laws and traditions it inspires — to defend their views and discredit radicals as part of a “counter-jihad” for Islamic hearts and minds.
Terrorist attacks by al-Qaida and other militant groups add urgency to the ideological debate, which challenges the long dominance of Saudi Arabia’s fundamentalist Wahhabist strain that has used its wealth and influence to mute moderate Islamic voices.
“Long dominance”? I thought that we were supposed to believe they were a tiny minority of extremists. It’s funny how AP can acknowledge so breezily, as if everyone knows it, what the mainstream media and the Administration have been strenuously denying since 9/11: that the jihad terrorists have not “hijacked” the religion, but are in fact the majority view. How did so many hundreds of millions of people get their religion so drastically wrong?
“The long and painful silence of moderate theologians and experts in Islam jurisprudence is finally starting to break apart,” said Khaled Abou El Fadl, an authority on Islamic law at UCLA. “We are seeing signs of a counter-jihad.”
The deluge of support messages appeared to touch the frustration among mainstream Muslims. But the response was dominated by those outside the Middle East, suggesting centers of moderate influence reside outside traditional Muslim areas.
Nor am I reassured by the presence of Khaled Abou El Fadl in this piece. In Onward Muslim Soldiers I detail how he tried to argue that Islam has no doctrine of holy war on the basis of the fact that the words “holy war” — harb muqaddasah — do not appear in the Qur’an. If you find that an adequate argument, go back to school.