Mohamed Ibn Guadi is one of the most insightful and honest observers of Islam and jihad on the scene today. He doesn’t hesitate here to tell the truth about how mainstream the “tiny minority of extremists” really is. In this interview he echoes points I have made about Islam and jihad in Islam Unveiled, Onward Muslim Soldiers, and many times at this site. “The Evolution of Islam : Interview with Mohamed Ibn Guadi,” from the Global Politician, with thanks to Nicolei and RB:
Mohamed Ibn Guadi is an Islamologist at Strasbourg University and a researcher in Semitic Philology. He is a contributor to Figaro, Le Point and other journals. He is the Director of the Islamology Program at the French Center of Middle East Studies (AFEMO) in Toulouse. He is currently preparing a book on Islam and the West.
RM: Is Islam growing more radical or moderate overall? Where is it the most worrisome?
MIG: That’s a good question, Ryan. Today, most people think that radical Islam is growing to the detriment of the “real” Islam. Is Islam a religion of peace? No. Is it a religion of war? Neither. As a matter a fact, this is a puzzle. Osama Bin Laden is a good Muslim. I mean, what they say about the West is consistent with Islamic history. It’s true that moderate Muslims represent Islam but we have to keep in mind that Osama, Mullah Omar and others represent Islam as well.
RM: But do you think that the religion of Islam as a whole is growing more radical, or more peaceful ?
MIG: Islam is growing more original which means that Islam is returning to its foundations. Islam is in a decisive time that it will determine its future. The growing of democracy in the Arab world could change the Arab minds but not Islam.
RM: How did radical Islam originate? Is it true the Soviet Union played a key role in creating radical Islam in the first place?
MIG: Radical Islam is not an ex nihilo creation. The so-called “radical Muslims” draw their sources in 14 centuries of Islamic history as well as hadiths and Muhammad the Prophet’s life that must be an example for Muslims. The Jihad is theologically correct. Nevertheless, we have to keep in mind that the ones who are very critical of their Arab country are also Muslims. Ibn Khaldoun, maybe the greatest historian in Arab history, was very critical towards Muslims.
Arabs have always sought allies according to the circumstances. During the 40’s it was the Nazis, during the Cold War it was the Soviet Union. They (Arabs) adopted some ideologies from their allies. But neither Nazism nor the Soviet Union played a key role in the expansion of radical Islam.
RM: What do you believe is causing the radicalization of the Islamic world?
MIG: The feeling that all the problems comes from the West. But, this is not the only cause. The only thing that saved the Arabs in the 20th century is secular nationalism. After the Six Days War, the Arabs saw this nationalism trifling. The one source the Arabs met in their history was the Islamic State. This is the only one political organization they have experienced. Secular nationalism came from Europe by Arab intellectuals who wanted to gather Arab Christians and Muslims under the Arab nation….
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