Two Jihad Watch Board members, Ibn Warraq and Tashbih Sayyid, are among the many great speakers now appearing at the Secular Islam Summit. The Jawa Report has a report:
Ibn Warraq began the Monday opening session with a call for an independent institute of Koranic studies. He noted that the existing institutes of Islamic studies, even in the U.S., are under the firm control of the Saudi islamists that fund them. He recounted stories of academics in Western universities who have been pushed out after refusing to toe the official Saudi party line, and argued that open inquiry on Islam can only succeed in an environment free from heavy-handed Saudi influence.
Ibn Warraq was followed by Nonie Darwish, who denounced the “moderate” Muslims as being mere apologists for Islamic misbehavior. “Those who dare ask for change [in the Middle East] are made the enemy.” She asked, “Where are the truth-seekers in Islam?” Islam’s only response to opposition, she noted, is to become offended. Why do they have to kill apostates? Where is the confidence in what they have to offer? The most critical element of reform is to allow for freedom of conscience in religion.
Darwish was followed by Wafa Sultan. “We live in dangerous times,” she noted. At the same time, many have faced fascism and communism within our lifetimes. We have freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion. This not only allows us to speak, it makes it our obligation.
In the 21st century, we need to reconsider the literal language of the Koran. We have changed a lot, and we must change the practice of Islam. We must educate our population from an early age to place value on life. We need to educate the very young. Teach love, not hate. We know for a fact that Saudi Arabia builds the majority of the mosques and provides the textbooks for education. These are full of hardcore Wahhabi propaganda, which teach children to hate Jews and Christians.
“U.S. Air acted for us all when six imams acted strangely on that flight. And we apologized for their acts, which might have averted a disaster. America is the most tolerant country, but it is being abused on all levels. We cannot remain silent while calls for destruction of the West echo around the world. . . . It is not what we CAN do, but what we MUST do, to protect the United States. Our children and grandchildren are entitled to the same freedom we enjoy. We must abondon political correctness, which prevents us from speaking the truth. . . We must be united, strong and courageous. Americans are good people, and find it difficult to believe in evil. . . . Are the “moderate” Muslims afraid to speak, or are they sitting in silent support of the Islamists? . . . Wake up, America, before it is too late.”
Next up was Tashbih Sayyed.
“The foundations of radical Islam are in the history of Islam.” Sayyed noted that Mohammed was a prophet successful in acquiring religious converts and also in setting up a state. If Mohammed had distinguished between his role as prophet and his role as head of state, his acts as head of state may not have been interpreted as endowed by God. Examples include Mohammed’s slaughter of the Jews and Mohammed’s call to non-Muslims to embrace Islam.
Islam does not distinguish between mosque and state. We speak of “political Islam,” but there is no such thing as apolitical Islam. Jihad is not an “inner struggle.” “As a Muslim, I have not seen an artist or an author ever designated a mujahid.”
There are aspects of the foundations of this faith, that prevent reform unless and until these foundations are challenged. If Mohammed had been a secular head of state rather than a prophet, those opposing Mohammed’s state would not have been considered an enemy of Allah. But anyone who fights against a Muslim state is considered an enemy of Allah.
Fundamentalists consider Islam to be the ultimate truth. If Islam is the ultimate truth, reform is impossible. Unless you are ready to accept that truth is a work in progress, you cannot expect to live in peace with others. If I hold the ultimate truth, how can I allow my fellow world citizens to continue to live in darkness? Islamic thought is aimed at the consolidation of the Islamic state.
The problems we face can only be addressed in the United States. This is the only place where a dissident Muslim can speak and not be lynched. After a television interview over the meaning of Sami al-Arian’s call for “death to America,” he was called by CAIR. Who was he working for? Who was paying him? Why was he speaking against the ummah? His response : can I not be a good Muslim and also speak the truth?
Bravo, Tashbih. Bravo, Wafa, Nonie, and Ibn Warraq. I am deeply honored to know you all and to be working in the same field for the same goals.