Last evening (Wednesday, June 6, 2018), I attended the forum, “Ask a Muslim Anything,” held at the public library in Berwick, Maine. There were approximately 30 people there, and most unquestionably swallowed the Muslim speaker’s assessment of Islam, its history and sharia law.
Robert Azzi “is frequently invited to speak to schools, libraries and civic and religious groups; invitations he welcomes in order to encourage tolerance, understanding and interfaith dialogue and he remains available to mentor students and teachers of issues related to the Middle East and Islam.”
You can also review his left-leaning political articles archived here.
Azzi, who was born in the U.S., is of Lebanese heritage. He started out charming and low-key. However, I came away from the presentation (lecture, actually) with the following thoughts:
* he’s slick, evasive and dismissive of pointed questions;
* he’s used to receiving softball rather than tough questions from his audiences, which generally consist of sympathetic progressives;
* he gets visibly upset when someone contradicts or challenges him;
* he unquestionably whitewashes Islam and its history of conquest.
Of course, he has every right to express his positions on Islam, the Middle East, President Trump’s immigration policies and so on, but we still have the right, for now, to challenge him.
Here are some of Azzi’s paraphrased responses, and comments to questions that he was asked:
He wasn’t particularly fond of Catholicism, and converted to Islam because of the inner peace it brought him. He even said he would have no fear of traveling to Muslim-majority countries if he became an apostate. He was very offended when one person asked why he rejected Jesus’s message of peace, love and brotherhood and became a follower the warlord Muhammad who had 13 wives, sex slaves, married his child bride, Aisha, and harbored a deep hatred of the “People of the Book” for not accepting him as a prophet. I was thinking, Why not become an advocate for Attila the Hun or Genghis Khan?
He said that wearing the hijab doesn’t mean that Muslim women are sharia-compliant, but that it puts Western women on notice that Muslim women are different (meaning superior). ISIS and al-Qaeda interpret the Qur’an in an “abusive” fashion rather than literally. I was guessing that he wouldn’t bring up the Arab or Ottoman Empires which stretched from Spain to India, and he didn’t. He said that Sharia and law shouldn’t be used in the same sentence, since there are different interpretations, ignoring the fact that the Qur’an and Muhammad’s Sunnah (Sira and Hadith) were codified in the 14th century book, Reliance of the Traveller, which is readily available in English.
Azzi also said that Islamic doctrine and democracy are compatible. (Oh, really?) He claimed that suicide bombers kill themselves because of their despair, insinuating that their motivation has nothing to do with the Qur’an and Sunnah, and saying nothing about the fact that families are paid to sacrifice their children for Allah’s cause. He likewise claimed that the poor economic conditions of Gaza are Israel’s and America’s fault, rather than the fault of Hamas using its people as pawns. Iran is a pro-Western country, he said, but somehow he overlooked that they’re the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. He claimed that Hezbollah are freedom fighters. Wow! He was also quick to blame colonialism and slavery as major issues in the Arab world, while dismissing the Trans-Saharan slave trade that was staggeringly larger than the Transatlantic slave trade.
The Muslim Brotherhood motto is: “Allah is our goal. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest aspiration.” My one prepared question was this: “Would you support the two bills in Congress (S.68-Ted Cruz; H.R.377-Mario Diaz-Balart) designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the U.A.E have already done?” I could, by then, guess his answer, but we ran out of time before I got the opportunity to ask him.
Is Robert Azzi a “suit-wearing jihadist” and a Muslim Brotherhood operative? What was even more disheartening than his disingenuous presentation was the fact that that most of this audience was clueless about civilization jihad, and they apparently want to remain that way.
By the way, Azzi said he normally stands, but sat down for this talk since he was weak from fasting during Ramadan. (Poor guy.) Of course he drew a sympathetic response from the group. Maybe that explained his terseness, but I doubt it.