February 11, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 5963

Columnist In Jordanian Daily: ISIS 'Did Not Invent A New Islam'

February 11, 2015
Jordan, Jordan | Special Dispatch No. 5963

In his February 10, 2015 column in the English-language Jordanian daily Jordan Times, titled "We Have a Problem", attorney and columnist Zaid Nabulsi wrote that Muslims must not just protest that "Islam is innocent" of terrorists' actions but must also acknowledge that the extremism of terrorist organizations like ISIS emanates directly from the teachings of Wahhabi Islam that now permeate the Sunni world, and from messages spread by the Muslim Brotherhood and by prominent clerics like International Union of Muslim Scholars head Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi. He added that Muslims must be brave enough not merely to condemn the ideology of the terrorists, but also to renounce Islamic texts that are incompatible with basic human values, including certain hadiths that are erroneously attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, as well as the writings of certain prominent medieval scholars, such as Ibn Taymiyyah.

The following are excerpts from his column; the English has been lightly edited for clarity:

"Some Wahhabist Teachings, Which Have Permeated The Air We Breathe In The Muslim World, Are Simply Irreconcilable With Decent Human Values"

"Enough is enough. It is time to speak out. 'Islam is innocent' is an incomplete sentence. Introspection is needed, for, if we shy away from reality, the alternative will be more images like those we witnessed last Tuesday night, when brave [Jordanian pilot] Lt. Muath Al-Kasasbeh was burnt to death in a cage...

"Some Wahhabist teachings, which have permeated the air we breathe in the Muslim world, are simply irreconcilable with decent human values, especially the ones that declare that every non-Wahhabist is a disposable body whose blood may be shed without problems. So enough of this burial of our heads in the sand. It has become tiresome to keep hearing the unproductive clich├® that Islam is innocent after each atrocity committed by devout fanatics who did nothing except execute the exact letter of their textbooks, which order them to slaughter the infidels.

"The escapist [view] that mainstream Islam has nothing to do with those atrocities does not hold water anymore because Wahhabism and Islam have become indistinguishable. To understand the crisis of Muslims today, one has to remember that Wahhabism exists in several textbooks containing the alleged sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, or books of 'Hadith,' revered by so many. What we must confront is the undeniable fact that it is from many stories found in these books that the unprecedented cruelty of groups such as the so-called Islamic State and Jabhat Al-Nusra emanates.

"The problem today has nothing to do with the original spirit of Prophet Muhammad's message. Nor has it anything to do with the tumultuous history of Muslims over 14 centuries, parts of which were no doubt glorious and enlightened. The catastrophe today is with the visible manifestation of Islam in the modern world, as demonstrated by the prevalent beliefs and practices of many people who call themselves Muslims."

"[The] Negative Image Of Muslims Is Not All Just Smoke And No Fire"

"[But] this negative image of Muslims is not all just smoke and no fire. This is what those 120 Islamic scholars who sent a letter to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi last year could not fathom. [ISIS] did not invent a new Islam. On the contrary, its followers are strict adherents of the same textbooks quoted in that long letter (bizarrely addressed to 'Dr Ibrahim Awwad Al-Badri,' Baghdadi's real name, bestowing intellectual respectability upon this mass murderer, as if one were writing a letter to the mayor of Copenhagen). In fact, the scholars' letter was a misguided attempt to disinfect Wahhabism, to cleanse it from itself, by claiming that IS simply misinterpreted texts that are otherwise compatible with human decency. In that sense, the letter squabbled over the semantics of the alleged instructions by the Prophet to spread Islam by the sword, but it did not dare renounce the authenticity of those same sayings...

"If we truly want to defend Islam, we need to perform a much more invasive surgery. Take the Muslim Brotherhood as an example of the prevalence of the Wahhabist teachings among Muslims today. The Brotherhood is the virtual womb that incubated all the current jihadist groups, including Al-Qaeda itself (Al- Zawahiri hailed from the Egyptian MB offshoot that murdered president Anwar Sadat). Yet, when Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was killed in 2006, the three most senior leaders of the MB in Jordan brazenly visited the condolence house in Zarqa and announced to the media that Zarqawi was a martyr in the eyes of God, despite Zarqawi having blown up three hotels in Amman the previous year, killing scores of Jordanians going about their lives or celebrating a peaceful wedding...

"The orgy of decapitations in Syria over the last four years was promoted by very rich Sunni clerics such as Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Mohammad Al-Uraifi, aided by the countless satellite stations openly calling for the murder of Alawites and Shi'ites, and financed by billions from extremely wealthy but hateful Muslims. So, enough with the denials. It is time to raise the alarm. We have a problem!"

"If We Really Want To Defend Islam As A Religion Of Mercy... We Have To Muster The Courage To Identify The Specific Texts That Actually Defame Islam, Denounce Them And Permanently Cleanse Islamic Tradition Of Them"

"There is obviously a propensity towards eliminating 'the other' imbedded deep within Wahhabist ideology. It is not only foolish to deny this fact, it is also dangerous, for we would be covering the cancerous tumour with a bandage. What we cannot deny is that many of the Wahhabist textbooks are the same operating manuals that Islamist butchers use to justify their savagery. For example, very few people know that while [the Jordanian pilot] Muath was being set on fire in that macabre video, the voiceover was a recitation of an Ibn Taymiyah fatwa deeming the incineration of unbelievers a legitimate act of jihad. Ibn Taymiyah is not some obscure scholar on the fringe of Sunni Islam. In the Sunni world, he is universally venerated with the title 'Sheikh of Islam,' elevating him to an almost infallible clerical status.

"If we really want to defend Islam as a religion of mercy, if we really want to be believed when we proclaim the innocence of this religion, we need to do more than just repeat this meaningless mantra about us having nothing to do with [ISIS]. We have to muster the courage to identify the specific texts that actually defame Islam, denounce them and permanently cleanse Islamic tradition of them." 


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