May 6, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 905

Egyptian Journalist on Muslim Liberals in the West: ‘Muslims in Name, Apostates in Fact’

May 6, 2005
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 905

The Egyptian journalist Rim Azmi published an attack on Muslim liberals living in Western countries in the April 23, 2005 issue of the official Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, titled: "Muslims in Name, Apostates in Fact," in which she accuses Muslim academics and politicians in the West of using Islam for their own aggrandizement. The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

These People Put Themselves Above the Divine Message

"They aren't Westerners and they have not attained this honor in the eyes of the West, however, the West embraced them, not out of love for them, but rather in order to denigrate Islam. The West found in them that which they have long sought, because they were brought up in the land of Islam and they fully understand how to hurt its people. Since these people found no rest in their own countries, the West welcomed them, opening their arms to them so that they could continue to rain poison arrows down on the true faith [i.e., Islam].

"If we look carefully, we can distinguish these people's different levels on the scale of rebellion. Some of them openly scoff at the Noble Koran; some demand that the Koran be revised; and there are others who get mixed up between worn-out [folk] habits and customs of the Muslims, and the fundamental principles of religion.

"You encounter a long list of those who call themselves Islamic thinkers. These people put themselves above the divine message, and their arrogance deludes them into thinking that they can act as equals with the overpowering miracle of the Koran. Thus, they strongly demand a rereading of the Koran, or what is an even greater crime, they demand that one listen to those who offer a new allegorical interpretation of the religious text. Leading this group of academics are the Egyptian Nasr Hamid Abu-Zayd, who published his book Critique of Religious Discourse and then hurried to the Netherlands, after having encountered a series of problems on account of his publications; and the Algerian Berber Muhammad Arkoun, who lives in France and whose best-known book is Lectures du Coran ( Koranic Readings ).

"And there are others, less well known, who try to use Islam to aggrandize themselves. Their method is almost always the same: they rely on endless discussions and a maze of disputes that in the end lead nowhere. Their purpose is to invent a version of Islam in accordance with the latest fashions, which will be consistent with the rhythm of contemporary Western civilization.

"Then we come to another degree of arrogance. Their champion needs no introduction; he is Salman Rushdie, who … in 1989 wrote his revolting novel, The Satanic Verses. And following an Iranian fatwa which called for his killing, he began moving secretly in European countries while arrogantly scoffing at the idea of the Koran being revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

"And there is also the Somali woman who was behind the killing of the Dutch director [Van Gogh] whose story we followed at the end of 2004. She is a conservative member of the Dutch parliament of Somali origin named Ayaan Hirshi Ali, and the author of the novel Submission, from which her late friend, the Dutch director Theo Van Gogh, derived the film which offends both Islam and Muslims and which angered the Muslims. A second part of the movie [was planned], if not for the fact that he was killed by a 26-year-old Moroccan immigrant.

"Mimount, who complains to the Dutch [ sic, should be Belgian] police that she is being threatened, is playing the same game at which others before her excelled, namely, using insolence [against Islam] in order to gain fame at the expense of Islam, and then rushing to portray herself as a victim of narrow-minded people, having received some threats against her life.

"What occurred in Holland occurred also in a neighboring country which shares the same culture, namely Belgium, when a member of the parliament from Antwerp by the name of Mimount Bousakla began seeking publicity by exploiting the atmosphere of Islamophobia."

[1] Al-Ahram Al-Arabi (Egypt), April 23, 2005.

Share this Report: