January 14, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 847

Egyptian Progressive Criticizes Muslim Intellectual Doublespeak

January 14, 2005
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 847

In an article posted on, Egyptian progressive Dr. Sayyed Al-Qimni attacked the shapers of Muslim public opinion who cling to Islamic traditions which are out of touch with modern times, yet they are ashamed and embarrassed by those same traditions when confronted with them, and outwardly deny elements of Islam that they know to be part of it. He specifically criticized the U.S.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for lying to the American public, and prominent Islamist cleric Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, for declaring Jihad against American soldiers while his son attends university in Florida. The following are excerpts from the column:[1]

Arab Officials Lie to the Western Media about Islamic Traditions

"In the past, we used to mention the tradition attributed to the Prophet of Islam about the [final] battle between good and evil prior to Judgment Day. [According to this tradition,] the stone and the tree will talk in this battle, and call to the Muslim: 'O Muslim, a Jew is [hiding] behind me, come and kill him. Except for the gharqad tree, which is the tree of the Jews.

"This tradition is studied by the pupils of the great Arab state [Saudi Arabia] in the Al-Tawhid [school] curriculum, and the [curriculum] author adds, in his well-known wisdom, that today the Jews frequently plant their tree, the gharqad, in Israel, so that it will not give them away to the Muslims on the day of the great battle.

"Television broadcaster Barbara Walters raised this subject to the foreign minister of this great Arab country, and read him the text of the tradition. The minister's response was most surprising. First, he expressed great amazement, as if he were hearing about this tradition for the first time. Then, he vehemently denied that such a prophetic tradition existed, and stressed that the statements are incorrect from the point of view of Islam, and that there is some confusion in this matter – doubtless stemming from a mistake in the school textbooks…

"[With his response,] the minister denied a tradition that appears in virtually every book of reliable [Islamic] traditions. Thus, he denies something that is known with certainty in the religion … and there is a penalty for this set out in the Koran, and sanctions set out in the religious law – which the vile sheikhs, ministers, and rulers implement upon us whenever and wherever they please.[2]

"So we cannot accept the minister's amazement on this issue at face value… [The amazement he demonstrated] is a denying, affected amazement that rejects [the fact] that there is a tradition, in [precisely] these words and this content, about an ancient and historic hostility that must continue almost to Judgment Day…

"The honorable minister's [denial of this] indicates two things: First, a position of contempt for Islam because of this tradition – and this is an accusation for which we [the progressive Muslims] have been banned and put on trial for a long time … [and second,] embarrassment about the religion that he abandoned when he concealed himself in the garb of affected amazement.

"[The minister] presented himself to us as one who knows the proper religion, and [claimed] that this tradition does not belong to this proper Islam which he knows. In this matter, we have an ongoing problem without a solution, as everyone is talking about the proper Islam without us truly knowing what this proper Islam is, that is compatible with the characteristics of the era in which we live and its ways of thought…"

'You Can No Longer Rape Women and Take Them as Slaves'

"The problem of the minister, and of all our leaders … whether they are clerics or regime officials is that they want Islam to be like it used to be [in the time of the Prophet], so as to act in accordance with it 1400 years later…

"The Jews, the Christians, and [those of] other religions have simply acknowledged [that the time of past laws is over]. Thus, for example, you can no longer rape women and take them as slaves in wars… What makes the burden of relinquishing some of our traditions lighter is that all the religions had to extricate themselves from what prevented them from being appropriate to our time.

"There are many things in the history of nations of which [these nations] are ashamed today. [For example,] Judaism [once] permitted marrying relatives such as sisters – as in the marriage of the Prophet Abraham to his sister Sarah [sic], and the marriage of the Prophet Moses to his aunt Yocheved [sic], with no shame at all…

"There is no escape from deviating from the [prophetic] tradition of 'the best century is my century' – because the best century is always the most recent and [reflects] humanity's latest scientific and ethical [achievements]…

"His Honor the Minister argued that a mistake was made in the Al-Tawhid school textbook in our country … but he did not put on trial the authors [who included in the book this tradition] of powerful hatred, loathsome violence, and incitement to murder… And if what the honorable minister said is correct, why are they continuing, until today, [to teach from] these books to young pupils?"

A Nine-Year-Old Wife was Once Widely Accepted; Al-Qaradhawi Married a Girl Younger than His Youngest Granddaughter

"The Reverend Jerry Falwell spoke about the Prophet of Islam and said that he gathered many women, including a nine-year-old girl, A'isha, when he was 52.

"What the attackers of this form of marriage [did not say] was that [at the time,] this was a highly accepted social custom, and that refraining from marriage to little girls began only recently because of the development of the customs and traditions.

"[This development] should also have pushed our sheikhs to relinquish their adherence to out-of-date customs. To this very day, [it is permitted by] the Sunna to marry a nine-year-old girl, in accordance with the Sunna [of the Prophet]. This is a frightening and dangerous stagnation, which is also against [civil] law.

"What is important [here] is that Falwell angered the Muslims, and when Hussein Ibish, spokesman for the ADC, responded to Falwell on 'Crossfire,' he vehemently denied [Falwell's] statements, and presented them as mendacious slander of Islam and false accusations against the Prophet of Islam.

"[At the same time,] we learned from the Internet that the 'moderate democratic [Sheikh Yousef] Al-Qaradhawi' … married Asma, who is younger than this 'democrat's' youngest granddaughter, and that there are 60 years or more between them. Mr. [Al-Qaradhawi] did not deny this news item, and did not claim that it was false…"

'CAIR Makes a Mockery of American Democracy through Deception'

"Another instance of the same kind … occurred when I appeared on the MBC network, and to my left sat the well-known American Islamist Mr. Nihad Awad, who heads the American-Islamic organization CAIR.

"I am not referring to the organization CARE. [This organization's] activist in Iraq, Margaret Hassan, had her throat slashed by the 'heroes of Iraq.' [I am referring] to the organization CAIR, whose areas of interest are different – and they are not humanitarian services.

"The program's subject was 'Islamophobia' … and it took place before the events of September 2001. Mr. Nihad Awad brought with him a film prepared by his organization, and screened it for us in order to prove to us that America was hostile to Islam and hates Muslims, and that American Muslims are subject to ethnic discrimination and racist fanaticism and that the organization therefore requires financial support from Muslims in order to protect the Muslims in America.

"As proof of CAIR's activity in the U.S. and in order to attract the required support, he related a story about a book that was in front of him. He [claimed] that this book was written against Islam, was used for teaching American pupils, and contained grave damage to the Prophet of Islam – because it discussed the Prophet's marriage to Safiyya bint Huyay ibn Akhtab, after her father, her brother, her husband, and all her tribe were killed. [Nihad Awad added that] CAIR sued [in the matter] and won, and that this section was removed from the book…

"I reached out my hand and picked up the book, and was surprised by its title: ' The Religions in the World. 'It was not a book dedicated to Islam. I skimmed the table of contents and saw that it presented all the world religions in general, apparently because they [the Americans], with their civil education, do not teach so-called Islamic or Christian education.

"Do you feel, as I do, the magnitude of this tragedy? It is our tragedy, not the Americans'. This is because the story [about the Prophet's marriage to this woman after killing her family members] is historical truth and there is a consensus [regarding its truth], and it is written in all the Islamic traditions. [Our heritage] sets out in detail the reasons for this incident, the kind of war that was being fought then, and the rules of war [that prevailed at that time] – according to which the women of the defeated side were the captives of the victor.

"But the organization CAIR vehemently denies that this incident even occurred. This is denial of something that is known for certain in the religion, because it is linked to the history of Da'wa and the history of the Koran and Islamic law…

"This is also a mockery of the democracy and noble laws of America, by a deception that exploits the progress [that guides American] legal values, and by a blatant lie in order to eradicate the story from an American [school] book.

"The Americans, out of respect for Muslims and their religion … ordered that the story be expunged from the [school] book, and even accused its authors of ethnic extremism – which is a terrible accusation in America…"

'An American Sheikh Denied Slavery Ever Existed in Islam… Then the Basra Imam Issued a Fatwa Permitting Taking Western Women Soldiers as Slaves'

"In a fourth incident, and I don't remember the satellite channel on which it was broadcast, an American sheikh denied that slavery had ever existed as a legitimate and permitted principle in Islam… [Yet] two days later, the imam of the Great Mosque in Basra issued a fatwa [permitting] the granting of a Western female soldier, if taken captive, or an Iraqi woman accused of collaborating with the Americans, to her captor. [The fatwa also allowed] him to lie with her, with permission [even] clearer than the permission to drink mother's milk…"

Fahmi Huweidi's Hypocrisy

"[The fifth example is from a November 2, 2004 article by Islamist intellectual Fahmi Huweidi in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, stating that] [President George W.] Bush's religious sentiment was unprecedented in American history, because the period of his presidency is thought to be the first attempt in the history of the United States to exploit religion for political goals…

"Mr. Huweidi was very angry that Bush exploited religion to accomplish political goals … [while] Mr. Huweidi [himself] is the philosopher of the longed-for Islamic state…

"[All of these people] defend Islam in a false and distorted way. They want it as it is, so that they can continue getting their benefits and to control the people and to keep applying secretly what they deny in public, just like Al-Qaradhawi's secret marriage. They are all merchants in religion."

'Al-Qaradhawi Permits Killing Americans in Iraq – but Did Not Demand of His Son to Leave University in Florida to Wage Jihad'

"The 'democratic' Al-Qaradhawi issued a fatwa permitting the killing of Americans in Iraq. But he did not demand of his son Muhammad to leave his university in Florida to join the mujahideen. He did not demand of his youngest son to leave the American University in Cairo and seek martyrdom. When he demanded a boycott of America and England, he had three daughters studying in England, and one daughter studying in Texas…

"At the same time as the Muslims were stressing that America was sinking in the Iraqi quagmire, they fell upon the Iraqi dinar following the [U.S.] invasion, buying up many, because in their hearts they knew that the value of the Iraqi currency would rise because of the invasion. This is tremendous self-deception… We buy Iraqi dinars as an investment, and give 96% of our votes to support Al-Qa'ida's massacres in Iraq…"

'Imagine What the Free World, Headed by America, Could Do to the Muslims if It Wanted'

"Can you imagine what the free world, headed by America, could do [to the Muslims if it wanted]. Some of our intellectual rabble … talk of the heroes of Fallujah and what they did to the greatest country in the world [i.e. America]. They do not think for one moment – [assuming] that they think [at all] – that America was capable, with one push of a little button, of permanently wiping Fallujah off the map of the world, particularly after 80% of the civilians had left it.

"But the concern for the rest of the civilians [who remained] within [the city] pushed America to fight from house to house, while it had weapons of destruction that could have preserved it so it wouldn't lose a single soldier.

"If these weapons of destruction were in our hands … wouldn't we – out of loyalty to our forefathers – act like Khaled bin Al-Walid [in the battle] against the Iraqi Bakr bin Wa'il tribes, and slaughter them as we pleased … or like Said bin Al-'Aas, who destroyed everyone in the city of Tamisa…

"This world that we fight against, covet, and hate [i.e. America and the West] has in the past sacrificed 40 million to defend its freedoms – [freedoms] that we do not understand – and is more zealous about them than we are about our Islam… We all know that they obtained their rights in the past and that they know how to obtain them [today], and are capable of doing so.

"Are there any wise [men] in the nation of the Bedouin? Is anyone listening? I call upon you … to awaken from the death throes of your legends, because every one of us has children whom we want to live in a different time and a different culture…"

[1], November 24, 2004.

[2]Someone who denies something that is known with certainty in the religion is considered an apostate [Murtad] and is sentenced to death, unless he recants.

Share this Report:

Help Fight Extremism - Support MEMRI

MEMRI is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible and kept strictly confidential.