April 16, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2309

Liberal Gulf Writers: Muslim Groups in Europe Are Exploiting Europeans' Openness

April 16, 2009
Special Dispatch No. 2309

Two recent articles in the Gulf press discussed the attitudes of European Muslims towards the West. On December 2, 2008, Bahraini liberal Shi'ite cleric Dhiya Al-Mousawi published an article in the liberal Kuwaiti daily Awan on the Mumbai terrorist attacks, some of the perpetrators of which were Muslims who were naturalized British citizens. The second article, by liberal Kuwaiti columnist Khalil 'Ali Haidar, was published October 5, 2008 in the UAE daily Al-'Ittihad. Both writers criticized Muslim groups in Europe for harming the West while at the same time enjoying Western freedoms and services. Haidar treated the subject more broadly, criticizing all Islamic movements and parties in Europe on the grounds that they are promoting Islamic extremism, that they have taken control of the lives of the European Muslims, and that instead of attempting to bridge the gap between the East and the West, they have consciously brought about isolation, alienation, and, ultimately, jihad-motivated terrorism against the West.

Following are excerpts from Al-Mousawi's and Haidar's articles:

European Muslims Are Spitting Into the Well from Which They Drink

In an article titled "When the Terrorist is British Born," Al-Mousawi wrote: "…It is sad that in Western countries there are thousands of Muslims who receive citizenship for themselves and their families after having been expelled from their respective homelands. [The West] gives them asylum, work, shelter, and health insurance - [yet] they are the first to turn their backs on their second homeland. Worse, some of them think nothing of committing suicide in the squares, in the very countries that have granted them and their families protection… It is odd that some sheikhs curse and revile the West from the pulpits of the Western [mosques,] and wish for the destruction of the [Western] countries, as the police of those countries guard them…" [1]

The Islamists Have Taken Control Over the Lives of the Muslims in the West

Al-Haidar wrote, in a similar vein: "The problem of Europe and the U.S. is neither the Arabs nor the Muslims. It is the Islamists, both parties and groups, who have taken over the political, religious, social, and cultural life inside and outside Islamic and Arab countries. [These parties and groups] have influence over the Muslim minorities of the Western countries… They have focused on imposing restrictions on the first generation [of immigrants], on brainwashing the second generation, and on excommunicating unions, organizations, and mosques. For many years - in fact, since the end of the Second World War - Western countries have been welcoming Arabs and Muslims, and providing [them] with extensive opportunities for preaching and [other] activities. They have treated them with amazing kindness. With time, the Muslims grew in power, and tightened their grip on the very heart of these societies.

"The presence of Islamists [in the European countries], with all their different parties, groups, and schools of thought, has been a testing ground for relations between their Muslim minority, which has been influenced by the indoctrination [carried out by different] parties, and these democratic societies. For many years, Islamists, and especially the Muslim Brotherhood, have complained about the oppressive [policies] of Arab regimes, the freezing of freedoms, surveillance, etc. [Abu A'la] Al-Mawdoudi's [2] writings, [originally in Urdu], have gained popularity in the Arab world, corrupting the youth and distorting their outlook. [Al-Mawdoudi] proclaimed to the entire world, and especially to [his] liberal European opponents, the advent of a new social order superior to Western democracy on every count - in liberty, flexibility, religious tolerance etc. - that will be introduced under the leadership of Muslim youth uncontaminated by the filth of Western civilization and its materialist [values]."

The Islamists Have Wrought Alienation and Terrorism

"The ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Al-Tahrir party, [3] and Egyptian, Pakistani, and other Islamic groups has cast the Arabs and the Muslims in Europe into darkness and confusion. With their books, films, and extreme separatist ideas, they have paved the way for the proliferation of different forms of extremism, and hence to overt terrorism.

"The unceasing attacks on Western civilization, on man-made laws, and on Oriental studies, as well as on [what they regarded as] the cultural invasion and Western conspiracies - have made it difficult for [Muslims] to integrate into the new environment to which they migrated while hating it. [However, his integration] as far as his material interests or the aims of his party were concerned [was never impeded]…"

The Absence of a Culture of Revival and Innovation

"The Islamic party movement has not embraced the idea of revival and innovation; as a consequence, it has failed to see a positive side to Western society or to study Western literature, art, and culture so that it could create a model of modern culture, literature and art that combines Western and Islamic [elements]. Even the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, along with others who are proud of the Islamic civilization and profess to be heirs to the Baghdad and Andalusian civilizations - [even they], during the half century [of their sojourn] in Paris, London, or Germany, have not produced a [single] new idea, [let alone new] art or culture worthy of notice...

"True, they have established publishing houses to circulate their parties' books and publications; they never let up in improving their media weaponry, such as the press, television, and other [media outlets]; they developed their own financial institutions and banks [and called them] 'Islamic: no interest'; they established private schools, which only further isolated Muslim boys and girls from their European environment and thus enhanced the Islamic parties' control of their [lives] - and this is only a partial list. But what they have failed to do is to act as a bridge between East and West, as have, say, the poets of the [Muslim] diaspora. They also never helped plant seeds of modernization, democracy, and creativity - cultural, artistic, and literary - in the Arab and the Islamic worlds.

"Most reports on [Muslims in Europe], produced with great enthusiasm by the media, are about fights between [different] mosques, family honor murders, or extremist religious discourse. Not a single one of their associations has ever sponsored a useful cultural program, nor has any of their parties ever translated an encyclopedia or organized a study group to explore an aspect of culture, education, or ties between East and West. Neither have any of these circles invested effort [in a project] - not even to reexamine the writings of Islamic parties and modernize them by removing extremist ideas and the ideology of heresy accusations."

Abusing Tolerance

"Western tolerance towards Muslims in Europe and in the U.S. on freedom of religion in general, and its respect for Christian and Jewish converts to Islam in particular, has not been used as a model by any Islamic party. It didn't teach them religious tolerance; it didn't lead them to acknowledge that religious choice is a personal matter; it did not prompt them to protect non-Muslims in the Arab and Muslim world. On the contrary, they became increasingly offensive, since they perceived that the West was conceding to their demands and treating them with tolerance. Thus, they gained ground and popularity, and their arrogance was became boundless …

"The Islamist literature, publications, and sermons, even in the heart of Europe, have essentially retained the conceptual structure of ancient [Muslim] writings, in that they continue to treat any input from civilization as refuse, all the amazing technological innovations as purely material development, and the life and values of the West as decadence and degradation."

The Connection to Violence and Terrorism

"It has often been said that moderate Islamic groups have nothing to do with violence and terrorism. But this is an illusion. All the ideas of terrorist groups fit the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, of the Al-Tahrir [party], of Al-Jama'a Al-Islamiyya in Pakistan, and others. Ideas like idol worship, the rule of God, the establishment of shari'a, and others, which have assumed new fundamentalist connotations associated with new ruling parties, were not invented by Al-Qaeda or Fath Al-Islam. The notions of cognitive isolation, the invalidity of man-made laws, and serving God; the undermining of the values of homeland and citizenship, as well as all facets of political realism; proclamations such as the Muslim Brotherhood's motto 'Death for the sake of Allah is our highest aspiration,' and numerous other [slogans] - all these have not been invented by Al-Zarqawi, bin Laden, or [Sheikh Abu Muhammad] Al-Maqdisi…

"What can we expect of a youth who encounters [the following] idea, [which appears] in a book frequently discussed by the Muslim Brotherhood: 'Today we live in a jahiliya [the pre-Islamic era of idol worship], akin to idol worship in [Muhammad's] time and worse. We are surrounded by idol worship. Human achievement and beliefs, people's traditions and customs, their traditional sources, their arts and literature, their laws and regulations, and even most of what we regard as aspects of the Islamic culture, Islamic authorities, and Islamic thought and philosophy - all these are products of idol worship."

"This is a simple passage from the book Milestones by Sayyed Qutb. This book has been translated into all the languages of the Islamic countries: Turkish, Persian, Urdu, Malaysian, Indonesian, and others, as have hundreds of other Muslim Brotherhood books. These books are brainwashing thousands of youths in the Muslim world, and drawing [many of them] towards extremist terrorist organizations.

"Is not this passage, which has been read [and reread] by Islamists for over 40 years, the main reason for the Muslim's deepening sense of alienation from both his own society and from the society in Europe, America, or Australia to which he emigrated?…

"There is no doubt that it is these ideas, texts and doctrines - some of which seem innocuously 'moderate' [to us, after] they have poisoned our souls - that have shaped the views of many Muslims, men and women, worldwide, and have brought forth a generation of jihadi terrorists.

"It is this [phenomenon] that has precipitated the clash between the Islamists and Western societies in America and Europe." [4]


[1] Awan (Kuwait), December 2, 2008.

[2] Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdoudi (1903-1979)(1903-09-25), also known as Mawlana (Maulana) or Sheikh Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi, was a Sunni Pakistani journalist, theologian and political philosopher, and a major Islamist thinker. He was also a political figure in his home country of Pakistan, where he founded the Jamaat-e-Islami Islamic revivalist party.

[3] Hizb Al-Tahrir (Liberation Party) is a radical Islamic group whose agenda is to rally Muslims with a call for a new Caliphate.

[4] Al-Ittihad (UAE), October 5, 2008.

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