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memri
April 11, 2007 No.
1530

Saudi Journalist: The Belgians Publish the Koran – And We Spread Horror

In an article in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi columnist Thuraya Al-Shihri criticized the Muslims for failing to convey the positive messages of Islam, denounced the violence being perpetrated by some Muslims, and criticized their hypocrisy. She wrote that she wondered why the Muhammad cartoons affair had been so broadly publicized in the Arab world, and had led Muslims to commit violent acts instead of making attempts to explain the values of their faith – while positive developments, such as a Belgian newspaper's publication and distribution of the Koran, do not evoke a strong reaction among the Muslims.

The following are excerpts from the article:[1]

Why Isn't There a Single Muslim Who Hasn't Heard About the Muhammad Cartoons – While a Belgian Paper's Publication of the Koran is Taken for Granted?

"[The London daily] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat [recently] reported that 'a Belgian paper distributed to its readers free copies of the Holy Koran in French, along with a coupon for [a copy of] the Koran in Flemish, which is the language spoken in the part of Belgium close to the Dutch border. For 15 days, the paper also ran a supplement in which it published a book called Islam Now, presenting the history of Islam up to the modern era. The paper plans to run [a series] of articles on the Islamic faith and its practices: prayer, fasting, charity and the pilgrimage [to Mecca]…'

"When the offensive cartoons of the Prophet [were published], we responded by damaging buildings and campaigning to boycott products. Most [Muslims] continued to purchase these products in secret, or [went on buying them] because they were not aware of their origin. The whole affair [produced nothing more than] slogans which were meant to support [Islam], but which in practice only damaged its reputation.

"When we wanted to explain the value of our faith, [why didn't we launch] social initiatives... or harness our economic resources to inform the world about the noble nature of Islam and shari'a? Nothing [of this sort] was done, except for a few conferences organized by Muslim preachers – and even this came only after the situation had deteriorated.

"These conferences did not have as much impact as the actions of the rabble... the bombing of buildings, the abduction of innocent people, and the murder of peaceful individuals. These spread more quickly and made a greater impression than lectures aimed at changing [the Western perception of Islam]...

"Our insistence [on reacting] by chopping off heads is a paradigm no less dangerous to humanity than paradigms like Nazism and Fascism. Why isn't there a single Muslim who has not heard about the [offensive] cartoons [of the Prophet Mohammad] – but when [a Belgian paper] plans to print and distribute translations of our Holy book [the Koran], this is taken for granted?..."

The Islamist Groups "Convey Double Messages and Use Doublespeak... They Have Made Hypocrisy a Way of Life and [Believe That] the End Justifies the Means"

"As for the slogan of 'implementing shari'a,' which is repeated by groups purporting to follow Islam, it is well known that these groups yearn for a revolution in the Arab and Muslim states, so they can take control and impose what they call Islam on these countries and their citizens.

"But [what they call Islam] is in fact a political ideology that has [nothing to do with] Islam or shari'a. These groups insist on [achieving] this [aim], and are willing to use every means including takiyya [concealing one's faith]. They convey double messages and use doublespeak... Their words do not reflect their actions. They have made hypocrisy a way of life, and for them, the end justifies the means.

"What will these groups do when they come to power? Won't they take advantage of Western communication and transportation technologies? Or perhaps they will use [these technologies] themselves, while forbidding us [to use them]? Will they allow the various fields of science to advance, or restrict [scientific learning] to certain religious books? Will they isolate women in fortified castles and hide their faces?... Will their regime be one of oppression in the name of religion?

"What are their full and detailed plans for achieving political, social and economic justice? Even though many years have passed since the revival of the concept of takfir [accusing other Muslims of heresy], those who continue to [believe] in it [i.e. the Islamists] offer us nothing but distorted religious slogans [aimed at] exciting the emotions, [in order to] embarrass governments, destroy regimes, threaten the [rule of] law, and cause people to question the establishment and their way of life.

"Even after all these years, these groups have not presented us with comprehensive and enlightening scientific studies about religion. Reducing shari'a to a handful of punishments turns the entire Islamic [faith] into a punishment – when its most fundamental principle is [actually] justice..."

Endnote:

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 10, 2007.