Egyptian researcher Islam Behery said in a January 29, 2023 interview on Sky News Arabia (UAE) that like other fields of study, Islamic jurisprudence will not survive if it does not undergo reform. He said that Islam currently has “a problem” with modernity, women, politics, banking, medicine, science, human rights, and personal liberties, and he predicted that it will lose followers if this does not change. In addition, Behery said that Islamic institutions are currently preaching the same man-made extremist Islamic heritage that gave rise to organizations such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Jama’a Al-Islamiyya, and the Muslim Brotherhood, and he argued that extremism leads to terrorism. He also asserted that the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence are all extremist because they claim that all non-Muslims are infidels and seek to wage Jihad and spread Islam throughout the world.
Islam Behery: "[Islamic] heritage is the problem — the man-made ideological heritage. Any religion, any field of science, anything that cannot be reformed... They call [Islamic jurisprudence] 'science,' and I accept this, but science can be reformed. Any field of science that cannot be reformed is dead and should be studied as history. They claim that Islam is suitable for all times and all places, and I agree wholeheartedly. But right now, how is it 'suitable for all times and all places'? Simply put, if we wanted to put labels on it, Islam has a problem with everything in our lives. Islam has a problem with women. This leads to many other problems, but Islam has a general problem with women."
Interviewer: "We will discuss this in the final part of the show."
Behery: "Islam has a problem with man-made laws and constitutions. Islam has a problem with the modern state — or even with the notion of a state with a flag and with borders. Islam has a problem with the economy, with banks, with interest, which they call 'usury'... Islam has a problem with medicine, science, modern achievements, organ transplants, and all that. Islam has a problem with other religions, with human rights, with civil values, and with personal liberties.
"Islam has a problem with everything in our lives. And yet, in their view, it is suitable for all times and all places. Unless this religion undergoes reform, it will have no followers left."
"The religious institutions are teaching this heritage, and it is forbidden to defy it or criticize it. The problem is not only that they oppose the enlightened, reformist movement. The problem is that this heritage that they are defending is what gave rise to ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Jama'a Al-Islamiyya in the 1970's, and the Muslim Brotherhood before them. This is beyond doubt. This fountain never dries, and the religious establishment defends this same heritage, which is its foundation. The religious establishment ostensibly condemns these terrorist acts, but knowingly or not, it serves as the main source for all these terrorist groups.
"We could say that extremism is an ideology. It is not terrorism, but it leads to terrorism — a person implementing what he believes in. In my opinion, extremism is more dangerous than the actual terrorist acts, because after all, even if there are hundreds of thousands [of terrorists], there are still millions of Arabs. But the real problem is the extremism that is in the hearts — the ideology. Even if it appears that someone is leading an ordinary life, he could be thinking that everyone in the world is an infidel, except him. This is a completely extremist idea. Let's put these ideas in the right context. Extremism is the most intense manifestation of any idea. Who came up with these ideas, consolidated them, spread them? The four schools of Islamic jurisprudence that believe that all the religions in world — if you can even call them 'religions' — constitute heresy, and are just like not believing in God at all, and only Islam allows you to enter Paradise. Isn't this extremism?"
Interviewer: "So these four schools of Islamic jurisprudence are responsible for what is happening now?"
"The entire world are infidels, the Jihad... Where do these ideas come from? From all four schools of jurisprudence, as well as from the books of Hadith and books of exegesis, without the slightest doubt. If you ask someone, even from the official religious establishment, about Jihad, he says [we will wage Jihad] when we become stronger — then we will raid the world and spread Islam."