In a TV interview, Jordanian intellectual Fehmi Jadaane said that: "When we transform religion, with its moral, spiritual, and aesthetic essence, into a domestic and external political conflict, we usher Islam into the world of war and destruction." Jadaane further said that ISIS "is not that different from other political religious movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood" – that they "share the same original ideology, but their actions differ in degree." The interview aired on Sky News Arabia on November 27, 2015.
Following are excerpts:
Interviewer: You have said that the slogans of modern political Islam are suicidal, and do not constitute a constructive response to the current situation. Could you please elaborate on that?
Fehmi Jadaane: Absolutely. I believe that political Islam carries the religion of Islam towards the inferno of conflict. Rather than being a source for a calm, secure, good, and happy society, which seeks what is good and just… I believe that the most basic value of Islam is justice.
Interviewer: The value is absent from today's discourse…
Fehmi Jadaane: Of course. It is absent not only from today's discourse, but also from the political history of Islam and the Arabs. I am talking about the political history, and not about the history of their beliefs and moral values. In the political history, the ideal of justice was not adhered to. When we transform religion, with its moral, spiritual, and aesthetic essence, into a domestic and external political conflict, we usher Islam into the world of war and destruction.
Interviewer: These are the suicidal slogans to which you are referring?
Fehmi Jadaane: Indeed.
Interviewer: Are we losing the humanity and morality of Islam?
Fehmi Jadaane: Yes, absolutely. Islam today appears as a cause of destruction, of killing, and of everything that is anti-life, anti-human.
I emphasize the concept of a just state. In modern Arab thought, the notions of freedom and democracy are generally emphasized. Obviously, these notions are essential, but I believe that justice is more urgent and more important. When we have justice, the rest will follow.
This political religious philosophy [of extremist Islam] is rooted in history, in the Arab and Islamic heritage. All the pretexts, the evidence, and the justifications that they present rely, in many cases, upon stories and unreliable hadiths. They adopt these narratives and claim to be implementing them, but in fact, they are using unauthenticated texts, in order to accomplish worldly political goals, which are related to what I call the "programmed sentiment" of the people who carry out these deeds, which we all deem to be destructive, extremist, and fanatic.
Ideologically, ISIS is not that different from other political religious movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and others. The difference is one of degree, not of essence. They share the same original ideology, but their actions differ in degree. Since the issue has become an issue of radical ideology, the result will be one of conflict. This phenomenon will lead to a conflict, which will entail self-destruction in both its aspects: slaughter and suicide.
Interviewer: It is as if you are saying that there is no Islamic movement that is moderate – not even the Muslim Brotherhood.
Fehmi Jadaane: I believe that you may find moderation only among regular Muslims, not among politicized Muslims.