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Jul 10, 2016
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Secular and Islamist Scholars Clash during Kuwaiti TV Debate on Arab Youth Engagement with Terror Organizations; Nasser Dashti: Time to Remove Religion from Public Life

#5597 | 06:51
Source: Alshahed TV (Kuwait)

During a TV debate dedicated to the engagement of Arab youth with ISIS and other terror organizations, liberal activists Nasser Dashti and Ayed Al-Manna clashed with Islamic sheikhs Abdallah Al-Hamdan and Khaled Al-Sultan. The latter compared the extremism of the Islamist terror organizations to extremism he alleged exists among secular Arabs, saying that "the same crimes are committed by both camps." Dashti and Al-Manna argued that although the Islamic scholars repeatedly emphasized that they do not support ISIS, their statements are in line with ISIS ideology. Dashti concluded that the time has come to remove religion from public life in the Arab world and to confine it to the private sphere. The show aired on the Kuwaiti Al-Shahed TV on July 11.


Nasser Dashti: "The religious heritage is the cause of the cultural and ideological catastrophes from which we are suffering.






"I pay no attention to the fatwas of all those religious sheikhs. These fatwas have ripped our countries and our peoples apart, have sown destruction and discord, and have led people astray. In the wake of these fatwas, we have seen nothing but ignorance, bombings, takfir, and ethnic cleansing."






Khaled Al-Sultan: "We are experiencing two kinds of extremism - religious extremism, on the one hand, and extremism in leniency and indifference toward religion, on the other hand. The same crimes are committed by both camps. Many of the (terror) incidents you are seeing in the world today... In America, for example, a man killed his mother, his wife, and his three daughters. Was that man religious?! Was he a Muslim?!"



Dashti: "That's pure evil."



Al-Sultan: "That man was an atheist. He wasn't religious.






"It's true that our interpretation of Islamic texts is based on an erroneous understanding."






Dashti: "How can an erroneous understanding continue for over 14 centuries? How come only the Islamic nation finds it difficult to understand its heritage and its religious texts?






"The Quran does not speak. People do. These are religious texts... Let me give you an example of a nice verse: 'Whoever kills a soul unless for another soul - it is as if he has killed all of Mankind.' The verse that immediately follows reads: 'The penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger...' Go on, complete the verse. It is that 'they be killed or crucified or their hands and feet be cut on alternate sides.' Look what kind of verse immediately follows the (positive) verse. The religious texts, the heritage, and the interpretations contain good and evil at the same time, and that is a problem."






Ayed Al-Manna: "The Muslims in America, in Britain, in France, in Canada, and in China - how come they do not slaughter one another? Aren't there Muslims there too?"



Nasser Dashti: "Why do the Muslims dream of emigrating to the infidel countries?"



Abdallahy Khizam Al-Hamdan: "What my colleague Dr. Khaled Al-Sultan said is based on principles."



Host: "What Nasser Dashti said is also based on principles."



Al-Hamdan: "No, it is devoid of principles."



Host: 'You are claiming that what he said is devoid of principles?"



Al-Hamdan: "What Mr. Dashti said is as empty as can be."



Host: "So you claim that his words are empty?"



Al-Hamdan: "Very empty. They are not based on principles."



Host: "What about Dr. Ayed Al-Manna? Some of the things he said are correct, and some need to be corrected."






Dashti: "People are always saying that ISIS does not represent Islam, that the militias do not represent Islam..."



Al-Sultan: "True, they don't."



Dashti: "But if you asked Dr. Al-Sultan here about apostates, he would say that apostates should be killed. The People of the Book? He'd say that they should pay the jizya in humiliation. What about polytheists? They should be fought."



Al-Sultan: "These are all violations, like running a red light..."



Dashti: "When someone commits a traffic violation, he pays a fine. He doesn't get executed."



Al-Sultan: "The Ministry of the Interior is in charge of dealing with traffic violations, and it sends the perpetrator to court."



Al-Sultan: "These are all violations, like running a red light..."



Dashti: "When someone commits a traffic violation, he pays a fine. He doesn't get executed."



Al-Sultan: "The Ministry of the Interior is in charge of dealing with traffic violations, and it sends the perpetrator to court. Who decides in those cases of apostasy and executions? The ruler, the judge. I don't allow myself or you to..."



Dashti: "Are you comparing a traffic violation to the killing of someone who left his religion?!"






Al-Sultan: "According to the Shari'a, (an apostate) should be killed.



Dashti: The People of the Book should pay the jizya tax?"



Al-Sultan: "Yes."



Dashti: "'In humiliation'"?



Al-Sultan: "Yes, in humiliation. So what? We pay for visas 'in humiliation,' so what?"



Dashti: "Do you get smacked on the back of your head while paying for your visas?"



Al-Sultan: "'In humiliation' does not mean being beaten."



Dashti: "The viewers can search on Google or in Lisan Al-Arab what 'humiliation' means."



Al-Sultan: "Fine. Go check the word in the Lisan Al-Arab dictionary. It's like when you go to an embassy and pay for a visa, whether you like it or not."






Al-Mahdan: "Good people, we do not support ISIS..."



Al-Manna: "You're done supporting them?"



Al-Mahdan: "Let me finish."



Al-Manna: "You're done with them?"



Al-Mahdan: "We do not support ISIS. Not today, not yesterday, and not tomorrow.






"What does Allah want? He wants his shari'a to be implemented. Along comes a human being and defies Allah with his mind. He defies the Creator who created this mind."



Al-Manna: "That's exactly what ISIS is saying. Why don't you support them and that's it? That is exactly what they say. You want an Islamic state, and they have declared one. Why don't you support them?"






Dashti: "With regard to the question why our youth are being led astray, I believe that the reason is the concept of the Hereafter, which is instilled in their minds, with all the stories of the Paradise virgins and so on, and at the same time it is the result of fatwas and heritage that prohibit all the innocent pleasures in their lives. They banned music, signing, theater, sculpture, love... Everything. Such a person has nothing to lose in this world.






"So far, my two colleagues have not denounced the fundamentals of ISIS. They share with ISIS the fundamentals and ideological means - the Islamic punishments, the implementation of the shari'a, and the desire for an Islamic state - but they employ appeasing words: 'true Islam,' 'the people in charge'... I believe that the time has come for us to adopt the secular, rational, scientific approach, and to remove religion from public life and confine it to the private sphere. Every person is free to understand his religion as he sees fit, and he is free to change his religion, to adopt any school of thought or religion, and to spread his ideas in keeping with the modern rules of human rights."


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