Thursday, May 26, 2011

Persecution of Baha'is continued in Iran

Source: * This article has been updated to reflect new information on the number of arrests in connection with the BIHE raids.

GENEVA — A coordinated series of raids have been carried out on the homes of several Iranian Baha’is, active in a community initiative to provide a higher education program for young members who are barred from university.

Reports indicate that raids took place on Saturday 21 May on as many as 30 homes in Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan, and Shiraz. It is now understood that some 14 Baha’is have been arrested.

“All of the targets were homes of individuals closely involved with the operations of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education,” said Diane Ala’i, representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva.

The Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was established in 1987 as a community initiative to meet the educational needs of young Baha’is who have been systematically denied access to higher education by the Iranian government. The BIHE has been described by the New York Times as “an elaborate act of communal self-preservation.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Cruelty of Sharia Law

From Facts & ArtsThe Cruelty of Sharia Law is Not a Western Perception but an Islamic Reality by Tawfik Hamid

Dr. Tawfik Hamid (aka Tarek Abdelhamid), is an Islamic thinker and reformer, and one time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of a terrorist Islamic organization JI with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawaherri who became later on the second in command of Al-Qaeda. Dr. Hamid is currently a Senior Fellow and Chair of the study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

President Barack Obama's adviser on Muslim affairs, Dalia Mogahed, has provoked controversy by appearing on a British television show hosted by a member of an extremist group to talk about Sharia law, the Daily Telegraph reported on October 8, 2009.

Ms. Mogahed, an appointee to the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said the Western view of Sharia is "oversimplified," and that the majority of Muslim women around the world associate Sharia with "gender justice."

The White House adviser made the remarks on a London-based TV discussion programme hosted by Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party.

Hizb ut Tahrir believes in the non-violent destruction of Western democracy and the creation of a global Islamic state under Sharia law.

Mogahed said: "I think the reason so many women support Sharia is because they have a very different understanding of sharia than the common perception in Western media". Her views on this matter are similar to the conclusions that she made of her survey in the Muslim world which she summarized in her 2007 book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, co-authored with John L. Esposito.

What matters in this story is not that Mogahed's comments were said to a Hizb ut Tahrir member, but rather the lack of factual reality about Sharia law contained in her statements and conclusions.

At the theoretical level, Sharia books teach and instruct the followers of Islam to implement cruel and inhumane treatment for women, such as beating wives and stoning them for committing adultery. Endorsements of polygamy and underage marriage are also established teachings of Sharia Law. These concepts, which clearly discriminate against women, are unchallenged in the mainstream Sharia books.

It would have been much better if Dalia Mogahed, instead of blaming Sharia cruelty on Western perception, had mentioned to the audience the name of even a single approved Sharia book that stands clearly against these inhumane teachings.

In Mogahed's survey, female Muslim respondents might well have said that Sharia represents justice simply because criticizing Sharia Law can create major trouble for these women in their societies. In addition, based on traditional ways of teaching Islam, denying a well established and approved Islamic law (called in Sharia: "Maaloom Mina Al-Deen Bil Darura,") such as any of the former laws, makes the critic an "apostate," who deserves to be killed by the Muslim society and who will then "go to hell to be tortured forever". Such a fear of punishment can impede an honest critique of Sharia law in the Muslim world, thereby casting doubt on the accuracy of the conclusions driven from the survey.

Asking a Muslim living in a Muslim society about his views about Sharia is like asking a German living under the Nazis or a Russian during Stalin's era about their views regarding Nazism or communism, respectively. Can we expect to receive honest answers to such questions? The fear of punishment for criticizing the system can completely override people's free will and impede their ability to give honest responses.

When I was young and living in the Muslim world we used to brag that Islam is the ONLY religion that gives women their rights, and that polygamy, beating women, and stoning them for adultery represents wisdom that is beyond our human comprehension. Our fear of criticizing such teachings or interpretations prevented us from being able to give an unbiased evaluation of Sharia law.The research of Ms. Mogahed should have sought to eliminate this element of fear or to use indirect evaluation methods; given that she did not, it is hard to draw reliable conclusions from of her research. There is no single piece of evidence in Mogahed's book that suggests that the fear factor was considered in the evaluation process or that her statistics were corrected for this bias.

It is also important to note that the questions that were asked of Muslim women as described in this book were rather non-specific; thus, it is difficult to use them to give an accurate evaluation of Sharia. For example, there is no single question in the above mentioned book that asks specifically about the violent edicts of Sharia law.

It can be extremely inaccurate to evaluate the reality of Sharia by simply doing a questionnaire asking for the views of Muslims about it. As an analogy, what if we asked Bin Laden about Sharia law? He would likely tell us that "it represents justice." In his view, the killing of infidels is justice! The same concept applies to Ms. Mogahed's questionnaire.

For example, when Muslim women in the survey say that Sharia represents justice, this does not necessarily mean that those women consider beating women, polygamy, or stoning for sexual misconduct to be forms of injustice. The questions should have been tailored to ask about specific laws such as beating or stoning of women, rather than general points.

Furthermore, at the practical level, all the current systems that implement Sharia Law-such as those in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and Pakistan, and parts of Somalia-legalize the above-mentioned barbaric teachings against women. It would have been better if, instead of trying to convince her Western audience that Sharia law is fair to women, Ms. Mogahed had given the audience one single example of a country that applies Sharia law and at the same time forbids polygamy, beating of women, or stoning. In fact, the Muslim countries that do not legally discriminate against women or justify cruelty to them, such as Turkey and Tunisia, are only those countries that refuses to implement Sharia Law, relying instead on secular laws.

To conclude, if all approved Islamic Sharia books and all the systems that apply Sharia accept or practice the previously mentioned barbaric treatment of women, then how come Ms. Mugahed is trying to sell the idea that Sharia law is fair to women? As mentioned earlier, the view of some Muslim women that Sharia law represents justice could stem from extreme fear of criticizing an Islamic law, or it may represent a form of cultural pride that prevents many Muslims from openly criticizing their traditional teachings. If all Muslim women were to say that Sharia Law is just in its treatment of women, this would not make it true, as the terrorists would also claim that Sharia law legalizing fighting infidels to subjugate them to Islam is a just law. Some people's perceptions about Sharia Law do not change its fundamental nature. The only way to change the Western perception about Sharia is to change its reality.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

On the Origins of Political Islam

by Hisham Osman Adam EisaDec. 2010يعيش العالم العربي والاسلامي منذمايربو علي ثلاثة عقود افرازات ما كان يعرف حينها باسم( الصحوه الاسلاميه)وهي ظاهره لها جذورها الاجتماعيه,التاريخيه ولها دينامياتها النفسيه وتتفاوت تجلياتها قوه وضعفا من بلد لاخر.وللخروج بنتائج عامه حول طبيعه اتجاهات ونوع تطلعات الجماعه الدينيه المشتغلة بالسياسة,ينبغي النظراليها ضمن المعطيات التاريخية المحددة لنشأة الظاهرة وتطورها وينبغي ايضا استشفاف مفعول تلك المعطيات التاريخية في تشكيل ملامح وخصوصية العلاقة بين الديني والسياسي.
فعند الكشف علي الجذور التاريخية لمسار الحركات الدينية المعاصرة لابد من استخدام المنهج التاريخي واستقراء تاريخ كل عنصر من عناصر هذه الظاهره ولابد من استخدام المنهج الوصفي ايضا لدراستها من حيث هي واقع قائم.

والجماعة الأم التي وضعت حجر الأساس لبناء الإسلام السياسي كانت في مصر المعاصرة ثم تفرعت من تلك الجماعة كما هو معروف جماعات دينيه لا تزال تعمل في ميدان الإسلام السياسي , ودراسة جماعات الإخوان المسلمين أو الالجماعه الام في ايجاز غير مخل لهي مطلوبه في هذا المقام لاعتبارين:
الاول : الكشف عن الجذور التاريخيه للاسلام السياسي المعاصر ,كيف استنبتت جذوره وكيف اينعت واثمرت ثماره.
الثاني : إن جماعه الاخوان المسلمين الام ما زالت تعمل في ميدان الاسلام السياسي جنبا الي جنب مع الجماعات الفروع .
ويدخل في يقين كاتب هذه السطور إن الإسلام السياسي بتعدد أطيافه وبتباين روافده وتياراته لايعدو كونه ( ظاهره تاريخيه) اقصي سقف لمردودها الانساني هو أدلجه المصالح الوقتيه للشرائح المرتبطه بالظاهرة ارتباطا تاريخيا ووجدانيا وانسانياوباقل القليل من من الكدح الفكري , لذلك هي مجرد ظاهرة لا تدخل في عداد المناهج الفكريه ذات الطبيعة المدرسية . ودراسه ظاهرة بهذا التوصيف لن تكتمل إضاءة مشهدها بمعزل عن التعرف علي الشخصيات التي كان لها دور فعال في حياة هذه الجماعة منذ النشأة الاولي لها والي إن تشعبت وأصبحت جماعات لا جماعه واحده .
والشخصيات التي يعرف لها هذا الدور الفعال في حياة جماعه الإخوان المسلمين فيما نري , ثلاث شخصيات ؛ حسن البنا ,عبد القادر عوده , سيد قطب .لعب الأول دور المنشئ للجماعة _الباني للتنظيم الهيكلي , والمحدد لمضمون الدعوة واهدافهاووسائلها .
بينما لعب الثاني دور المفكر الذي يقوم بعمليه التاصيل , حيث يرد كل فكره تتبناها الجماعه الي أصولها الدينية . مبينا وشارحا عبر عمليات تنظير تنتهي دائماالي إن ما جاء به الإسلام هو الأفضل , وهوالذي يقدم الخير للبشرية ويسعد الناس فهو من صنع الله وليس من صنع البشر .
اما الثالث , فقد لعب حسن ظني الدور المهم في حياه جماعه الإخوان المسلمين وفي حياة جماعات الإسلام السياسي التي تلت ,بما ادخله من تغيرات وتعديلات علي فكر الجماعة الذي كان تلقينيا, ذو قوالب جامدة في التعاطي فعرفت الجماعة علي يديه الحوار الساخن والجدل العنيف والاستقطاب الفكري وانتهي الأمر إلي وجود تيارات ثم جماعات تدعو لفكرها وتعمل لحسابها الخاص
ونحن إذ نقف مع كل واحد في هؤلاء الثلاثة لنتعرف في غير استطراد علي المساهمة التاريخية لكل .
حسن البنا هو الشخصية التي حملت نفسها مسئوليه تكوين هذه الجماعة في مصر أولا ثم في مختلف البلدان الاسلاميه ثانيا .
والمسار التاريخي لحياه حسن البنا قبل تكوين هذه الجماعه يكشف لناعن بعض من الوقائع التي كان اثرها البالغ في توجيهه الوجهة الدينيه تلك .
فقد ولد حسن البنا وعاش في بلده المحموديه وهي مهد الطريقه الحصافيه وقد كان في صباه ومطلع شبابه من اتباع ومريدي الشيخ عبدالوهاب الحصافي الذي كان معروفا بانه دائما ما يوصي اتباعه ومريديه بمجاهده الزنادقه والملاحده والمبشرين ولعل حسن البنا استبطن نزعه شيخه تلك وتاثر بها وصبغ بها تدينه الشخصي ومن ثم صارت تلك النزعه ذات اثر بالغ في عمل وفكر الجماعه .
ويحكي انه كان في بلده المحموديه ارساليه انجيليه تبشيرية , تعلم التطبيب وفن التطريز وتأوي اليتامى , ثم تأسست كرد فعل لتلك الجمعية في المحمودية , جمعيه تاخذعلي عاتقها مواجهة ما تقوم به الارساليه من عمل وتدعو إلي مقاومه المنكرات , وتلك هي الجمعيه الحصافيه الخيرية . وكان حسن البنا هو السكرتير لهذه الجمعية .وبالتالي فان مقاومه التبشير التي لازمت بدايات فكر وخطاب الإخوان هي من رواسب تلك الوجهة التي وجهته إليها الطرق الصوفية الحصا فيه وهي كانت طريقه ذات سمات خاصة, إذ كان يقوم خطابها علي جمع غير موفق بين الصوفي بنهجه الدعوي التسامحي والسلفي بغلواءه المتشدده . ولكن كل تلك الوقائع لم تجعل من حسن البنا الانسان المنصرف الي العمل السياسي , فلم يتحقق له ذلك الا بعد إن انتقل الي القاهره طالبا في مدرسه دار العلوم واخذ يغشي مجالس رجال الفكر الديني وقد ذكر ذلك بنفسه في كتابه (مذكرات الدعوه والداعيه) .
وانه في تلك المرحلة بالذات ,كان قضيه نظام الحكم في الإسلام مطروحة بعنف ,يطرحها رجال الدين وكذلك رجال السياسة ويتحاورون حول كل بعد من إبعادها .
وكان الدافع لذلك كله إن كمال اتاتورك الغي منصب الخلافة وعزل الخليفة واحل محل نظام الخلافة النظام الجمهوري المؤسس علي المبدأ السياسي _مبدأ القوميات. وقد اثأر هذا الصنيع من أتاتورك العواصف ورأي البعض إن الأخذ بنظام الحكم الوارد من الغرب وإحلاله محل ما يعتقدون بأنه النظام الديني الإسلامي هو خروج علي الإسلام