Does the West Understand Islam?
By Jacob Thomas
Based on Program # 484 “A Daring Question” of Brother Rachid, co-hosted with Hamed Abdel-Samad, telecast on Satellite TV Station “Al-Hayat” on 16 March 2017
Having listened to this program on Brother Rachid’s archived files, the following is a summary of the discussion between two ex-Muslim authors.
The dialogue did not ignore the fact that several Western scholars, on both sides of the Atlantic, have dealt with Islam as being much more than a religion, in the acceptance sense of the word. One may refer to the works of Bernard Lewis, Efraim Karsh, and Samuel Huntington. These men made it clear that Islam possesses an imperialistic worldview, and have always sought to bring mankind within its orbit. Unfortunately, this historical fact did not affect the policies of Western political leaders. Neither the 9/11 attack, nor the continuing Islamist attacks on Eastern Christians, and on other targets, have awakened the West and its political leaders, to perceive Islam’s global challenge. In fact, Brother Rachid in one of his televised programs, chided former President Obama, for stating that the ideology of ISIS had nothing to do with Islam!
It is to be noted that several ethnic and religious groups from Asia and Africa that had moved to the West since the mid-950’s, have assimilated into the host countries. However, Muslims have not assimilated; since their faith has political and juridical dimensions that are incompatible with Western civilization.
One refrain heard often during the dialogue between Brother Rachid and Abdel-Samad, described Muslims as an “Umma Madawiyya” i.e., “A Nation Anchored in Its History.” The implication is that since Islam spread through its Futuhat (Conquests), it’s ingrained in the Muslim’s ethos, that they must dominate non-Muslims. Their right to conquer is God-given, while any response to Islamic expansionism, or reference to the maltreatment of native Christian populations, is regarded as a sign of Western Imperialism.
One important fact that’s rarely discussed in the West, is the contrast between Islamic and Western Imperialism. Muslim conquerors imposed on the conquered peoples, harsh and heavy burdens, such as taxes and the abridgement of religious freedoms. That lead in the long run, to the Islamization of many Jews, Christians, and Hindus. Western Imperialism did not engage in similar practices, so that Muslims were not forced to change their religion.
Abdel-Samad referred to the fact that Muslims in Europe are engaged in a “Demographic Imperialism” with their large families. As an example of Western generosity, he mentioned that the mayor of a German town donated 859,000 Euros for the building of a mosque; adding that Christians in Muslim lands, face great difficulties in repairing their churches, due to governmental restrictions. In one year, the German Government welcomed 1,500,000 Muslim migrants at a cost of 50 billion Euros, a sum more than the combined national budgets of Egypt and Morocco!
The Influx of substantial numbers of Muslim workers in the early years after WWII, helped Western European countries in their heavy industry, such as in the production of cars in France, Germany, and Sweden. Now, that the economy has changed requiring skilled workers, unemployment among Muslim men has skyrocketed. As a result, the burden on the social services of the host countries, has greatly increased!
Instead of engaging in self-criticism and attempting to deal with their problems, Muslims blame others for their inability to cope with the changing conditions. They charge host countries with racism and Islamophobia. What illness they suffer from, they attach it to the “Others.” In fact, they are the ones suffering from a deep-seated racism which has become pathological.
The West has failed to require Muslim communities to accept and practice tolerance vis-à-vis others. Refugees who have fled their lands that had applied Shariah, come to the West and ask for the application of Shariah! What a contradiction!
There is an urgent need to the discussion of the true nature of Islam as a religion and a state, in an indivisible unit. This necessity enables the West to deal with radical Islamic Institutions like the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s these organizations that fill the hearts of the growing generations with hatred and animus against the Kuffar (Unbelievers.) Muslims need more real schools, and not more mosques.
Western governments show no signs of properly dealing with the demands of “offended” Muslims. Recently, a French teacher in a Public School, referred in class, to the terrorist attack in Nice, on Bastille Day (14th July 2016). Muslim students claimed he was aiming criticism at their faith. To appease them and their parents, the school authorities removed the teacher from his position! Such surrender to Muslim prejudice and intolerance, does nothing to help the West’s struggle with a formidable problem. When not resolved, it can only get worse; showing that in fact, “The West Doesn’t Understand Islam!”
Note re: Hamed Abdel-Samad, a Political Scientist
Hamed Abdel-Samad is a German-Egyptian political scientist and author. He was born in Egypt, as the third of five children, the son of a Muslim Sunni Imam. Abdel-Samad came to Germany in 1995 at the age of 23. He studied Japanese, English and French in Cairo as well as political science in Augsburg, Germany. He worked as a scholar in Erfurt and Braunschweig. He taught and conducted research until the end of 2009 at the Institute for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Munich; his dissertation topic was: “Bild der Juden in ägyptischen Schulbüchern.” (The View of Jews in the Egyptian Schools’ Textbooks) Subsequently he decided to become a full-time professional writer. Abdel-Samad has authored, Islamic Fascism.
This polemic against Islamic extremism highlights the striking parallels between contemporary Islamism and the 20th-century fascism embodied by Hitler and Mussolini. Like those infamous ideologies, Islamism today touts imperialist dreams of world domination, belief in its inherent superiority, contempt for the rest of humanity, and often a murderous agenda. The author, born and raised in Egypt and now living in Germany, not only explains the historical connections between early 20th-century fascist movements in Europe and extremist factions in Islam, but he also traces the fascist tendencies in mainstream Islam that have existed throughout its history.
Examining key individuals and episodes from centuries past, the book shows the influence of Islam’s earliest exploits on current politics in the Islamic world. The author’s incisive analysis exposes the fascist underpinnings of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Shia regime in Iran, ISIS, Salafi and Jihadist ideologies, and more. Forcefully argued and well-researched, this book grew out of a lecture on Islamic fascism that the author gave in Cairo, resulting in a call for his death by three prominent Egyptian clerics. Published 2016 by Prometheus Books.