Anti-al Qaeda Base Envisioned

Here is the second post which is connected to the last one. Again, I found this on my friends blog, thank you Stefan. It is an article from The Washington Times, the link for this story is below.  As always any thing in ((and)) is my comment on the subject. One other thing I want to say, completely off topic. I had this post already in the line up to put up. I had hoped to do some research over the last couple of days since this time of year finds most of us extremely busy until after New Year’s Day. The series I am writing on takes a lot of research to get it right and cover everything. Anyway, on Saturday I started coming down with something, now its a full on head cold. The problem is, if it goes to my lungs, I could be in serious trouble. I have a preexisting lung problem and any other insult could not only cause me to have to go into the hospital, but it could kill me.

I’m telling you all this for two reasons; Number 1 is, I will do what I can with my blogs, but you know what its like when you have a head cold or don’t feel well. 2 if I disappear for a week or so, it could be I am in the hospital, so just so you know, its not because I am quiting the blog. 

Now, on with today’s post:

   

Article published Sep 26, 2007
an article from www.washingtontimes.com

By Willis Witter

Exiled Egyptian cleric Ahmed Subhy Mansour, whose teachings have earned him dozens of death “fatwas” from fellow Muslim clerics, uses the English translation for al Qaeda — meaning “the base” — to describe a plan to defeat Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, who he says have seized control of Islam.”Suppose you have here [in the United States] a base to counter al Qaeda in the war of ideas?” Sheik Mansour asked during a recent luncheon at The Washington Times.

“You could convince a large number — millions of silent Muslims. We can convince them very easily that the real enemy is not the United States. It is not Israel. The real enemy is the dictators in the Muslim world and the culture of the Wahhabis and Muslim Brotherhood,” he said, referring to the dominant arbiters of Islamic orthodoxy in Saudi Arabia and Egypt respectively.

Sheik Mansour is the founder of a small Egyptian sect that is neither Sunni nor Shi”ite. They call themselves Quranists because they believe that the Koran represents the single authentic scripture of Islam. They especially anger Sunni Muslims by rejecting the Hadith and Sunna, purported sayings and traditions of the prophet Muhammad.

“Killing people just because they are not Muslims, they have a Hadith for this. To kill a Muslim like me after accusing him to be an ‘apostate,” they have a Hadith for this. To persecute the Jews, they have a Hadith for this.“All this is garbage. It has nothing to do with Islam. It contradicts more than one-fourth of the Koranic verses,” Sheik Mansour said. ((one-fouth Wow!))A former professor of Islamic history at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, he was expelled in 1987 as the Muslim equivalent of a “heretic” and was briefly imprisoned by Egyptian authorities. After subsequent waves of persecution, he finally fled Egypt just months after the September 11, 2001, attacks and received political asylum in the United States the next year.

More recently, in May and June, Egyptian authorities arrested five leaders of the movement, including Sheik Mansour“s brother, on charges of “insulting Islam” and began investigations of 15 others, with the intent, he said, to destroy the entire movement.

From exile in the United States, he continues to attack the Islam of bin Laden and the Wahhabi Islam of Saudi Arabia that gave birth to bin Laden”s beliefs. Sheik Mansour also attacks the Islamist vision of Egypt”s Muslim Brotherhood, a group that rejects violence but shares the goal of a theocratic nationhood under Shariah, or Islamic law.

Though illegal in Egypt, the Brotherhood is allowed to operate openly in an uneasy truce with the government. Police round up its members whenever it delves too publicly in politics — for example, by holding anti-government demonstrations. But the Brotherhood”s interpretation of Shariah provides a benchmark for Egyptian law, which is based primarily on Shariah.

“We are not against the people. We are against this culture that will produce more and more generations of fanaticism. We go to the core of this culture and prove that it contradicts the Koran,” Sheik Mansour said.

“Few Americans understand that the battle against terrorism is a war of ideas,” Sheik Mansour said. “It is a war that is very different from the military in its tactics, its strategy and its weapons.

“Suicide bombings are just one aspect of this war. They brainwash young men to blow themselves up, to kill randomly. Our mission is to convince him, to undeceive them, to convince them that what he is doing is against Islam. He will lose his life and lose his afterlife as well.”Sheik Mansour claims about 10,000 followers in Egypt who accept his teachings, many of whom are part of his extended family.“We find Islam has the same values as the West: freedom, unlimited freedom of speech, justice, equality, loving, humanity, tolerance, mercy, everything. This is our version of Islam, and we argue that this is the core of Islam according to the Koran.”  ((Somebody tell me why people like these are so feared by the powers that be in Muslim nations??))

He and his sons operate the Quranic Center in Northern Virginia, which includes an elaborate Internet site in Arabic and English. On its Web site at www.ahlalquran.com, the organization is republishing dozens of Sheik Mansour“s books and hundreds of articles he has written over the years.  ((the english version http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/main.php))

The campaign is not without risk. One can find a sampling of fatwas, or edicts by other Muslim scholars against the Quranists, including one saying, “We have issued our commands to the soldiers of God to worship God by pouring out their blood and burning their homes.”  ((Those of you who live in the West, be grateful for your religious freedom.))

Sheik Mansour said in response: “I do not care about my safety, but I do care about my persecuted people in Egypt.”

Paul Marshall, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute”s Institute of Religious Freedom, said arrests of the Quranists reflect an attempt by Egypt”s government to demonstrate its loyalty to Islam to fend off challenges from even more extreme Islamists who want to impose much harsher restrictions on the Arab world”s most populous nation.

“These arrests are part of the Egyptian government’s double game in which it imprisons members of the Muslim Brotherhood when the latter appear to become too powerful, while simultaneously trying to appear Islamic itself and blunt the Brotherhood’s appeal by cracking down on religious reformers, who are very often also democracy activists,” Mr. Marshall wrote in a recent edition of the Weekly Standard.

The arrests of the Quranists received a brief mention in the latest annual report on International Religious Freedom by the State Department, which noted the arrests of five Quranists and defined the group as “a small group of Muslims who rely largely if not exclusively on the Qur’an as authoritative for Islam, to the exclusion of the prophetic traditions [Hadith] and other sources of Islamic law.”

One detainee told an Egyptian human rights investigator that he was beaten and threatened with rape by one interrogator, the State Department report says.  ((This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of this kind of punishment and interrogation torture.  So here we have a man being persecuted, because he is considered a heretic towards Islam, and we have some Muslims, torturing him and others… Please somebody tell me how one man raping another, or if a man rapes a woman … how ‘Islamic’ is that??  How is torture in any form Islamic??)) 

Since arriving in the states, Sheik Mansour has held a number of academic posts. In 2002, he was a Reagan-Fascell Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, where he wrote on the roots of democracy in Islam.

The next year, he received a visiting fellowship at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program.

He also briefly met Karen P. Hughes, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, last year in the office of Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican.The meeting, Sheik Mansour said, lasted for 10 minutes, barely enough for polite introductions.

“I said: ‘Please, let me sit down with you for more time. I have big plan,” ” he recalled. But there was no follow-up.

“We need official American help for our arrested people in Egypt,” he said. “We don”t want money. We are talking about releasing our arrested people, saving the lives of scholars, bringing them to the U.S., granting them asylum to help establish this new base for moderate Islam.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070926/FOREIGN/109260030/1003

No Compulsion…As Long As You Believe Like Me

As we are going into Thanksgiving and I am very busy during this time of the year; I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get at least 3 posts out this week. I won’t be putting up one on the topic I am currently working on however I found this on my friends blog.  We will get back to the other series the first of the week (hopefully).  But this post and the next one is just as informative and interesting as the series we are in, so I really want everyone to read it and the next one.

This article is written by Ahmed Mansour, and tells you some of the beliefs of these people who are being persecuted for not believing the same way as the powers that be.  I am printing it in it’s entirety here, but you can also find it here. Again, thank you Stefan for printing great stuff that I can share with others. I thought it was very interesting and worthwhile reading for all. Since I have 5 blogs, what better way to get this out there.  There is a part 2 to this which I will put up by Friday or Saturday.  Actually I think this post should be the second part, but I am putting it up first.

Again remember there is no compulsion in Islam… as long as you worship and/or believe the way your told. Anything else is subject to discrimination, jail, or death. Even if, or rather, especially if, you are a Muslim in a Muslim nation. In the early 1990’s, I was invited by the Egyptian association for religious brotherhood to lecture in a church in Cairo to Muslims and Christians about tolerance. I was warned that there was a suspicious bearded man waiting for me in front of the church.We talked. He told me that he had spent two months trying to meet me. He told me that he had been a member of secret fanatic organization and was assigned to rebut my discourse, but that my words had changed his and his family’s life. He asked me to join my weekly Friday prayer meeting at my home, and if possible bring his family.

After a month they became Quranists.

Who are the Quranists?

The Quranists are intellectual Muslims who believe in Islam as the religion of freedom, democracy, tolerance, justice, peace and human rights. They fight the terrorists’ culture from within Islam, using Quran as the only source of legislation.

Why they are persecuted?

The Quranic movement started in 1979 by sincere Muslim scholars who specialized in the contradiction between the true Islam and the Culture of Muslims. Therefore they were victimized by terrorists and fanatic scholars.
Being activists for human rights and democracy, and calling for peaceful reform from within Islam, the Quranists are also victimized by the Egyptian regime.

The Egyptian regime and Muslim Brothers are against each other but are usually united against Quranists.

Brief overview of the persecution of Quranists:

The Quranists have suffered three waves of arrest; in 1987, 2000-2001, and finally the third wave starting May 28th, 2007, when five of the Quranists were arrested, tortured for 37 days, interrogated, and suffered ridiculous accusations about their faith and prayers.

Their families were also persecuted in Egypt. Some moved to Upper Egypt and some stayed indoors. The Muslim Brothers used mosques, media and the education system, as well as their control of the streets to try to tarnish the Quranists as ardent enemies of Islam.

After the Egyptian regime officially accused the Quranists of insulting Islam, fanatics used the accusation to call for the Quranists’ death.

The five Quranists have been released in October 6, 2007, after more than four months in prison. Because of torture, my brother Abdellateef had to undergo surgery in his ear. Amr Tharwat needed surgery on his leg, while Ahmed Dahmash has damage in his backbone. The persecution continues. Every week, they must go to the same prison to be interrogated and humiliated by the security services. Any time they may be arrested and tortured again. They are ordered to pray the weekly Friday prayer in fanatic mosques, and are not allowed to contact me, or to write in our site.

In this way he Egyptian regime is seeking to make an example for the rest and keep the Quranists from continuing their reform movement.

Persecution in some detail:

As an assistant professor at Al-Azhar University, the oldest and most famous religious university in the Sunni Muslim world, I wrote five books in 1985 to reform Sunni religious life.. I was accused of being against Islam because I denied the intercession of the prophet Muhammad in the day of judgment, deny his infallibility, and deny that he is the best and the master of all the prophets. In March 1987, I was fired.In November 1987, I was arrested, along with 24 of my followers, and accused of being a denier of the Sunna, the sayings and the deeds of the prophet Muhammad. The government claimed that my writing were a call for Muslims to abandon Islam. After two months I was released.

To save my life, I escaped to the United States. When I returned to Egypt in October 1988 I was again arrested, and released after two days on the condition that I not defend myself whenever the fanatics of Al Azhar attacked me. In the period 1988-1995, I was attacked so severely, and received death threats so that I asked for court protection. From January 1996 until June 2000 I worked at the Ibn Khaldun Center as a Muslim scholar and moderator of the Center’s weekly forum. The Center is run by Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the famous sociologist, and leader of the movement for human rights, civil society and liberal culture in the Arab world. As an American citizen and part-time counselor of President Mubarak, Dr. Ibrahim has had great influence in Egypt in the 1990s.

My life was in real danger after I wrote a book as a project for the Center on reforming the Egyptian education system to make it more tolerant. I was severely attacked in the Egyptian parliament.

As a result of problems between Dr. Ibrahim and President Mubarak, Dr. Ibrahim was arrested in June 2000 and the Center shut down. Since I was in serious danger, and some of my relatives had been arrested, I contacted and explained the situation to officials in the US embassy.

The security service kept us constantly in a state of terror. They arrested more members of my family in my village. Finally they arrested some of my friends who used to attend my weekly prayer at home. One told me that he expected them to arrest both of us along with more of my relatives. He said they would as usual force my friends to make false accusations about me and so I fled to the US on October, 15, 2001. (This is reviewed in the U. S Department of State’s 2002 International Religious Freedom Report)

Since coming to the U.S, I have found the same Wahabi influence, and founded the International Quranic Center, with a website, to organize Quranists.

So, we suffer the third wave of arrest.

For more details:

http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=126

http://www.ahl-alquran.com/arabic/show_article.php?main_id=2048 

How could the Quranists help the U.S in this war of ideas against the terrorists?

The war against terrorism is 90% war of ideas. This intellectual war has its unique aspects and rules. The Quranists are an Islamic group capable of defending the U.S in this ideological war against terrorism. Al Qaeda and all the terrorist organizations have real power in the war of ideas.

But they cannot debate us with logic and evidence, so they resort to brute force, with government accomplices. So we are jailed, tortured, driven from out homes and made refugees in other countries. They issue fatwas calling for our death; thus proving once more that the Wahabi ideology cannot stand on its own feet, but requires the power of authorities to force it on people.

The only way to confront and defeat Wahabis is by using our ways and methods. We are Muslims, sincere about our faith and very much attached to and adhered to the Quran, and for the past thirty years, we never wavered, never retreated, we stood alone and stood firm, and despite the persecution and the lack of means, we managed to succeed in producing a genuine change in the Islamic interpretation and practices among many Muslims.

In conclusion, despite many successes, we are still victims of the Wahabi ideology and persecution of a tyrannical regime in Egypt on one hand, and a total neglect and disregard from the American institutions on the other hand.

http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=2614

See :

Egyptian Human Rights Activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim Defies Threats, Arrests to Challenge U.S.-Backed Mubarak Government

And my next post, if you just can’t wait.  Or rather my copy/paste of Stefan’s post lol.  Oh well, it is a holiday after all.