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Thursday, March 12, 2015 | by Bassam Tawil

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute. Republished with permission.


Many Muslims rejoiced when Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, came out against Islamic terrorism — only to be disappointed when he spoke of a Zionist-colonialist “conspiracy to divide and conquer Muslims.” (Image source: Erem News video screenshot)


The unhappy state of Islam is the result of a rule by dictators dictated by cruelty, a slanted interpretation of Islam, laziness, corruption and internal decay — all racing towards the social, economic and scientific destruction of the Islamic nation.

The claim of the Muslim Brotherhood, that men should be ruled not by men but by Allah, is a fraud and a lie, because what mortal can claim the right to rule in Allah’s name — the various backward Sunni sheikhs such as ISIS’s “Caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, or the power-mad Shi’ite Ayatollahs in Iran?

Many Muslims rejoiced when Sheikh Dr. Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the most important religious institution in the Sunni Muslim world, gave a speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which he came out against Islamic terrorism. He said a misinterpretation of the Qur’an and life of the Prophet (S.A.A.W.) were what led to Muslim extremism. He condemned terrorism and said that reforms had to be made in religious studies so that they put more emphasis on tolerance.

For a moment, it seemed as if the time had come to call him a genuine hero of millions of Muslims in general and those in the Middle East in particular. But many of us were painfully disappointed when he warned of a Zionist-colonialist “conspiracy to divide and conquer Muslims.” We realized we had rejoiced too soon, and that the sheikh blamed others, as usual, for the failures of Muslims, and was not planning to either examine our mistakes or correct them.

The time has come to make it clear to the world that neither the West, nor the so-called Israeli “occupation,” nor imperialism nor colonialism is in any way responsible for the atrocities carried out by the Islamist fanatics. Those episodes of history are in no way responsible for the burnings-alive, beheadings, abductions, rape, pillage and slaughter carried out by the jihadists in the name of “Islam.” Those are only excuses feeding off the many mistakes made by the West.

What is responsible is social and religious backwardness, the work of the Islamist forces of reaction, and their inability to adjust to the progress made by the Western world during the past 1200 years.

The Muslim Brotherhood claims it does not use force to convince people to convert to Islam, and that the decision can be freely made. It claims it only uses force against those who keep the message of Islam from reaching the masses who have not yet decided.

Promoting such a fraud not only allows the extremist proselytizers of Islam to acquire both dominance and exclusivity among Muslims as bearing the “true” message of Islam. Above all, it prevents their power and leadership from being challenged. It is this fraud that makes it possible for Islamist terrorists to use force against anyone they choose on the pretext that their victims block the da’wah (religious instruction and proselytization).

The achievements of the West frustrate the Islamists because Islamism is neither democratic nor in tune with the modern world. What extremist Islam thrives on is religious fanaticism and the desire to destroy the successes of the West, in order to “prove” Islam’s superiority.

To keep Muslims from despair, blaming the West seeks to prevent Muslims from using their intelligence to compare the failure of extremist Islam to anything else that is Islamic.

The frantic arms race towards more and more deadly weapons engaged in by the various radical organizations, such as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s ISIS, Hassan Nasrallah’s Hezbollah, Ismail Haniyeh’s Hamas and by the radical Islamist states such as Iran, has as its only objective the ability to carry out such destruction.

Getting nuclear arms, long-range missiles and other means for an ultimate end-of-days is meant to enable the extremists in Islam to market their religion to the masses by force; to rule the world according to their interpretations of Islam, and to use weapons of mass destruction, blackmail, fraud and threats to bridge the gaps and hide their failures in technological, societal and economic development.

One reason the Arab and Muslim countries find it so hard to fight against extremist Islamic terrorism is that this wish to “repair by destroying others” is rooted deep within their regimes, and through all the wars they carry out with each other through proxies.

Another reason is that many terrorism-supporting countries, such as Saudi Arabia, get rid of opposition by sending dissidents out of the country, or by murdering them, as they seem to be doing with the blogger, Raif Badawi, who may be facing a new trial and a death sentence, ostensibly for “apostasy.” Another man in his 20s was also sentenced last week, by the three judges of the court of Hafar al-Batin, to be executed by the sword for “insulting Islam.” In this way, and under the heading of the da’wah (religious instruction and proselytization), many dissidents have reached foreign shores.

With unlimited oil funds at their disposal, these men buy influence, infrastructure, weapons, explosives and, most importantly, people. They set out to enlist local Muslims, whom they then turn against the host countries that good-heartedly take them in.

These men with unlimited oil funds reach the shores of Europe and the United States; they build mosques, and social and economic institutions. They insinuate themselves into the corridors of power and purchase chairs at universities. Once established, they begin preaching and using money and scare tactics to enlist terrorist operatives from within the local Muslim communities. From these, they form a hard core of terrorists, in place today and just waiting for orders.

Divine retribution came during the so-called Arab Spring: now it seems the countries that supported terrorism — or chose to ignore it out of self-interest or political correctness — were the first to suffer: the terrorists could see their inherent weakness. This is what took place recently in France. Unfortunately, if the scales do not fall from U.S. President Barack Obama’s eyes, and he persists in his stubborn naïveté, the same thing will happen in the United States — to say nothing of Britain, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia and the rest of the civilized world.

The same is true of the Arab states that hosted and encouraged the various terrorist movements: they became the first victims. You can see it happening today in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon — all paying the price for the haven they gave to terrorism — Hezbollah terrorism, Hamas terrorism and Palestinian terrorism — for allowing these groups to operate from within their borders.

As far as “Palestine” is concerned, we here still remain optimistic. The number of voices calling for change in our leadership — to one that cares about improving the lives of its people instead of crushing them under a boot (with the complicity of Europe) — is growing.

The Jordanian Sheikh Ahmed Adwan wrote on his Facebook page, and said in an interview with the “Israel in Arabic” website, that there was no mention of any such thing as “Palestine” in the Qur’an. He said that Allah had granted the Blessed Land to the Israelites, who would be the Chosen People until Judgment Day, according to sura 5, verse 21, and sura 26, verse 59, and others.

He labeled as liars those who distort the Qur’an, who call the country “Palestine,” and who deliberately changed the name of the Blessed Land that Allah granted to the Israelites according to the Qur’an. These liars did so only to continue to fight the Jews, against the will of Allah. We Muslims have to realize that all those who refuse to recognize the fact that Allah granted the Blessed Land to the Jews are, in effect, attacking Allah and the Qur’an.

Sheikh Adwan said the Jews were the Chosen People — and peaceful. He said they respond with violence only when they have to defend themselves. He attacked the Palestinian leadership, which to this day preaches the deliberate killing of Jews — men, women, infants and the aged — while it hides behind Palestinian civilians, in order to increase the number of Palestinian dead to show on television. This display seems meant to goad naïve international institutions into attacking the Jews for defending themselves against the Palestinians.

Sheik Adwan said that even in the 1970s, he had seen the Palestinians’ heartless, humiliating behavior when they tried to topple King Hussein of Jordan. Then as well, they hid behind their children in order to accuse the king of killing civilians, and exploit the international community for their own dishonorable ends.

The Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, is in a unity government with Hamas and is therefore responsible for Hamas’s terrorism against his own people. He is just as responsible for his own stepped-up campaign not only against the Jews, but also against Palestinian journalists and his own people.

The last thing Abbas is doing is preparing his people for peace with Israel. If he were interested in peace, he would not be escalating his campaign of “no normalization” with either Israelis or their products, not just from what he calls the settlements, but from all of Israel. He is leading his people to think: If the Israelis are that terrible, how could one want peace with them?

In spite of being proud Palestinians, we here know that the Palestinian Authority must not, at this time, be allowed four things.

It must not be allowed military weapons, especially on the borders of Egypt or Jordan.

It must not be allowed to admit ISIS operatives, who are already in Gaza and targeting the West Bank. ISIS in the West Bank would only endanger Jordan, the same way Hamas, recently designated by Egypt as a terrorist group, has constantly been endangering Egypt.

It must not be allowed to control a seaport or airport. Such control would enable them to import weapons and turn not only Israel, but also Jordan, Egypt and the region into an explosion of terrorism, death and destruction.

And until there is a more responsible Palestinian leadership that will not, a week later, be taken over by Islamist terrorists, it must not at present be allowed a Palestinian state.

Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.

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