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Efforts To Reform Islam

  1. If Islam’s teachings really are peaceful and tolerant, how it is possible for so many Muslims worldwide, including converts, to completely misunderstand their religion in exactly the same way, quoting the same books and theologians and ideas? And if there is such widespread misunderstanding, why is there not a single visible major program in mosques to teach the proper understanding of the verses jihadists are allegedly misunderstanding but using nonetheless to gain recruits among peaceful Muslims and potential converts? Have you always assumed there were such programs just because a polite well dressed Muslim spokesperson with a Ph.D says so? I can’t find one but if anyone can tell me I will post its literature here.

  1. Watch this short clip of Andrew McCarthy and Robert Spencer on reform.

  1. If you have looked thru this site you know that no peaceful tolerant school of Islam exists. Of course there have been efforts made. But note that real reformers below who are alive today are not supported nor consulted by governments in the West. Rather, members of Muslim Brotherhood front groups are.

This is what any moderate Muslim risks who opposes IS&J. Prominent Muslim Cleric Killed in Kenya. And in Nigeria: Cleric who was vocal critic of “Boko Haram” sect shot and killed.

  1. Spencer on what he calls  ”cultural Muslims”, or Islam Three:

  1. “Dinesh D'Souza asked me, " 'cultural Muslims' do you mean people who are born Muslim but don't practice Islam. 'The only good Muslim is a non-Muslim.'"

  1. Of course that is not what I mean at all. So, just in case anyone is confused about this:

  1. ... for a variety of reasons the jihad ideology was deemphasized, particularly in Central & Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Eastern Europe for several centuries. Muslims lived devout lives with no emphasis on it. Were they not practicing Islam? Of course they were practicing Islam. But these teachings were not part of that practice at that time. Unfortunately, however, they were never formally rejected, and are being reasserted today by jihad recruiters who quote Qur'an, Sunnah, and fiqh in order to support their positions.

  1. That's why I call on peaceful Muslims to confront these aspects of Islam, and formulate new ways to understand these texts, so as to blunt the force of the jihadist recruitment. But this cannot be done without actually examining what the texts actually say -- which very thing you claim will make Muslims who abhor jihad violence decide that jihad violence is a-ok. A position that is, of course, risible.

If you think a Peaceful Tolerant™ orthodox school of Islam ever existed in the past, or exists today someplace, then you probably underestimate the magnitude of what it would take to reform it.

  1. “It's an almost universal wisdom that Islam, out of its love for knowledge and creativity, created a great, advanced civilization---the so-called Islamic 'Golden Age'. But in reality, it was founded on pre-Islamic Greek and Eastern acquisitions in knowledge and innovations.” (The Real Islamic Golden Age) You can see evidence of the Andalusian Myth of Islamic Tolerance™ in the opinions of famous jurists from there.

Does this mean there was no Muslim innovation? Spencer:

  1. “Certainly Muslims have innovated at high levels. Civilized people owe a debt to Muslim believers like Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, whose pioneering seventh-century treatise on algebra, Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, gave algebra its name and enjoyed wide influence in Europe. (Al-Khwarizmi, of course, was following in the pioneering footsteps of Diophantus of Alexandria, who died late in the third Christian century.) Abu Raihan al-Biruni did groundbreaking work on calculating longitude and latitude. The caliph Harun al-Rashid’s son Abu Jafar al-Ma’mun, who became caliph in 813, established professional standards for physicians and pharmacists. Abu Bakr al-Razi, or Rhazes, wrote lengthy treatises on medicine and alchemy that influenced the development of medical science and chemistry in medieval Europe. The famous Muslim philosopher Avicenna (Ibn Sina) wrote a medical textbook that was preeminent among European doctors for five centuries—until the 1600s. Prolific scholar Abu ‘Uthman ‘Amr ibn Bahr al-Jahiz wrote more than two hundred books on a multitude of subjects: from politics (The Institution of the Caliphate) and zoology (the seven-volume Book of Animals) to cuisine (Arab Food) and day-to-day living (Sobriety and Mirth; The Art of Keeping One’s Mouth Shut). Mathematician Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham did early and influential work in optics.

  1. But in almost every case, the Islamic scholars were building on what had been established by Jews, Christians, or others. And, as Rodney Stark points out, 

  1. “Islamic Scholars achieved significant progress only in terms of specific knowledge, such as certain aspects of astronomy and medicine, which did not require any theoretical basis. And as time passed, even this sort of progress ceased.” (A Religion of Peace? pp. 158-159) 

  1. Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (980-1037) - His book The Canon of Medicine was preeminent among European doctors until the 1600s. But he was one of the main targets of al-Ghazali’s attack on philosophical influences in Islam. He is not an example of the contributions to philosophy Islam made, he is an example of what Islam rejected. Here are links to some of his writings from MSA CMJE.

  2. Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) - Indian jurist for the British East India Company and reformer, eldest of the five modernists whose influence on Islamic thought was to shape and define Muslim responses to modernism in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Like the four - Sayyid Amîr Alî (1849-1928), Jamâl al-Dîn al-Afghânî (1838-1897), Nâmik Kemâl (1840-1888) and Shaykh Muhammad cAbduh (~1850-1905), he was deeply concerned with the state of Muslims in a world dominated by Europeans. In his attempts to re-interpret Islam to accommodate modern Western science, Khan exposed his weaknesses in both domains of knowledge. He was severely criticized by the Ulama for the lack of qualifications to interpret the Qur’ân and Hadîth.

Tried to Moderate™

Not qualified, said Ulama


  1. “He entered a raging debate about whether British occupied India was part of the... House of Islam or, ... the House of War...  He argued British India offered Muslims peace and freedom and put no restrictions on their faith, it couldn’t possibly be part of House of War... This position became widely enough accepted for Muslims to become generally loyal to British rule... Ideas like those, along with attendant Western notions of secularism and nationalism became widespread among Muslims during the colonial period. Against such liberalism, Muslim radicals invoked the Qur’an, the example of the Prophet, Islamic traditions, and a history of Islamic conquest. But it was not until the twentieth century that the jihad revival really caught fire. Among Shi’ite Muslims, the spark came from Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989). For Sunni Muslims, it came from four titanic Muslim thinkers: the Egyptians Hasan al-Banna (1906-1949) and Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), the Indian Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi (1903-1979), and the Palestinian Abdullah Azzam (1941-1989).” (Onward Muslim Soldiers, Robert Spencer, p. 216)

  2. Adama Dieng (1950- ) - Senegalese, International Law degree from the Hague Academy, was registrar of Supreme Court of Senegal, Secretary-General for the International Commission of Jurists. He rejected the Cairo Declaration, arguing that the declaration gravely threatens the inter-cultural consensus on which the international human rights instruments are based; that it introduces intolerable discrimination against non-Muslims and women. And that the CDHR uses the cover of the Islamic Shari'a to justify the legitimacy of practices, such as corporal punishment, which attack the integrity and dignity of the human being. He has no degree in Islamic jurisprudence, is not recognized as an Ulama scholar by any of the 5 schools.  Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam - Diverges from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in key respects

Not an Ulama Scholar

Adama Dieng

  1. Egyptian Faraj Fawda’s story (1946-1992):

Secular activist and author Faraj Fawda was assassinated by Islamist militants in 1992 after al-Azhar accused him of blasphemy. He criticized the viability of the Islamist project and urged Muslims to reconsider their picture of the past.


In 1992, a group of teachers from al-Azhar University formed a council to confront the "helpers of evil," "the secularists known for their enmity towards Islam” - with Faraj Fawda at the head of their list. On June 3, 1992, the council issued a communiqué accusing him of blasphemy. Fawda's supporters would later describe that document as "an incitement to murder.” Five days later, two members of the Islamist militant group al-Jama'at al-Islamiyya entered Fawda's office and shot him dead. Fawda's son was seriously injured in the attack, together with several bystanders.

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ma'mun al-Hudaybi, was among the first to welcome and justify the assassination and, and during the trial of the murderers, Azhari scholar and former Muslim Brother Muhammad al-Ghazali testified that when the state fails to punish apostates somebody else has to do it. For his part, the head of the Azhari ulama council published Who Killed Faraj Fawda? concluding Fawda had brought about his own death.”

  1. Mahmoud Muhammad Taha (1909-- 1985) - Sudanese scholar, Reformer™, often hailed as a Moderate™ because he was executed for heresy in Sudan in 1985 for proposing a reversal of the rule of abrogation that would make the “gentler” Meccan verses prevail over the later Medinan. But he still believed in IS&J, as Andrew Bostom and Fjordman both explained what Taha said in his book. Fjordman:

  1. Taha supports the idea of slavery on a moral basis, not just as an historical fact... Those who don't want to accept Islam or Islamic rule should face armed Jihad, and the sword should be used as a "surgical tool" to cut them off from the body of society. And this is moderate…, exactly? If Taha is the great hope for a moderate Islam, we can conclude that a moderate Islam supports slavery, stoning people to death for adultery, whipping those who enjoy a glass of wine or beer and massacring those who disagree with the above mentioned policies. Taha openly supported many of the most appalling aspects of sharia, yet was still considered so controversial that he was executed as an apostate. The story of Mahmud Muhammud Taha is the ultimate, definitive and final proof that there is no moderate Islam. There never has been...”

Muhammad Taha

Supremacist Reformer™

  1. Canada: Progressive Muslims group rallies against jihad terrorism, draws 24 people (1913)

  1. Tawfik Hamid (1961- ) - Egyptian physician, scholar of Islamic texts. Raymond Ibrahim says:

  1. “a former jihadist and member of Egypt's infamous Islamist al-Gam'a al-Islamiyya...” [led by the Blind Sheik]. “More intriguing is the fact that he... was "mentored" by... al Qaeda leader and Islamic ideologue Dr. Ayman Zawahiri. These two aspects alone place Hamid in a privileged position to comment on radical Islam”.

Now he advocates a peaceful understanding of Islam that is compatible with universal human rights and intellectual freedom. When he started to preach that in mosques, he became a target of Islamic supremacists who had been his friends, forcing him and his family to flee Egypt, eventually to the West. He endorsed the St. Petersburg Declaration.

Hamid says this about IS&J:

  1. “These doctrines are not taken out of context, as many apologists for Islamism argue: They are central to the [Islamic] faith and ethics of millions of Muslims, and are currently being taught as part of the standard curriculum in many Islamic educational systems in the Middle East as well as in the West.

  1. Moreover, there is no single approved Islamic textbook that contradicts or provides an alternative to the passages I have cited [advocating jihad violence, misogyny, Jew-hated, enslavement and rape of female war prisoners and the beating of women]. It has thus become clear to me that [jihadist] ideology is largely what is responsible for the so-called “clash of civilizations.”

  2. Ibn Warraq Westminster Institute Conference, 3/25/2011 Fighting the Ideological War:

  1. Dr Patrick Sookhdeo also wondered about the prospects in the Islamic world. There were some hopeful signs since some Muslim governments were engaging the terrorists at an ideological level, seeking to undermine some of their arguments. There were a number of pronouncements by individual former jihadists or former hardliners renouncing violence such as Dr Sayyid Imam Sharif. Mansour al-Nogaidan, a Saudi and former Salafist who has embraced Sufism wrote, “Muslims are too rigid in our adherence to old, literal interpretations of the Koran. It's time for many verses -- especially those having to do with relations between Islam and other religions - to be reinterpreted in favor of a more modern Islam. It's time to accept that God loves the faithful of all religions. It's time for Muslims to question our leaders and their strict teachings, to reach our own understanding of the prophet's words and to call for a bold renewal of our faith as a faith of goodwill, of peace and of light.”

  1. However, despite these positive developments, said Dr Sookhdeo, “the essential ideological problems still remained unsolved. Most counter-Islamist policies are carried out by conservatives who are not prepared to tackle the deeper theological legitimacy which terrorism derives from Classical Islam and the sources. Unwilling to argue that: [a] Aggressive texts in the sources should be contextualized, and [b] Sources and models are not applicable to the modern world”. In any case, the reformers and moderates in the Islamic world remain largely marginalized. What makes change in the beliefs of individuals from the Muslim world difficult is the fact that there is no culture of dissent or free thought, or a tradition of uninhibited exchange of ideas as in the West. Individuals remain firmly wedded to their ideologies - abandonment of their beliefs is a far more traumatic affair in the Islamic world - apart from being dangerous. A self-confessed atheist would not last long in the streets of Cairo or Karachi. Then there is whole culture of honor and shame: a change in beliefs would bring shame on their family, tribe, and religion.

  1. Dr Sookhdeo’s conclusions were bold. We must avoid wishful thinking, and acknowledge the role of Islam, and Islamic theology in inspiring the Islamists. I would go further. I believe, and I must emphasize that I, Ibn Warraq, alone am responsible for the following observations, that we cannot hope to reform Islam without attacking the fundamental tenets of Islam adhered to by Muslims of all colors and stripes, not just Islamists. We shall never make progress until we subject the Koran to the kind of analysis and criticism that was applied to the Bible by Spinoza in the 17th Century, and the great German scholars of the Nineteenth Century, such as Julius Wellhausen and Albert Schweitzer. We must embark on a series of translations into Arabic of works of Koranic criticism, of skepticism, of the great books of Western civilization. We must support the separation of religion and state, and secularists in the Islamic world. We must defend the religious minorities in the Muslim world: by according non-Muslims their human rights, Muslims would already be on their way to secularism.”

  1. Dubai is often held up as proof of peaceful tolerant Islam but that is cultural or Islam Three - here is how Islam Two is still applied there today:

Australian employee raped by Muslim gang

Jailed 8 months for having sex out of marriage

Here is a more recent Norwegian rape victim in Dubai jailed for 16 months

  1. Here are deceptive fake fatwas against Terrorism™ and Extremism™.

  1. Here is an incorrect translation of the Koran “that has absolutely no foundation either in the Qur'an's Arabic text or in Islam's theological or jurisprudential traditions.”

  1. Is it Racist to Criticize Islam? - roundup of the leading non white reformers putting their lives at risk.

  1. St Petersburgh Declaration - Is this the real Tiny Minority of Extremists™?

  1. Robert Reilly in this interview discusses Mu’tazilite school and other reformers and efforts, and the debate in Islam on whether the Koran is created or not, and the death of rationalism.

  1. Here are current attempts to reform understanding of the Koran, and ignore the hadith. They are a  tiny minority ignored by virtually all Muslims, the MSM, academia, politicians:

  1. - Khalim Massoud - Muslims Against Sharia, A new Koran? Interview

  2. - Edip Yuksel - Founder of, author of Quran: A Reformist Translation.

  3. - Thomas Haidon - active in the Qur’anist movement, advisor to a number of Islamic reform orgs. He comments on Muhammad Taha, and Islamic reform in generally.

In 2007 and 2008 those 3 discussed the weakness of their efforts with Robert Spencer and Bill Warner.

Similar efforts: Islamic Reform and 

  1. Ayan Hirsi Ali:  She signed the SPDPennsylvania imam Fouad El Bayly openly sanctioned the punishment by death of the former Dutch Parliamentarian—born and raised a Muslim in Somalia—for her secular views. (Bostom Mainstream Caliphate Confessions)

Many Muslims want to kill her

Victim and Survivor of Sharia

In 2014 at her speech in Washington D.C. the courageous ex-Muslim human rights activist Hirsi Ali recalled meeting Vice President Joe Biden. He informed her that “ISIS had nothing to do with Islam.” When she disagreed with him, Biden actually responded: “Let me tell you one or two things about Islam.” Ali said later, “I politely left the conversation at that. I wasn’t used to arguing with vice presidents.”

  1. In January 2015 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave a remarkable speech to religious leaders in Egypt accusing Islamic thinking of being the scourge of humanity—in words that no Western leader would dare utter. But he is a military man, and his speech was met with great resistance among theologians as well as the mainstream media.

  1. In 2007 Turkish PM Erdogan commented on the term “moderate Islam”, often used in the West to describe his AK Party,

  1. “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

He’s talking about Islam One & Two, not secular Turkish Muslim culture that existed there in the 20th century.

Here are 2 examples of moderate Muslims who learned about Islam from their parents:

  1. Sufi Jamal Rahman has written several spiritual guide books. In The Fragrance of Faith: The Enlightened Heart of Islam he begins the introduction: “My parents have been my most precious teachers. They taught with love and caring the basics of the Islamic faith and conveyed the spirit of the tradition through example and by a special teaching”. I found his books interesting regarding personal growth but he cherry picks from the Koran and hadith to make points in his books intended to benefit anyone with or without a religion. He quotes Rumi a lot, who never had influence on what the 5 major schools of Islam teach nor was he an Islamic scholar. Rahman cannot speak in mosques or religious schools and most people attending his “interfaith church” are not Muslim. No matter how helpful his spiritual suggestions may be, and that he may find helpful verses in the Koran for a Muslim’s personal growth, unfortunately the tolerance Rahman teaches in his interfaith church regarding relations with non-Muslims is not taught anywhere in any of the 5 Schools.

Rahman quotes a “traditional saying(Fragrance of Faith p 1) “Once the blush of the Beloved descends upon you, there is no going back to being a green apple.” Ironically the same could be said about what happens after this online book gets you past the fog of deception - there is no going back to being a green apple once you know the truth. 

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser

  1. Here are video excerpts from a conversation about Islam with Robert Spencer and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, an American Muslim M.D. who founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy - which has a minuscule following of Muslims. Watch him say everything he knows about Islam is what his parents taught him, and that he doesn’t know as much about Islamic theology as Spencer, and doesn’t personally know any imams, nor anyone who wants their kids to become one. He opposes the Muslim Brotherhood and what he calls “political Islam”, and is in favor of separation of mosque and State. So am I, and it’s great to hear that from a Muslim but his personal views do not speak for Islam - he cannot speak his mind in any mosque, his views are not seriously debated, and he has little support in universities, media, or from Western governments who claim to be looking for moderates like him. Rather the US gov has courted the Brotherhood since Clinton and it is much worse now than ever with advisors to the President and Secretary of State, among many others in government.

  2. Spencer clip - is reformation possible in Islam?

  1. Ibn Warraq: A True Islamic Reformation

  1. Fjordman: On the Illusion of a Moderate Islam

  1. Robert Spencer:

  1. “...several years ago, an organization called the Free Muslims Against Terrorism held a massively publicized rally against terrorism, and drew no more than two dozen Muslims. More recently, last week another massively publicized rally of Muslims in support of NYPD anti-terror measures drew 36. The enthusiasm greeting both of these sparsely attended rallies was out of all proportion to their actual significance. The unspoken and unexamined assumption behind this eagerness to call attention to “moderate Muslims,” despite their obviously non-representative character in the Muslim community...“  Why Can’t Non-Muslims Criticize Islam?

  1. From Islamic Expansion and Decline / Ch. 12 The Islamic Reformation, a survey of attempts to reform from the 7th century Kharjites, to modern sects like the Ahmadiya, who may be the largest and longest lasting, but are considered deviant by all 5 schools of Islam and have been met with great resistance.

Forward to University Dogma on IS&J