Islamophobia, Orientalism and Historiography

Adnan Rashid


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With Yusuf Ismail (ITV, Feb 2019)


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The speakers discuss the history and cultural significance of Islam, including its negative consequences and the need for a distinction between freedom of expression and freedom of speech. They also touch on the issue of "monolithic block" and the importance of learning about the Prophet Muhammad's biography as a reference. The conversation also touches on the rise of Islamist crazy individuals and the challenges faced by graduates in writing and learning about the Islamic literature. They encourage graduates to study history carefully and see the achievements of Islam.

Transcript ©

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Assalamu alaikum and good evening, my name is used to be small and the program you're watching is I beg to differ. This program focuses on contemporary debate on socio economic, political, cultural and religious issues affecting us as South Africans. And certainly looking at some of the dominant trends in the global community and its impact on society, Islamophobia, this term, attain the new current in the 1970s. And in today's discussion and debate, we look at what this particular term entails, where does it come from, and how does it in fact originate? Well, joining me in the studios live I'm joined by Adnan Rashid, who is a historian from the United Kingdom. He's also a

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done his particular masters at the school for African Studies. Welcome, and I really appreciate your time with us today on ITV. Thank you for having me. Let me start off with this. Islamophobia has been a term that is currently used, it's kind of become the sort of dirty word in contemporary politics.

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Used pejoratively. Some people state used as a label to stop free speech. What does this term entail? Islamophobia means irrational hatred of fear of Islam. This is the most basic understanding of the term Islamophobia. Of course, it has surfaced recently in political circles and international media, where the term is discussed extensively. There are those who argue, as you rightly stated that it limits freedom of speech, possibly it's an attempt to limit freedom to criticize Islam. Others argue No, Islamophobia is real. It does exist. People do hate Islam and Muslims, in some cases, irrationally, in some cases, deliberately the Runnymede trust. I think the Commission on

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British Muslims and Islamophobia, I believe in 97. That was when the report basically introduced the term defining it as anti muslim prejudice. Would you see it as anti muslim prejudice or more particularly anti Islamic sentiment, in the sense whereby someone basically demonizes the faith to the level that anyone that is associated with the faith basically is in by extension tarnished? anti muslim prejudice and anti Islam rhetoric are both intertwined? These, these, both these concepts are intertwined, because if you hate

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the root, you will hate the fruit. Okay, so the root argument is presented is that they don't hate the they don't hate the Muslim. Yeah, it's basically the ideology that is targeted. And this is basically the argument. So they present themselves as not anti muslim, per se, but anti Islam. But inevitably, it's going to, it's going to have a kind of a ripple effect. So you're gonna see the next Muslim with the degree of suspicion, of course, of course, it is not possible for you to hit an ideology, and not hate his utterance, his followers, it is very difficult to make that distinction between the ideology and the followers. So inevitably, if you start to dislike or hate a particular

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ideology, you will start to look down upon those who follow it. And this is why Islamophobia contains hatred for Muslims, as well as hatred for Islam. What are some of the kind of causes and characteristics if you look at, for example, recent events?

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Would you say that it kind of acquired a new crescendo after the 911 attacks, I know in your country in the United Kingdom in in the 80s, I'm not too sure how old you are back then. But during the height of the Rushdie saga in 1988, they they seem to have been this kind of more before 88 it was, you know, pockys racism based on ethnicity, and obviously race nationalism, but subsequently, after a DA they seem to have been this kind of transmogrification is change when now the new Boogeyman was, in fact, the Muslim. Do you believe that the Rushdie affair by and large kind of exacerbated this sort of phenomenon or rather gave this creation to this new phenomenon? I don't think it was. I

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don't think it was rusty affair so much. It was definitely 911 after 911 Islamophobia was legalized, not necessarily on paper, but it was considered normal. It was considered normal to insult Islam. to insult Muslims on mainstream platforms. One of the politicians in Britain, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who was part of the Conservative Party

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He stated that Islamophobia has passed the dinner table test in Britain. What that means it became normal after 911. And 911, unfortunately, was a huge catastrophe, not only in human history in the history of modern politics, and it changed the dynamics for Muslims globally. Unfortunately, Muslims faced a lot of hatred, a lot of attacks. And Islam of Islamophobia has now become a global thing. It's not local anymore to Britain, it is all over the planet. You can see it in Burma. The Buddhist monks are spreading hatred against Islam and Muslims. You see the Hindu right, in India, India, the BJP budget angle and Shiv Sena, and all these entities are spreading hatred against Muslims and

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Islam. Right in Europe, of course, absolutely. Absolutely. Does that not just also, this is kind of the new fascism that seems to be emerging in Europeans globally, globally, I would say is this a kind of inherent, paranoid fear that is stoked up by the political leaders, the establishment or the mass media, or possibly a combination of both? combination of both it is the media as well as the politicians. And I believe the Muslims have a part to play in it as well, of course, there are terrorist attacks taking place in conflict zones.

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One cannot possibly justify killing of the civilians. But there are atrocities committed in the name of Islam. But there is a political context to those atrocities, those atrocities are not caused by Islam. They are caused by geopolitical events taking place in these regions. So the blame is not Islam is not blamed with blameworthy for that. It is, it is the it is the political causes that are making these things happen. But because of those attacks, a lot of people are now able to say that because the culprits are Muslims. It kind of sustains a prejudice, that negative stereotype that's rightly superimposed on the masses. Yeah, is then sustained by saying, Well, look, you're a

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practical examples of what happened. But when it comes to prejudice, anti muslim prejudice, it is not a recent phenomenon. Sure. It goes back all the way to middle ages. Absolutely. Okay. It started with with the Crusades.

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Peter, the venerable john of Damascus, for example, he's right, exactly, and what exactly happened and as we can, and we're gonna, we're gonna unpack that as we go along. But I just sort of, I just want to, I just want to make then, because this thing will be the issue that is raised and certainly in academic circles. How do you how do you basically discern,

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for example, unnecessary attacks against Islam, from genuine critique on the Islamic faith? What would you what in your particular to say, if this is a standard say, look, this is a genuine critique on Islam, which may be viewed as possibly anti Islamic sentiment, but not necessarily Islamophobic? So how do you basically discern between the two polemic retro political rhetoric, engineering? That's a very good question. And that distinction must be made for the betterment of human development. Criticism is good, we welcome it. And even the prophet of Islam had no problem with criticism, by the fact by the sheer fact that the Christians didn't believe in him as a prophet

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of God. That in itself is a rejection of his message. Right? But that doesn't mean they those people who reject the message of Islam deserve persecution. The Prophet never persecuted Christians who lived under his domain. He never persecuted Jews.

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When he did have wars with Jews, those wars were caused by again political events that took place at the time some some sub tribes they broke the treaties so the point I'm making is that

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this distinction encourage debate exactly and self critique Absalon, do they not consider the head they've been founded many discrepancies so it challenges you to question but but here's the thing, that there is a very thin line to kind of be on either side, for example, critique of the Prophet Mohammed.

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It can degenerate into polemics. So what is that kind of demarcating line to say, look, this is not Islamophobic sentiment. This is genuine inquiry and genuine critique. You see this question goes back to the issue of freedom of speech. What does it actually mean to have that freedom? Do we have freedom to insult others? Do we have freedom to criticize freedom speech? What does it actually mean? What are the limits? Where do you draw the line?

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So as Muslims as a Muslim researcher as a Muslim student

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of history, I have this opinion that criticize criticize criticism of Islam is welcome. We don't have a problem with criticism, academic criticism, conducted in decent civil language. We have no problem with that. We welcome that Islam encourages it. In fact, we have examples throughout

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The Islamic civilization where scholars criticize Islam openly they published books within the Muslim domain. And those books were disseminated throughout the Islamic empire and Muslim scholars wrote rebuttals, they wrote responses. So if this freedom was not there throughout the Muslim Empire or the Muslims in the history of Western civilization, we wouldn't have these works in the incoherence of the philosophers. For example, exactly. The response and counter rebuttal know the works of Al Kindi the work in the works of Al Kindi there were other critics of Islam living in Baghdad in Cordoba, in Damascus. Christians flourished throughout the Islamic empire during the

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Golden Age, the so called Golden Age. So we have no problem with criticism, which is conducted in decent language without insults. Now, insults in Islam, according to Islamic view, are not allowed because insults often lead to violence. Okay. This is why what happened in Europe in the 20th century, I believe it was because because of freedom to insult, that kind of demonization of the Jews, that dehumanizes people, humanizing them, yes. And I believe even in your country, in the 50s, as some sort of demonization of the Mau Mau, which led to the British massacre in close to absolute 2000, Malmo Kenya, yes. So demonization results in inherent bias, absolutely. What happened in

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Namibia, for example, with the herreros Exactly, exactly. There are so many examples of genocide in the 20th century. That and what if one looks at the the causes of these genocides one sees

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insults and dehumanization that follows on from those insults. So this is why freedom of speech, freedom to criticize freedom to highlight weaknesses in other faiths, or in another person that represents that faith is perfectly fine with Muslims and Islam and in any decent society for that matter. But freedom to insult should not be allowed and is not allowed in any civilized society. And I think I think the British future is Xiao Jian sadara. You may have heard of him pointed out I think the height of the the jailhouse postings cartoon in 2006. The point he made quite interestingly in respect to freedom of expression was that when freedom of expression is used in the

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fashion that it is used by groups like Charlie Hebdo, jail and pasta and

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against minority communities, it effectively becomes a tool of oppression absolutely as the very basis for free speech and free expression was giving the masses the ability to critique and basically express their dissent against the ruling class, which is used against minority populations as was used against Jews in Nazi Germany. And then it becomes a tool of oppression. So So I think it's a clear demarcation distinction we need to make. But before we continue, we'll have to go for a quick ad break and we'll be back shortly.

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Welcome back to I beg to differ. I'm your host use of this man and with me in the studios, I'm joined by an astute historian from the United Kingdom Adnan Rashid. Welcome back Adnan. Yeah, when we went on a break, I just want to take us up further, when you look at some of the kind of issues that basically are viewed as Islamophobic elements. I've got a writing by an academic academic still debating the legitimacy of the term. But these are some of the issues that they point out, which falls under the rubric of Islamophobia and can be categorized in Islamic phobic sentiment, for example, the idea that Islam is seen as a monolithic block, Muslims are seen as monolithic, it is

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seen as separate and other, inferior to the west, seen as violent, aggressive, threatening supporting terrorism, a clash of political ideology, which I think Samuel Huntington kind of also popularized.

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And the fact that anti muslim sentiment is seen as natural, and in fact, normal. But a lot of these issues, the monolithic be the issue of the other out there, how much of that is is internalized by Muslims and by Muslim societies?

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In what sense are you talking about, in the sense, for example, that when you look at many of the countries, a lot of these countries, be in the Muslim world, be they, for example, in Saudi Arabia, B, they, you know, in the time of the Afghan ruling by the time, a lot of them were, in fact, repressive, did not allow free political thought, the ability to think question the state, even insofar as practice of your religion, if you go to Saudi Arabia, you can't just go and deliver a lecture. It's state regulated, and a lot of that basically creates indication that this is static.

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cannot change cannot move, inflexible intolerant. And that is not postulated as part and parcel of Islamic culture. In a sense, that's a very good question. And some of these criticisms are actually legitimate. There is no doubt that we find

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these problems in Muslim lands. In particular, some of the countries you have mentioned, there is definitely

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there are limits to freedom. One cannot criticize regimes or the rulers in these countries. And that leads to problems, not just religion, I mean, the Khashoggi case and Yes, right. But we I mean, a lot of these individuals, some of them obviously, criticize the faith itself. Yeah. Which is it but but the state is autocratic, dictatorial, dictatorships, basically, and this goes throughout the world.

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It's not part of Muslim culture to behave like that. There's no doubt that, of course, the state wants to have control. Every state wants control. At the same time, there has to be a balance between control and freedom to express dissent. Right. And there are there should be limits to dissent as well. If dissent leads to rebellions on naki. Like what happened during the Arab Spring, the Arab Spring started as a noble movement, seeking freedom seeking jobs seeking better economic provisions. But then it turned into

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enterprises misappropriated? Absolutely. It was hijacked. And if it turns into that, that it is discouraged, he said, The same thing happened in Syria where there was a legitimate struggle against a dictatorship, yes. And then you had this kind of the struggle, the legitimacy of the struggle appropriated by groups like ISIS, Daesh. And all these other particular absolutely, then then when when these kind of groups come in and they hijack the movement and the movement law loses its legitimacy. So it is a very difficult balance to strike. One cannot always predict as to what direction a movement would take in future. So for this reason, Islamic scholars generally discourage

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rebellion, what we call in the Arabic language courage against the authorities. It is based upon the study of history, it is based upon experiments of the past, whenever a people rebelled against the ruler, in most cases, they were destroyed. Because rulers generally have a lot of power. They have armies, they have militaries. Now dynamics have changed in this day and age. What we saw in Syria was absolutely devastating. The entire country has been razed to the ground. Yeah, absolutely. One of the strongholds of Islamic Studies in Damascus. Absolutely. Absolutely. Thankfully, Damascus is still pretty much intact. But Aleppo has been completely decimated, unfortunately, and we have lost

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a lot of our history, libraries, Iraq War, Yemen, the situation in Libya, it has been counterproductive. So Muslims have to rethink their civilization. Muslims have to reassert their golden age Muslims have to win hearts by working extra hard to make this very point that we are a very civilized people, and we can do it we can do it we can lead the world in all important matters such as education, you know, literature, science, technology, production most importantly manners o'clock, Islam came to perfect o'clock. manners and ethics. The greatest achievement of Muslim civilization was not scientific advancement or technological excellence into human skills into

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person absolutely most exactly except we didn't we lacking in that regard. And yes, and the tragedy of the whole lot is that sometimes both on the rebellion side and on the leadership justify their position on religious terms, I mean, yes, for example, the the the countries and leaders that do not want rebellion that that appealed wrongly to the Quran to lower to Rasul Allah and remain calm that you have a line is Russell and those established with authority over you have to and they would appeal to that and then those who rebelled so it seems that both play off against etc ruler and ruled relationship is reciprocal in Islam, okay, there's a balance, the ruler cannot abuse his

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power. At the same time, the ruled, they cannot always rebel against the ruler every time they disagree. Because there are many wisdoms behind that because they don't always have the information. The ruler has, you know, the files on the table of the ruler, someone who is managing the state. You don't always have that information. You don't know how these decisions are made by the rulers and sometimes you may not agree with the decisions, but you don't always have the information. Likewise, the rulers sometimes they don't know what the what what what the ruled

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Yeah, the masses are going through. They don't have an identity attached to this. Yeah, they have their they have the palaces they have the parties they have the private would just would you see this? Would you see that? Would you see a dictatorial monarchy as an aberration within the Islamic worldview in terms of you know, the Quran does not necessarily prescribe styles of rulership. Yeah. And even the word khilafah is used in a generic sense by sigil and success in the Quranic sense. But would you see a monarchy, for example, as an aberration, not necessarily, I don't think monarchy in itself is an aberration. I think how it is conducted, how it is handled, can be problematic. If a

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king is adjusted, and is ruling by

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rules of Islam, and he is ethical in his dealings with the people, then he is perfectly justified. islamically speaking scholars of Islam have made it very clear that if because all of these systems in the past the Omega the Empire, the ambassador, they were actually monarchical monarchy. Yeah, so they try to that period, you're going way back to the whole philosophy, Dean. Yeah, there's no classical Islamic precedents for a monarchy. It's very much during the time of the rise of the busted Empire. And then, you know, obviously earlier than that, the nomads and then the Ottomans, yes. But in the early Islamic period, we don't see any kind of absolute rule by means of succession.

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It was very much sure a mutual concern ajumma consensus of the community? That's correct. So the ideal Islamic system is based upon the Euro system, or the Hollywood act, you know, the, the learners of the society, the elite of the society, the who the first question is, who are the elite of the Islamic Society, they are not businessmen. They're not generals necessarily. They are the people of knowledge. They are the people who understand societies who have Taqwa, who have good characters. These are the people known as out of Hollywood act in Islam, the elite of Islam, right. They are the ones who choose, ideally, a ruler. But if a ruler overpowers the message, he comes to

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power by force by using his tribal force. So by using his private militias or militaries, if he comes to power, as long as he's governing with justice, and he is not a tyrant, who is, you know, committing mass murderers and imprisoning people unjustly, then the scholars of Islam encourage submission over rebellions. And this is again, this is not necessarily a quietest position, this is a practical, more pragmatic position islamically speaking, that, if someone wants

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power, and he, he or she has come to power, then they should be allowed to prove their worth. If, in the long run, they are not worthy, then there are procedures in Islam, one can follow and the scholars of Islam decide, yeah, but one point must be made hear that if people feel

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that the ruler is not doing his job, then they must always consult the scholars of the land, instead of taking things into their own hands. The Arab Spring is a huge example. The people came on the streets, and then I shouted at himself. Yeah, yeah, for not being able to salvage and then spread subsequently. Yes. You know, one of the slogans I don't know, if you, if you remember, the slogan of the people in all these countries was a sham. You read Spartan ism, literally translated, the people need a warrant.

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The dismantling of the system. Okay. But they were not saying my body, my bodily Scott, what comes after the dismantling of the system? They were not clear the alternative was not exactly it was not tentative. You break down the system and there's no alternative. And once you've read the existing system, then what all all hell breaks loose. In Libya? People are getting raped. They're getting a job. Yes, absolutely. In in Syria, Egypt, you have something similar that's happening as well. In Egypt, at least you have a government, albeit oppressive, there is a government there is a president there is an army. And if Egypt went the same way Syria went, it would have been a huge catastrophe

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for this Omar. So we we we should work within the system to change things politically, rather than causing chaos. Sometimes chaos

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appears more than it actually is kind of imaginary facade that is basically presented out there. But there's no real world. I guess this is it. This is open some, you know, so much of debate around this and I don't want to go off topic, but coming back to the aspect of Islamophobia.

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Would you see some of the roots of Islamophobia in Orientalism, for example, in 78, the noted Edward Saeed published his book Orientalism

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in a general sense, basically

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Refer to patronizing Western attitudes towards Middle East and Asia, North North African societies, but in particularly Islam, would you see Orientalism as kind of the what's the actual predecessor or leading up forerunner to what we see as Islamophobic? Islamophobia today would Orientalism have had a major contribution? In other words, in shaping ideas, shaping opinions shaping public policy, a lot of these individuals had William Meir, for example. He was quite politically influential, I believe in India as well at some point in time, and and this then basically led to what we see today, what do you what would you take? I agree 100%, that Orientalism? Is classical Orientalism is

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directly behind

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Islamophobia as we know it today. Because Orientalism justified hatred towards Islam and Muslims or Eastern cultures, for that matter, intellectually. So the orientalist word intellectual

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inspiration could not be made that it was a legitimate critique. I mean, a lot of the books, biographies of the Prophet Muhammad, you look at people like ally Springer. Theodore, no Deacon saw on their views that look, we were just criticizing Islam, Islamic worldview, the prophet, this was a legitimate critique from outside you see what how what was the counter response? The critique is not a problem because these orientalist, the ones you mentioned really mirror spranger and Knoll deck and goals there, and others who were writing in the 19th century, some of the critiques of Islam were legitimate. They were raising valid points. In fact, they have done a huge service to Islam and

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Muslims by bringing some points to light. And we were able to do research on those points. And we were able to respond in due course, but other critiques of Islam led to persecution of Muslims, not only dealing not not only during the colonial period, but those ideas are still being used by the Islamophobia industry, by the Islamophobia industry is a multi billion dollar industry. Globally speaking, there are islamophobes working full time in the US. And and they have

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they have a you know, they are immune or sorry, they're working with impunity. There are no restrictions funded more from the right, the far right as opposed to the far left. That's right, left. That's right. Absolutely. The general critique they seem to be making is that the left has been

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pro Islam in a sense. Well, basically, it seems to be this kind of suffering partnership. Yeah. And it's actually the right of the far right, that sustains and underpins this whole entire industry. Yes, yes, indeed. And the rise of the far right is directly linked to Islamophobia. If you if you study the rise of the far right in the US, or in Europe, the rhetoric

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just like it was in during the 40s 1940s, against Jews in Germany, parallels that, in some cases is exactly the same, the same language that was used against the Jewish people, which is being used today against the Muslims. And who is using this language the far right, I'm gonna stop you at that. We'll come back and explore this further again, then we'll be back shortly.

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Welcome back to a big two differ. And today, this evening, we discussing this pernicious phenomenon of Islamophobia, and what it entails, its impact on Muslim societies.

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We discuss a lot of issues and we went into the aspect of Muslim leadership. And now more particular Orientalism when it comes to Orientalism The, the kind of core aspect of their material, their research has become so prominent and and certainly existing in circles, in our circles nowadays in the academic sphere, was the biography of the Prophet Mohammed. And essentially, when it comes to the core of the attack, you know, the saying you can attack a law you can attack Muslims, you can attack Islam, when you attack the Prophet Muhammad allowed Islam that's something that is dearest, to the Muslim that has been the kind of the main target so when it means attacking Islam, you attack

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it, it's fundamental, the prophet Allah, biographies of the Prophet Mohammed that basically emerged, you look at some of the writings, William Meir in the in the in the in the in the 1900s. You had orientalist, some would say more objective scholars, people like William Montgomery, what prior to him you had as we mentioned Theodore ludique, last spring and so on.

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A lot of the material that they produce

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And the negative sentiment that was expressed in the reconstruction is biographies of the life of the Prophet Muhammad. In fact, they drew a lot from Muslim sources or from mainstream Muslim sources. One of them obviously the earliest or what we have the recensione biography Sham, it may suck, which

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give him alpha, give him a translated in the 1950s, a spec book published by Oxford University Press. And a lot of that material is indeed questionable. And in fact, young in his translation, not just incorporated the material of euthanasia, but also added additional material from him.

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And he kind of did put that all together, but a lot of the material is questionable, and he's a lot of material question with this. We don't necessarily go up stories like about the story.

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And what happened certain of the battles asthma below one and so on. A lot of these incidences that allegedly occurred have been questioned yes by, for example, people like shibley, Nomani or saying, hey, are these for all these years and in the hudy, for example, the many of them have questioned the legitimacy of these stories. So the negative picture and the portrait that was painted by these orientalist could one day make the argument that at some level, it could have been drawn from these sources from the classical Muslim source. Yes, but a lot of these classical Muslim sources have been

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criticized by Muslim authorities themselves, as mentioned by yourself, rightly that some of the Hades authorities have clarified that a lot of these reports in Chronicles, in biographies of the Prophet, and even in some of the early chronicles of Islam, they are dubious. A lot of these stories are dubious, they were made up. In some cases, they are outright forgeries. Just Just on that point, maybe people don't know is that when you look at someone like image oratory, these were primarily chroniclers, they were scholars, I think, but I think it may have been

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possibly who's saying hey, color, not such iconic or not pointed out the fact that essentially these were chronically inflammation, reconstructing them but not engaging in the kind of scholarly work that a historian in modern day period would be the kind of critical historical method that would be applied in applied that imagery. tabari was a great scholar, no doubt, he wrote with a fear of the Quran and he was a highly learned individual, there is no doubt about that. But the purpose of his collection was not to collect authentic information. He did not filter out authentic from inauthentic. What he did was, he wrote

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this history which runs into volumes in the previous in the previous he made it very clear that I have collected authentic as well as inauthentic information in my Chronicle. So, it is up to the scholars to separate the authentic moment authentic. So, he simply collected information. He edited information, he put it under chapter headings and whatever reports you could find on those particular chapter issues or chapters. He put them under those headings. And then later on scholars.

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By the hard work they separated authentic from inauthentic. So tombery was not necessarily collecting

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authentic information like Bukhari was in his collection. So the purpose of Bukhari bucarest collection was to separate in authentic in the shop. Exactly, exactly. So this is why in Bukhari, what you find in Makati is 99%. Authentic, it is transmitted via chains of narrations. And we can see every single individual who's in the chain and we can study the history of these respective individuals and reach a firm conclusion on the authenticity barbri also put chains in some cases in other cases, there are no chaps that are there that in those cases, the story is there. You can take it as one of the possible interpretations or outcomes of the incident. He's narrating but not

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necessarily authentic, not necessarily the fate of one to 10 How would you rate even a sham at least? I would say a sham contains highly authentic information, and it contains highly dubious information. No doubt the scholars of thesis have made it very clear a blue is Huck, the original author of ignore his Shams recension of ignorance Hawk, Abraham's talk himself was highly questioned by the scholars. He was not inauthentic. I don't think so. But again, his purpose was not to collect authentic information. Rather, what he did was he collected all the available important available information on the life of the prophet to write a systematic biography of the Prophet. So while

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doing that, he included some highly dubious information and he knew he lived in a very different agency. He didn't live in the 21st century people. That's the point is that the kind of historical anachronism where we want to superimpose a 21st century lens

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writings that exist in one ninth century exactly the fundamental problem. And also, we spoke about earlier that the tendency to, for example, exaggerate battles or, for example, exaggerate killings. It served a specific literary purpose. That's right, in Islamic history for information purposes, that this report has reached us. And you see, the point I was about to make was that those ages were different. People were highly scholarly, right. So those people who were reading the biography, they knew exactly what was dubious and what was not. So today, people are not necessarily able to separate authentic from inauthentic This is why we go back to scholars coming back to orientalist

00:35:41--> 00:36:28

orientalist had a number of different motives, some of them, in fact, all of them who were writing in the 19th century, naturally had a colonial Western prejudice. So they actually they do it from the buyers. That's right. They utilize this material and amplify it and add adverse side picks on that. And he makes this point very clearly that's one book I recommend that every Muslim Orientalism by Orientalism exactly makes it makes this point very eloquently a book, there was an earlier book before him, calling itself Islam and the Orientals I can't recall if you Yes, Maria, Maria Jamila, not Marian, Marian Miriam jameelah. AR Kidwai, I cannot recall the author of that. But just before

00:36:28--> 00:36:35

before that, and then there was a venture of Islam by Marshall Hudson, but that focus primarily and there was another one table we

00:36:36--> 00:36:42

know Yeah, table. Yes, that's right. Islamic. He criticized golems translation.

00:36:43--> 00:37:19

Have you have you been through translation or you've been to the original English? Yes. Would you find that question? I think the only point I was making was that orientalist unwittingly did some great service to Islam and Muslims as well. Not all they were studying in translating some of the classical texts in in, in editing some of the stuff for us. Some of the texts were completely unknown. They were lost in libraries and orientalist through their hard work, of course, the most amount of time. Yes. So some had questionable motives off the Jeffrey for example, yes, yes. He went to the Kitab on the site.

00:37:20--> 00:37:36

James Robson translated me Chicago wasabi took me there was a lot of effort but that effort came but in the process brother use of I would like to mention this very important point that some of the orientalist actually got Islamic fight. While they were studying Islam to criticize it to find.

00:37:38--> 00:37:58

Aubry, AGR Bri Allah is a very good example. ignaz goals there who spent years they focus on Hadith criticism. That's right. And he spent years in Egypt. And he used to pray with Muslims. In other he writes in his own writings in in his own memoirs that there was a time when he was praying, he started to cry

00:37:59--> 00:38:39

uncontrollably. He started to cry while he was praying Salafi Muslims. So a lot of the orientalist got highly affected by what they were studying what they were looking into. Some of them came to Islam picture Mamadou pictoral was an orientalist. Originally, Muhammad Asad was actually an oriental when he was with the front. Exactly, exactly spent time with Muslim came to Islam. So there are a number of examples one can cite in this regard. Most of the work, of course, was negative, no doubt, because some of them were Christian missionaries like William Moore, who was a very important figure in India. He was a political, his primary biography on the life of Muhammad

00:38:40--> 00:39:07

was the one that basically is a prime work in English literature where there was, I can't recall there may have been something earlier than that. There will work earlier than that, of course, in terms of his biography, that's viewed as quite authoritative was viewed for a number of years. It has been led back then, yes, irritative. Yes. Leads been outdated and, and works go back as far as the 17th century. There was a Fredo Humphrey

00:39:08--> 00:39:50

wrote that the life of the imposter, that's great and title Yeah, the reality of imposter the reality of the employee I have. I have an original copy of that. 1697 87 Yeah. Then Simon Oakley 17 in the 1700s. Yes. 17 Oh, wait. Then came another author. I forgot his name. But Edward Gibbon also wrote, yes, in the decline of the fall of the Roman Empire. He wrote about the profit. Then we had, they were they were, they were apologies as well. There was john Devonport an apology for mama Lyle, for example, on heroes and hero worship. So they were apologies. At the same time. Yes, but which was quite interesting. Yes, particularly at a time of hostility. We were running short for time. I

00:39:50--> 00:39:53

want to take you further to now recent years in the 70s.

00:39:54--> 00:39:59

In the academic sphere, they seem to have risen this new revisionist

00:40:00--> 00:40:17

school of thought that basically focused on the idea that Islam as a system, the Quran evolved over the next two 300 years. But I'm just being told we have to go from that break. So when we come back, I'm gonna leave you on that thought. And we'll be back shortly.

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Welcome back to I beg to differ in the final segment and today we discussing and debating the phenomenon of Islamophobia. And not when I went we went on a breakout focused on the question we never obviously got to it the the kind of revision of school, this new movement, you study the University of London. That's right. And this new revisionist movement within Islamic Studies originated at the School of Oriental and African Studies, I believe john one's brain 77 wrote Quranic studies and then follow that up with the sectarian Malou. And you had some students like courting

00:41:09--> 00:41:53

Patricia Crone, Michael cook, and Reuben, for example, Norman kaldur. These ways prime students back then they were doing their thesis, but this basically postulated a new idea and what some would be viewing as a kind of a new form of Islamophobic Orientalism, which credit the idea that historically, Islam stood on very shaky grounds. You cannot, you know, trace back the Quran to the sixth century, the life of the Prophet Muhammad was very much a kind of an amalgamation of stories that developed over a particular period of time, geographical locations point to Petra and so on and so forth. What what what gave rise I'm curious to know, I understand once theorized he never came to

00:41:53--> 00:42:09

any kind of conclusions. What gave what gave impetus to this to this whole new notion that developed again, again, I think it is due to a prejudice, whether it's Western Imperial prejudice, or whether it is

00:42:11--> 00:42:41

just likeness of Islam or whether it is a succession of Orientalism classical Orientalism. It has a number of causes, and reasons. But it did become very prominent recently, not very long ago, as you mentioned in the 70s. In the 80s. The revisionist school was running the show in western universities, Patricia Crone was very popular. And then Mitel met Patricia I have never met her but I have read some of her works. And I found to be a found them to be

00:42:43--> 00:43:26

historically rich. No doubt she put in a lot of information in her words that he was able to read 15 different languages. Yes, she was a very good scholar, no doubt when I say scholar she was a very good researcher, no doubt, but her conclusions were, in most cases, far fetched, far fetched. There is a scholar called Sargent, who wrote an article on her theory on Mecca, the mecca of Islam, it was a kind of a refuting. Exactly she had this opinion that Mecca didn't actually exist to trade trading route, right and unknown. She even doubted she even doubted the current location. She was trying to cast doubt on the current location. She was saying that Mecca basically her argument was the mecca

00:43:26--> 00:43:36

was the doing of the oma yet it didn't actually exist in the time of the Prophet where it exists today. So that theory was highly criticized, challenged by people like Sargent and other

00:43:38--> 00:44:13

traditional traditionalist because there are two views on early Islam. As far as historiography is concerned. Historians have two views. One is the revisionist view, which is actually on the backfoot. Now, it was a minority position, and it has fringe theory. Yeah, it's still it's always it's never it has been it has been on the backfoot. Now, a lot of revisionists are embarrassed to be revisionist. And and they have actually abandoned that Michael cook, for example, was also a student. He's abandoned that position. That's right. He was a co he was he will often algorism with with Richard Cronin.

00:44:14--> 00:44:51

Interestingly enough, one of the students of one grade john Burton, for example, fell into the notice. And there are others. There are others who are recent scholars who have challenged revisionism, and they want to pursue more balanced approach because with the rise of new evidence that's coming out of Arabian particular, such as the inscriptions on the rocks, some of them have the names of the companions. Of course, there's a problem that one cannot always date them accurately. And the issue of forgeries is also there. But some of those descriptions are dated. There is a science available to us called paleography. We can actually study the text and, and come

00:44:51--> 00:45:00

to a firm conclusion as to when these texts were possibly written. Some of those texts are dated, for example, and they run into 1000s. So there are reasons

00:45:00--> 00:45:03

studies being conducted as we speak right now that challenge

00:45:05--> 00:45:25

the conclusions and the ideas or the ideals of the revisionist school directly. Okay, so based on this, a lot of modern historians, such as Robert Hoyland and Hugh Kennedy, and Carol Hillenbrand, they are challenging revisionism for its bigotry and

00:45:27--> 00:45:30

Nicholai Sinai. Yeah, I think he's balanced. He's quite balanced.

00:45:32--> 00:45:32


00:45:33--> 00:45:55

we did the revisionist thought kind of move into, for example, discussions on the evolution of the Koran. People have one when he was he was, in fact commissioned by the Yemeni Government right to conduct tests on the Sunnah palimpsest, but he postulated the idea that the the palimpsest was slightly different, and and kind of

00:45:57--> 00:46:37

modern day modern day missionary tautology, tries to draw on to this kind of material popularize that, and then brings it into the mainstream. That's right. That's basically what seems to be happening. Even though within the academic sphere, it's fringe. It's a minority, it's not viewed as it's viewed as suspect, but it's popularized now. And every Tom, Dick and Harry and I think you've come across them one time, popularize them into the public mind and really have no idea about the nuances of these particular. Thankfully, missionaries have no stature within the academic circles, when it comes to studying early Islam or even later Islam for that matter. The missionaries are

00:46:37--> 00:46:49

generally ignored, even if they managed to get PhDs, because of if they are open about the bigotry, and they are open about the very prejudiced view on Islam, they are not given

00:46:50--> 00:47:33

much attention in academic circles that undermines the credibility because then a fringe academic theory is used as a polemic. Yes, for missionary purposes. That's correct. Which obviously places a great degree of credibility questions the underlying credibility of your entire mission towards Muslims. In pop, is this now becoming is this is falling away into the wayside? Are people calling them out on the kind of the lack of credibility behind this kind of information? And yes, and I think Muslims need to up their game, we need to come forward, we need to start studying Islam, early Islam, the Middle Ages, the Golden Age, we need to highlight these prejudices where they exist, and

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we need to study and master our own fields. We need to become the teachers of Islam. So few Muslims are studying Quranic manuscripts. And unfortunately, Muslims are lacking. We've got

00:47:45--> 00:48:28

it's a no blue and tiara article, it should be yes, the Turkish scholars, yes. The turkey squad, as really well known beside and then of course, there's a ban on Saturday, from the United States. Yes. Besides these few names, the vast majority of those who are studying classical Quranic manuscripts, and classical Islamic history are non Muslims. Yes, correct. And this is because most Muslim scholars who do qualify from traditional institutions are busy writing sectarian works. They're busy attacking each other problem. arianism that existed in the indo Pakistani subcontinent is then exported to India, from India to South Africa, it exported to your country now, I'm not sure how

00:48:28--> 00:49:09

deep and embedded you are in sectarian divisions, but it seems in the traditional, so called dark rooms, yeah, we should be foreigners foremost in this kind of Office of Islamic intellectual activity. 100% Darude looms, the allama the scholars need to take a lead. And when they do need to fall behind take a leap, unfortunately, no, it's not. It's never too late. No, no, no, it takes literally three to five years to to do a masters and a PhD and a PhD in a in an academic subject, and you can become someone well recognized, reading this study in the traditional darkroom setting, that's not done when you go to school, no one's gonna study and look at for example, well, I mean,

00:49:09--> 00:49:53

you may possibly have discussions in the science, but it can be it can be what what we can do is if we add, or if we get our data rooms accredited by international institutions, if we turn them into seminaries and give PhDs in theology, give PhDs in Quranic studies and and do them in the English language in particular, then we will make a huge difference. So our Alma, our malanez, our scholars need to of course, Think hard, think deep about it. We need them to come forward and take leadership in this and give academia some attention so that our youngsters, the future generation can look up to them and and seek inspiration from them. Do you find the Islamic education curriculum? One thing?

00:49:53--> 00:49:59

Yes, I think we need we need to make few changes, not change it entirely. Not

00:50:00--> 00:50:42

reformed, rather a revival of the classical Islamic literature. You remember back in the day, Muslims dominated the world for over 1000 years in the field of education, the Arabic language was the lingua franca of the world. Muslim authors were the best authors in the world, Muslim scientists, Muslim philosophers, Muslim poets, you name it, Muslims led the world in academia, to an extent where Europeans were actually traveling to the Muslim Lancers to acknowledge like we traveled today to Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge does the opposite. The tables have been turned, and they can be turned again. Similarly, we have millions of Muslims living living in the West, I believe they

00:50:42--> 00:50:45

should go to Western universities having studied Sharia having studied Islam,

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and I think molana are the best people qualified to do so they should go into Western universities get these degrees in so called secular sciences, or in particular humanities, and lead the world lead the Muslim community of knowledge in terms of knowledge and intellectual activity, and even dealing with questions like Orientalism, revisionism and Islamophobia, and prejudice against Muslims. When he did his ship in the West, we need people to speak for us. What what what what have you if you would have a magic ball? What would your prediction be looking? I mean, that that's the ideal. That's what you'd like. What would your prediction be in terms of where we stand at this

00:51:25--> 00:51:34

point in time? I look at things optimistically and I believe, although we are getting closer to the to the to the Deaf,

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yet the deaf camera, yeah, as a Muslim, I believe that but as far as Muslims are concerned, things are getting better. Now, Muslims have woken up globally, they have realized that there is a problem, that we are being mistreated globally. There is no there are no two opinions about that. Even the government's are speaking up now. People are talking about Dugan and Imran Khan, leaders who are speaking up and they're realizing there is something wrong. Enough is enough. So Muslims are waking up, generally speaking, the youth is waking up, and the future looks good. If this in your last 30 seconds if this for example, advice to the ordinary layman rolling the die, how the best comeback

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Islamophobia, what would you advise start studying, start, start studying, study your history carefully, and see the achievements of the Muslim the Muslim civilization and you will know exactly how to defend it. Now, Rashid, I want to thank you for this discussion. It's been great having you for the first part of our discussion. Really appreciate your time. Look forward to having you back. And that's all we have. For now, folks. We've been discussing Islamophobia. I will not attempt to make a summary of the discussion this evening. But Join us next week for more hard hitting debate as we explore other issues impacting on our community in South Africa and certainly in the global

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world. The use of a smartphone on behalf of ITV till next time assalamu Aleikum and good evening