Extremism Part 1 Important Concepts Defined
Channel: Jamal Zarabozo
Series: Jamal Zarabozo - Extremism
File Size: 7.14MB
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shallow, this topic that we hope to cover in the next couple of days.
I think, especially in the current situation,
and is obviously a very relevant topic. And it's also something very important for the Muslims themselves, to understand what is extremism from an Islamic perspective?
And at the same time, it's also very important for us to understand what is not extremism? In other words, what is it that we as Muslims,
should be doing as Muslims, which does not fall into the realm of extremism which, but actually, which falls into the correct practice of Islam.
Nowadays, we hear lots of discussion about Islam and the media here, for example.
And we should be able to understand what is correct about Islam and what is not correct about Islam, and the false hood
that is sometimes put out there in the name of Islam, we should have the ability and the knowledge to know that is false. And we should also, if we are already living in this kind of environment, to the best of our ability, we should try to get a hold, get control of our understanding of what is the correct view and how to respond to the false charges leveled against Islam, and inshallah and these next two days.
The lectures that we have prepared, there's quite a bit of material that I wish that I would be able to cover inshallah, but actually,
we may we'll be able to cover maybe a third or even a quarter of really some of the the material that we should cover to understand this concept properly. And this especially in the light of what is going on, nowadays in the Muslim ummah.
And to begin with inshallah, I want to define certain concepts, certain terms.
And the first two terms that I want to concentrate on
are the terms fundamentalism, and extremism.
Now, obviously, we have the board available, and I'm going to try to use the board but because of time constraints, I mean, they'll use it as much as,
as they wish. But I'm sure you're all familiar with these terms, nowadays, fundamentalism, and extremism.
Almost any time now, when you listen to news, whether it be on the radio, or TV or in the newspapers. There's a lot of talk about the Islamic fundamentalists
and Islamic extremists, and how to deal with these Islamic extremists. And it's not Islamic fundamentalist.
And we should realize that the outset that even the term that someone uses can be very, can be very powerful, and have a lot of meaning to it have a lot of implication.
When you're speaking to a certain audience, they understand what you mean. And they can make their own conclusions. From what you've said, without you needing to go into details about what you mean by it.
I'm sure for example,
you all recall
when President Bush declared the crusade on terrorism,
now, this term, Crusade,
probably for President Bush's doesn't, doesn't mean much. He might not even be familiar with the Crusades growing up in the United States going to high school here and so forth. You don't hear much about the Crusades.
But from an Islamic perspective, or from the Muslim world perspective, the idea of the Crusades is something very clear in their mind, what it is
what it implies.
And even to some extent in, in Europe also,
the meaning is very clear to many people. Many people in the Muslim world still remember, for example, that when Edmund Allen being 1970, when he conquered Jerusalem, he said now the Crusades have come to an end.
That was less than 100 years ago.
There was the fight against
So, this word Crusade for a common American maybe have like the crusade against breast cancer and all kinds of proceeds may not have that much of an impact. For what for Muslim, the impact is very clear.
And then what did they change it to after the operation infinite justice?
There was a problem with that, because
to I guess the United States was making itself to divine.
And then they finally changed it to what is the operation and enduring justice.
And during during freedom? Yeah.
I guess they forgot to realize that enduring also means suffering, to endure something. So basically, no, we're suffering the freedoms that are being forced upon us.
So I want to, I want to begin by discussing the term fundamentalism itself, and how is it being used?
And what does it imply?
fundamentalism from a Western perspective,
in general, has a negative connotation.
If you say that somebody is a fundamentalist,
you are actually in general using a pejorative term for that person.
And the reason
it has this negative connotation is because
when the Westerners think about
they're thinking about specific Christian groups.
In fact, these specific Christian groups, most of them really developed in the United States in the 19th century.
Christian groups have some particular characteristics.
And this is what sets them apart
from the rest of the Christians, even in this society.
Those Christians that could be that you could be defined and described as fundamentalists, in the United States, for example, a very small minority.
They seem to be growing, especially politically.
In recent years, they've had much more political power than in the past, but still they are
rather small portion of society as a whole.
And some of the things that sets these fundamentalists off from the other Christians
is their belief
in the Bible as being the literal Word of God,
unaltered in any way perfect.
And its teachings are to be applied exactly as they come down in the Bible.
Now, when you hear about that, as a Muslim, you know, if you if you think about the Quran,
this doesn't seem to be a big problem, you know, your Christian, you should believe in the Bible, right?
You would think anyway.
But that's not the way most of the Christian churches are nowadays.
In the sense that
there was a movement that took place in, in Europe a couple of centuries ago, and which are a few centuries ago in which the,
the people begin to notice
that there was a difference between what they were seeing, for example, a scientific fact, what they were seeing as reality, and what the church was teaching,
as being the truth as being facts of life.
So for example, the idea that the the Earth revolves around the Sun, when the scientists first came up with this idea, this was something shocking
to the church, that the earth is not the center of the universe. And as you know, many of these scientists, they were persecuted by the church. Many of them were even killed by the church.
What developed out of that,
finally, was there was a break between the society and the church. And they developed something called higher biblical criticism,
in which people started to study the Bible, and started to realize
that the Bible was actually compiled by human beings. And of course, if you read the Bible, you'll notice that but it was compiled by human beings and it was not the perfect, literal Word of God.
And you can even say that some of the reactions to that really
Some people went to an extreme to the extent that they basically then say, Okay, if this is not the actual word of God, the literal Word of God, then we should base our life on other things. And the the idea of secularism,
the idea of basing your life not on religious teachings,
not on what comes through from God, but on human conclusions and human values. This is what develops in Europe spread, of course, to the new the new world, United States.
So there was, there's an understanding among many Christians, that yes, we believe in the Bible.
But we don't believe in it literally as every word in it is true.
So for example, if you go to many Christians,
and all they can go to church every Sunday and sing and do other stuff to do in church, what do you wait, if you ask them?
For example, if you ask them, Do you believe in the creation of Adam, or the creation of the universe, as it's described in Genesis in the first book of the Bible? They'll tell you, no, they don't believe in that.
Do they believe in the flood and no, bringing the animals on the ark as described in the Bible, they'll tell you, no, they don't, they don't believe in it, they will tell you these things are not literally true. They are just there to give us meaning, understanding that we can take from that and apply in our life.
One thing, though, I've never been able to understand. And this shows you the power of propaganda.
You can take some of these Christians who are and even Jews who are almost agnostics, you know, in the way they deal with the Bible, and so forth. And you can ask them, they believe in
the creation story of Genesis. So you know, this is like a myth and has the meaning to it. The creation of Adam and Eve and, and the story of Satan know, even many of them will say, Satan doesn't exist and so forth. You believe in Jesus, the miracles that he performed in the resurrection, resurrection, probably most of them would have to say yes. But they will say, No, we don't believe in all these things, you know, they're just
myths, and then teachings and so forth. But then you ask them, Do you believe that? God promised Israel to the Jews? Yes, I believe that, based on everything in the Bible is just missing all of that. And all of a sudden, you come to this, and yes, this is true. This is the Promised Land of the Jews, something I never been able to figure out except for that's the power of propaganda.
So the majority of the Christians when they turn to the Bible, they don't have this belief in the literal
wording of the Bible. And one of the main things that separates the fun of the fundamentalists, from the rest of society is this belief, in the literal meaning of the Bible, that everything in the Bible is revelation from God, and it is true.
And, and the Bible is be taken literally and at face value.
They also have some other concepts that they believe in,
that separate themselves from the from the others, for example, the fundamentalist believe that they themselves are the only true Christians
that everybody else has long as left the correct path. And they are the only true Christian. So therefore, they have a tendency to look at other Christians as if there's something wrong with them, they are not really Christians, they haven't really gotten the grace of Jesus or God or whatever.
The However, they would say.
So these are some of the aspects with respect to who is defined in the Western world as a fundamental. And as I said, it is a negative concept.
If you look to the mass media, for example, when they use a fundamentalist,
even in the Christian context, even though at least because they're Christians, they are more or less accepted within society, especially if they stay to themselves.
Once the fundamentalist Christians start to apply what they believe in, in society, then they become a problem. Otherwise, as long as they stick to themselves, they're there. Okay? Like, for example, in a city in Colorado, Colorado Springs,
when the fundamentalist Christian started to try to pass laws, concerning what they call family values, and these kind of things, then you find you found how much hatred and how much unacceptance there was among the main population towards the fundamentalist Christian.
So this is kind of an underlying thing that always kinds of exists that the fundamentalists are some kind of a fringe group.
There is looked down upon by the rest of the Christian population.
And when you when you look at the history, and when you think about it, it does make sense, so to speak, I guess you could say I'm a little bit biased here. But if you study the Bible, for example, if you if you have, if you've ever studied the history of the Bible,
to believe that the Bible is really a literal Word of God,
that can be traced back somehow to some kind of revelation from God. This is very far fetched.
And if you look at the errors and the contradictions that exist in the Bible, also, you can come to the conclusion that there's something wrong with the Bible.
So between the two groups, which one is more rational, which one seems to make more sense, the fundamentalist and the non fundamentalist,
the non fundamentalist are more rational in their approach,
because basically, the approach of the fundamentalist cannot be defended on a rational basis. It is a leap of faith really.
And if you ever have to, if you ever get in the unfortunate circumstance of trying to debate with these born again, Christians and the fundamentalists, you will see that you're dealing with someone who has gone beyond logic and reason
to what is basically a leap of faith, you'll get to that point sooner or later.
So you have this group, what are known as fundamentalists.
So their characteristics when you think about them from the rest of society, and even how the rest of the society when they talk or when they write about them, they are to some sense, they are irrational in their approach. They're not willing to listen to science and historical facts, they are kind of bigoted,
they look upon the others as all having strayed, and they look upon themselves as having the only real truth.
So within the within the Christian population, you have, as I said, this group of people who are the fundamentalists, however, what's happened
is this when the
when the orientalist
and the discussion of Islam,
especially since, like the Iranian Revolution, and
some of the developments that have occurred in the Muslim world since the late 1970s, mid 1970s, late 1970s, this is usually the the air the time in which many people notice the difference that has occurred.
In the in the Muslim world,
the kind of Islamic revival, especially after some people even tried to trace all of it back to the feet of the Arabs in the Arab Israeli war.
As people begin to return more and more to Islam, and start taking their Islam seriously in the Muslim world,
the Western media
and even to some extent, also the scholarship Western scholarship
which of course, always had his own biases. With the Western media, they they wanted to describe what is going on in the Muslim world, and who are these people
who are calling for Islam and who are trying to bring about such changes in the Islamic world.
So they took this term,
which as I said, has a very clear negative connotation for the masses. In the West.
They took this term fundamentalist
and they applied it to those Muslims who are going back to their faith and who are applying their faith.
is a term they came up with a term which never existed before in the in the Arabic language. Also, Leah fundamentalism
you know, you can search through all those books among the Muslims and no such thing as
they are taking this term exactly from the west
and applying it to the Muslim.
Now, as I said,
the first idea, the first thought is going to come to him
Muslim to I'm sorry, to an American mind or to Western his mind when he reads in the media
that all the Islamic fundamentalists did this in Egypt, the Islamic fundamentalist did this in Iran or in Pakistan, and so forth.
His idea is going to be there's a group of people among the Muslims, who are irrational, who are bigoted, who cannot see the truth. They're making a leap of faith, they cannot see historical facts and reality.
And the reason they're making that conclusion is because of this term that is being used for these people who are trying to apply Islam.
Because they've just taken this term from a completely different context, a completely different background, and now they're applying it
to the Muslims.
And they're saying that these are the fundamentalists in the Muslim world.
And what they tried to do also,
I guess, I can use the board here.
See what one thing about the
fundamentalism in the in the Christian world and in the Jewish world, by the way, that just as much also, that's not gonna work.
There's just as much if you read, for example, about Judaism, there's just as much as this break between the conservative and the modernist and the
different groups among the Jews, you also have the same kind of break in the Jewish faith.
Where, if this is what they call the the fundamentalist.
One thing among the fundamentalists is that
you can find what you can call among the fundamentalists in the West, you can call you can find what they call extremists,
those that will go to all to any level to any means, to
implement their beliefs implement their points,
and will use any means to discredit other groups and, and so forth. Now, if you go to the text of the of the of the Bible, the Jews and the Christians, the text of the Jews and Christians, if you go to the Bible,
I have not read all the Talmud. But if you even if you go to the Talmud, and so forth, one thing that you will one thing that you will note, if you read through the whole Bible, I've just recently been going through the whole thing again, after doing some through some search and so forth, within the teachings of the of the, of the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament. One thing you'll notice that there's no concept,
there's no concept of extremism.
In other words, there's no concept of going too far within or inside the religion itself.
You cannot find when we talk about the concept of extremism and Sharia, I think the point will be clear, but I think it's important to note that there's no nothing if you're going to take the Bible literally unfold the Bible, there's no warning and no concept of extremism that you as a good Christian or a good Jew should be aware of and stay away from
so what they did as I said, they tried to take the same kind of thing to to Islam and they wanted to describe now who are the fundamentalist Muslims
and as I said, you know even the word the term fundamentalist
I guess we can
we can deal with it we can accept it for the time being.
But if you if you go
to some of their texts
and see now when they talk about Islam, who are the fundamentalists, and also who are the extremists
among the Muslims
now when the West is talking about Islam Now, sometimes they do not even distinguish between fundamentalists and extremists. All of them are the same.
Someone like Daniel pipes, for example, who say okay, a Muslim may look nice, but underneath is every one of them as a potential terrorist.
Even extremist, is what he told the Philadelphia newspaper and Daniel pipes is also one of the when the when the Congress had their their made the the largest session studying Islamic revival.
realism and fundamentalism among the Muslims. One of the three
specialists that they brought was Daniel pipe
proposing these kinds of ideas as to who are the Muslims that we should be afraid of and who are the fundamentalists and extremists and so forth.
There is a book by a Christian writer His name is the comedian
called the Islamic Revolution
and he talks about the fundamentalists
and he describes two groups of fundamentalists among the Muslims
one he calls them the passive fundamentalists and the other one he calls them the activist fundamentalists.
Okay now again, what I'm doing is this is from now Western perspective talking about Muslims.
So already when they talk about fundamentalist Muslims, you already have the perception that there are some Muslims who are okay acceptable we can deal with and then you have the fundamentalist
and beyond the fundamentalists all obviously, as we hear about a lot lately, you have the extremists among the most.
the pastor fundamentalists, the comedian, he describes them as someone who regularly attends the mosque,
observes the five pillars.
he strives for an exemplary life by applying the Quranic prohibitions such as abstaining from alcohol. He reads the Quran and other literature.
he participates in group activities and neighborhood self help, he grows a beard and mustache. Often deploying displaying short haircuts is good for me because usually my hair is pretty long. So that means I'm not only a fundamentalist.
They were distinctive clothing such as good labia, so you know where he was talking about, and hijab, woman, so forth.
These are what he calls activists, I mean, passive fundamentalists.
And he says, There's passive fundamentalist, and then there's act activist fundamentalists, what's the difference between the past a fundamentalist and active fundamentalist?
Basically, they're pretty much the same, except an activist will pursue like those Islamic characteristics more vigorously. He'll maybe try to
live in Muslim communities. And he will also visit certain mosques. And then he says the activist, now this is an activist, fundamentalist, is not even an extremist or terrorist.
He said the activist fundamentalist as opposed to the passive fundamentalist
periodically engages in Acts of purifying violence, directed against places of illicit pleasures, the nightclub and so forth.
These are the fundamentalists,
when you talk when you hear them talking about all these fundamentalist Muslims, and so in different places.
This is one of the first studies published in the West about who are the fundamentalist and Islam in this book called Islam and revolution, which was translated into Arabic By the way, what was the title of this book in Arabic,
and also Leah was very popular for a time period of time roselia fundamentalism.
Also Daniel pipes, for example,
Daniel pipes, in his testimony before Congress, he says there's three types.
The second list
who who rule on on behalf of the West,
and they believe that it is a must to completely separate religion from life.
Obviously, those are the those are the good Muslims.
And then you have the reformers.
But he's giving you now three choices. Then you have the reformers.
And they are the ones who mix between the Sharia and the western civilization and try to make the Sharia compatible with Western views.
reformers like modernism, those kind of people, and then you have the fundamentalists.
Those people who believe that the Shri has to be applied in its entirety
and then not in front of Congress, but elsewhere, he said, that these people, these fundamentalists, they are anti semitic, anti democratic, anti West, and refused to have a peaceful coexistence with the West. So when he was talking to Congress, he said that the
American government Congress should support the leftist in the Muslim world. Because the leftist at that at this time, you know in the past couple decades have become very weak. He said the leftists are very weak so we can support them to fight the muslim fundamentalists. While the force the government in power all stays in the hands of their friend, the Secretary