Sherman Jackson – CAIR 2015 Banquet LA

Sherman Jackson
AI: Summary © The speakers discuss the importance of Dr. Sherman Jackson's book and the aftermath of recent events in Paris. They express concern that some individuals may associate them with the "arthing of the people" movement and may lead to guilt. They emphasize the need to establish standards and be transparent in public, educate the public about Islam, and empower society to think about Islam. They also criticize some non-M-thirsty people and ask for help in understanding the situation. They stress the importance of verifying Islam practices and acknowledging its negative impact on individuals and society.
AI: Transcript ©
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The PhD resistance tonight is one of my all time mentors, although he probably doesn't know it. One of the community's stalwarts in leading us into the next generation of Muslim activism and community building.

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Dr. Sherman Jackson is the King Faisal, Chair of Islamic thought and culture, Professor of Religion and professor of American Studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He is author of Islamic law and the sate the constitutional jurisprudence of she had the dean and Qaddafi

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on the boundaries of theological tolerance and Islam. Abu Hamid, because Ellis, Faisal al Africa, Islam and the black American looking towards the third resurrection, Islam and the problem of black suffering, Sufism for non Sufis if not Allah's, Ellis contraries Brady's touch a rose

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and initiative to stop the violence so that's assassins and the rain, renunciation of political violence. He has authored numerous articles on very aspect various aspects of Islamic law, theology, history, and Islam and Muslims in modern America. He is listed by Religion News writers foundations religion link as one of the top 10 experts on Islam in America. He has also been named several times among the top 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic strategic Study Center in Amman, Jordan and the Prince AlWaleed bin Talal center for Muslim Christian understanding. I want an extremely excited round of applause for Dr. Sherman Jackson.

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Billa Rahman Rahim

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Al Hamdulillah Mr. Aina oneness the federal one US 31 Early life insurance and fusina

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Allah Allah, Allah, Manuel de Falla, Heddy Allah,

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Allah Allah Allah Allah Allah Allah, Allah, wa shadow anna Muhammadan rasul Allah salAllahu Alaihe alayhi wa sallam Rajshahi Saturday, we certainly Amory mashallah lokta, Melissa and Colleen

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were premier Sharon FC without telling anyone.

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We are happy that our beloved men Warbucks salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.

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First of all, I want to thank everyone for coming out and supporting care. And I want to also extend a very special welcome to all of our non Muslim guests who are here to help us support this organization that goes about the business of trying to secure dignified existence for this contingent of the American community. I also want to say that I condemn,

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in no uncertain terms of what transpired yesterday, in Paris, France, and along with the many other voices within the Muslim community, that have condemned those actions, I stand here to offer my condolences to the families, the families of those who were lost.

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In point of fact, I had originally and I want to apologize to Fatima, who was the person with whom I was communicating with in care. She called me up very graciously and discussed with me on the topic that I was going to be asked to talk about, and it was striking our voices advancing together. And I had intended to really talk about that

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in a sort of more forward looking vein, but the events that took place in Paris sort of intervened, and those very barbaric massacres.

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And what I knew would be the impending aftermath of those actions.

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It sort of reminded me of of a phrase that I picked up from some Sudanese brothers

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In fact, way back, I won't say how long because I don't want to date myself. But I met these brothers and Metka. And one of the phrases they they had was a phrase they said about a particular individual.

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Young Danone lead feel weird to unknown if you delay

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that, that person or these people, they look at the elephant, but they only curse is shadow. And that was their way of saying that. Sometimes we tend to want to ignore the pink elephant in the room.

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And what I'm trying to get at by all of this is the fact that in some ways, under the circumstances that we are presently living,

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to talk about strengthening our voices, and building coalitions, and moving ahead together.

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That might be

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a little bit of wishful thinking,

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in the absence of our ability

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to really make some progress in bridging the credibility gap that exists between Muslims and non Muslims in this country.

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Because until we are able to make some progress in bridging that credibility gap, there will continue to be all kinds of people who go through the motions,

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and even people who genuinely want to support us.

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But because we live in what a French scholar by the name of God DeBord once talked about, he called it

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a society of the spectacle

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in which

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our faculty of human encounter would be degraded.

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And that's a very fancy way of saying that.

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although I'm here in front of you, in the flesh,

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you can see me,

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you can emotionally feel me, you may even be able to smell me, I hope I smell good.

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But you're encountering me as a human being.

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And yet, you can't hear a word that I'm saying.

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Because some images that have been produced about me, come between you and me.

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And so rather than your ability to hear, contemplate, and internalize the words that I'm saying, those images come in between us, and they degrade your faculty of human encounter.

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And what's going on in the world today tends to have that effect on Americans, or non Muslim Americans. And what I worry about is that those events may be simply the beginning of another cycle,

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that there will be those in America, who will seek to take those events, and to use them as a justification for their bigotry.

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And the Muslim community being as embattled as it is, one of the things that I worry about is that Muslims will start out

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on the understanding that what happened in Paris

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will put them in a position where they will be plastered with guilt by association.

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As brother Earl said,

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those people are Muslims, you are Muslims, you're all the same, you're plastic, with guilt by association.

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So the Muslims then will turn around and desperately tried to distance themselves from these events from these heinous acts, and they'll do so through standard declarations of their condemnation of these ads, alongside assertions that these kinds of barbaric acts have nothing to do with Islam.

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He has somehow for so many non Muslim Americans, these kinds of declarations will tend to ring hollow

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and the Islamophobes will just press their case that much more.

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The Muslims are more trying to redouble their efforts to establish the fact that we don't condone this and we don't see

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Just as representative of our religion.

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And those doubters will up the ante that much more, and we enter into this cycle. It's like the man who's asked,

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Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

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And no matter what he says, he ends up more and more condemned. If he says, yes, then he acknowledges that he did. If he says, No, then he's acknowledging that he does. Whatever he says, he ends up condemned, and the cycle goes on, and on and on.

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And this lays the ground for all those Islamophobic forces out there to send this subliminal message, that no matter how much these people condemn these kinds of actions, no matter how much they seek, to assure you do not believe them, do not trust them, because they are not speaking the truth. And you can tell that they're trying to hide something by the degree of desperate pneus that goes along with their condemnations This is out there.

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And as long as that is the case,

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that clearly can be no effective Muslim voice, what voice Do you have? If you have no credibility?

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How can you speak when society at large is predisposed to dismissing everything you say?

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So there can be in those circumstances, no real voice, there can be no real coalition building. Because coalition's your partners have to trust you. Without trust, there is nothing.

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And so

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no matter how loudly we continue to condemn these kinds of things, and other things that go on in the name of Islam, without first narrowing the credibility gap, we will continue to have very long and very cold nights, this credibility gap

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is the elephant. And we have to address the elephant, instead of always looking at his shadow.

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Because the shadow was not going to harm us. I would like to focus tonight on an effort.

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And I think that what's important for you to understand in terms of where I'm coming from here, we have to acknowledge that many of our non Muslim friends and neighbors,

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they need some help.

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If you are affected by the Islamophobic industry, and you are a Muslim, how do you think non Muslims are affected?

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Even if they want to believe you. They're on the verge of believing you.

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And then something else happens.

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And so they need help.

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In arriving at a point where the partnerships to be built between us and them can be real partnerships can be partnerships that are based on mutual respect, and mutual trust.

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And I want to try and make a contribution tonight to bridging that credibility gap. Now, I'm a

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I'm a scholar of Islam.

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Or perhaps I should say,

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I'm a student of Islam, and I've been so my entire adult life. That's what I do for for a living.

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And my job in that regard is twofold.

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it is to educate the public about Islam.

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Both its ideals, and its realities.

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And it's to do so in a manner that represents the highest standards of scholarship.

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And why? Because high standards is what keeps us all honest.

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If I can just say anything that I want to say,

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and other professionals and colleagues in the field, don't condemn me when I say blatantly false nonsense

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Then I will go on and say what, whatever, I think serves my interest. High standards, however, is what will keep me honest. Because I know the device say something that cannot be substantiated on the basis of the sources, the tradition, the history of Islam, I will be called out for people ended up not getting tenure for stuff like that. I have tenure, by the way.

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But it's important for us to understand that because we're talking about credibility.

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And hopefully, this will become clearer in just a moment.

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The other aspect of what I see my job to be

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is to contribute to the collective good, by empowering society at large to think about and to engage Islam intelligently.

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So that what they hear what they see what they read, they are put in a position to engage that intelligently, and not therefore become a tool in the hands of ideologues, be those ideologues Muslim, or non Muslim. That's my job.

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And so my contribution, or my attempt to contribution to bridging that credibility gap gap tonight, is going to be in that vein,

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and trying to establish incredible terms, that things like what happened in Paris, are not reflective, of believing practicing committed Muslims. And that when non Muslims hear these kinds of declarations, they can take that to the bank. They don't have to second guess that. They don't have to say, Yeah, that sounds good. But,

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but they can have full confidence that they are listening to a person who is speaking out of honest conviction. That's the contribution I'm going to try to make tonight. Now, if I were a poet, like some of the people we heard up here tonight, my contribution would be different. If I were a billionaire,

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the fundraising job would have been a lot easier. It would have been quicker Althoff, right. But I'm not either of those. I'm an academic. So let me let me try and

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and now this guy.

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First of all, what are we talking about? In terms of some credibility guy? This is what often happens.

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Something happens, like

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what happened in Paris or ISIS does something.

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Is that real?

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That's real.

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That it wasn't on it first.

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Well, at least if they're going to turn it on, they have to turn it on at 20. Anyway, that's all right. All right.

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So I'll try this does something anybody in the world does something. Muslims in America say, this doesn't represent Islam? Certainly not the Islam that we identify with?

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The slamming fathers turn around and say, But wait a minute.

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As I think Brother Earl was saying, let's go back to your own holy book.

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Let's go back to the books of your own tradition, and Islamic law. And they go back, and they find this statement. And they find that statement. And they say, look, there it is, right there.

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You align.

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And people only live for one reason.

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Well, two reasons. They're psychopaths, but people are not lie for one reason. And that is that they are unwilling to face the consequences of telling the truth.

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And so they lie.

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And so they're able to convince society that Muslims are lying because they have something to hide, and what is it that they have to hide the true nature of Islam?

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That's what they're saying. And they're quoting our holy book. They're calling our books on faith in Islamic law, jihad, this, that and the other.

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And so what happens is

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This becomes the burden that Muslims have to bear.

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Once this kind of thing gets out there, Muslims can't open their mouths without apologizing.

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They can't represent themselves, like other people in society can represent themselves.

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And this is part of the deficit and credibility that we suffer.

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But I want to point out some problems with this approach.

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First of all, you know,

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when people, some of these Islamophobes when they go back,

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and they read, quote, the Quran and things like that, I say to myself,

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I'm glad we're the Muslims are not you.

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Because your interpretation of Quran is a very dangerous one.

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That's certainly not our interpretation of Quran. All right. And I think it's very important for us to establish the fact that someone's reading the Quran does not equal Islam.

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That equals your reading of the Quran.

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Islam has been around for 1400 years, your individual reading, cannot Trump what Muslim has always held Islam to be. And we have to get clear about that. And keep that clear. But beyond that, there's something else here. And this is the really dangerous part.

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There's some some commonly held notions about religion.

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When they go back, and I have

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I brought some evidence tonight. So we can be real in our credibility issue.

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When they go back and get something from some manual of Islamic law, written 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, the implication is, this is Islamic law.

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God doesn't change, does it?

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Is this God's law?

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Then how can it change?

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Islamic law cannot change.

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So if we find that in a book 500 years ago, that's Islamic law for then. And that's Islamic law, for what?

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For now, and by the way, many Muslims think that. And for that reason, they themselves are also hesitant.

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Right? But no, you got things like,

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remember, what God says about God is one thing.

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what God says about people in social political context is a completely different thing. Even if God does not change, society changes, circumstances change. And for that reason, Islamic law changes with the circumstances, you got books and that say what? It is impermissible for Muslims to live in non Muslim lands, it's in those books.

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Is that Islamic law?

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Or we don't know haram, because we live in America now. That's what some people would have the American public thing.

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All right. But why did they say that back then? Because Muslims wouldn't have been allowed to live in those lands, that would have been like suicide. Those were the realities that were prevailing at that time. Is that the reality of Muslims today in a place like America, where we have constitutional protections, giving us freedom of religion? Why would we assume that that's still Islamic law? The problem is that those people, it's very interesting Islamophobes, and many Muslim extremists have the same tendency in common. They don't know how to read the books of Islam, and then want to burden us with this. All right. And our problem is that people hear me saying things

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like that, and they think this is just what

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this is just the Muslim apology. All right. But

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I want to say I want you to go away confident that what I'm saying you can take to the bank. So I brought

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some evidence.

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This is a book I wrote. So you know, it's right.

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And this book was written, was published in 2000. I'm sorry, 1996.

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actually goes back to my dissertation, which was done around 1990.

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All right, so this is well before when,

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this is well before 911. So this is not some response to 911. Okay.

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Here's what one of those old jurists said, way back in the 13th century of the Common Era, listen to this.

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What is the correct view concerning those rulings found in the School of Shafi ematic and the rest, which happened deduced on the basis of habits and customs prevailing at the time these scholars reach these rulings, when the customs and circumstances change, and the practice comes to indicate the opposite of what it used to all the rulings recorded in these books, rendered, incomplete, defunct, or do we say, we are mere followers, it is not our place to innovate new rulings, therefore, we just follow that which is in the books, this is the question he's asked. All right. This is how long though?

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This is his answer,

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by the way, before 911, right.

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holding two rulings that have been deduced on the basis of custom and prevailing circumstances, even after these customs and circumstances have changed, is a violation of consensus, and an open display of ignorance of the religion.

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We're not lying, we're not making this up.

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When I say that rule no longer applies, it no longer applies. The circumstances no longer dictate that.

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And this is our tradition. And one of the problems is you have so many these people reading these books, they know nothing about that tradition.

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And so they want to come and impose this on Islam, and give that as the vision of Islam to society at large. And I want to say something about this book, besides the fact that it was written by me because this is the other thing, we got to be very careful about. A lot of Islamophobes write books. Here's the book, it's called Sharia the threat to America.

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All right, here's the difference.

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This book,

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like all academic books, this book is the product of a review process.

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When you write a manuscript, it goes out to experts in the field. And in America, that's predominantly non Muslim,

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at least two to three experts in the field, write a report. And they don't say we agree with this author or not. They say this book represents the standards of high scholarship.

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It reflects the fact that he read or she read what he should or should read. They've understood it properly. They've engaged the scholarship in the field. And it's worthy of publication by following that now,

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this book.

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And by the way, this book, there's some very prominent people here, the former head of the CIA is one of the co authors of this book.

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And who published it.

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They're from the Center for Security Policy, the Center for Security Policy Press published it.

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There is no review process. And they can go and convince the American people with this stuff. Going back to find books 800 years ago, 800 years ago, and quoting them as Islam.

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This is what happens. And this is what they're given to the American people. And then I come along, and you come along and say, No, that's not what he believes. But it's in your books. Yes. But that's from 800 years ago. Well, isn't that Islam?

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This is what we're dealing with.

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And these people then can't trust us. All right. I have other things up here. I wanted to share let me just say this, on this issue of what happened in Paris, that is in Islamic law, that is called Hiraga that is called a violation of the right of God. I have a I got another thing he I don't have time to read it now because that clock is making me making me nervous.

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But I want you to understand what I'm trying to do here. I don't want to just say these things.

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I want to establish a standard and American society, you can't just go and say what you want about Islam, whether you're Muslim, or non Muslim, we have to establish some integrity here. We have to establish who's speaking the truth, and who's just speaking ideology. And this, again, this is reviewed by understand what I mean by that. That means when I submit this manuscript, it goes out to experts. If they say, This is nonsense, this is not scholarship, what happens? It doesn't get published. It gets published. All right. Let me just read you one thing. And then I got one last thing to read. And then I move on, I got two things I want to say. All right, kindly wrap up.

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Let me just read this me, can I still just five minutes, it's really important just to make this make this comparison, please.

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No, because I want us to understand, some of us don't understand this. There. There are so many non Muslims. They don't.

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They're not in love with Islam. But they don't like bigotry. They don't like it.

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And they want to come and stand with the Muslims. But they're being bombarded by this stuff. And then Paris happens and something else happens and something else happens. They need help understanding. All right, that look what those people in Paris did, I may not be able to convince them otherwise. But when I tell you that we in America condemned this, and this does not this does not represent Islam for us. That money in the bank.

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That is a true statement. That is an authentic statement. Listen to this quote.

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One who engages in gazes into hate is one who terrorizes the streets in order to prevent people from freely traveling. That is to say it is anyone who terrorizes the people in the streets in such a way that prevents them from freely traveling from enjoying the benefit they have, even if he does not to aim to take their money, but rather only wants to prevent people from enjoying the benefit of traveling free in the streets. And for your information. When you violate the public safety, you know what Muslim jurists call that? That is a violation of Hakala.

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Public safety, public safety is the right of God. No one has the right. No one has the right to violate that. And this is the most severely punished the most severely punished crime and Islam.

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This is Islam. And people make this mistake. They think that Jihad and let's assume that Muslims find some valid reason to go to jihad.

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America finds valid reasons to go to war does not.

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I can hear you.

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You see how scared we are?

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No, no, I'm very serious. Right? Let's suppose Muslims find some what they deem to be some valid reason to go to jihad.

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Jihad does not equal terrorism.

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You cannot terrorize civilian populations in the name of jihad. Why? One last quote, they're gonna be really mad at me. But this is important.

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Because this is this is this is what we have to find a way of conveying to the American public and to our own people.

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To our own people, if our young people knew these kinds of things, they wouldn't be so susceptible to what comes across that internet. Sometimes, they would know that it was wrong.

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Why? Why can you not terrorize the streets? Right? This is what it's called to be says. He says it's because

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he robber terrorizing the streets is extremely dangerous because it prevents people from being able to earn a living.

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For commerce is the greatest the most common means of earning a living, and people must be able to move about in order to engage in commerce. But when the streets are terrorized people stop traveling and are forced to stay home. The doors of business are closed and people are unable to earn a living. Thus, God instituted the severest punishments for hate ABA as a means of humiliating and discouraging the perpetrators. There are

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I'm in order to keep the doors of commerce open court to be live almost 1000 years ago.

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This is Islam. We do not tolerate violations of the public safety, that is not Islam. You cannot target civilian populations in that way. That's not Islamic law.

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And this is an established fact.

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And what we must do is find a way of convincing our non Muslim compatriots of this fact so that they can know when you join hands with us. You are joining hands with people who sincerely want to see an end to this barbaric carnage. They're not wink wink.

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Just to get along to the next day. All right, I got two little short things to say I know I'm bad. I'm sorry.

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But we're living in a very delicate moment.

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We're going to have to leave this hall tonight and we're going to go home and we're going to turn on the TV. What are we going to see? We don't know.

00:36:10 --> 00:36:18

We don't know. We're living in a critical moment. Okay. I want to make two last points. And I promise I'll stop.

00:36:22 --> 00:36:24

People don't understand

00:36:25 --> 00:36:26


00:36:28 --> 00:36:38

Muslims, including Muslims, who have themselves been victims of this kind of mentality.

00:36:39 --> 00:37:01

They themselves have come to condemn terrorism, and wanton acts of violence. Based on their understanding of Islam. I just wrote a book she talked about it. initiative to stop the violence. You know what that book is about? It's about the man Islamia in Egypt, the guys who killed Anwar Sadat, anybody remember that?

00:37:03 --> 00:37:11

You're not that young. Are you? Anybody remember that? Can you believe that they came out and said, what we were wrong.

00:37:12 --> 00:37:32

And we condemn this. They even wrote books condemning al Qaeda, this is going on now. So we're not some sham community. All right, the last thing I want to say she gets really nervous, because it's important to understand, we don't have a partnership. If Muslims are the only ones who have to make change.

00:37:34 --> 00:37:46

We don't have a partnership, if Muslims are the only ones who make change. And one of the things that I like to see non Muslims do a little bit more of two things, one

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to recognize,

00:37:52 --> 00:37:57

and I'm going to blame it on the time. So I'm going to be I'm going to be blunt, I want to blame it all the time.

00:37:58 --> 00:38:03

But to recognize how white fear is being exploited.

00:38:08 --> 00:38:10

See, we scared even clap, both.

00:38:12 --> 00:38:31

To recognize how some people are simply trying to exploit white fear. We've seen examples of this before, back in the 80s, they stopped using the N word, they start talking about crime and welfare. And that was designed to do what to scare the white majority.

00:38:33 --> 00:38:49

Because we know, to the manipulation of fear, we can get the government to institute all kinds of draconian policies, and we can get into the government's pocket to get them to spend all kinds of money on things that we say well take that fear away.

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Some fear is genuine, but much fear is manufactured. And many non Muslims know that some of this fear is false, and it's manufactured and we need to see them stand up more and call it for what it is.

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The last thing this is the last thing, I'm not really that bad.

00:39:16 --> 00:39:17

The last thing

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you know you you worry when you speak as a Muslim today, because the margin of error is very thin.

00:39:33 --> 00:39:39

But I'm reminded of something that James Brown said

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I rather die my feet to live on my knees.

00:39:48 --> 00:39:54

I want I want our partners or non Muslim partners.

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To Be careful about something

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I'm going to try to do my share

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of teaching and educating about an Islam that has no problem at all with mutual coexistence at all, Stan was born in mutual coexistence.

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And I recognize that there are many aspects of Islamic law even that need to be updated. I'm more than willing to engage in that reform process.

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But do not trying to come to me and try to get me to reinterpret Islam, only to facilitate your imperial ambitions, I will not do.

00:40:50 --> 00:40:55

And let me let me be clear about something and I'll stop. Let me be clear about something I

00:40:56 --> 00:41:00

see people here Muslim, say something like that. And they're like,

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here's a heads up. This is my country.

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I'm not talking about some privilege, that I should somehow this is my country. I don't want my country engaging Imperial and Imperial adventures. Because I know what that will be. So when our partners come to us and want to talk about Islam, and the changes that we want to make an Islam at cetera, let us be careful that we're not simply trying to talk them into an easier way for us to exploit the world. I apologize for holding you up. I apologize to my host. I hope, however, that we are a little more empowered to go out and close that credibility gap. Because once we close that credibility gap, we can join hands and others with others, and we can move ahead together does that

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

come along?

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