Library Chat #18 – The Struggles of Dealing With J-Movement Rhetoric
Channel: Yasir Qadhi
Series: Yasir Qadhi – Library Chats
File Size: 90.66MB
Conversation with Br Basil
Miss Minh Hill wash Manu Mahi in
Santa Monica masala hit water catch on hamdu Lillah wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah who Allah Allah, He will be here woman while I'm about. So this is a very interesting unique first time I'm ever doing this type of podcast which I'll call a part of my library chats, I'd like to welcome Basile Gohan, aka Abu huraira, someone where they can sit down together to explain to our viewers What's going on? Well, we're gonna we're gonna get to that a shallow dive into today's talk and topic is really meant for anybody who was active and alive for the last 15 years in that way. It's not one of those advanced ones. It's a it's a very frank and it's a very awkward discussion about a
timeframe that we faced, I faced some of our biggest challenges living in America, and talking about the the jihadist groups that were springing up and having a different ideology than us. And
long story short, our brother Boston is somebody that I've known for, literally 1617 years now, some kind of luck, time flies, and he was one of our main students. And I've talked to him, I think more than 10 classes or so one of our core and earliest students and hamdulillah.
And unfortunately, around 10 years ago, some slight tensions began between the two of us over these issues. And I think we can even see we had a bit of a falling out or a bit of attention for a while. And then we reconnected together and started talking about our difficulties, and then hammered it out. We're on the same wavelength now, but I thought it would be very, very useful for not just the two of us, not just for the sake of posterity, and memories about the difficult timeframe, but most importantly, so that we can all learn from our own past and mistakes and ups and downs. And maybe in sha Allah, a next generation or a new batch of you know, people who might also be grappling with the
same issues that they can benefit from our own experiences. I mean, we've lived through a timeframe that was very difficult for us. So that's the goal of this quote unquote library chatter podcast where I'm going to be speaking in introducing and setting it up what exactly happened from my perspective, then handing it over to Brother Boston? And then inshallah we'll have a frank conversation shall load data so by so you okay with that,
inshallah? Perfect. Okay. So, this minute, let's begin.
Going to go down memory lane, and it's going to be a very awkward topic, because we will be discussing binladin and parida, I'm going to try to not mention some names, just because I don't know maybe it's best, I don't know, maybe you can figure out who they are. But an American preacher that was very active and calling and recruiting to al Qaeda, who was then assassinated by our government, I'd rather personally not mentioned that person's name just any because people get very sensitive. But these are things that we have to deal with, because I hope that a new generation can listen to our own experiences and then make up their own minds. Now, let me go back to 911 911
occurred and I was a graduate student in Medina. It's cliched now to say that it was a wake up call for so many of us it was definitely a wake up call for me. And it made me realize that my place was back here preaching and teaching to my own peoples in the English language that I needed to come back and give Dawa. There was just so much misinformation about Islam, so much fear so much antagonism. And so I, you know, wrapped up my master's program instead of completing a PhD in by the end, I came back to America and started my PhD here at IDEO. And, you know, for the first few years, I was busy teaching with our institute, you know, Boston was one of our earliest students, very
active on our forums. We taught all types of classes, Al Qaeda and Falcon Heavy. And so I had Bahati. But you know, there was this unspoken rule, that we don't talk about jihad. And we don't talk about foreign policy. We don't talk about America's involvement in the Middle East. Why? Why do we not do that? Primarily because it was very, very difficult. Our own government, our own countries, our own, you know, the Western world, America in particular, the people were still in complete shock from 911. And they were so traumatized that to merely attempt to explain, to merely attempt to contextualize would have been perceived as a justification
at that point in time to be brave and point out foreign policy issues, right. You know, if you are Noam Chomsky, if you're, you know, white Caucasian, preaching out against American foreign policy, you would be marginalized and just not mainstream. But if you're a brown
Skin cleric you would be in Guantanamo, frankly, or at least in jail, you know, if you were a brown skinned Muslim cleric, and that timeframe, where the paranoia and emotionalism was an all time high. And you know, we knew of people I know people in Boston, those people who are totally innocent and are still sitting in jail right now as we speak, you know, for nothing except thought crimes. And for maybe some who are a little bit more than that, but not actual terrorism, you know, maybe speaking or doing things that definitely in the gray area. So all of us felt that it wasn't wise to address these issues, you know, head on. And so we adopted silence. And we taught our classical
sciences and Al Qaeda, 101 and 5101 and Hadeeth, 101. And we just did not really discuss the elephant in the room. And this is 2004 2005 2006. This is, you know, a lie, there's growing stronger and stronger attacks are taking place, you know, across the world in Europe as well, one or two here in America are taking place. And we're getting more and more confused. And during this time confused, meaning how do we confront this not confused, like, we all know what, what our group of people from our institute, we're all on the same wavelength that we were not definitely not pro American, we're definitely not American foreign policy. We're definitely criminalizing what our own
country is doing from an ethical standpoint, and from an Islamic standpoint. But we're also not on the side of these movements that think it is okay to just kill in and launch bombs, and you know, near Times Square, there was an attack in Times Square, somebody tried to blow up a bomb in Times Square, you know, people doing things in Europe, in France and whatnot. And we all of us, did not agree with that methodology, you know, as well. So what we did was, we just adopted a code of silence. However, that code of silence had to break eventually. And a number of things happened, you know, first and foremost was the rise of a very influential, very famous cleric who spoke English,
you know, pre 911, he was probably the most famous preacher and teacher in North America, his his cassettes, and you know, there was no YouTube back then, his cassettes and his CDs, were basically the rage, everybody knew them, you know, everybody was listening to them at the time. And even when 911 happened, this particular cleric adopted a stance that was basically our own, which was that we're critical of American foreign policy. But we're not going to jump over and say we should start killing the average American citizen. You know, he adopted that for a number of years. And by the way, FYI, for the record, yes, I did interact with this person, he knew me, we were acquaintances,
we were never friends. But we were never enemies at that stage. We knew each other. And, you know, he was older than me and senior to me at age. And so you know, there was that sense of, Okay, he's preceding me in the Dawa, I had come back from Medina. And he decides to, well, a number of things happen, he went to jail and Yemen, he came out a very different person. And he then basically said, it is obligatory in every single American Muslim, to start doing crazy things blowing up whatnot. And so I mean, you have to take a stance, you can't just ignore this. And that was one of the the Wake Up Calls for all of us that we can't just be quiet anymore. This person is, is being listened
to by our own student base by American Muslims, Western Muslims. And we can't just ignore that he is calling for an understanding and for violence that we're opposed to. And, you know, that was one wake up call another wake up call, which again, same timeframe, and in fact, related to this individual. And I will mention this person by name because he's in jail now. And that is the infamous underwear bomber that Omar photocoupler methodic or something. Yeah, I think Omar photo of the Metallica, the underwear bomber, we tried to, you know, blow up a plane by lighting up a fuse in his underwear that had some bombs and whatnot. And, again, this individual had actually attended one
of our seminars, you know, he had attended him summit. And I barely knew him. I met him I said Salaam, but I didn't really know the person. He wasn't satisfied with us. He left us he travelled to, you know, Yemen, where this particular individual resided. And he joined his movement. And then he attempted to do what he wanted to do. You know, the government got involved, our Institute's name got dragged in, because he had a year before this, attended our seminar and then moved on Alhamdulillah look, our names had been clear from the beginning, our institute and our group of people have never been under suspicion of that type of thought, because we are crystal clear. And
even the you know, the the all the research that they did on us, it was very clear. We have nothing to do with that interpretation or that strand of of terrorism. So we were cleared. That's why we could we could continue preaching and teaching and Alhamdulillah by the one who say for the record, none of our core students ever got involved with those terrorist groups. Yes, we had a few people who attended a seminar and
And went on to do other things or were in jail now. But these are not people that are we consider to be our base of that of that Institute. But Omar photocoupler motive and his case really shook me personally to the core, because I felt that perhaps our silence
added to this individuals journey to the dark side or to the wrong side, perhaps the fact that we didn't address these issues, because I remember clearly that film summit. I mean, I was in charge of the syllabus, right? You know, we did so in a Timothy, we did you know, fitrah, you know, detailed, we did a lot of really, really nice topics. I mean, very interesting. You know, we did history of Andalusia that year, right. But one thing we never did, and this is the height of a higher than bilad, is still alive, and he's giving his foot was, one thing we never did was to talk about these very sensitive, very difficult topics. And I felt that this young man was searching for how to
understand these things. He might have traveled to America from his he was, I think it was in England, he traveled to America, he spent a week with us. And, you know, he, he might, he probably liked everything that he saw. But he never heard answers to the questions he had in his mind about politics and about jobs and whatnot. And because that was an empty vacuum, he then goes overseas, he meets, you know, this American cleric, and this American cleric tells him, Hey, you know, go blow up a plane. And he did that. And so he's currently sitting in, you know, maximum security to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, a 21 year old young man, and his entire life is now
going to be behind bars, you know, until the only medical mode comes along with Stan. So I felt that I can't be silent anymore. On top of this, we had a few dozen Americans, American Muslims, just literally wrap up and leave and join these movements in Syria, in Iraq and Syria in particular, you know, they just thought that this is their calling, this is what Allah wants them to do. And I got involved once again, families called me if I remember, once, I'll never forget this, you know, a family called me up that their son had left. And they respected me immensely. And they were worried that his friends and others might follow suit. And I literally flew in to have a meeting with a
large group of youth. And they were asking some very difficult questions at the time, that, you know, why should we go and do this and you know, a long litany of grievances about our foreign policy, American foreign policy. By the way, when I say our, it really irritates a large group of people, as if I'm justifying, look, I am an American, born and raised here. And I have no other place to go. And when I say our foreign policy, it's not a karate, it's not a silent approval. It's a political reality that whether we like it or not, the country that I'm associated with his foreign policy is, is causing a lot of violence and grief and damage. And I'm a vocal critic. I've always
been a vocal critic. By the way, I've always been a very vocal critic of US foreign policy ever since I started speaking about it. As I said, for three years, I was silent. But ever since I'm speaking, it's been a consistent, I've never been supported. And also, by the way for the record, and I wouldn't be I hope everybody is listening to this point here. I have never once spoken about much less criticized what people born and raised and living in Muslim land should do when their lands are invaded. I have never once spoken to at about Syrians, or on behalf of Iraqis, or what have honeys should do. That's not my that's not my responsibility, nor am I qualified to say what
anybody should do living there. And by the way, just for the record, what do you expect a group to do when their land is invaded by foreigners? I mean, it's common sense. But I've never once criticized people on the ground in their lands, doing whatever they're doing. My talk, and my rhetoric has always been for American or Western Muslims, whether they should leave, leave their lives and join these movements overseas. I have been against this. And I have said that this is not what the *ty AI requires, and that you'll end up doing more harm than good. And that many of these movements if not all of them, they're not really operating from our perspective, maybe they
might be excused from their paradigm, but for us to join their bandwagon to leave what we're doing, because they might be inherited or they might be excused for what we might not be excused for. So for us to jump onto their bandwagon. No, I have been a critic of that. So to be very clear here. And by the way, for the record, please, those that are watching, please log on to YouTube right now. And look at these lectures I've given number one, American foreign policy and the rise of ISIS. Number two on the 10th anniversary of 911 Frank remarks on the 10th anniversary of 911. This was a public Auditorium in DC and I spoke to journalists and people on the 10th anniversary of 911
20 2011 basically, and I spoke very frankly, about American foreign policy. Number three, when that American cleric was assassinated by our own government, I wrote, I was the only Muslim, the only national Muslim to publicly condemn our own country. Yes, the wordings I chose, many of the people didn't like that, because they wanted it to be harsher, I understand. But my condemnation was published in the New York Times as an op ed. And in order to get it published in the New York Times, you have to write it in a certain style with a certain language. And this is what a lot of my critics don't understand is that you want to get the message to the American people that their own
government is the ultimate source of these radical movements. And I've said this many times, right, American foreign policy, and its bumbling, you know, incomprehensible acts, and the the the travesties of justice that have taken place Guantanamo, me the gang break of rape of our sister, I be it in Iraq come, you know, the the IEDs that have been planted. I mean, that's the ultimate source of these movements that have sprung about it's not, it's not coming from the Koran, and soon as much as it's coming from a reaction to American foreign policy. But does that justify jumping over to the other side anyway, so to conclude my points when it handed over to busted here, so to
link it to a rather Boston, so after all my photos, and whatnot, it was, um, you know, incident,
our institute was being investigated as a potential causal linkage 100, as I said, everything was clear, because there is no linkage, there never has been to any of these movements, to any of these people. But at the timeframe, so the government wanted to interview us and our students, and many of our students felt that this is a betrayal of our Islamic values. If we tell the government about this individual, and you know, what he did or what he didn't do, they felt that the Willa and Bharat concept that they had been taught from other, you know, interpretations of Islam, we did not teach you that interpretation. What I'm better off, but it was around it was it was public, this knowledge
of what I mean by that is there, and I don't agree with this misunderstanding of what are involved. But they felt that merely by cooperating with the investigators and answering their questions, that this is a betrayal of the values of Islam. And I remember very clearly, and I was still, you know, at Yale at the time, we had a conference call with all of our senior volunteers and students and Boston was on that call as well. And the reason why we had that call, was that
when we told our students to answer and cooperate
Boston, amongst others, but Boston was one of the main people strongly objected online in our forums. And he used adjectives, I don't remember what it was it referred or was it like potentially whatever was, but it was like really difficult adjectives were the sentiment was an I'm sure he didn't mean it. But the sentiment that people understood was that all of us instructors were sellouts that all of us instructors
have lost the plot, and that we've sided with the dark side against our with a bit led the interests of the oma. Okay, now I know he didn't use those words, I'm kind of reading it in, but the sentiment that people extracted from it, was that right? And, and I'll be honest, I was very hurt at bustles message.
And I blamed myself and all of us for not addressing those understandings or misunderstandings from day one, our tacit silence in the face of a rising interpretation of Islam, that we disagreed with our silence at addressing their shoe hats, allowed. People like Boston and many others to absorb ideas that I always believed are dangerous, but we never confronted and all my folks incident kind of sort of brought this to a forefront. And for a while, you know, Boston and some of his colleagues or friends decided that we were not the institute they wanted to study from they were kind of sort of like, you know, we we weren't trustworthy enough. And I did hurt for a while. But at hamdulillah
A while back, you know, we made recontact and had very frank conversations. And, you know, in the course of our conversations, I realized that these conversations actually need to be made public because Boston and I aren't just to individuals were representative of lots of other people out there. And for us to have this frank conversation and put it online. I hope insha Allah, Allah, that it causes anybody else who might be having some of these other symptoms or doubts for shubo heart, to hear from somebody who has gone through it.
from somebody who was opposed to it from from from the very beginning, but perhaps maybe wasn't as vocal as needs to be. But anyway, I will continue my side as well. But I want to now throw it back to that boss said, we did tell our students to cooperate. And the rest is history. But now hear from you and your site and, you know, bring up the conversation about how you remember that timeframe. And also, your feelings about these movements, and why you were attracted to those movements. And what caused you to eventually gravitate back towards us and leave that understanding of, you know, radicalism, Florida, Georgia, Nova Smith,
Smith out 100 hours, lots of Islam are also just like local chef, Yasser for
giving me the opportunity to, you know, share what is perhaps the most awkward, embarrassing, I don't want to use too many adjectives, but you know, a shameful incident in my time, where the discrepancy between how I felt then about it, and how I felt now couldn't be wider.
I recall very clearly the the incident, you know, at least, you know, as my memory has preserved it when a moment of announced, you know, there's this incident with a former Muslim Student. And, you know, it was big news, of course, was national news at the time. And, you know,
at the time, you know,
we were discussing that amongst ourselves. And I know that it just came as a shock to have to face this issue of, seemingly, seemingly and this is how the perspective was, we're handing over someone a Muslim to the to the, to the non Muslims. That's, that's, that's sort of like the narrative of this perspective at the time. Yes, he did something that put many people's lives at risk.
I recall that, you know, stating something along the lines, and this is the part that's very awkward, but I think that it's very relevant to the discussion is no need to be
shy about it. I mean, that's the whole point, I recall saying something along the lines of this is a clear cofa. Those are the words I recall using,
not with the intention of making took fear, but those are statements of those, that's definitely a statement of as if you're calling someone, you know, they've committed cofa. And
it wasn't to call that out is more of venting of frustration and feeling that I had to speak out to share what was not being said explicitly by a lot of people, I think that this felt wrong at the time.
Obviously, looking back on it, this is somebody we're talking about, who put the lives of I don't recall how large the fight was, but perhaps hundreds of people at risk for an ideology that called for violence that called for, you know, an indiscriminate, you know, you know, all things associated with that kind of ideology.
But that's not just not how we saw it, you know, we saw it like this is a person who was perhaps either wrongly accused or set up or, you know, we could come up with all kinds of excuses in our head for that.
Why, though, you might ask, why is somebody like, would do that? Why would someone stand out for that?
Why this ideology itself even might be appealing to somebody, obviously, somebody who is looking in from the outside, either from a non Muslim perspective, or from the perspective of Muslims who just never
encountered people that sympathize with this view or otherwise? You know,
I think it bears mentioning what goes to the thoughts of somebody who
would have been opposed to cooperating with authorities at a time, which, you know, cooperating with authorities has always been problematic from certain circles, even even non Muslim circles and so on. But that's not what this conversation is about, I think. And I'm not advocating not cooperating where there's a legitimate reason for cooperation. But you know, that's a hole not to not to get into my own tangents as you tend to do as well. to our benefit, though,
what was so attractive to this ideology of sort of, like, this fantasy, romantic idea of bringing back Islam through some kind of a Jihad? Let's just put it that way? I don't know. I'm just gonna say it explicitly. There was this romantic fantasy that a lot of Muslims, particularly the youth had, around this revival of jihad in Islam.
There was the pseudo idealism to it. It just sounded so pure. Oh, we're going back to the Quran and Sunnah. And what's in there? Oh, jihad. What's nobody talking about today, Jihad that ties in very much with what you're saying she also that it just nobody else is talking about
But some people were,
it gave a channel for that youthful energy that so many of us had at the time to save us as I'm speaking personally, we were fervently active in our Muslim groups, the MSA amount of Institute, you know, I later went on to into leadership roles in local Muslim community here in my hometown. And, you know, I've continued to just want to do something for Islam.
So, finding this sort of underserved, underrepresented segment of Islam, I mean, there's even been statements in the past that refer to Jihad as the sixth pillar of Islam. You know, this is just how these are all very catchy slogans, they have a simplicity to them that had an appeal.
But it was all lacking wisdom, just this was Miss misguided Miss Miss directed youthful energy, we have no guidance. So
the idea that somehow we have it right, and everyone else had it wrong, you know, what's wrong with the oma? Oh, it's because we've left you had What's wrong with you? No, it's that we've we have less this. Now. All of that lack, you know, is very vacuous if you just stay at it. But there are well regarded writings by otherwise well regarded scholars within certain circles. In particular, I think it's very important to call out Muhammad Abdul Wahab, who is, in some circles seen as one of the great scholars of Islam. And definitely, in certain political circles. He's seen that way and I think Mashallah Sheffield, so you've spoken at length of that, in the, you've covered that? Well, in
a recent topic, on the HD dour, the third way, potentially dour topic, which is, I think, a challenging lecture for some people to swallow. And I've heard as much because of its length and its breadth and its depth. But I think it was very comprehensive and covered it well for someone who wants to understand that.
But the writings were seemingly simplistic like for example, the the Wofford is ketover, to heed these types of talks and lectures, that lectures around them that might kind of seem to capture an essence, a simplistic essence of Islam of what's wrong with us and how you need to be, but it also has dangerous ideas, the conclusions from that lead to this kind of an ideology.
And there's this misconception which contradicts Islamic teachings. But we had this sort of, I want to say almost like a cognitive dissonance about it, where we understand that Islam is a religion that, above all else once intends to promulgate a,
an era of peace and justice, but we also held in our heads at the time, that we can solve the problems, essentially, through killing and violence. And this is really, you know, we really had there, you know, you'll you'll find out later on a lot of people that follow this ideology.
were missing something in their lives.
And this served as a replacement. And that's what sort of led to this cognitive dissonance and allowance what we weren't, didn't have all the pieces together, and we're missing it. And then ultimately, it's this feeling of superiority, we had to figure it out, everyone else is wrong. You know, this is why, you know, all our scholars are silent on this topic. You know, the reason this is why we're not advancing, ignoring all the advances that have happened, you know, you know, we're young, we wanted to see drastic change, and to be honest, drastic actions did bring some drastic changes, seemingly,
and I recall the now, by the time ISIS emerged, I know that this kind of
feeling on my perspective, had been waning. Because I recall, I understood intellectually, how I would have felt in an earlier stage of my life at the emergence of ISIS and Islamic State Finally we have a lava we have you know, all these all these ideological concepts that you pick and you choose from Islam and and they satisfy different things. But they don't you know, the the you know, I don't know if it's time to get into that but you know, you you miss the aspect that doesn't fit in the grand scheme of Islam. You're fulfilling a few sort of a hot topics you can you can kind of address certain isolated points in Islam with a razor sharp aspect almost, you know, to an extreme, which is
very fitting term, I think, for this perspective.
As long as you kind of turn your head away from the broader picture of Islam, these nuances are just lost on youth without proper guidance and without proper mentoring and sometimes a bit of a
Uh, you know, knock on the head from elders in our community.
I'd say why that was missing in part was because of the disconnect as as a, you know, what do you call first generation I was born here, but my parents grew up overseas. Now they did not miss this. And they were clear to me about this, but like most use, what my parents said, didn't have as much weight as what other people said, as as a you know, as an act of rebellion, so to speak. You know, so when you hear a respectable scholar, the preacher that you'd mentioned, she asked of who you formally were following out of his non extremist ideology, he was, without a doubt, there was not a name, even amongst non Muslims, that was as well regarded as this preacher.
And it was very eloquent in English,
could really appeal to the hearts and was very widely received. But then, I don't know if a flip was switched, or it just came out. And it was always there. You know, shortly after, it seemed to me at the time during after he had been incarcerated, he came out with a very different message than what was said. And this, I recall myself when I witnessed it.
I had that cognitive dissonance again, because like, I wasn't
looking for violence, or I wasn't looking to hurt people or desiring that. I actually recall not liking that aspect, but also struggling to reconcile what I knew of this ideology, and what the natural conclusion was, which to be honest, again, to call back to that third wave naturally doubt, well, you see this kind of discrepancy, what's being taught? And what is the natural result of that? You know, and trying to deny all of that, you know, it takes a lot of mental mental arithmetic, mental acrobatics, I'm sorry, to try to explain that away.
So I recall,
even, you know, posting on on, he had a blog at one point and asking him to clarify what he'd said, because what he said sounded a lot like a call to violence. And I was told them, can you please clarify this, because I'm afraid people are going to take this to mean that it became very apparent to me later on, that he was clarifying it to me, yes, I'm calling for violence. And that put me in the awkward position, because I do recall, you know,
sharing some of his online seminars and stuff like that, prior to it being clear to me completely. And when it was clear to me, I kind of started to have to back off and dissociate. And even I, you know,
but it's hard because there was that inertia when you when you know, someone's message or think you know, someone's message for let's say, a decade, and it's been what you think consistently good and clear, but then it shifts away from that, you give some leeway. Obviously, we make some excuses, we say maybe there's some misunderstanding, or you know, one out of 100 is going to be a little off, okay. But then when you notice that's consistently going in that direction, but then you start having, again, that cognitive dissonance builds up, you start trying to, to, to justify more and more like you realize, like, you kind of have to flip everything they're saying. And it's also at
that time, I mean, by that time I got married, I had children, I was getting busy with my day to day things and the actual responsibilities and getting a greater understanding of what I was personally accountable to accountable for to Allah. While the tragedies of the world of the
you know, the problems of society, everything that's going on, definitely weighed heavily on our hearts. At the same time, you know, we can't solve all the world's problems, although one could have been convinced that this path was going to be the solution. That was literally the solution is to, you know, build up a militia chart, you know, try to influence things politically. And, you know, there are all kinds of justifications people building in mind in their minds about this kind of thing. And I think the, the the distinguishing between
people's a native peoples right to
fight oppression in their own land, versus somebody picking up and traveling to a foreign lands to participate in God knows what side of what conflict they're going to be doing, which we which I think was a frequent case with ISIS, you had Muslims on both sides of those kinds of conflicts most most frequently. And that usually is what ends up happening that and that was the other thing, you know, if you look, stand back and look and see what were the, what were the five, what was the time that man what were the ISIS were all of these people doing? Most of their fighting? Was internal was internal and amongst Muslims.
That's one of our main points is that people were naively jumping in to a hot spot, thinking that it's a black and white scenario, and we were telling them No, it's not your going to be with your American passport. You're going to become a tool and upon in a very vicious game, between Muslim competing groups, you're going to be used as an icon and above
All that is intra Muslim more than it is between Muslim and non Muslim You know? And and so all of these things came up anyway, very frank question and again how many details you want to go to is up to you but you were you do have people that you were close to that are now incarcerated you, you were I'll be honest with you and again I've said this to before I was genuinely worried for a while that you would go down this path I was genuinely worried. So you want to talk a little bit as being generic as possible without you know, it's up to you how much you want to say I swear by Allah chef Gasser I don't know why I am not.
With some of
these people, who are my close protected, you brothers are protected. Without a doubt, Allah saved me. He saved me from actions that were undoable. This is the phrase that I like to say, for whatever I felt how fervent it was in my heart,
to want to do something, and it's all good intentions. Without a doubt, and I have zero doubt people have bad intentions. But we're very good at deluding ourselves. And the saying in English is very apt in these kinds of situations, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, people can go very far astray.
But still have a good intention. But they've missed the plot, as you said, and that plot is in this case, you know, following the correct Islamic ideology, the understanding of the Quran and Sunnah. It's not something you can just come up with or take a few bits here and there and get, you know, this is definitely not the path of the scholars who we all claim to admire and recognize. So yes, this has a heavy cost. This had a heavy cost, not just on the individuals, most of these brothers had families had children, the ones that I know, that was very close, these are my close friends, people that I would have described as my best friends, literally.
And it is only by the grace of Allah that I stopped at a certain point
kept me from doing things that would have been a certain threshold. That's all I can say, Alhamdulillah, that's, that's 100 lamp. It's,
of course, this is from Allah. But It's bittersweet because my brothers are suffering.
Now they did actions, and we have to be accountable for that without a doubt. But I'm not happy that the path that they ended up led to this.
And I'm particularly incensed at this particular preacher, because he went beyond his bounds. And this is how one scholar explained to me someone who was not qualified, was speaking about these issues. Which leads into the whole challenge of even speaking about this issue. There was I think, you mentioned before there was no winning, you talked about it, or you don't talk about it, you're going to lose. Exactly. And there are so so in the case of the ones who talked about it, they lost and paid a heavy price. And not only that also misguided quite a lot of people. And that's for the ones who did not talk about it. They're feeling regret and wishing that they had what was the right
decision? We don't know. And I think it's because of that, shaky also that I agree even to have this conversation because this is taught bringing into the public what has been private, it's awkward. For me, it's very awkward well, and I don't even know what's going to come back on me as a result of this, my hope is that it's more good than bad if even one person might be kept from the brink by just hearing the story, and perhaps some of the outcomes of this or perhaps sports sparking further discussion. That's worth it. But you know, so let me let me let me go back a little bit as well. And then they shall send it back to what the way that I see this is that these issues are so difficult
to talk about first, for multiple reasons. First and foremost is the level of of genuine, genuine, bona fide legitimate anger and rage like the emotionalism that is natural and Islamic and understood. I mean, every human being and especially a Muslim should be angry that our lands are being invaded for no reason that people are being killed, bombs are being dropped. You know, Guantanamo is still to this day open still. After what 20 I don't know how many years now. Still, there are I don't know how many dozens of prisoners now they're seven years old, whatever it is, and still not shut down. You know, gang grave, so American soldiers on and off the girls and whatnot.
The you know, the preacher, the preacher was killed unethically. constitutionally I wrote that in the op ed, but the preacher's teenage son had no crime and they blew him up for no reason they literally just to smithereens with a bailiff. How can you not get angry your blood is gonna boil at this right and so
When there's nothing to do, and there's all of this anger, and then you have this strand of Islam, this is okay do something, the feeling comes doing something is better than doing nothing. But that's false because sometimes doing the wrong thing will exacerbate the situation rather than solve it. Right. And that's the point of long term planning. Like, you know, the notion of will sometime, you know, okay, why did I not ever flirt with that understanding of Islam? Why did I never go down there? I mean, obviously, my critics say cuz you're a sellout. Okay, that's their perspective. And Allah is the judge. The reason is obvious to me. First and foremost, a knowledge of the Syrah. I
mean, Allah How can you you know, you know the stories of the persecution of the people of Mecca the stories of my own the namesake my father named after you acid and his wife so me and Ahmad, right. You know, the story of the prophecies and passing by and with his own eyes, seeing yasur shred tbit sumiya killed, I'm out of being tortured. How do you think he felt? And he's the Prophet of Allah sallallahu How do you send him? How do you think he felt knowing that that that were his teachings, the teachings of Allah azza wa jal, and he's an eyewitness, right. And all he can do is say Subhan Allah yourself or Inamori Docomo, Jenna, okay, the you know, the first lecture I ever give about
this, you know, in America way before I even started the entire Sierra series, the first lecture I gave 2004, I think it was the Treaty of Arabia. Why? Because to me, this was an eye opener that sometimes you have a Buble seiad coming and the Qureshi persecuting him and you are an established community, at least in Morocco, you can say the process of did not have an established community. What are you going to say, in Medina, when the entire oma is a start? You have a republic, right. But that Republic has treaties, that Republic has a treaty of the for the BIA, and now you have a global seal coming, now you have a group of Muslims coming, and
the Prophet system say, I wish somebody could help you basically, you know, but we can't help you, you know, you would be very powerful if you have if you had a base, but you have no base. So he please. And in the long term, we understand there was benefits in this right. So number one, what protected me and an all of us is obviously our knowledge of the zero, you know, the profitsystem. Number two was the fact that when you study with odema, when you study with actual people of knowledge, you do learn to know your place overall. And to to to not go out of bounds. Generally speaking, obviously, there's always exceptions to some people who do this. But generally, you know,
we all know our place. And to this day, by the way, I've never given a fatwa about any issue, that I don't have precedents far greater than me, I don't do my own such words, I don't do do your own field or whatnot. That's not my area of expertise, you know, yes, maybe in aspects of al Qaeda or whatnot, you know, I might go out on a limb where I feel qualified, but definitely not in Islamic law. And we have here, especially when it comes to modern jihad, when it comes to the nation state when it comes to these types of stuff you have with the intersection of a number of things, politics, modernity, classical fifth, jihad. And the question arises, can you open up a book of
filth written 1000 years ago, and copy and paste a paragraph and apply it to 2020?
Or 2015? You know, Yemen, can you take a statement from a scholar of a different era, for a different world for a different color, you know, completely different paradigm, and then think that that is applicable right here. And now, okay. And that's where people like myself and others understood, we're not qualified, we need to look up to the big shots, we need to look up to the giants, right? And the giants that we looked up to all of them without exception. We're against that interpretation of Islam. And one of the things that is very eye opening is that to this day, there was no major mainstream established cleric that justified the violence that these groups perpetrated
against, not just Muslims against non Muslims as well. And so what you had was a bunch of do it yourselves, you know, people that were full of zeal, maybe even enthusiasm, maybe even sincerity, who are copying and pasting fatwas and concepts and notions, and thinking that by doing that, they're following the Delete. They're following the Quran and Sunnah. But you see, there is no following the Quran and Sunnah without your interpretation, the very fact that this preacher, this teacher, this cleric, takes a verse and thinks that it is applicable to right now is automatically an Etihad. It's automatically showing that this person is actually doing cutting rate HTML, because
why do you think that that verse is applicable or this Hadeeth is applicable? That's where the hype comes in. So people like myself, we respect our scholarship, believe it or not, and you know, one of the odema that I have the most respect for that is still alive right now is, you know, chefs and mounted male allies, which would free him from what he is in right now. And I'll never forget that the letter and I encourage all of you to log on and Google
This letter shuts them out. It's been translated to English. Check them out. I wrote a letter a public letter to Bin Ladin. And it's entitled For how long? Dear brother? It was some that's the title of the letter. You know, Isla Mata Yeah, he was on a Sunday, this you know, for how long you're gonna and when he was syllable when his son was still alive. And his point was that look, let's forget all of your justifications and sudo HD had a look at what you've done. And look at the repercussions to the oma, was it really worth it? That was his basic point, you know, and I know the scholarship has just said, Man, he's What am I considering, but to my main mentor and teacher. And I
know the other side does not actually have scholarship, they don't have it in their self taught. Right? To me, that's enough that you take from the roadmap. And you know, you talked about a particular understanding of Islam veneziana was not and again, I'm not criminalizing the entire Dawa. But there are two aspects that played a role. And they were one of my main Wake Up Calls. And then as either our lecture that I gave, I said, the rise of the terrorist groups really was one of the factors for me, that caused me to do a deep dive. So to to to, to go back to that point and to link it together. I understood two things. Number one, our that we're the one that used to preach,
and I say our collectively I don't ascribe to it anymore. It
preaches questioning authority,
you're supposed to question odema,
follow the delille, don't follow the scholar. But there is no following the Delete without your interpretation of the duty. So when you follow the Delete, what you're actually doing is you're following your interpretation of the video over the interpretation of the scholar and one of the biggest Pandora's boxes. And you know, there is some good there is some head when you tell them, you know that don't treat acne, don't treat acne, there is some hair that comes out of it as well. But there's also some sharp, you know, and the shower is this Pandora's box of a do it yourself Islam, where everybody thinks that, hey, you know, that scholars on the bottle, because I've seen the deal.
And it's very clear, you know, and if you look at the other strands of Islam, they have major problems. But this was not one of them, the terrorism that occurred and whatnot, generally speaking, it came from one particular strike, all of these movements were indirectly or directly linked. And this is one of the reasons the Do It Yourself version, where Ironically, the scholars of third wave knows the Dawa against terrorism, right. But yet their own followers consider them to be what not and you know, and did it right. So this is the first main issue of why we need to rethink through this data. And the second one, which I've never talked about academically, but you brought it up,
and I'll bring it up as well. In My name is did our three hour lecture, I spoke about sharing and, you know, calling data and whatnot, which is one area. The other area that's more related to us is this issue of water and bottle. Okay, now, again, 15 years ago, I didn't do a critical thinking of what Attenborough is simply absorbed. And the rise of these jihadist movements was what made me question because, as you're aware, and you said this, they were actually applying the correct understanding of what are in Bharat from first wave, you know, scholars of that movement. People like, what's the name of that book that your group was reading? was a cult? military Rahim? Abraham.
Yeah. I didn't even bring that up. It needs to be brought up. Yeah. It needs to be brought up, right.
Yeah. And I remember your group was reading it. I was getting questions from Europe, the Euro club, your friends or whatnot. Here. I'm saying like, you remember that? I mean, it was remember I remember clearly and I remember your response. I remember your email to me as the forum admin, saying we can't don't i don't want people asking questions. Like I don't want I don't want quotes of Mohammed democracy.
Yes, exactly. Very fervently against Yes. And I did not want that ideology to even be put on our forums Right. Yeah. But Abu Mohammed Al Roker does he in his book, millet, Ibrahim, he is quoting from the founders of that movement and the notions of Allah and Bala that they apply to the Ottomans right. He is applying to Muslims in our times against the the rest of the world against every other Muslim and whatnot. And this is what caused me to run out by the way, FYI, is is a bit advanced here. I mean, even when I was doing my masters in Medina, I remember one of the questions I asked one of my main Aveda teachers was Schiff Why don't we find this understanding of what and vote
within Tamia had been taught by him? I actually asked him this. This is when I was a full on through and through nicely, okay. And why don't we find detailed discussions of what are and borrow in our classical books of al Qaeda, even back then, even though I was in HD at that time, right? I remember clearly in the MA class and we had the classroom for that one year the what used to be for my, my, my dissertation like that one year, we're having great advanced classes and we had you know, all of this stuff. And one of the questions I remember
going back and forth on for a while. And again, in the end, the responses this Yeah, I just had to accept okay probably knows best like, Oh, they didn't have to talk about it back then the world was different and our model of the of the movement, they were the ones who he did say this, they were the ones who explained it better than anybody else. And that was because of the context of the time. So he did admit that the founders of weather and ba go back to him, it will happen his immediate descendants, right. But then what I didn't understand at the time is that those notions of what are in borrow are actually an Islamic, they contradict even taymiyah his understanding of Islam. They go
against the bulk of the oma and even taymiyah himself in a number of his fatawa talks about the Muslims were on the side of the Mongols and to tars, right, and he does not make blanket two out of the entire lot of them, even though he's opposed to the settlers. Right. But you know, he and he's irritated at those Muslims on the side of the towers, he says they have a lot and judges that have moms eating those other but still the leadership amongst them are not Muslims, because they pretend so he has his the view of that the actual, you know, Genghis Khan's grandson. Yeah. And so of course, that's, you know, a different understanding and interpretation. But he does not make blanket
too few of the entire oma that doesn't agree with him. Right? And this notion of what that involves, and like you just said, right now, if we said anything against somebody who wanted to blow the plane up, you thought that you're contradicting your Islam, think about that. This was an individual, he admitted, by the way, there's no plot. Yeah, there's no, there's no, not plot, there's no What do you call it setup? There's no, you know, yeah, he had met everybody knows is and it's and the fact that he failed and whatnot. I mean, he wanted to kill 300 people on a plane. And he wanted to bring about an entirely another thing, by the way, that really I don't understand, what is stage two after
that would have happened? Like, what do you think the whole world's gonna change that collage, they're gonna start withdraw from it off, like, what do you think is gonna happen? This group never thinks to stage two and three, they just think about killing and violence. And then they don't think of the repercussions and shuts them out. And I would point this out to them directly. He literally says in his letter, what do you think you're going to do? If you're going to, you know, pinprick their foot as a giant? And they're the giant, what do you think the response is going to be? Is it going to be something you want for you and your family? Okay, so she said, Amanda says this, like,
You're not even thinking two steps ahead. And I say the same to these movements as well, that they're just not really thinking the repercussions nonetheless, My point being that the issue of Moto G Ria, the issue of Who do you go to for for authority, right? Who do you look up to? And I myself, realize that none of my people that I look up to their olema were supportive or sympathetic to that understanding whatsoever. And then the third point that saved me, by the way, was my knowledge. And this was my own detailed study and whatnot of hostage ism, and the symptoms of hydrogen, it's alright, because I have no doubt that these movements have many characteristics of
hydrogen, and there's no question about it. Okay? They are, in fact,
in many ways, that of course, not everything is the same, but in many ways, they are a modern manifestation of the phenomenon of hydrogen. Okay? And if you look at the descriptions of the Prophet sallallahu, alayhi wasallam young visionaries with foolish ideals, they say speech that sounds the best, and yet they kill Muslims. Yeah, these are all the prophetic ahaadeeth right? And if you look at ISIS, you look at the look at all of these movements. And look at the damage they've done and they're slow like you said slogans and yet so little is coming out you know, so hamdulillah I mean, back to you wanna you want to you you had some other points you want to bring up I know as
well about that timeframe. I mean, I mean, feel free to cut me off I I tend to not know where to stop so ask anybody that's known me even back in the MSA days. But I think I really want to just echo what you were saying about the equivalency the parents or explicit equivalency of what we find from the modern day. terroristic movements and I think that's probably the best way to talk talk about them because Jihad itself is an assignment concept that's been perverted and hijacked by this group. And hijack is an appropriate term I guess for that definitely as well uh,
because they have all of that appeal that they're not reasonable you'll you'll see the the Hadith of the men who came up to the Prophet Muhammad SAW I saw them and like using him
you know, even I don't want to but it's different you Oh, how would you have not been just, you know, in this distribution. And this of course,
you you have the you have the elevated example of justice that you're comparing to the Prophet Muhammad Salah Salem. But this is literally the mentality because the mentality of these people they will throw away
Anything to justify their own ideology, their actions, any scholar that they're following one statement, they would throw off completely and, and not just like that's a cache of net like literally like everything you just fit this person is worthless now anything in the service of their own ideology and mission and but they know how to use speech, it's emotional speech that has a surface appeal to it but lacking in a norm in any tangible substance. And this this is, you know, you know, that's that's the point at one point I wanted to echo very strongly is that that became one of the one of my ways of waking up from this was when I could no longer separate the idea of the
holiday cottage ism from the actions of these people. Like I'm like, No, I, I can't see. Like it. Just, it's just killing and violence and explosions and suicide attacks. And, and like, Is there like, as you said, Is there anything more to this? No, like, there's one thing to like, take a stand and to, you know, be strong and in the standing position of standing against oppression. But when you become the oppressor in that, you know, no, this man has no way where in this pursuit of justice, you commit oppression, there's no aspect of Islam that has that tolerance. I wanted to echo that, about a world that will vote on, you know, I think that now in this conversation shifted also,
it finally became clear to me that that's a loaded question. Because I remember asking this to some of the amount of instructors during the classes. Can you tell I want to talk about about that. Can you talk about a war that was brought up with us? And like, you're explaining how awkward and foolish of a question that is? Because that's not even the muscle of that question is not Islam. There's nothing in Islam to talk about the way that I was asking it. Like, who are we loyal to? And who do we? Who are we supposed to fight against and so on? It's not that's not how the conversation in Islam is supposed to happen? Obviously, we have aspects of trust. And but yeah, it's like I said,
there's no way as you said, as as with the whole topic of jet, there's no way to win in that because you can't say the truth and people would be satisfied and you can't dance around it without misleading people. And so by the way, an interesting point, one point of connection between George W. Bush and between a party that is their understandings of what I'm brought up, that's either with us or against us. Yeah, that type of Manichaean ism, that type of black and white mentality, is the destruction of all of us. Yes, yes, I am definitely against American policy. And I say this unequivocally and loudly. What America has done in the Middle East is the ultimate cause for the
rise of those terrorist movements that would not have existed if America had not bombed and raped and plundered and done Guantanamo and a whole long list of grievances. But what America has done, does not justify us going on a rampage and killing civilians and innocent people and throwing up bombs in Times Square, or Paris or whatever, that that's something else. And sometimes the answer to a problem is not immediate. It's long term. Yes. And that's where these terrorist groups win, because they think they're giving you a quick solution. But it is not a solution. It exacerbates the problem. And that's why I gave a talk as well, that looking back as we look forward, history of the
jihadis most of the 20th century, you know, I gave a talk at an Elm Fest, you know, where I went into the history of the jihad, this Muslim Egypt, the ones that assassinated Anwar Sadat and j man movement, one of my favorite topics, is that your human movement, because I know people who are so because I was in Medina, many of my teachers,
their era was the German era, you know, and I have a lot of stories that I go over in that timeframe. And it's terrifying, because so many of the people who are involved, people thought them to be sincere, and I don't doubt they were sincere. I don't thought they were deep down inside sincere. Yet, in their fanaticism. They thought that they can hold the camera hostage, basically, you know, they thought that they're on the right. And you know, and of course, they have an apocalyptic Maddy esque type of twist that the other jihad is don't but what is terrifying and one of my teachers broke down into tears when he was telling us the story that one of his best friends
from Korea to Oregon back in the 70s, you know, one of his best friends whom he thought was the most pious and the most righteous and whatnot. He joined the movement, and he was killed in the home, you know, and he was no longer there. And he thought, like, literally, he knows this brother to be sincere. Yeah, you know, and yet he jumped on the bandwagon and held a Kalashnikov in front of the bottom, you know, and pointed it towards the head judge maybe even killed some of the personnel and he thinks that this is FISA be so
So the reason why that your hand your human movement resonated with me is it shows you the dangers of fanaticism, the dangers of when you think the hackers on your side, and everybody else is a sellout and whatnot. And unfortunately, you know, we saw this and again, for the record, I want to say this, that
when that particular brother and I, you know, I still make Tao for him, May Allah forgive him and grant him, I have nothing against him, the cleric that that was killed, I have nothing against him as a person. And but he was wrong. And in his lifetime,
I communicated to I don't mind saying this, I communicated indirectly, not directly when he after, after his prison stint in Yemen, for my own safety, I cut off any direct contact for my own safety, I never communicated after that directly with him before that was different, let's not go there. But after that, it couldn't cut off everything. But I sent him via a trustworthy source of very frank and blunt Nazi. And I'm saying this for the first time, by the way, I sent him a very blunt and Frank no see
that this is not the way forward. And he's going down a territory that he and the oma is going to regret if he continues that way. This was minus Yeah.
And it was getting awkward, by the way, 2009 and 2010.
He began refuting me indirectly and ever by name. I think you remember that face, you know. And it's that's Yeah. And I kind of sort of unofficially became, amongst our group, the responder to that type of rhetoric. And that's when it was picked up by the media, The New York Times came in, and had a cover story about me, which I didn't agree with entirely, but I see where they're coming from like, and you can read this and every time is a 10 page story with a cover story about me there just has a magazine, where I became the alternative to this preacher. And I didn't like the way they set it up. But I understand from their perspective where they were coming from that, in some ways I was.
And when that preacher was killed, I was very angry at how this had been done. And I wrote a very scathing op ed, against my own country against America, saying, what happened to the Constitution? You can read this, you know,
so and so's assassination, a counterproductive and unconstitutional act. This was in the headings. And again, I can't I'm not bragging or boasting, but it needs to be said. There's nobody else that wrote an op ed against that. And especially in the New York Times, and my name is on there. And I should have said in that op ed, what you've done is you've created a martyr for no reason. Yeah, you could have dealt with him in a ethical manner that was based upon the Constitution. Okay, he's an American citizen, the end of the day, and you just blew him up to smithereens without a new trial without any evidence. Okay. And that's unconstitutional. And you are now doing the same tactics you
accuse the terrorists of doing. So who's the real terrorist? I put this in the New York Times. And then you have these youngsters come along, saying, oh, he's a sellout supporting them with the villa? No, it's not black and white. That's the whole point. And I just said right here on this interview, I said that, and I can quote Chomsky and get away with the Chomsky says, and I love quoting him, because, you know, you want to put Chomsky in jail, then go ahead, do that. Chomsky says that the American government has been the biggest supporter of terrorism in human history. This is Noam Chomsky. I agree with that. But there terrorism does not justify the counter terrorism of
the other movements. That's where our position is, and it becomes very, you know, awkward to say this. In any case, I get a lot can be said here, but it's a very difficult timeframe. And the reason why I wanted to have this conversation, you know, is that we want to make sure that we learn, we want to make sure that the next generation doesn't go down this route. And we don't want to mention stories, but I know and, you know, friends and colleagues and students who are no longer with us, they have been assassinated or killed.
And nothing was accomplished. Maybe they're forgiven to the ohana. But their families, their children no longer have fathers, you know, or some of them didn't get married. You know, I and you know, people that have life sentences for things that might be foolish and pre 911 they got a slap on the wrist. Okay, they did things that shouldn't have done. But post 911 that small act was criminalized to be a life sentence or even 20 or 15 years. You know what I'm talking about, right? Again, we don't want to get too explicit because maybe we should I don't know. I don't know. Okay, let me put it this without mentioning names. The way I see this, there's categories of people when
it comes to these types of crimes. Number one, actual people who committed acts of violence. People who wanted to blow the plane up people, obviously understandably, not only do I think it is held on and unethical. We understand that
The government's going to jail them to life or whatever we understand that, okay, category two were those who themselves did not commit violence, but who financially supported or passed out the materials. And pre 911 that probably wouldn't have been a crime, or at max, a misdemeanor or minor felony. Okay. But post 911, those types of people were basically given 15 years, or maybe even life. Okay. And that's unfair and unjust, even though they might have done things they shouldn't have done. But they didn't actually harm people. Right? Right. The third category, which is difficult, are those who are genuinely innocent.
unwittingly helped someone who turned out to be the first two categories.
And some of your friends I know are also at this, and I know people as well in this third category, where they didn't know. And a Muslim brother needs some help, and they give him that help. And because the government is so paranoid, you know, they're gonna get thrown to jail as a material support. Right? Yeah. And this irritates all of us, because and I've said this to, you know, government officials, whenever get the chances, like, you can't target three and four, or else you're gonna make it difficult for us to help you in anything. And then the fourth is the worst of all, and that is the setups, that is the completely innocent people whom the FBI basically
completely sets up, and then you know, pretends we're terrorists, you know, and you know, that's a fourth category. Do you have any other categories, or these are the four that come to my mind?
I'm sure, given enough time, we can get more more nuanced. I think that that's sufficient detail and show. So my point is that our sympathies for categories three and four,
should not cause us to forget there is a category one, yes, yes. Right. And,
yes, we feel bad for category two, they got sentences they don't deserve. But at the end of the day, in this ultra paranoid world that we're living in, you know, I mean, it's like it is what it is, you know, and we should learn what wisdom is, we should learn what you know, how to speak the truth in a manner that is the most effective and I hope in sha Allah that we can learn from those with wisdom that are actually speaking the truth. And again, in this lecture, I've said, multiple times the real cause of terrorism is the instability and chaos that we ourselves have created. But in any case, you know, concluding remarks,
let's get to our conclusion wind up speaking from my shoulder almost more than our actual hamdulillah.
I want to say that that timeframe, for me was one of my most difficult
Dawa phases, because it really was,
it was awkward. It was walking on a landmine, like where do you go, where do you not go? And
eventually, ISIS did threaten me directly by name, twice, my picture, and my name was published in their magazine, and there was an open call for assassination twice, like once in I think 2010. And once in 2013, or something, I two different timeframes, you know, they call for my assassination by name. And they said, this is you know, FISA beadalon Allah is gonna reward you. Now, how do you think that made me and my family feel, you know, because there are crazies all over the world. And the hostage ism that and I never ever supported America's invasion, I'm even in this lecture. But I've also not supporting the tactics of this group. And especially when they kill people on American
or foreign soil, I'm not talking about what's happening in Syria, or Iraq or whatnot. I mean, even if I might have my views, but I don't feel qualified to get photos to them online, you know, I'm saying on site, but when you're going to blow up a bomb in new york times in the New York, you know, Time Square, or where you're going to attack France or a nice or whatever. No, you don't, you're you're, you're killing people who don't deserve to and this goes back to By the way, another broader point. I'm linking a lot of things together when I'm talking about reform and Islamic Fiqh. This is one of the areas because there is a genre of literature about how you deal without an herb and how
And the question arises, do we take those literature and apply them to America and France and Belgium and Sweden and Spain? Or has the world changed since those books were written?
And pretty much any Island worth his salt is going to say the world has changed, and we don't copy and paste. But these pseudo clerics and pseudo self taught people they'll take those states
minutes, and they'll think they can still apply them. And this is why Fiq needs to be rethought in terms of modernity. But, so my advice to my youngsters and I'm gonna get back to you as well. But before we conclude my advice to my youngsters who are going down this path is that look to scholarship.
Look to those who have spent a lifetime studying Islam and whose track records are established just because they don't agree with you, doesn't mean they're sellouts. Just a matter Oh, they're sitting in jail, because he's staying by you're gonna call him a sellout. You're gonna say that after all that he's been through with his government. Okay. Chef qaradawi you know, Allah protect and give him a long life and he 95 years old and he has an established he has a three volume. The last book that he wrote is fiscal jihad. I have it in my study right here and I went through it, my shall love that's what you call Yanni, which the head of our era, okay, thinking things through again, follow
established scholarship, and be careful of the characteristics of the hotter giants that are professors and warned us of suffer How will allow me heard the thoughtless nanny, Jaco lunamon hailed columbaria youngsters with idealistic attitudes whose speech is sweet. And yet, they're leaving Islam, like an arrow leaves its prey, and they're killing fellow Muslims and ignoring bigger issues. The bulk of what al Qaeda and ISIS have done is in Trumbull slum warfare, and look at the splinter groups as well. So and they're gone, they're fizzled out. But it's a loop within 510 years, another strain is going to arise, which is why I'm having this conversation with you. But so so
these are my main my main points. Back to you. Are there any advice you would like to give to anybody who's listening and is potentially flirting with these ideas? Well, yes. Does that follow host Jeff? Yes, I do. And actually, I think this is, this is the part that I think is perhaps my most valuable contribution. These are things that I think helped me see the situation for what it is, and to pull me out from the darkness that could have destroyed my life and the life of my family. And Allah forbid the lives of other people as well.
First and foremost,
understand that, you know, you need to understand the Quran and the Sunnah, in light of the spirit of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu sallam, and his companions are in line. And I credit and I'm not saying this, because it's you, this is genuinely what it is. And I recommend this for everybody. your particular series on the Sierra the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu, wasallam, was when I gained the intellectual awakening and understanding to see things beyond
the black and white that I thought the world was to understand those shades of between.
Pure right and pure wrong as I thought the world was, things can't be understood that way, the world is just not that clean, it's very messy, the world is extremely messy. And
sometimes action immediate action is not the answer. Frequently, immediate action is not the answer.
Seeing all the examples in the spirit of the Prophet moments, I send them where an action was available to him and to the Sahaba very long, but they did not take the obvious action. frequently. The Prophet Muhammad SAW I said, forbade or discouraged an immediate action that had the obvious that he understood would have an obvious negative outcome, that's a step that's critically missing from most people these days, let alone these terrorist groups.
that's point number one, I think they feed into each other understanding that's the Sierra and knowing that that gives so much credence to the understanding of the beyond black and white.
To I would say, don't be arrogant, so as to assume that you there are some understand things better than the scholars or the reputable people and elders in the community, which is very easy to do, because of the the generation gap, the cultural dynamics that we have, especially, you know, first generation, second generation and so on in this country, we don't we tend to not have that much respect. I've heard this phenomenon frequently. Come between, like the UK and the US, UK has a little bit more established communities and a little bit more spec for scholarship compared to here in the West. It's the Wild West, everyone thinks they know the best what's best because the culture
here teaches that, you know, your own individual opinion, is paramount compared to what anyone tells you, rather than deferring to society. And I think that feeds very much into how when we say we're following the Delete, the Delete is clear. I mean, this is basically the terminology that I would say this is this is a clear cofa because of that's that's an issue head that's, that's my that's an interpretation. So where does my interpretation sit
and weigh compared to that of a scholar or person of knowledge that I've otherwise been following my whole life or respecting more so I don't have that right even to do that, but it is an interpretive
And that's the part I think most people are missing. Let me just add here before we move on, there is no such thing as following the deal without some HDI taking place that is to be underscored. And this is one of the biggest problems, version of the Dawa, that kept on preaching, follow the leader follow the leaves. And in reality, what they were doing is substituting scholarship of 14 centuries with the scholarship of one individual, because that became his dillio. And we opened the door of this Pandora's box of everybody thinking that my understanding of the elite is more authentic. And in reality, it was some ignoramus, making HD hard, based upon his understanding of the deal, that is
challenging authorities anyway. So back to this and this exactly shakeout fits exactly what how they would talk with you, people that promulgate this ideology with what, you know, you talk to them, and they want to make a point. So they, they open up their most half and point to a single verse in the Quran as their explanation for a major point. And it was okay, that's the that's the eye of Quran and you learn later, maybe not when we're, you know, fervent young Muslims just getting into the deen
that there's context, that's once I have a whole surah that has its own history, and
you got to have a view of extracting, but, but we're lazy, and that's hard. And the world is all simpler, if you just ignore all of that. I mean, that's the reality, what they're not saying is the world is simpler. If we ignore all of that I can solve the world's problems will get us that's another point I get to, but I can solve the world's problems by killing some people blowing myself up is basically what they're saying, Do not take that out of context, anybody. My point is, that is literally the people have in their minds, that, you know,
some destructive actual, I'm going to get to that it's further down.
Point number three that I'd like to make, have some understanding of history and the cycles of violence.
These are two aspects. But you know, knowing our own history, knowing how things got to where they are knowing that these so called leaders of the jihadi movement, they were on the CIA payroll, these are people that were set up by the US government in the first place, you know, every enemy of the US in terms of foreign policy frequently was an ally. I shouldn't say every, that's that's a broad term too broad. But, you know, many of these people were in the pocket of the the foreign agencies, you know, the foreign intelligence agencies to, to serve some political means at some point. And when they lost the utility, they were left with no mission. And, and, and they pick up on these things,
not knowing that context and putting it in perspective. At the time, people would hear that and say, Oh, no, this is a smear on the good character of these episodes. But that's the reality. And you realize that after a while, but if you know that ahead of time, you can be less misled. Yes. You idealize and idolize, yes, people have your own agenda. And you don't dare look into their own histories. And again, is this really awkward or not, and I'm not gonna mention names, but even this particular cleric, whom we're discussing, His story is far more complicated. And I know aspects for a fact from his own extended friends, and from other sources that throws a twist into his evolution.
But people are so sensitive that we can't even bring these things up. So yeah, it's not as simple as it appears. Just because he's preaching your version of Islam, and he was assassinated doesn't make him a lion. Yes, yeah. May Allah forgive in the off camera, we have no judgment there. But his version of Islam was dangerous. And his life story was convoluted and complicated. And I'll leave it at that. Yes. I think that's frequently the case. And many of the people that ended up falling into this pattern themselves have a complicated has. I'm not saying that it's their fault. Or that I'm just saying that it becomes an answer. The world they're complicated and difficult world became a
lot simpler to quote someone to quote someone they sold me. Look, I don't pray a lot of fasts a lot. This is a shortcut agenda, please, I'm paraphrasing a little but they understood that jihad, dying peaceably. There was a shortcut to gender. Islam doesn't have shortcuts like this. I mean, for sure, there's great reward for sacrifice, but you don't create that situation. Nothing in Islam allows you to create the situation for which there's a great reward. You have to work for it, and it's something that comes Take, for example, how bullied he lamented his death on a deathbed of natural causes, pointing out that there is not a part of his body left alone, you know, I don't know how
authentic this narration is illustrating he went into certain depth so many times and emerged you know, alive.
Shake your head is not something you manufacture getting get dying as a martyr is an honor Allah bestows on you beyond your means.
Not something you can court or get, you know, like, just by that, which is that thinking, Oh, I'm gonna, you know, like they have the Oh, I'm gonna go do a bombing tomorrow let me have my brain or something like my whatever will email for my it's a like it's a fantasy. It's this romantic fantasy of machismo I'm getting, I'm getting there. I'm getting ahead of myself. But it basically you think, like this, it's a it's a, it's a surreal world. And you convince yourself of it, because you keep hearing it, and it just sounds too good. It's, you know, I have to mention one thing. So, you know, I taught at a university for a number of years, and a class that I would teach was my most popular
class, it was about modern Jihad and fundamentalist movements. And because of that, I had to do a lot of reading about these movements, study them, and it's eye opening. One of the things that is an undeniable fact that scientists, socials analysts have studied is that the phenomenon of jihadist you know, youth joining, generally speaking, the stereotype of those who join such movements are people who lived very anemic lives in the past, and they have a conversion. And they immediately go from being hard core, you know, anti Islam were basically involved in drugs and alcohol and whatnot to becoming hard core Jihad this overnight. And generally speaking, Muslims raised in practicing
households with Islam from their childhood, do not go down this path.
And this is an interesting phenomenon that we observed as well, that it's generally generally there's always exceptions, right. But generally speaking, people go from one extreme to the other, when it comes to this ideology. And the reason being number one ignorance number two overcompensation yesterday there in the nightclub, and tomorrow, they want to go to blow themselves up, there's a guilt that they need to do something in order to make up what they've done. And that's an interesting psychological phenomena that is an undeniable it's like, just look at the the types of the, the, you know, the the standards are the people that wanted when they go back to your
points. I have to say this, because I think it's the time to save this Shirky. Also,
it's not surprising, in the least to me that that is the case, because
I don't know how much in depth we can go, what rating we have for this kind of video. But the idea that the people that are most intrigued by this ideology,
have a bit of a hedonistic personality, they find in this ideology, satisfaction for their own desires, whether it's lust, whether it's violence, whether it's, you know, theft, they'll find every evidence for it. And you see in the stories of what happens,
what was done by ISIS against other people that they bunch of thugs, they're a bunch of mafia thugs. They're not even practicing Islam in their own lives. Yeah. And not even practicing the sooner of RAM anyway. I have a lot to say. Anyway. Yeah, that may be a whole other aspect, I don't think was a psychoanalysis and I don't think I'm qualified. I don't want to also be too broad and like, but it's, it's there. It's there. And it was people that promoted this ideology also advised. Not all of them. Sure. Not all of them for sure that I want to be very clear, like we said, we talked about the sincere characters from that were misled or misguided and misunderstood. misunderstanding
misunderstood the aspect, but, okay, point number four, learn to recognize when you're being manipulated. And that's tough, because no one that we think you think you're smarter than everybody else. But in fact, you're being manipulated. And this is literally how shaitan works. Also, Satan convinces you, he doesn't make you do anything, he convinces you to take these actions. Likewise, you get manipulated into this guilt, you know, you feel like you're an inadequate Muslim, if you don't support these, these kinds of movements, like why don't you want you know, do you just want what should you know, like we said, you know, we have to do something. And this is something, you
know, how you cannot do anything, but that's the thing, you're being manipulated into doing something. And frequently, it's not though manipulators that put themselves at risk. They take these young, impressionable people that, like you say, they feel some kind of inadequacy in themselves. And they want to jumpstart their, their journey.
be critical of someone who's only sharing snapshots of Islam, that goes against what you know, to be generally true. All those clips, you've been hearing all your life growing up. And then one person comes along and starts sharing select eyes or had the, or a, you know, a huge work by some obscure chef. I'm not saying that truth can't be found through these means. But these means tend to also be a way of of diluting or
leading you astray from what is generally true. The general truths about Islam never changed. But suddenly you have this new perspective that pretty much throws away everything about mercy.
about compassion, like you forget all the incidents of the car that you I mean, I'm speaking personally, all the incidents of the car that you grew up with, about the Prophet Muhammad Salah is gonna be merciful to everything from from, you know, his his wives down to an insect on the ground, and everything in between including the non Muslims around and he spent 13 years with the machete Kingdom Quraysh while they're persecuting him, and he was never harsh to any of them, you know, I mean, almost 100% I'm sure there's incidents where he he did respond. But the point is like, you're just gonna forget all that because again, the world is complicated. I want a simplistic view it you
really be it's a lazy approach to Islam.
And that's that's not what Islam is. It's not that Islam is difficult, but Islam does have take work and efforts.
Know that the deen was this is point number six know that the deen was built on constructive behavior and sacrifice, not on destruction and indulgence. And that's kind of captures a lot of things. It's like the shortcut ideology. Oh, you know, all I have to do is go overseas and pick up a gun and I'm a righteous person now.
You know, it's funny, you know, like, the way that some of these brothers reacted after reading some of these treaties. It's like the world changed for them. And I know that at least one of the things of my maybe this helped of one of the ways alone might have helped me was that I don't usually jump in my opinion about something from one thing reading one thing, and I never actually read Miller to Abraham, believe it or not, I printed it. I remember printing them out and keeping them but I never opened them up and read them. And I'm grateful for that. Because I have a feeling that that would have only made myself my life more complicated. But your audit or where you weren't, you're quoting
from or people quoted you on your quota. So
it's possible I unwittingly quoted them because of the people had told me, but I never read military. I thought you because Okay, interesting. That's it, I probably would have.
What do I say? I know, there were people in your circle. There. That's where I got it from. That's why I got it from. I remember sitting in my apartment, and they're saying like, you know, they look looking so serious. And like, Oh, yeah, you know, I can't see the world the same anymore. You know, and I'm like, brothers, you just read like one thing and like, you weren't you were a serious Muslim before this. Why now like,
there were these red flags going up all around me. But I didn't know how to recognize a process then. Because these are brothers I trusted. So these brothers are brothers that taught me critical aspects of the deen, they got me out of bad habits. They guided me they were there for me and my times of need. So it's like, you don't have a harsh judgment against them. You're like, oh, maybe I just don't understand something yet. So you give them a lot of leeway. You don't read these things. Now other people, I'm a pretty naive person. In that perspective, I usually don't see the bad aspect of people, which has gotten me into plenty of trouble. But that's I still, that's how I am. So they
I didn't pick up on these kinds of things. I thought it was weird. I felt uncomfortable with some things. But I said, that's a really good point, the trust that innocent Muslims have other people who influenced them. Yeah, he's to be a little bit more critical. Because I know of cases across the country where a 19 year old, a 21 year old looked up to an individual who turned out to be a recruiter, this is again, 10 years ago now. Alhamdulillah, that now is pretty much gone. But I'm saying it might come back again. So this notion of just
being uncritical, and naively trusting somebody who tells you something that should send warning bells off, you know, to take a plane ticket and disappear, you know, and the other side of the world, you don't just do that, because somebody whom you trusted told you to do that, you know. So it's really important point here. But, Charlotte, let's, let's wind down what's your final point? And then I have one final point, because I don't want to go too long. Because
I think that that's that's probably good. As I said, If you give me more time, I'll fill it with more more things that sound good to me. No worries. I think that that's, that's that's a good summary. I mean, the the reason why people can be so misled is we do have a lot of unanswered questions, a lot of unaddressed. Nxd at the situation. We're sitting here living a happy and comfortable life. And, you know, our brothers and sisters who were taught and just correct, are part of the body of the oma and they are hurting. And we're sitting here doing nothing and enjoying life, we have this guilt that we're carrying on. And I just want to quote the article from the New York
Times that that reporter you put me in touch with her at the time is 2011 and my quote, I think my one quote from from the whole thing was an interesting one. I remember when I said it should Oh, that's good. I gotta write that down. Like, Oh, my God, that's the one thing you've taken from me. But you know, in the context that makes sense, my quote, at least a she got it was, if we're not at war, why is America killing Muslims throughout the world? If we are at war, how can we live in America peacefully? This is that black and white simplistic view and a lot of people harbor that because either there are from countries where the US has been an aggressor.
Or they are the children of people from those same countries. And you're sitting there and wondering, like, and it's not just that even if the US was an aggressor, there's a foreign policy that indirectly or at sporting allies, you know, the Zionist stuff that happens affects all the Arab. It's like, there's so many ways you can find an excuse. So how do you resolve that? And and so they tap into here's how here's how you're doing. You can be strong. So it's, it's, you know, like I said, it's a shortcut methodology that misses a lot of points. But like I said, simplistically, just sounds appealing, it sounds like you're able to do a lot with a little amount of effort. But in
actuality, you cause a lot of harm. It's not an accomplished nothing and achieve nothing. Yeah, achieve nothing except your own loss and making your family and friends grieve at and causing hardship. Read everybody else around you. Yeah. So inshallah Bismillah. I want to just conclude one final advice to those that are Leno's when this type of thought is going to rise again, but it will rise again. Why? Because our process and predicted it, he said that there's always going to be these, you know, from time to time, the rise of the hostages have been predicted that they're going to just cause wreak havoc and mayhem upon the oma. And unfortunately, I wish because he was the last
of them than then in the you know, in the 2000 10s, it will not but in all likelihood, we're gonna have another iteration and manifestation and we just need to preempt it as much as possible through this type of frank conversation. Listen, when we criticize the violence committed by these types of misunderstandings of Islam, it is not at all the justification of the violence perpetrated by American foreign policy whatsoever, the two are not either or, we're living in a very difficult world where there is no easy answer. And acting in an emotional way, might bring about more harm in the long run, actually will bring about more harm in the long run. And we learned from the Sierra
and we learned from our Prophet sallallahu, I said, have we learned from Islamic history. And the final advice I'd like to give is an anecdote that I'll never forget when I started doing my research on Joe him a long time ago, like 1718 years ago, and I interviewed many people who knew him many people.
Because again, it will pass as a Medina student j man story always fascinated me, because it involved the University of Medina, because a lot of this, most of his crew, were from Medina and University of Medina, a lot of them, you know, and, you know, even Chet Holmes and others, they initially were sympathetic to him initially, until he flew even anyway, so it's you listen to my German lectures, and you'll, you'll get this point, one story, I'll finish the lecture with this. One of the people that I really look up to a mentor of mine, and an English speaker, I'm not going to mention it, because I don't know if he wants to go public with this or not. He said that one of j
man's disciples approached him before the takeover, and said, We have, you know, a mission that is going to change the world.
We'd like you to join, but you can't ask any questions now, if you join and you give the oath, then inshallah everything will come. And if not, then you'll be on your way. Okay. And this particular person, knew Joe Heyman and liked him.
He would visit him in his house, and he was mesmerized with his speech of like Huck Finn bottle and you know, his antagonism towards the changes and the fire shot and you know, the purity. So he goes, initially, I felt like this is good, but it goes I decided to praise the harder
and so he said right then and there, I did will do I prayed to it, aka, and this is him speaking to me directly. This isn't some This is my own ears heard from him. He said, I never felt the type of negativity and tingling and antagonism afternoons taharah that I did on that timeframe.
And I just said, okay, Thanks, but no thanks. And months went by and he goes, I forgot all about the conversation.
Until the next thing I hear
Germans takeover of the Kaaba and eventually the death of my friend who tried to recruit me.
And it goes, I fell into such though realizing that I was one decision away
from being with those people.
And this is somebody that I look up to immensely and interviewed for the German thing and he told me this one on one and maybe one day I'll tell his name, but until he's alive, it's his help to say you're not to say the point being that terrified me and everybody like it's an eye opener. Tonight opener. So my advice my final advice to the anybody who's flirting or thinking of these ideas, make dua to Allah and praise taharah Okay, if you think all of us are sellouts and all of us have lost the plot and the entire oma is upon vaulted and you are alone on that.
Okay Allah is Allah.
Allah is aluk so make dua to Allah hoc prayers the hora with a genuine heart
and then a shallow to either go where your Eman and conscience and inshallah the scholar the body goes inshallah In any case, I hope that this was a value to our listeners and viewers last night I want to thank you immensely for being brave enough to come and talk about your own journey and I pray that inshallah tada good comes out of this conversation and I'm really happy that we are now back together again because there was a timeframe where some awkwardness, Geodon had caused some awkwardness but and hamdulillah we are now back together as strong as ever. By the way we forgot to mention audio Islam. That's the guy right here for those in the 90s. That's like, you know, basit is
the one who was first the first website online of all the Islamic lectures. Right? Let's, let's clarify. I hosted it. Yes, brother created another brother created it and gathered the large majority of the content, but you were the main source of contact for all of us. So you have played a vital role for all of us. Yeah, yeah. Maybe I was the contact but i think you know that brother also. Yes, yes, it but I'm saying but yeah, you were active. Yeah. You go back to the mid 90s. Yeah, internet just came out. And you know, those remember that this? Is that that that box 799 is no i sorry, I sorry to keep contradicting. I took over probably in the 2000s I took over at least 1000s
Okay. And that's what it was created. I think so. Yeah. Yeah, it was around and like I remember it was so anemic. The website just could not support like more than one or two people downloading at the same town. So I offered and I spent years trying to get the brother to let me take over hosting for it and
it did hamdulillah so you go back all the way way before even our classes together. Yeah. Yeah, I knew I knew of you through that site. And yes, yes. Yes. That was when I was still an undergraduate in Medina maybe or maybe first year graduate. So Pamela so hamdulillah a long time but anyway, it's nice to see you again in sha Allah Allah Tomas COVID is over we can visit in person but in any case does not qualify for for agreeing to this and I hope that inshallah Allah,
it is a wake up call to anybody who might be still undecided. And it is also something to record in our history books or, you know, internal informal anecdotal history of a very difficult and awkward timeframe. Joseph comala head and said, I'm wanting to lie here