Destroying Islam and How Not To

Destroying Islam and How Not To

A story involving a Canadian Muslim reporter in Indonesia, who was told by the religious police to “show some respect!” and cover her hair, has prompted me to have a few thoughts about Islam and American responsibility.

After a recent trip to Indonesia, Natasha Fatah, who works for the CBC, writes:

While we wait, an officer approaches and shouts at my Indonesian colleague, Ezki. The officer points and asks whether I am a Muslim. Ezki says yes, and the officer replies, “Then tell your friend to show some respect.” Apparently, my head cover isn”t on tight enough, and a piece of my hair is showing. Another Canadian colleague is with us, whose hair is showing much more than mine. But she is white and Christian, so her hair isn”t as offensive to the officers. I remember what so many women have told me: “The first victims of Sharia law are Muslim women.”

This story is troubling on so many levels. Not the least of which is the way that such Islamist police officers around the world are destroying Islam.

I say this because the operative element of a Muslim”s relationship to God is the idea of niyya (intention). In Islamic Law, a religious act is not valid unless intention is attached to it.

When a Muslim fasts during the month of Ramadan, he or she has to have the intention of keeping each fast. One cannot simply go hungry seven hours into a day and then suddenly decide that he or she is keeping a fast. That is illegitimate.

Same goes with salat, the Islamic prayer. The prayer has three parts — the ablution, the intention and the performance. If I do not make intention to do the prayer, it does not count. I have to perform it again.

Islamists across the world are stripping Islam of intention, of individuality, and as the reporter above describes, they are doing it with the power of the gun behind them. Taking individuality out of religion — or any political ideology — is the most significant step towards totalitarianism. It is, in fact, totalitarianism.

It doesn”t take a philosopher to figure out that the most likely result of such fundamentalist strong-arming is going to be to make Muslims turn away from Islam. Unmoored from their traditional faith they will vacillate between futility and fanaticism.

Why are Islamists OK with such a course of action? The answer is that in the short-term, they are able to acquire access to power. The feeling of trivial empowerment — by holding a stick, a gun, or wearing expensive uniforms — has an allure greater than money. It is no surprise that the CBC reporter was attending an event at the police academy. Being “official” matters very much to the totalitarian.

The sad reality is that over and again, the Western world has been more than happy to support totalitarian Islamists.

The Muslim Brotherhood who, in the 1930s began to develop an ideological version of Islam, and whose off-shoots turned to organized violence, had their first mosque bankrolled by the French.

Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood, wrote in his autobiography that one of the Brotherhood”s first mosques was partially funded by the Suez Canal Company in 1927. The Suez Canal Company paid 500 Egyptian pounds (guineah) for the project.

The Afghan mujahedeen, who later became the Taliban, received $500 billion dollars of covert arms and aid from the U.S. (and matching funds from the Saudi Royal family).

This is revealing of a twisted and very dangerous game that the West played during the 20th century. The game involved using Muslim extremists as mercenaries. The ideology that fed those mercenaries is now destroying Islam.

Of course, in order to reverse its series of mistakes, the West is now going in the exact opposite direction: supporting secular strong-men. President Bush gave nearly $10 billion dollars to Pakistan”s General Musharraf. Similarly, in order to de-legitimize Hamas, President Bush gave a secularist thug the go ahead to go on a massive rampage. These moves are just as detrimental as it was for the Suez Canal Company to help the Brotherhood or for us to bankroll the mujahedeen.

I am not one of those people who think that the U.S. runs the world. There are limitations to what we can do. However, one of the things this country is intimately involved in, are Islam”s various affairs. Because of that, the U.S. needs to become more responsible in who it supports.

A good bench-mark in trying to determine which Muslim group to support would be to ask: does this group or individual support individual liberty?