Thursday, October 06, 2005

Progressive Wedge Politics

This is to be expected, of-course. The Progressive Muslim (PMUNAist type) Jawad Ali of Muslim Wake Up, decided to indulge in some good 'ol PMUist type name calling (barely a day into the month of Ramadan).

Jawad Ali states:

Sunni path and Aryan pride A prominent Dear-Abby/paint-between-the-lines/Daddy-knows-best fiqh websites in America is called Sunni Path. Does anyone else find this name to be just a little bit creepy? I know that this is a minor offence in the grand scheme of things….

Seeker's Digest responds:

If they’d bothered to ask, we could have explained that the site is called SunniPath because we seek to explain how to live the sunna of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) in a reliable and relevant manner–in keeping with both the form and spirit of the sunna, without engaging in polemics or negativity.

While affirming our differences with our Shi`a brethren–differences long-established and only facile to deny–we also affirm that Shi`a are Muslims, and we owe them full rights as our fellow Muslims; as People of the Qibla; and as people who believe in Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). After that, we agree to disagree. This is the way of tolerance–not the way of pretending to bulldoze away differences, and then creating disputes and fitna without need.

See: Seeker’s Digest - True Moderate Islam - Statement of Islamic Conference Held in Amman - June 2005.

Most readers of this blog are familiar with the Rand Report that divides Muslims up into "moderate" "modernist" "traditional" etc.

But there is a another, lesser known, Rand Report: This second report lays out a strategy of going even deeper into identifying “fault lines” in the Muslim community. And they recommend that the United States exploit these divisions to “promote” its “objectives.”

Abdus Sattar Ghazali wrote in an article:

A new Rand Corporation study suggests that Sunni, Shiite and Arab, non-Arab divides should be exploited to promote the US policy objectives in the Muslim world.

The recently released Rand study - titled “The Muslim World After 9/11” – was conducted on behalf of the US Air Force. One of the primary objective of the study was to “identify the key cleavages and fault lines among sectarian, ethnic, regional, and national lines and to assess how these cleavages generate challenges and opportunities for the United States.”

And in a recent article titled Splitting Islam, James Kurth - a Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College, further details this strategy.

The United States did not create the Sunni-Shi’ite split in Islamism, just as it did not create the earlier Sino-Soviet split in communism. It can, however, put itself in a position to take advantage of the divide as it very likely will develop, as it did with the analogous split during the Cold War.

This Ramadan, given the above US strategy against Islam and Muslims, we could use some internal dialogue and discussions. BUT we do not need polemics, and useless Progressive (PMUist type) name calling, that only serves to further harden rifts in the Muslim communities.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Progressive Hypocrisy

Musharraf (or, as he is affectionately called, Busharraf) in an recent interview with the Washington Post made this statement about Mukhtar Mai

He said Mai had come under the sway of organizations determined to harm Pakistan’s image and he did not think Pakistan “should be singled out when the curse is everywhere in the world.” He noted he had seen reports or figures about rape in the United States, Canada, France and Britain showing that “it is happening everywhere.”
And then he said this:

"You must understand the environment in Pakistan,” Musharraf added. “This has become a moneymaking concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”
Then, a few days later, at a gathering to promote "moderate enlightenment" he denied ever making the above statement!

‘Let me say with total sincerity that I never said that and it has been misquoted,’’ Musharraf said. ‘‘These are not my words and I would go to the extent of saying I am not so silly and stupid to make comments of this sort.’’
And he has this to say about human rights activists who challenged him regarding the statement:

“You are against me and Pakistan,” said the president when a human rights activist referred to his alleged comments in a Washington Post interview which quoted him (Gen Musharraf) as saying that women exploited rape to get visas.

Well, it turns out that the Washington Post has an audio of the interview - where The General does make the statement, in his own voice, no less! So Mush/Busharraf lied.

OK, so we know politicians, including vicious military dictators posing as "enlightened moderates" lie.

BUT there is an even more interesting Progressive twist to this story - Riffat Hassan, Phd, an academic, and a Progressive Muslimist has founded a "Progressive Islam" institute in Pakistan - that is headed, by guess who? Yup! The Enlightened Moderate himself!

Organised by international scholar, Dr. Riffat Hassan, and featuring the views of one of the most prolific progressive thinkers of our times, Dr Fathi Osman, a project of no less controversy is now in the works. An autonomous, progressive Muslim institute - the antithesis of more orthodox organisations, such as the Islamic University in Islamabad - and headed by the bastion of the "enlightened moderation" movement himself, President Pervez Musharraf. And it will be truly global in its make and manifesto. It is envisioned that the board of directors will comprise the best international progressive scholars, whose works and teachings will be transmitted to Pakistanis around the country through multimedia sources and teachers programmes.
So, what does Busharraf (I mean... Musharraf) get in return for giving his royal military blessing to the Progressivists? He gets Riffat Hassan's loyalty, who is expected to jump whenever the General is criticised, and, if needed, say a lie or two to cultivate his image as a great champion of women.

And, Riffat Hassan has no problem complying with this quid pro quo: in a pathetic letter to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn she defends the military dictator. Here is what she writes about individuals who raised the issue of Busharraf's comments at a meeting with Pakistani women (where Riffat Hassan was the keynote speaker)!

At the end of his presentation, three-fourths of the people in the room stood up and applauded. The remaining one-fourth were persons who were opposed to him for personal or political reasons. Their venom toward the president became manifest in the question and answer part of the meeting.

In a voice filled with anger the questioner told the president that since he had “categorically denied” making the statement attributed to him by The Washington Post, he should make a clarification to the world press. She went on to express her disappointment at the way he was treating human rights activists who were protesting against violence toward women.

The president responded to the deliberately provocative comment by saying that the many journalists who were present had already heard his clarification. He expressed his disappointment at the questioner and others like her who were engaging in what he said was unpatriotic behaviour. He said that he would always support the cause of women but he would oppose those who were using women’s cause to further their own agendas that were harmful to the country.

At the end of the Q & A session, again the vast majority of the people stood up and gave the president a resounding round of applause.

Of-course Riffat Hassan cannot dare to criticise the General, after all her institute depends on his blessings.

This is yet another sordid chapter in the history of the hypocritical Progrssivists. For some reason, this story did not make it to the PMUNAist's media outlets - and Muslim Wake Up --- wonder why?....