Islam suffers from the crisis of its violent representation, a fate it can’t really escape, one that has been combined to its very nature. Since Islam is a concept, not a free individual, it is unable to decide on its own essence, and requires someone to guide it, and alas, its mentors are many, each of them with their own judgments and visions!
Because Islam is unable to change its future, since it is linked to its text, it also doesn’t want human beings to be given the opportunity to do so outside the text, nor the opportunity to reinvent itself.
The state of Islam itself corresponds with the state of its people, it is in crisis within the crisis of its believers, and it increases in strength and power through its believers’ strength and abilities. Of course, there is no strength without being open to the rules of the game with others, and in this case openness is a purely rational issue based on sustainable mutual interest.
In our current situation, there is an urgent need to reinvent Muslims by reinventing the Islamic religious discourse, and here we ask: Why can’t we reinvent Islam with benefits (Heaven both now and in the afterlife, instead of living hell on earth now) for example? Is this really possible?!
Religion has been since its inception, the chosen path amongst the most ignorant and weaker groups in society, and used as their voice in this world. It has also always been rooted in irrationality (meaning not rationally thinking, but rather blindly believing), so all crimes in its name are also irrational.
Since religion is built this way, it is easy to gain believers, identify opponents, mobilize and limit power, which causes the concept to be politically coveted and based on limited interests: the interests of the religious clique, with its guardians and followers. I mean, the powers the Church in Europe enjoyed before the Enlightenment were no secret.
In the Islamic case, Muhammad had a political goal originally, to unite the scattered and dispersed tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, provided that he was the leader of that process.
This mixture between the military dictatorship and its religious arm was a combination of two forms of radical rule, and it is still in force today.
In the first ten years of his biography, the Prophet called for the use of soft power, utilizing a mixture of Qur’an verses calling for contemplation, reflection, love and peace. However, everything changed after his emigration to Al-Madinah. As soon as he arrived and his followers began to settle there, orders came from above to start preparing to fight, and the Jewish tribes in and around Medina became enemy No. 1, followed by a set of new Qur’anic verses through which the Prophet legalized the use of violence on a large scale. This was a re-crystallization of the Islamic religion from what it had been back in the Mecca period, based on what the Prophet and his followers wanted to achieve now in Medina: both expansion and economic dependence on conquests … This is where Sheikh Abi Ishaq Al-Huwaini got his inspiration from, when he called on the Egyptians not long ago to reactivate this prophetic method of collecting resources, by saying: “Go out, and conquer!”
Islam’s political transformations did not stop at this point, but rather changed at each stage depending on its leader’s personality; for the caliphs had their own Islamic philosophy different from that of the Prophet, as well as the Umayyads, the Abbasids, and others, all the way up to the Ottomans, who succeeded in making the political exploitation of Islam extremely powerful. It was so influential that even Napoleon Bonaparte, during his invasion of Egypt, did so by addressing its people with religious rhetoric. At every stage, the rulers put their own genetic code in Islam, and they knew exactly what they were doing; They knew that Islam was the reference for the inhabitants of the region, and that it could be used to the maximum extent in making war and peace.
But the world changed in the aftermath of World War II; The events showed how tragic the ideas of ethnic, religious and sectarian supremacy could be, and that if things were remain this way there would never be stability, and that new Hitlers would continue to come up in the political stratosphere. The Cold War revealed that bad faith alone is capable of sparking a nuclear catastrophe, and thus, the Western world sought to push towards life, freedom, social security, and peace. Before that, from the eras of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, another push was made to keep religion away from interfering in the affairs of power, and to prevent its exploitation in politics, because abusing those ideas carried a great risk, the least of which was a sectarian war. And so finally, secularism was able to set religion aside from the state, restricting it to the separate minds and practices of (peaceful) individuals.
Religion has been since its inception, the chosen path amongst the most ignorant and weaker groups in society, and used as their voice in this world.
It has also always been rooted in irrationality (meaning not rationally thinking, but rather blindly believing), so all crimes in its name are also irrational.
On the other hand, the regimes in the Middle East and North Africa were trying very hard to return to exercising their power the way they did in the old days, taking advantage of the authoritarian vacuum created by the Ottoman, French, English, and Italian evictions from their lands after the two world wars. However, the policies of those military regimes were corrupt, and what resulted from their administrative failure was the creation of a particular perception among their people and inhabitants, which has been systematically re-ruled and is divided into two parts: Us (and you don’t get to ask who that is) versus Them, our greedy, conspiratorial enemies.
Those corrupt dictatorial regimes in the Middle East and North Africa created their own rhetoric; In practice, that rhetoric was a mixture between the philosophy of the corrupt state on the one hand, and an Islam with a special composition consistent with that state philosophy on the other hand, i.e. (a corrupt ruler like Hafez El-Assad or Sisi + a religious authority, such as Sheikh Kaftaro or Al-Azhar).
Thus, work was done to formulate that particular popular perception through presenting to the people a cruel and terrifying world that is unlivable, a world in which life is honored and blessed by God, the male parent, and the head of state; a troubling life that is a predetermined test, with precedent conditions that cannot be changed, where one must be patient, while those in power complete the tasks that are deemed more important than the people and their concerns.
In practice, this mixture between the military dictatorship and its religious arm was a combination of two forms of radical rule, and it is still in force today. Hundreds of millions of people are ruled in the same way, with similar forms of government that are unable to advance futuristically due to several obstacles, most notably the inability ‘to be open’; And because everything is dependent on the political, this lack of openness means no economic, religious, nor social openness, and more …
Indeed, after the Arab regimes gained their independence and got what they wanted, especially after they controlled the press and the media, the path before them was clear – as it is always is – to make the most of the religious authority of individuals. That is, an Islamic religion (Saudi, Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi … etc.) that tries to justify the world and human existence, as well as political, economic, social, cultural, educational, health, mental, and psychological failure with more love and loyalty to the homeland and its leader. It does so through a set of hazy Islamic (rhetorical) data, that is distorted and removed from its original and historical context, and then inserted into a fake one, one that always serves the interests of the ruler … Although history is a problematic issue, reality is the best place to read and analyze it.
Thus, the leaders in the region did not miss a single opportunity to celebrate religious scholars and honor them, to build mosques and churches, to employ preachers, and to export them in all forums, for the Ministry of Religious Endowments’ budget is of a strategic dimension to them. Otherwise, how could the citizens be controlled at the lowest costs for the state’s wallet? Through religion, of course, because a good education is expensive, draining the pockets of the ruling class, and would require economic reform, which would require political reform, which is definitely not the goal.
However, as a result of the political/economic failure that lasted for decades after their independence, which is still on going, and which resulted in the failure of the state with all its institutions, it was unlikely that the Islamic religion (the tool of power) would succeed in achieving its governmental function as well. This is because when Islam was supposed to be sedating people inside of the mosques, it instead caused them to rebel militarily, and religious citizens were suddenly transformed into ticking time bombs… Here and now, is when the Islam that was dependent on the government in all countries of the third world could be called “the Islam of a failed state.”
The leaders in the region did not miss a single opportunity to celebrate religious scholars and honor them, to build mosques and churches, to employ preachers, and to export them in all forums.
When a dictator constantly tries to strip individuals of their freedom – and of course their will and ability to think about the future – through religious and nationalistic discourse, and when he walks them to a dark place where they are ignorant, and tries to convince them of the inevitability of their supplication and permanent resort to God and to him, he ends up closing all the doors and leaving them to their deepest desires, fears and dogmas. When the government closes these doors (knowingly or not), it incites citizens to use violence, which in turn has resulted in a new type of failed state Islam, which we can call the “Islam of the fascist state.”
The Islam of the fascist state is a violent Islam, an inevitable consequence of a functional deficiency that contradicts the first type in a controversial and fundamental way. It is completely illogical, officially the enemy of the government, with no ties to it, but secretly open to many channels to the state. Through strategically using this violent Islam, stray citizens can be returned to the herd and reunited. It is the “bogeyman” through which everyone can be frightened so that they return “to the bosom of the nation” and its leadership, similar to the concept of “collapse” that the corrupt political class in Lebanon use to frighten their people. In any case this type of Islam/collapse/explosion is an expected consequence of every set of flawed development policies.
This new/old type of Islam is driven by an overwhelming desire for revenge and healing, in addition to being the result of political failure, as well as the result of the abuse of religion originally in politics. It is not only a return to old forms of government, but to the even older, more closed-minded, violent, ignorant and backward ones… What I want to say is that every religious or other national-religious tactics in politics will result in catastrophic failure, because to use them they must isolate citizens and separate them legally and socially, which will inevitably become a tool to incite violence, unless you are somehow the leader of a state whose people are a carbon copy of each other, and you don’t want for them to interact with anything beyond the borders of the state!
The Islam of the fascist state is a violent Islam, an inevitable consequence of a functional deficiency,
It is completely illogical, officially the enemy of the government, with no ties to it, but secretly open to many channels to the state.
The failed state’s Islam failed to perform its governmental function and produced Islam for a fascist state because of a political problem on the one hand, and then also because there is a programmatic deficiency in that it is Islam in the first place on the other. This means that Islam itself carries its own code before the state’s new additions (such as factory settings), and this code is also a contradiction. The code is mixture of verses and hadiths conflicting between calling for contemplation of life and death, and finding patience, comfort and consolation by belonging to this religion, the homeland and the leader on the one hand (Muhammad before the migration), and between others calling for invasion and violence (Muhammad after the migration), for example: “So strike at their necks and strike at every finger,”(A violent Quran verse reference).
This contradictory programmatic deficiency in Islam has always allowed all its programmers (rulers, politicians, and strategic planners) to add their magic touches to it … Otherwise, we would not be able to see a difference between Muhammad’s Islam before the emigration and Muhammad after the Hijra, nor would we be able to see a difference between the caliphs and their various differences, nor the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Ottomans, nor a difference between the Islams of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Qatar, nor the Islam of Europe …
The imperative point is, when the rulers of the region realized that a violent Islamist current was growing angrily within their society, it became enemy number one of the state, and they fought it at the beginning because it didn’t serve their interests. But then, because these enemies (extremist Islamists) were more evil than them, and because through their violent Islam it was possible to unite dissonant units within the herd based around wise leadership (‘the lesser evil’), it was conceivable then to instead support the fascist Islam and to cause confusion in the whole world to remain in power (like in Iranian, Syrian, Egyptian, Saudi and Qatari politics …). It became more useful to support these enemies secretly (like Putin supports Putin’s opponents through a third financier, and then exposes them to be able to say: I am your Savior.)
Thus little by little, the “fascist Islam of the state” got its chance to cause global confusion, and it has been roaming around since the days of Al-Zawahiri, the assassination of Sadat, the Afghanistan war, Abdullah Azzam, Bin Laden, the black decade in Algeria, Hamas and its suicide operations, the bombings of the twin towers, the American invasion of Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq, Islamic groups in all their violent forms in Syria supported by all the countries in the region and headed by Qatar and Turkey, ISIS and so on… Throughout that whole period, the terror industry was profitable in the region, and it still is today…
Despite the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria by the international coalition led by the United States and Europe, the latter decided that it would be more beneficial not to go into the Middle East again, because its rulers were good at taking advantage of this intervention to keep them in power (Bashar al-Assad is a clear example). Europe instead thought to leave the region alone to its politicians, religion, terror and people who were unable to exist together in a peaceful and fruitful manner. Despite this, the extremist Islamists’ attacks in Europe continue, the last of which was the attack on the French educational institution, symbolized by a professor of history and geography, at the hands of a student with Islamic motives (influenced by the fascist state Islam), a product of the regimes of oppression and fear.
Still, what is the reason behind this hostility that many Muslims from all over the world harbor towards freedom, democracy and secularism? Is it that challenging to comply with a secular demand for the equality of all individuals before the law? Is it impossible to accept the right to ridicule as part of freedom of peaceful expression? Why was Charlie Hebdo not condemned after mocking the “Virgin Mary” and the Church, but attacked for exercising the right to mock the Islamic religion? Is there any reason other than ignorance and the ‘Us versus them’ mentality that has been deep-rooted and spread by many Muslims, generation after generation?
Yes, it is ignorance, a cultural identity that crosses borders, continents, times, places and people; Ignorance is synonymous with barbarism and decadence, the opposite of which is not knowledge, but a love of life and freedom for all, embodying these concepts and calling for them through your words and actions. There is no life without freedom, and no freedom without the right to ridicule absolutely anything, sacred or not; There are no fair rights without a fair order, no justice without a secular state, no secularism without trust in others, and without leaving religion as a purely individual matter. That is why a peaceful Islam is only possible through openness to the secular political umbrella.
The heinous crime that occurred recently, will no doubt negatively affect the French Republic’s relationship with Islam. I think that perhaps the future of their relationship will resemble the Palestinians and Israel in the early nineties, when Hamas was saturated with the idea of suicide bombings, and attacked Tel Aviv with a series of them. Afterwards the ensuing assassination of Yitzhak Rabin lead to the election of the Right, represented by Netanyahu, who turned against the peace process with the Palestinians, with Israeli popular support, who were horrified by Hamas’s strategy.
More Islamic violence means more in favor of the French right..
More Islamic violence means more in favor of the French right, whose victory will constitute a coup against all other attempts to reform history, as well as coup against their duty to apologize for their colonial era by containing their communities (regardless of their ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious differences). It will also constitute a coup against attempts to absorb this anger, and assimilate it into the French state; More Islamic violence is proof of the reluctance of its supporters to give the world the opportunity to reinvent this Islam, and will constitute an attempt that may succeed in pushing the French towards replacing their present value system with one that may be old and oppressive, not in the interest of anyone, and Muslims will be the first to be affected by it.
It is true, we are unable to abolish jihad from Islam, nor are we able to abolish violence from that context of human history, but we are certainly able to disrupt the motives and justifications for that violence … fair social development would be able to do just that.
Whatever it is, it is expected that the pace of Islamic violence will continue to increase in France during this period … The trials of the perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo 2015 attack, the newspaper’s insistence on upholding the principle of freedom of expression, and its re-publication of the same cartoons that infuriated its enemies at the time, and then French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech about what he described as Islamic isolationism and drying up its sources of funding, and finally the murder of the teacher … All of these events indicate that there is a problem surfacing, and that this will be France’s preoccupation in the coming period, alongside Corona.
If you are interested in defending Islam, look at the way politicians are harnessing it, watch the speeches of the leaders of Islamic countries, watch how Erdogan threatens the security of the world with Islam, or how Assad warns of more terrorists if he is harmed, or look at Al-Azhar, who is living in a parallel universe not daring to criminalize ISIS (because ISIS uses texts from the Quran), watch Saudi Arabia and the UAE, watch Qatar busily define secularism and democracy according to its size, have you ever heard any of them say: Keep religion for individuals and let’s build a state for all? Would a leader among them dare say so?