The Middle East is starting to look more sensible about Islamic extremism than is the Obama administration. Isn’t that a sad thing to say?

Here is a Saudi Arabian author being interviewed on television, and he describes the problem. He notes, correctly, that there is little difference between the “moderate” Muslim clerics and the most radical Muslim Brotherhood jihadist supporters: Both groups preach the same concepts from the same revered sources. He suggests that Islam needs a Reformation like Christianity had, and not just a Luther but a Calvin as well:

Turki Al-Hamad: “I don’t want to make generalizations, but most of our sheiks and preachers – or those who call themselves preachers – are incapable of producing discourse that would counter the extremist discourse, because the extremist discourse draws upon the same texts and sources as most of our sheiks and preachers. Their interpretation may differ, but the source is one and the same.”

Interviewer: “Do you mean that the ideology of ISIS is similar to that of many…”

Turki Al-Hamad: “From the ideological perspective? I would have to say yes.”


Turki Al-Hamad: “A new and modern discourse that would make us at peace with ourselves and with others, a discourse that would reconcile us with modern life – these people are incapable of producing it.”

Interviewer: “What are the characteristics of such a discourse?”

Turki Al-Hamad: “You mean the new discourse? Let me give you an example. Ideology is a reflection of environment.”


Turki Al-Hamad: “When you isolate these people, with their ideology, from the environment, and place them in an ever-changing environment of technology, modern communications, and so on – they cannot adapt to it. Absolutely not. This is when the crisis begins. Our crisis stems from the inability to reconcile with others, with modern life, and first and foremost, with ourselves. Even though we lead a modern life, the foundations of our minds are traditional, belonging to another age. Therefore, some sort of schizophrenia is inevitable.”

Interviewer: “I have met many intellectuals and philosophers, who say that we live in the age of Ibn Taymiyyah. They place much of the blame on Ibn Taymiyyah and his thought. Do you agree?”

Turki Al-Hamad: “We must not turn Ibn Taymiyyah into a scapegoat on which to pin the blame for all our problems. We have become experts in finding such scapegoats: Ibn Taymiyyah is responsible for our theological problems, the US and the Zionist conspiracy are behind our global problem… There are many scapegoats. Ibn Taymiyyah produced texts that were in response to the circumstances of his times.”


Turki Al-Hamad: “The fault does not lie with Ibn Taymiyya. It lies with us. Why did we choose (to embrace) Ibn Taymiyya, and not, for example, Averroes and his thought? We are the ones who make these decisions. We extracted Ibn Taymiyyah from the dark depths of history, in order to achieve goals that were already in our minds. That’s the problem.”

Interviewer: “Who do you mean ‘we’?”

Turki Al-Hamad: “We as a collective, whether within a certain country, or the Muslims or Arabs as a whole… It seems, however, that the problem is specific to the Arabs. There are Islamic countries and groups, which have reconciled themselves with their times. The Arab world, though, is going from bad to worse.”


Turki Al-Hamad: “We have intellectuals who are even more progressive than Muhammad Abduh. But if any of them speaks up, he is accused of heresy and is excommunicated. Thus, many intellectuals refrain from this for fear of isolation, and for fear of being accused of all those things. Now we must start all over again. It will take us an entire generation only to return to where we were before the (20th century) Islamic awakening. This is the problem of the Arab world. We are trapped in one big vicious circle. We feel as if we are progressing, but in fact, we move nowhere.”


Turki Al-Hamad: “One of the possible solutions is to engage in cultural criticism of the prevalent religious discourse. We are in need of a movement for religious reform, like there was in Europe. There is no doubt about it. I’m not saying that we need just a Martin Luther – we need a Luther, we need a Calvin, we need a movement of religious reform. “

Egypt’s leader al Sisi has a similar idea. His speech at the beginning of the year in which he called for reform of the teachings that lead radical Islam made waves. It was a clear-eyed understanding of the problem. But al Sisi is not just talking, he’s taking action: Egypt’s “Ministry of Religious Endowments” is removing books, videos and other material by or about radical Islamic scholars from all Egyptian Islamic schools.

One of those radical scholars is Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned by the Saudi author. Taymiyyah was a very famous Islamic scholar teaching the doctrine of jihad (as a mandatory duty) around 1300AD. He was a key inspiration for the Muslim Brotherhood, and all of its offshoots from al Qaida to ISIS to Hamas to Hezbollah to CAIR and ISNA in the United States.

Others being removed extend from earliest Islamic history to the current man considered to be the ninth most influential Muslim in the world, Yusuf al Qaradawi. Qaradawi was a key figure in Tahrir Square in Cairo, leading the so-called “Arab Spring” holding at AK-47 in the air and promising to lead the march to take Jerusalem and drive the Jews into the sea.

The radical form of Islam that is inspiring jihad around the world is called Wahhabism, which launched the Muslim Brotherhood and currently jointly rules Saudi Arabia along with the Saud royal family. Its founder, Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab, is one of those being removed, along with another dozen or so figures greatly revered across much of Islam. This is very controversial, of course, but Egypt is trying to create the reformed Islam that al-Hamad the author above was hoping for. And the Muslim Brotherhood is considered to be a terrorist organization in its native Egypt:


But not in the United States. Here, the Muslim Brotherhood and its various front groups are welcome on campuses across America, welcome to visit the White House repeatedly, and welcome to have permanent teams embedded in our intelligence agencies sanitizing our training so that we cannot be permitted to teach people what Middle Eastern leaders already know: Radical Islam is dangerous. Instead, President Obama’s view of Islam is like this:


Thus our government must not use the word “jihad,” must not attempt to understand the enemy, and we are to fight these murderous, implacable enemies with “better ideas” without even learning what ideas gave rise to their hatred to begin with.

And those books and videos that have been radicalizing once-peaceful Muslims into radical jihadists? Those can be readily found in mosques and madrasas across the US, along with other radical material transmitted into these hatred dispensaries every day by Saudi Arabia’s religious leaders. A decade ago, each of hundreds of mosques received daily faxes from the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. Now, I understand, it’s done with email attachments. So, we have completely modernized the spread of murderous primitivism.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Pingback: Extremism — reblogged | Citizen Tom()

  • I agree. And while Obama has carried the denial of jihadism to ridiculous extremes, it was GWB who got started with the idea of soft-pedaling Islam’s involvement. At least he was bold enough to call evil by its name.

    But now evil is very much among us, not even counting the components of it that are part of our own current administration. As you said, this must be recognized openly, and then it needs to be addressed.

    Amnesty is being used to support jihad, and is specifically undercutting the assimilation that this country had been so good at. That assimilation, that might soften the fire of jihad, is no longer considered desirable; it is a “microaggression” to even suggest it.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • JeffR

    I fervently hope that America’s next President, no matter who it is, can get back to helping the dialogue of this issue instead of hurting it by refusing to call a spade a spade — thinking he’s helping the issue by denying it exists. The general public believes that Islam is just an alternative to Christianity or Judaism, not realizing that it’s a whole societal & cultural & economic & legal & military package packed inside a giant Trojan Horse. The average uninformed Joe in America wants to respect their “freedom of religion,” not knowing how dangerous that is in the big picture and the long run. Political correctness encouraged by a stupendously-misguided American president has really squelched the public dialogue that needs to take place in a free country.
    – Jeff

  • You’ve made two separate statements here:

    No religious text is bloodier and more tribal than the “old testament” which is the root of all the “abrahamic” sects .

    You have evidently not read the Qur’an, or al Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim for example.

    And there’s another key difference: The Old Testament talks about times that were already ancient at Christianity’s founding, and that have been in their tradition replaced by a new covenant that takes a very different and milder approach. The Qur’an by contrast, and the Hadith that with it make up Islamic holy guidance to daily action, became steadily more fierce, warlike, and treacherous as Muhammad gained power. The verse about coexistence (e.g., “there is no compulsion in religion” all come from early times before Muhammad was able to consolidate his control. By the time of his death, Islam launched into a conquest that was adding a hundred square miles to Islam’s conquered territory per day.

    The Qur’an and Hadith are being used, today, to slaughter millions, with that slaughter being explicitly justified by those texts. There is no analog of this effect with the Bible or Torah at all. Zero.

    Your second statement is problematic:

    Extremist zionism and islam feed off each other .

    I see no examples of “extremist” Zionism in the world. There are some Jews who bought land in ancient-and-now-once-again Israel, were attacked constantly all during this process merely because they were Jews, and won most of those battles. One attack was pre-emptive, but it was on the eve of announced attacks intended to destroy them; history supports Israel’s actions in 1967.

    If jihadists simply stopped attacking and accepted their own state, they could not only live in peace but prosper greatly merely from being in proximity to Israel. If Israel stopped defending, they would be wiped out completely, and the jihadists would not be satisfied with this but would simply move on to the next Western/non-Islam/not-the-right-flavor-of-Islam targets.

    You cannot be familiar with Islam’s history and think that the problem of jihadist violence should be blamed on someone else.

    You have essentially done a “drive-by” here. You’ve left a standard talking point comment — yes, I know you hate the Jews — but you’ve actually addressed nothing about the points raised in the post you’re theoretically responding to. You’ve just left droppings and moved on. I would hope for better.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • No religious text is bloodier and more tribal than the “old testament” which is the root of all the “abrahamic” sects .
    Extremist zionism and islam feed off each other .