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Why would Muslims born, raised and educated in the West gravitate towards extremism? This question seems to puzzle many onlookers, and the actions of these nationals seem beyond any rational explanation. What is overlooked is that the Isil propaganda machine cleverly and effectively taps into an already existing theological world view within young Muslim minds.

For the last twenty years I’ve witnessed the spreading of two toxic elements running amok in the West. One is Wahhabism, heavily pushed by Saudi Arabia via its preachers, sponsorship programs, mosque funding and book stores. Running parallel is a broader ideology of Islamism, a politicised Islam seeking to impose one version of Sharia on its citizens. This was first pushed by Hizb ut-Tahrir and then al-Muhaijiroun and its many different manifestations. Hatred for “decadent” Western society, which is diametrically opposed to their version of Islamic values, and yearning for an Islamic state enabling one to practice an unadulterated pure Islam, has been the stock in trade of those who currently dominate the activist space.

Often mosques are considered hotbeds for extremism, but this is inaccurate.

The bulk of this activism exists on university campuses. Often mosques are considered hotbeds for extremism, but this is inaccurate. Mosques are run by a generation who are in most cases out of touch with the youth. It’s at universities where the exposure to intolerant and unethical theological ideas happens. I remember while studying at Westminster University, as did the infamous Mohammed Emwazi many years ago, I was introduced to the ideas that I now hope to change. There were two camps: Hizb ut-Tahrir, who ran the Islamic society, pushed their Islamofascistic politicised Islam, and the pro-Saudi Wahhabis, puritanical and amoral. The two camps were deeply critical of one another and were constantly at each other’s throats, but both totalitarian. The plus side of their disagreements was that at least there was a degree of critical introspection and dialogue.

Today, however, things are more grim. Due to a growing mindset of victimhood, the two camps have almost merged as one, often cooperating with one another. As a consequence dialogue within extremism is non-existent, let alone engagement with those outside the echo chamber. The sole focus is on the Other, namely the West and non-Muslims. For example, an event in Bedford entitled “Quiz a Muslim” (held, by an unfortunate coincidence, on the day of the Paris attacks) consisted entirely of Wahhabi and Islamist speakers who appear regularly on university campuses.

The founder of Wahabism was vehemently schismatic. Bin Abd al-Wahhab sought to rid Islam of what he deemed “corruptions”, opposing mysticism, rationalism and Shiism. If a Muslim wasn’t a “true believer” then they were deemed an apostate according to his strict standards; such a judgment meant that they could be killed. Accordingly Wahhabi speakers deem Muslims who differ with Wahhabi thought as “deviants”, a euphemism for apostate. When I organised evolution conference to debate the topic of Islam and evolution, there was an obscene backlash. We were labelled as deviants by a prominent Wahhabi preacher for merely having such a debate. One of the guest lecturers was even “excommunicated” for seeking to reconcile the scientific perspective with the faith.

Many hardline Islamists and their sympathisers are no different. In particular they view western society as the domain of disbelief, “Dar al Kufr”. Western societies are described with the pejorative word “Jahiliyya”. This term is commonly translated as “the age of ignorance”. In classical Islam, the term denotes the pre-Islamic situation in Arabia characterised by pagan ignorance of the Word of God (Quran). Syed Qutb, a leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s, was the first to apply the concept of Jahiliyya to modern times.

Qutb argued that there are two societies: the Islamic and the jahili. To him, Jahiliyya was not just a fixed moment in history, but a moral condition which recurs whenever society deviates from his utopian Islamist ideal. He deemed all the contemporary world as jahili as they subverted the will of God and had adopted “man-made laws” to regulate their affairs, which was the source of their moral decay. It is also noted by Qutb that Muslim societies are also griped by the call to “secularise” and therefore could aptly be called jahili like their western counterparts. Qutb regarded attempts of “modernists”, who argued for Islam’s compatibility with modernity, as “moral defeatists” suffering from an inferiority complex.

Today’s Islamists echo such rhetoric, The West is seen as a decadent society devoid of any morality and is the root of all aliments of the world. Hizb ut-Tahrir literature speaks volumes: from phone hacking to the Jimmy Savile paedophilia scandal, are all blamed on Western values and the “corrupted, immoral system of liberal democracy” – without a hint of awareness about the fact that they themselves advocate so-called marriage to under-age girls.

In similar vain to Qutb, Islamists see Muslims who do not subscribe to their call for a totalitarian pseudo-Caliphate and support corporal punishments as lapsed Muslims,merely appeasing the West – again, despite the fact that the last Caliphate, that of the Ottomans, abandoned such legislation and progressed towards equal citizenship.

In order to stop future recruits, we have to uproot the intellectual landscape that Isil taps into

When these views dominate university campuses and shut out other perspectives, it hurts Muslim students who are exploring their faith – sometimes for the first time. They are only exposed to a stark outlook on the world, an austere form of Islamic rules, and limits on their interaction with anyone who disagrees. This has an enormous impact on how some Muslim students interact with other Muslims with non-Muslims. It is the start of an “othering” process which ends with a sense of intolerance towards and disconnection from pluralistic British society. That in turn creates a deep sense of alienation: the West, with its “moral depravity”, becomes an alien environment where once it was considered a home.

In summary, the groundwork of extremism, in practise and in thought, was laid many years ago. The notion of the West as the locus of moral vice and the puritannical schism from mainstream Islam I’ve seen across British universities are all hallmarks of the Isil message. Its propaganda taps into well-established if crude concepts and feelings, amplifying them with recruiting materials that are tremendously visceral in nature. At the same time, it conjures an idyllic vision of a Utopian society it can never meet in reality.

In order to stop future recruits, we have to uproot the intellectual landscape that Isil taps into. Some have described what is playing out as the reverberations of a “clash of civilisations”. I don’t see this, but rather a clash between the civilised and the uncivilised. We need to expose Isil’s ideology by presenting it in its true light – a mix of modern totalitarianism and schismatic religion – and in all its ugliness.


لقد أمنعت الفكر كثيرا قبل القدوم علي قرار العمل بمؤسسة كوليم، كما أن المفاوضات مع السيد
حارس رفيق المدير العام للمؤسسة استغرقت اشھرا . لقد أيقنت أنه لا مناص عن تدقيق النظر في
الميثاق الأخلاقي للمؤسسة و السياسات التى انتھجتھا فى وقت سابق و التى كنت اختلف معھا
شخصيا. لكنى الآن أجزم أن المؤسسة لا ينغي أن نحكم عليھا بأخطاء الماضى ولكن بمجوعة القيم
الحاكمة لھا.
وأنه لمن حسن الطالع أن أجد الإمام الحاكم الجشمي البيھقي الفقيه الحنفى المعتزلي ( الذى عاش فى
القرن 12 ) يتسائل فى كتابه ” رسالة إبليس..” لو سمح لإبليس بالكلام يوم القيامة , وقيل له : لمن
تدين بالجميل ؟ توصل البيھقي من ھذا السؤال أن إبليس سوف يمتن ويشكر كل مسلم آمن بفكر من
شأنه أن ينسب إلى لله ظلما أو قبحا أو ما ھو غير معقول.
ويكأن البيھقي يصف ما يدور حولنا من أحداث.إن ھذا التفسير السائد للدين الإسلام ليحوى بين طياته
كل ما ھو غير معقول وغير أخلاقي بل كل ما ھو قبيح وسوقى، إنه يجرد الإسلام من محتواه
الأخلاقي. بعد وفاة النبى وصحابته المقربين، بدأ النزاع يدب بين فريقين، أصحاب الرأي وأصحاب
الحديث، انتھي ھذا النزاع لصالح الأخير لأسباب أقصاديه وسياسيه ,ومن ثم أصحبت ھى القوه
المخوله بتمثيل الإسلام. إن المشاكل التى تواجه الأمه الإسلاميه الأن لھى عرض من أعراض ھذا
النزاع القديم.
إننى أرى أن السنوان الأخيره على وجه التحديد قد كشفت لنا النقاب عن تيار دينى قليلي العدد
شوھوا الإسلام بتفسيرات تناھض العقل وتعادي القيم الأخلاقيه. إن أنصار ھذا التيار لديھم سطوه
على المجتمع الإسلامى و قدرتھم على إبراز الجانب العقلانى من الإسلام لا تعدوا أن تكون كلاما
شفھيا ليس له من الواقع نصيب. فھم يؤكدون أن الإسلام دين العقل وفى الوقت ذاته يدافعون عن
عقوبه قتل المرتد.
إن التفسير الذى يزعم أنه يدافع عن العقل لا بد وأن يتناغم مع حقوق الإنسان وتحترم حرية الإنسان
فى اعتناق أو ترك دين بعينه. دافع أسلافنا من الحنفيه(معتزله كانوا أو ماترييه ) عن الإلتزام بھذه
الروح حتى ذھب نفوذھم أدارج الرياح.
تتماشى تفسيراتي للدين مع المدرسة الحنفيه الماتريديه وبخاصة المبدأ الذى يؤيد أن العقل وحده بدون
الوحى قادر على التمييز بين الخير والشر. أمد ھذا المبدأ المدرسة العقليه بالأدوات الأساسية الللازمه
لإستنباط الأحكام الأخلاقيه من الشريعه.لطالما رد فقھاء المذھب الماتريدي أحاديثا راتأوا أنھا تتعارض
مع العقل. اعتبر أھل الحديث ھذا النھج فى التعامل مع النصوص ( بدعه) وزعموا أن كل الحلول
موجوده فى السنه أو الحديث( مرويات عن النبى صلى لله عليه وسلم) على وجه الدقه.
إنھم يصححون ھذا الحديث المشكل السالف الذكر، على أساسه صحة سنده. وأزعم أن ھذا من بين
الأسباب التى أنتجت ھذه الأراء الشائھه وغير الأخلاقيه. ھذا لا يجعلنا أن نظن مخطئين أن منھج
المتاتريدى باب مفتوح للجميع، كلا إن العقل يلتزم فيه بما أرساه القرآن من مبادئ أخلاقيه. بعبارة
أخرى أن الأسس الأخلاقيه يجب أن ترتكز على مبادئ القرآن وليس الحديث.
لحظنا العاثر، لقد تبؤا الحديث مكانة معرفيه مثلما ما للقرآن من مقام. إن ھذا الطرح الصريح الذى
أتبناه والذى يتنقد المنھج التقليدي على أساس مخالفته لمبادئ العقل ليس بدعة فى التراث الإسلامي
كما يحلوا للبعض أن يصوره، كلا أنه إحياء للتراث العقلانى الذى طواه النسيان فى تاريخنا الإسلامي.
إنه التراث الذى يعود بنا إلى عائشة زوجة الرسول – صلى لله عليه وسلم – وعمر ( رضى لله عنه
وعنھا). أنكر كلاھما الحديث إذا كان معناه ممجوجا أو إذا ما تعارض مع ما أصول سليمه أو معقوله.
أنكرت السيده عائشة رضى لله عنھا رواية مفادھا أن المرأه والكلب يفسدان الصلاة. بحسھا الأنثوى
مجت مقارنة المرأه بالكلب. طبعا حدث ھذا قبلما تؤثرالأفكار النسوية على علماء الأحاديث!!
إن ازدواجية التعبير لھذا النمط من التفكير العقلانى ھى أقل وصف له وإنه حقا لمثير للدھشه،,إن
مجابھة ھذه الآراء لھا تكلفتھا. قد يبدوا غريبا أن يعتبر أدعياء حراسة الدين أن إعادة تفسير عقوبة
الردة أو رجم الزاني اتھام للدين نفسه بالتقصير أو أنه محاوله لإرضاء الغرب. أن من يجروء على
مسائلة ھذا الوضع يتم تھميشه ثم مھاجمته والتشھير به ، لم يثننى ھذا عن استكمال فكرى النقدى وبناء
عليه شنت علي الھجمات. بلغت ھذه الھجمات ذروتھا حينما ظھرت فى برنامج بانوراما للبى بي سي ،
نقدت فيه بكل صراحة عقوبه الرده وأعلنت أنه لا ينبغى علينا أن نعزوا أساب التطرف والعنف
للسياسه الخارجيه(وھذا طبعا مخالف تماما لوجه النظره السائده)
تلقيت بعدھا تھديدات بشن أعمال عنف علي، كما لخطت سمعتى بأننى عميل للحكومه ومن أعضاء
المحافظين الجدد. لم يشفع لھم أننى لم أتلق أيا تمويل من الحكومه ولا من انتقادي للسياسة الخارجيه.
وكالعاده بدلا من مناقشة الطرح الذى أثرته، بدأو يتشككون (بداوفعى) المزعومه، بالطبع ليس ھذا
النھج غريبا على المتطرفين الذين يحلوا لھم أن يلقوا باللائمة على الآخرين ويتجنبوا الولوج فى مناقشة
الموضوع مھما كانت التكلفه… لماذا؟
إن المبانى الفكريه للتطرف بكل أشكاله ھشه وھم يعلمون ذلك جيدا فى أعماق نفوسھم. ولكن لا
يتوقف الأمر على الجانب الفكرى فقط بل يلعب الجانب النفسى جزءا منھا أيضا. والسؤال: لم يقاومون
التغير بكل ھذه الشراسه؟ فى الأجواء التى تنموا فيھا مشاعر مناھضه للمسلمين، غالبا ما يتم رفض
النقد وينظر إليه بعين الريبه والخيانه. ولكن لا يجوز لنا أن نتجاھل أن العدل فى الإسلام يحتل مركزا
محوريا مقدم على مبدأ الوحده. فالقرآن الكريم يؤكد على أن
على أھلنا فما بالنا إذن بالمسلم العادى،
إن علمية نقد الذات ھى قيمة منسية، واجب على المسلمين التمسك بھا لضمان الإخلاص للرسالة
الحقيقيه لھذا الدين. تبدأ عرقله ھذا الفكر من قبل سدنه الإسلام( الذين يختبئون خلف ستار توحيد
المسلمين) ويحولون التركيز من على المشاكل الأساسيه إلى عزوا أفعالھم القبيحه إلى الغرب وحده-
ھى النھج يخلق عقلا يؤمن بالمظلوميه-
إن لعقده المظلوميه أثرا فى حياة المسلمين أشبه بحال متعاطى الأفيون ، إنھا تخدره فى حال
اليقظه، ينبغى علينا إذن إنا كنا نزعم الالتزام بتعاليم القرآن ان نشخص التطرف وأن نعترف أن ھذه
الظاھره تنطبق على الناشطين والقاده فى الجاليه الذين يمثلون الإسلام اليوم.
فى الواقع، ھناك نمطين من التفسير ھما من أخطر الأفكار التى لوثت عقول المسلمين مثل الجراثيم،
وھما الفكر المتزمت، وھى عباره عن تفسير حرفى للنصوص بمعزل عن الأخلاق مثل الوھابيه
والتى كان لھا أثرا مدمرا على التعليم الإسلامي. والنوع الثانى ھو الإسلام السياسى ( استعملت ھذا
المصطلح رغما أننى كنت غير مقتنع باستخدامه لفتره من الوقت)
إن مصطلح الإسلام السياسى ھو عباره عن الإسلام ذاته مضاف إليه تركيبه سياسيه حديثه، ولكن
إذا كان الإسلام فى أصل ذاته سياسا فما الذى يفرق بينه وبين ھذا المصطلح.
إن الإسلام له بعد سياسى ، ومن يزعم غير ذلك فإنه يشوه الإسلام بإنكار جزء مھم أصيل فى
بنيته.ولكنى أرى أنه فى الوقت ذاته لم يأتى بأسلوب سياسى للحكم قائم على الوحى. ولكن بالإسلام
مبادئ سياسيه إرشاديه وليست إلزاميه فى طبيعتھا. إن الإسلام السياسى- الذى اختزل الإسلام فى
البعد السياسى- يناقض مع ما أفھمه من شموليه الإسلام والتى من بينھا البعد السياسى. ولھذا السبب
أعتبر أن ھذا المصطلح معلول. لم أكن أدرك ھذا المعنى بكل تجلياته إلا بعدما أشار ماجد نواز أن
الإسلام السياسى ما ھو إلا أيدولوجيا لتسيس الإسلام وفرض ھذا التفسير على الأخرين. إن من سمات
ھذا التفسير السياسى للإسلام الدكتاتوريه وعدم التسامح والتى أرى أنھا لا تتوافق كليه مع التراث
لقد رأيت آثار ھذين التيارين على عقول المسلمين على مدار العشرين سنة المنصرمه ولذا لم يثر
اندھاشى أن أرى أبناء المسلمين الذين ولدوا وترعرعوا فى الغرب ينضمون إلى صفوف داعش. إن
مرحلة التعبئه العقديه ( لھذين التيارين) تم التحضير لھا على مدار سنين طوال، وفكر داعش يمثل
للمسلمين تحديا كبيرا ليست بوصفه المرض ولكنه عرض من أعراض المرض. لا يكفى إذن من
الناحية الأخلاقيه أن ندين داعش فقط، ولكن حري بنا أولا أن أن نضع أيدنا على جوھر المشكله وأن
ندين التفسير الدينى السام والذى من شأنه إنبات ھذه الجماعات مثل داعش. وأخيرا، إذا كان الإسلام
ھو مجموع تراثه وتاريخه وتفسيراته، فنحن إذن فى مسيس الحاجه إسلام تنويري. وجزء جوھرى من
ھذا ھو مكافحة الفكر المتطرف وھو ما دفعنى أن التحق بمؤسسة كويليام.

QUILLIAM FOUNDATION’a katılma kararım fevkalade bir fikir uğraşı ve QUILLIAM’ın genel yöneticisi Haras Rafiq ile aylarca süren fikir teatilerini gerektirdi. Quilliam Foundation’ın geçmişte aldığı ve tasdik etmediğim bazı kararları ve organizasyonun temel varlık sebebini derinlemesine düşünmem gerekiyordu. Son tahlilde QF (Quilliam Foundation)’ın geçmişteki tartışmalı kararları ile değil de organizasyonun üzerinde kurulu olduğu değerler üzerinden tanımlanması gerektiği sonucuna vardım.
El Hakim el Cişumiyye el Beyhaki’nin (12’nci yüzyıl Hanefi Mu’tezile fakihi) ‘Şeytan Risalesi’ adlı kitabında şöyle bir soru sorması tesadüf olmasa gerek: ‘Eğer Şeytana Kıyamet Günü’nde konuşma hakkı verilse idi, kime şükranlarını sunardı?’ Beyhaki şu sonuca varır: Şeytan, irrasyonel, adaletsiz ve kerih şeyleri Allaha atfeden fikirleri kabullenen her bir Müslümana sitayiş ve teşekkür ederdi.’
Beyhaki bu sözleri ile günümüzden bahsediyor olabilirdi ve yanlış olmazdı. Günümüzde genel geçer İslam anlayışında akıldışı, etik olmayan ve bayağı ne kadar cihet varsa bunları öne çıkarıp İslamın etik içeriği boşaltılmaktadır. Peygamber Efendimiz’in (s.a.s.) ve yakın ashabının vefatlarından beri İslam geleneği içerisinde iki kampın arasında devamlı bir sürtüşme olmuştur, bu iki kamp rasyonalistler (‘akılcılar’) ve rasyonalizme karşı çıkanlar olarak ikiye ayrılmışlardır. Bunun temel sebebi politik ve ekonomik faktörlerdir, ki günümüzde ekonomik faktörler İslamı kimin temsil ettiği noktasında belirleyici olmaktadır. Günümüzde Müslüman topluluklarında gördüğümüz problemler bu tarihten gelen çekişmenin sonucudur. Bana göre, özellikle bu son bir kaç yılda Müslümanlar arasındaki ‘dini’ bir azınlık bahsi geçen rasyonalizm karşıtı ve temel etik kaidelerle uyuşmayan görüşleri ile öne çıkmıştır. Bu kişi ve grupların dini topluluklar üzerinde gayri nizami bir etkisi vardır, ve bu gruplar rasyonel/akılcı İslam’a sadece görünürde saygı göstermektedir. Örneğin, bir yandan İslam’ın akılcı bir din olduğu ilan ederken öte yandan dinden çıkan herkesin öldürülmesinin İslami olduğunu savunabilmektedirler. İslamın akıl ile uyumlu hangi yorumu olursa olsun evrensel insan haklarını ve herhangi bir dine girme ve dinden çıkma hakkını tanımak zorundadır. İslamın hakikaten rasyonel/akılcı olduğunu iddia ediyorsak, akılcılık bütün şeriatta gözlemlenebilmelidir. Erken dönem İslam alimleri (Hanefi-Maturidi/Mu’tezile alimleri gibi) bu [akılcılık] ruhu canlı tutmuşlardı, ta ki nüfuzları kaybolana dek.

Benim inançlarım ekseriyetle Hanefi-Maturidi ekolü ile aynı çizgidedir. Bu minvalde [Hanefi-Maturidi çizgisindeki gibi], insan aklı ve muhakemesinin, kutsal kitapların yardımı olmaksızın doğruyla yanlışı ayırt edebileceği düşüncesindeyim. Bu nokta akılcı ekollere vazgeçilmez bir imkan sunmuştur ve bu da şeriatta etik hükümlere varırken yön verici olmuştur. Klasik dönem Maturidi alimleri [mantık ve rasyonalite yönünden]problemli bir hadis ile karşılaştıklarında hadisin ‘otoritesini’ akıl ve mantığa aykırı buldukları için kabul etmezlerdi. Bunun aksi bir şekilde, anti-rasyonalist gelenekçiler bu tür bir yöntemi ‘bid’at’ olarak adlandırdılar ve Sünnet ve Hadis literatüründe herşeyin cevabının bulunabileceğine inandılar. Bahsi geçen farazi mantık açısından problemli hadis gelenekçiler tarafından mantık nokta-i nazarından bakılmaksızın senedine bakılarak ‘sahih’ olarak görüldü. Şahsen günümüzdeki İslam yorumlarının etik olmayan bakışaçıları ile dolu olmasının temel sebeplerinden birisi budur. Bununla birlikte, Maturidilerin bu yaklaşımı ‘her şey serbesttir [mantıksız görülen her kaynak gayri-sahihtir]’ demek değildir. Mantık bu noktada Kur’an’ın vaz ettiği değerler çerçevesinde değerlendirilmektedir. Bunu şöyle de ifade edebiliriz: ölçümüz hadis merkezli olmaktan çok Kur’an merkezli olmalıdır. Yüzyıllar içerisinde hadis, bizim rağmımıza, Kur’an ile eşdeğer bir epistemik konuma geldi. Dolayısıyla aslında benim akılla uyuşmadığı için eleştirel baktığım bazı ‘İslami’ görüşler aslıknda İslami gelenekte bulunmayan görüşler değil, bilakis, aslında unutulmaya yüz tutmuş akılcı/rasyonalist bir geleneksel İslami mirasla yeniden irtibat kurma denemeleridir. Bu gelenek, Hz. Aişe ve Hz. Ömer’in (radi’Allahu ‘anhum) akli ve mantıki prensiplere tabi tutulduğunda veya tartışmalı sonuçlara varan bazı şüpheli hadisleri kabul etmemesine kadar dayanmaktadır. Meşhur bir rivayette Hz. Aişe (radi’Allahu ‘anha) bir sahabenin rivayet ettiği, ‘kadınlar, kelbler gibi, namazı bozarlar’ diye tercüme edilebilecek şüpheli bir hadisi, kadınlarla köpekleri aynı kefede tarttığı için reddetmiştir. Bu olay, henüz Hadis alimlerinin feminizmden etkilenmeye başlamasından yüzyıllar önce vaki bulduğundan hayret vericidir!
‘Görüntüde akılcılık’ çok şaşırtıcıdır ve bu tür akılcı görünümlü görüşlere aykırı görüş beyan etmenin bir bedeli vardır. Aslında bu tarz kendi tanımlarıyla ‘dinin koruyucuları’nın her irtidat edenin katli, zaninin taşlanması vs minvalindeki yorumların sorgulanması durumunda sizi İslam’ı suçluyor gibi veya İslam hatalı imiş, veya Batıcı imişsiniz gibi göstermeleri sürpriz değildir. Bu statükoya karşı konulan insanlar sözlü saldırıya, asılsız suçlamalara ve iftiralar maruz kalmaktadır, ki ne zaman ki eleştirel konuşmaya başladım aynı tarz saldırıların hedefi haline geldim.
Ne zaman ki BBC Panorama’da bir belgeselde her irtidat edenin katli gibi durumları reddettim ve saldırgan aşırıcılık için dış politikaları suçlamanın tehlikeli ve dürüst olmayan bir tavır olduğunu söyledim (ki bu argüman genel geçer anlatı ile tamamen zıttır), bu tür saldırılarda artış meydana geldi.
Sonuç olarak, saldırı tehditlerinin hedefi oldum, hükümetin bir ajanı veya neo-con olduğum iftiraları ile yüzyüze geldim. Hükümetten hiç bir zaman yardım almadığım ve dış politikayı da eleştirdiğim hakikati hiç göz önünde bulundurulmadı. Bahsettiğim meseleleri tartışmak yerine yaptığım konuşmalardaki iddia edilen gizli ‘amacım’ hedef alınıp saldırıldı. Tabii ki bu taktik başkalarını dışlayan be tartışmaktan her halükârda kaçınan aşırıcı gruplar için yeni bir şey değil. Peki bu neden böyle?
Aşırıcılık / ekstremizm, her şekliyle, entelektüel olarak zayıftır ve kendi içlerinde bunu iyi biliyorlar. Ama bu sadece entelektüel dürüstlüğün olmayışı ile ilgili değil aynı zamanda psikolojik de bir olay.
Neden değişime karşı bu kertede bir mücadele var? İslam ve Müslüman karşıtı hislerin yüksek olduğu bir ortamda her hangi bir eleştirinin hoşa gitmemesi, şüphe ile karşılanması ve hatta ihanet ile eşdeğer görülmesi anlaşılır birşey. Fakat, gözden kaçırılan şey şu: İslam, adaleti ittihad/tevhid görevinden bile önde tutar. Kur’an bize vurgulayarak adalete ve hakikate şahitlik etmemiz gerektiğini, (bu ailelerimizin ve Müslümanların rağmına olsa bile) öğretir. Nefis muhasebesi, unutulan bir değerdir, ve Müslümanlar dinlerinin gerçek mesajına sadık olmalıdırlar.
‘Dinin koruyucuları’, ‘birlik dogması’ arkasına saklanarak bu tarz bir muhasebe düşüncesini engellemek ve bakış açımızı temel sorunlardan çevirmek istemekte ve bazı Müslümanların çirkin hareketlerinden dolayı sadece Batı’yı suçlamaktadırlar. Bunun tamamı kurban mentalitesinin bir parçasıdır. Kurban mentalitesi afyonun kullanıcıları üzerindeki etki gibi müslümanlar üzerinde etki etmektedir: onları uyuşturmakta ve sadece hareket kalıplarına indirgemektedir. Kur’an’ın öğretilerine gerçekten uyuyorsak, aşırıcılığı tespit edip bu gerçeğin günümüzde İslam adına konuştuğunu iddia eden aktivist dini gruplar ve dini liderler üzerinde etkisi olduğunu görebiliriz.
Aslında, Müslüman zihinlere bulaşan virüsü bulaştıran iki en önemli düşünce çizgibi şunlardır: Kutsal metnin literal okunmasında mütevellit etik kaygılardan uzak bir Püritanizm, yani misalen Vahhabilik ki İslami eğitimde felaketvari bir etkisi olmuştur. İkinci problem ise İslamizmdir (bir süre bu terimde mukni olmamama rağmen).
Islamizm, modern politika uzantılı İslam olarak anlaşılmaktadır, ama eğer İslam kökeninde politik ise, o zaman bu terim –İslamizm- İslam teriminden pek fark içermeyen ayrıntıda farklı bir terimdir. İslam’ın politik bir boyutu vardır, ve bunun aksini iddia etmek İslam’ın parçası olan bir şeyi gözardı edip İslam’ı çarpıtmaktır.
Şahsi görüşüm İslam’ın Allah tarafından gönderilen belirli bir yönetim sistemi vaz’etmediğidir. Fakat bununla birlikte İslam’ın politik bir değeri vardır ve bu politik değer ‘preskriptif’ değil açıklayıcıdır. İslamcılık/İslamizme göre İslam apolitiktir ve böylelikle politika ona eklemlenmelidir, fakat bu bana göre yanlıştır çünkü İslam’ın politik bir boyutu zaten vardır. Bu sebeple İslamizm terimini kullanımsız ve işe yaramaz buluyorum. Bununla birlikte, bu tartışmanın içeriğinde bir nüans bulunduğunu yakın zamanda fark ettim: Majid Nawaaz İslamizm’in politize bir İslam anlayışı olduğunu ve kendi anlayışını empoze etmeye çalıştığını söylediğinde tabir-i caiz ise jeton düştü. Bu ayrım doğru bir ayrım. Bu tarz bir politize İslam okuması tamamen totaliteryen ve hoşgörüsüzdür, ve İslam geleneğine bütünüyle terstir.
Son yirmi yılda bu iki trendin etkilerini Müslüman zihinlerde gördüm ve bu yüzden Batı’da büyüyüp yetişmiş Müslümanların İŞİD’e katılmalarına şaşırmıyorum. Bunun teolojik temeli yıllar öncesinde oluşturuldu ve İŞİD’in ideolojisi Müslümanlar için büyük bir tehdit oldu, çünkü İŞİD esas problem değil sadece problemin işaretçisi ve semptomudur.
Sadece İŞİD’i lanetlemek etik olarak yeterli değildir; İŞİD gibi oluşumların oluşmasına sebep olan zehirli teolojinin kalbine de darbe vurmalıyız. Son tahlilde, eğer İslam geleneği, tarihi ve yorumu bu teolojiye gidiyorsa bu da demektir ki özünde İslami bir Aydınlanmaya çok muhtacız. Bu çabanın önemli bir parçası aşırıcılıkla mücadele etmektir, ve tam da bu sebeple Quilliam Foundation’a katılmaya karar verdim.


My decision to join Quilliam Foundation has required a great deal of thought and months of discussion with Quilliam’s Managing Director, Haras Rafiq. I had to think deeply about past decisions that Quilliam (QF) as an organisation has made that I haven’t necessarily supported and also about the core ethos of the organisation. I have come to the conclusion that QF shouldn’t be defined by controversial decisions of the past but by the values upon which the organisation is founded upon. It may not be coincidence that al-Hakim al-Jishumiyya al-Bayhaqi (a Hanafi Mu’Tazili jurist from the 12th century) in his book ‘Satan’s Epistle’ asks: “if Satan were given the chance to speak on the Day of Judgment, whom would he pay tribute to?”  Al Bayhaqi concludes that Satan would end up praising and thanking every Muslim who adapted ideas that attributed to God things that were irrational, unjust or hideous.  Al Bayhaqi could very well be speaking about current times.[1]   The prevailing dominant reading of Islam is one that upholds aspects that are irrational, immoral and vulgar, emptying Islam of its ethical content. Ever since the death of the Prophet (pbuh) and his close companions there has been a perpetual tussle between two camps within the Islamic tradition, the rationalists and anti-rationalists and unfortunately, due to mainly political-economical factors, the latter now have a stronghold on who represents Islam. The very troubles we see facing the Muslim community today are symptomatic of this tension. For me, the last few years in particular have brought to light a ‘religious’ minority of Muslims whose interpretation of Islam is anti-rationalistic and at odds with basic ethical principles. These protagonists have a disproportionate stronghold on the religious community and merely provide lip service to a rational Islam. For example, they proclaim that Islam is a rational religion whist also arguing that the killing of apostates is Islamic. Any interpretation of Islam to be congruent with reason must recognise universal human rights and the freedom to leave or join any religion. To truly claim Islam is rational, the traction of reason must run through the entire Sharia. Early Islamic scholars like the Hanafi Maturidi/Mu`tazila had kept this spirit alive until their influence was lost.

My convictions are very much in line with the Hanafi Maturidi school of thought. In particular, that human reason, unaided by scripture, can arrive at what is morally right and wrong. This position has provided the rationalist schools with an essential tool to guide the Sharia when arriving at ethical rulings. When classical Maturidi scholars were faced with a problematic Hadith they would override its ‘authority’ since it was at odds with reason. In opposition, the anti-rationalist traditionists regarded this way of approaching scripture as an ‘innovation’ and believed that all answers were to be found in the Sunna, namely in the Hadith (narrations of the Prophet (pbuh)). The very same problematic Hadith would be considered authentic simply based on its chain of narration by the traditionalists.  For me, this is one of the reasons why interpretations of Islam are now plagued with unethical views. That said, the Maturidi position must not be mistaken for the view that it’s a free for all, reason works within a framework outlined by the values promoted by the Qur’an.  Another way of expressing this is that our ethos should be more Qur’an focused rather than Hadith focused. Over centuries the Hadith, to our detriment, has acquired the same epistemic position as the Quran. And so my so-called outspoken views criticising ‘Islamic’ positions on the basis that they contravene reason is not alien to the Islamic tradition, as some have suggested, but is really an attempt to reconnect to a forgotten rationalist heritage of the Islamic tradition. A tradition that goes back to the wife and the companions of the Prophet (pbuh), such as Aisha and Umar (may God be pleased with them), who rejected alleged Hadith if they conflicted with sound principles, rationale or lead to objectionable conclusions. Famously Aisha (may God be pleased with her) rejected a narration by a companion saying women like dogs broke the prayer, on the basis of comparing women to dogs, and this was well before any notion of feminist thinking influenced Hadith scholars!

This facade of rational double-talk is striking to say the least and challenging these views comes with a price. It comes as little surprise that these self-proclaimed protectors of the faith regard the questioning of positions such as apostasy killing, stoning adulteress etc. akin to accusing Islam of being flawed or placatory to the West. Those that speak out against this status quo are side-lined, fervently attacked and smeared; ever since I started being critical even I have been on the receiving end of such attacks.

This was particularly heightened when I appeared on a BBC Panorama documentary and I explicitly condemned apostasy killings and argued that it was dangerous and dishonest to blame foreign policy for violent extremism (an argument entirely at odds with the dominant narrative).

Consequently, I have been on the receiving end of threats of violence, I have been smeared as a government stooge and as a neo-con. The fact that I had never received any government funding and was critical of foreign policy wasn’t even taken into consideration. Rather than debate the issues I had raised they attacked the alleged  ‘motive’ I had for making such remarks. Of course this tactic is nothing new with extremists, who like to denounce others and avoid debate at all costs. Why?

Extremism, in all its forms, is intellectually a weak position and deep down they know it.  But it’s not always to do with intellectual dishonesty as psychology plays a part too. Why is there so much resistance to change? Well in a climate where anti-Muslim sentiments are worryingly growing it is understandable that any type of criticism is frowned upon and is regarded with suspicion and treachery. However, what is overlooked is that Islam holds to the primacy of justice even over the duty of unity. The Qur’an emphatically instructs us that we should bear witness to justice and testify to the truth, this is even against our own families, not to mention fellow Muslims. Critical introspection, a forgotten virtue, is necessary for Muslims to be faithful to the true message of their faith. Again, the ‘vanguards’ of Islam (hiding behind the dogma of unity) want to obstruct such thought, divert our focus away from crucial problems and want to blame the ugly actions of Muslims on the West alone – all part of the creation of a victimhood mentality.  A victimhood complex transforms Muslims into a state akin to that which opium does to users: sedated and merely going through the motions. If we are true to the Qur’anic teaching, then we will diagnose that extremism and acknowledge that this phenomenon has a grip on the activist religious community and on religious leaders, who claim to speak on behalf of Islam today.

In fact, the two most important strands of thought that have infected Muslim minds like a virus are:   Puritanism – a literal reading of scripture that is divorced from ethics e.g. Wahhabism, which has had a disastrous impact on Islamic education. The other problem is Islamism, although for some time I was unconvinced of this term.  Islamism is deemed as Islam with a modern political appendage but if Islam in origin is political, then the term is nothing more than a distinction without a difference. Islam has a political dimension, and to claim it doesn’t, means distorting Islam by ignoring something that is inherently part of it. It is my view that Islam does not have a divinely ordained system of governance, but has political value and is descriptive not prescriptive in nature. Islamism, understood as Islam that is apolitical, is at odds with my understanding of Islam inclusive of a political dimension. For this reason, I regarded the very term defunct. Having said this, I have come to realise that there is a nuance to the discussion that I have overlooked up until recently and it was only when Majid Nawaaz pointed out that Islamism is a politicized Islam that seeks to impose its understanding on others then the penny dropped. This is a distinction that holds ground. This type of politicised reading of Islam is ultimately totalitarian and intolerant and is at odds with the Islamic tradition in its entirety.

Over the last twenty years I have seen the effects that these two trends have had on Muslim minds and it comes as no surprise that Muslims born and brought up in the West travel to join ISIS. The theological stage was set for many years and the ideology of ISIS is one that presents a great challenge to the Muslim because ISIS is not ultimately the problem, but is the symptom of the problem. To merely condemn ISIS is not ethically sufficient we must strike at the heart and condemn the very toxic theology that gives rise to such entities like ISIS in the first place. Ultimately, if Islam is its tradition, its history and its interpretation then we are in desperate need of Islam’s own Enlightenment. An important part of that work is countering extremism and it is for that very reason that I have decided to join the Quilliam Foundation.









[1] Khalid Abou El Fadl, The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books, p. 191


The latest news suggests yet another British Muslim family has traveled to join ISIS from the UK. We are told that the family consists of three sisters and nine children, the largest family to have migrated to Syria so far. Such news has left many commentators bewildered.  Why on earth would women, particularly mothers, drag their children to a war-torn country to live under the control of ISIS, a group notorious for barbaric acts?  Read Full Article