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By Abdelouahed Oulgout Tinjdad, Morocco, March 22, 2012 As I was reading Shariah, the Threat to America, a ‘report’ published by the Center for Security Policy in the United States, 2010, I felt a terrible headache because of the manifold lies and allegations intentionally embedded in the ‘report’ and served to devilise the image of Islam and Muslims in the collective mind of the American society, especially the non-muslims. The ‘report’, which is known as the ‘report’ of Team B II, was described to be an ‘Exercise in Competitive Analysis’; yet a modest critical endeavor of any ordinary reader would conclude that the ‘report’ was no analysis in the sense of logical reasoning and scientific view, but an exercise in competitive misrepresentation of Islam in the American media. What is so ridiculous about this as the report’s preface embarks on is that „This study is the result of months of analysis, discussion and drafting by a group of top security policy experts concerned with the preeminent totalitarian threat of our time: the legal-politicalmilitary doctrine known within Islam as shariah. It is designed to provide a comprehensive and articulate “second opinion” on the official characterizations and assessments of this threat as put forth by the United States government.‟ It’s funny that those ideological hocks, whom the report refers to as ‘top experts’, had to spend all that time to look into what they had already infused their minds with. And it’s evident here that the main thesis of the ‘report’ is that the Islamic Shariah is the number one threat endangering the US security, and thus the United States must recognize this enemy— both in its ‘ Jihadist’ and ‘stealth’ version—and take a defensive strategy against it. In this way, Newt Gingrich—the 2012 US presidential candidate, whose film America At Risk was produced to convince the American government and the security officials to name their enemy and stop their nameless war againstterrorism— states, ‘If evil cannot be called by name, we will not be able to deter—or even recognize—threats to our nation.’ That is, the United States government should believe that the non-existent threat of Shariah is real and should be thought of as a devil, so grievous and threatening to the American existence and security.
This is how the ‘report’ begins to develop its myths about Shariah. The latter, according to the ‘report’, is ‘the legal-political-military doctrine within Islam’. This mythical triangle reveals the radical ignorance of the broad significance of Shariah in Islam, and it only demonstrates that these ideological players, who are the very part of the American Islamophobia network nowadays, are still driven by a power-oriented mentality in which power, Edward Said states, is ‘the only language they understand.’ Misreporting the facts about Islam is one of the most addictive habits of the modern American Orientalism, whose role has been to brainwash the mass as well as the government officials and prompts them to act aggressively and indiscriminately against Muslims, especially those inside America. Another lie made by the ‘experts’ is that ‘Shariah’s adherents are making a determined, sustained, and well-financed effort to impose it on all Muslims and non-Muslims, alike’. It’s a pity that they fail to understand that the Islamic belief as far as Shariah is concerned addresses only those who freely and willingly believe in it. Non-Muslims are not required to believe in Allah and his prophet (PBUH); they are not ordered to pray, give zakat, fast in Ramadan, go to pilgrimage, or eat and drink in our way, marry according to Shariah…etc. Any practice related to their personal affairs is free provided that it doesn’t violate the public morals, order and system in the Muslim society. The only mentioned Islamic legislation which concerns the non-Muslims within a Muslim community according to the Shariah doctrine is the Jizya, the little amount of money a non-Muslim inside a Muslim society has to pay annually to the Islamic State to benefit from its civic and security services. Apart from this, all non-Muslims within an Islamic State have all freedom to believe in what they want, establish their temples, and practice their religion and rituals without any kind of aggression, fanaticism, racism, or persecution against them. Yet the concept of Shariah as represented in the ‘report’ leaves out all the details and components which are first and foremost pertained to the spiritual and civic order of Muslims. It just picks theJihad branch and frames it within the circle of threat, terrorism, and murder, overlooking the fact that Jihad in the Quran and Hadith (the sayings of Allah and his prophet, which are the basic two sources of Islamic legislation) orders the Muslims to strive to improve themselves toward righteousness, goodness, and piety. Yes, it is true that the Islamic Shariah includes a branch related to military Jihad, as any modern state today has a ministry for security and defense; yet, its utmost goal and background has never been to enforce others to believe in what they don’t, for the Quran clearly states, “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.” (Quran 2:256) And it’s Allah also who states,
“And if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity.” (5:32) The main goal of Military Jihad in Islam is to protect Muslims, their co-existent nonMuslims, and the Islamic state from any local or foreign hostility. And when compelled to engage in wars,Mujahidin must adhere to the numerous obligations and morals in the Military Jihad doctrine, which determines the honorable reason they should fight for, the respectful way they should treat the enemy, the prisoners, the wounded, the women, the children, the elderly, and even the environment. It’s a pity that such reports misread the Islamic history —particularly the biography of the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) — and de-contextualize and misinterpret its legislative texts so that the facts fit their pre-made, politicized, ideological judgments. Alas, the report goes on reechoing the same rhetoric, painting as many myths as possible about Shariah. And on the basis of this myth and false claim, the report ceased the occasion to attack the Quran, Hadith, Muslim history and scholars, Muslim Brotherhoods…etc, misrepresenting as more facts as possible, claiming that the socalled the threat of Shariah ‘is the mainstream doctrine of shariah that constitutes the threat to the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms it enshrines.’ The report goes further quoting John Quincy Adams’ saying that ‘as the essential principle of [Mohammed’s] faith is the subjugation of others by the sword; it is only by force, that his false doctrines can be dispelled, and his power annihilated.’(Look John Quincy Adams’ 136-page series of essays on Islam). The report concludes, after two long chapters of fiction and deception, by blaming America for not yet understanding the nature and credibility of the threat endangering America, detailing some recommendation to keep it secure and Shariah-free. The report states: „U.S. policy-makers, financiers, businessmen, judges, journalists, community leaders and the public at large must be equipped with an accurate understanding of the nature of shariah and the necessity of keeping America shariah-free.‟ It is a call for any ideological hock in America to believe that Shariah is a real threat and to stand ‘by force’ against this ‘revolutionary ideology’ to which Muslims are adherents. In this way, the Islamophobia network and players continue to broadcast their lies about Islam and Muslims via mass media, leading to a kind of mass deception-just like the weapons of mass destruction- among Americans. What is worse about this, however, is that the act of manufacturing fear of Islam has been turning into different forms of discrimination and physical aggression against Islam and Muslims. It’s no wonder, therefore, to hear news here and there about Quran burning, insulting caricatures about the prophet of Islam (PBUH), vandalism against mosques and Islamic centers, hijab ban, and so on and so forth.
What is so ironical about this, though, is that the perpetual campaigns of Islamophobia network against Shariah and Muslims have but triggered the collective mind’s curiosity and eager all around the West to explore Islam, Shariah, and other misrepresented concepts; and thus, a widespread movement of conversion to Islam is emerging, not out of the terrorist attacks of the so-calledJihadists, but because of the individuals’ personal experience of Religion and life. Abdelouahed Oulgout is a Moroccan English teacher, software designer, English essay and Creative writer, public speaker, and Arabic poet. He got his BA degree at the faculty of letters, the university of Moulay Ismail, Meknes. He had been once a member-founder and ex-leader of English Committee for Dialogue and Communication at the same university. He is working on different intellectual projects on issues like Orientalism, Islamophobia, and epistemology. (email@example.com)
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