Friday, September 12, 2014

Will the Real Islam Please Stand Up?

In a prime-time speech to the nation aired on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama took a forceful, almost doctrinal stance on distinguishing the Islamic group ISIL from the religion of Islam in the mind of the American public. "ISIL is not Islamic," he opined. "No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslim." The President's comment is merely one in a string to be issued by various Muslim authorities, such as Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, in recent days.

Former Muslims, however, disagree. Recently, a man using the alias "Brother Rachid" - as an apostate from Islam, he has to hide his identity due to the very real threat of being killed - wrote an open letter to President Obama imploring that he stop appeasing Muslims and expose the root of the problem threatening us all: Islam itself. 

A Message to President Obama from a Former Muslim 
'Brother Rachid'
'Brother Rachid'
Dear Mr. President, 
With all due respect, sir, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL. You say, "ISIL speaks for no religion." I'm a former Muslim. My dad is an imam. I spent more than 20 years studying Islam. I hold a bachelor's degree in religious studies, and I'm in the middle of my master's degree in terrorism studies. I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam.  

Allow me to correct you, Mr. President. ISIL is a Muslim organization. Its name stands for 'Islamic State'. So, even the name suggests that it is an Islamic movement. Their leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, holds a Ph.D. in Islamic studies. I doubt you know Islam better than he does. He was a preacher and religious leader in one of the local mosques in Baghdad. ISIL's 10,000 members are all Muslims. None of them are from any other religion. They come from different countries, and have one common denominator: Islam. They are following Islam's prophet Muhammad in every detail. They imitate him by growing their beards, shaving their mustaches, and in the way they dress. They follow his command in the Hadith to differentiate themselves from the 'infidels' by wearing their watches on the right instead of the left hand (Sahih Muslim, Book 2, Hadith 69). They implement sharia in every piece of land they conquer. They pray five times a day. They have called for a califate, which is a central doctrine in Sunni Islam, and they are willing to die for their religion. They are following the steps of Islam's prophet Muhammad to the letter. By the way, if you want to understand ISIL, read the oldest biography of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq. This is their model for action.  
You think that ISIL does not speak for Islam, because they beheaded an American and they killed those they consider infidels. In the same way, Islam's prophet Muhammad beheaded, in one day, between 600 and 900 adult males of a Jewish tribe called Banu Qurayza. In fact, beheading is commanded in the Quran, in Sura 47:4. It says, "When you meet the unbelievers and fight, smite at their necks." Ironically, this Sura is called "The Sura of Muhammad". Killing prisoners is also an order from Allah to Muhammad and to all Muslims. It says, "It is not for a prophet to have captives of war until he inflicts a massacre upon Allah's enemies in the land (Sura 8:67). And, by the way, three of Muhammad's wives were Jewish girls he kidnapped during his raids on religious minorities, just as ISIL is doing today. 
Mr. President, I grew up in Morocco, supposedly a 'moderate' country. Yet, I still learned at a young age to hate the 'enemies of Allah', especially Jews and Christians. These are represented today by Israel and the West, especially the 'Great Satan', America. I prayed five times a day, repeating Al-Fatiha, the first chapter of the Quran, asking Allah to lead me not in the way of those who 'went astray', and those who 'have the wrath of Allah upon them'. We all knew that it meant Jews and Christians. We have been brainwashed to hate all of you in our sacred texts, in our prayers, in our Friday sermons, in our educational systems.  We were ready to join any group that, one day, would fight you and destroy you, and make Islam the religion of the whole world, as the Quran says (Sura 9:39). 
This is what I and millions like me have been taught. Mr. President, this is an irrefutable fact. Fortunately, when I grew up, I chose to leave Islam and become a Christian, because I believe that God is love. Others also left, and still everyday they are leaving Islam and choosing different paths for their lives. All of them are suffering today because, again, Islam's prophet Muhammad says, "Whoever changes his religion, kill him" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 88, Hadith 5). I left Morocco under persecution. I was fortunate. Others throughout the Muslim world do not have the same opportunity. They are paying a heavy price, in different ways, in order to get their freedom one day. I ask you, Mr. President, to stop being 'politically correct', to call things by their names. ISIL, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab in Somalia, the Taliban, and their sister brand-names are all 'Made in Islam'. Unless the Muslim world deals with Islam, and separates religion from the state, we will never end this cycle. Until you deal with the root of the problem, you will be just dealing with the symptoms. ISIL is just one symptom. If it disappears, others ISIL's will be born under different names. 
You might ask, "Then why does ISIL kill other Muslims?" The answer is that they consider them infidels, not Muslims. Do you know that all four schools in Islam agree that, if a Muslim stops praying, he should be asked to repent, and if he does not, he should be killed? Do you know that Muhammad tried to burn his own companions when they stopped coming to prayers (Sahih Muslim, Book 5, Hadith 321)? So, anything that qualifies a Muslim to be an infidel can be a reason for killing him, even neglecting to pray. If Islam is not the problem, then why is it that there are millions of Christians in the Middle East, and yet none of them has ever blown himself up to become a martyr, even though they live under the same economic and political circumstances, and even worse? Why have many Muslims in the West also joined ISIL if Islam is not the reason? Why have even new converts to Islam become terrorists?  
Mr. President, if you really want to fight terrorism, then fight it at the root. How many Saudi sheikhs are preaching hatred? How many Islamic channels are indoctrinating people and teaching them violence from the Quran and the Hadith? How many Friday sermons are made against the West, freedom and democracy? How many Islamic schools are producing generations of teachers and students who believe in jihad, in martyrdom, in fighting the 'infidels'? And, finally, how many websites are funded by governments - your allies - who have sheikhs who issue fatwas against basic human rights? If you want to fight terrorism, start from there.  
By the way, I do not give my full name because Islam is a "religion of peace". I'm known around the whole world as 'Brother Rachid', and I implore you to take a stand for international human rights and the future of democracy and to speak the truth about the real threat that is facing all of us.  
Best regards, 
'Brother Rachid'

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