UI – Part 318 – Al Sissi – Religious Revolution
A Call for Islamic Reform
“Well it is time, and especially stop this abominable Arab-Muslim paranoia about Israel and the manipulation of the masses by a shameful and deceitful propaganda – Stop backwardness and ignorance!” – al Sissi – President of Egypt
Al Sissi’s[i] popularity is growing. The Muslim Brotherhood (‘MB’) remains hunkered down in Egypt in retreat, reflective of the on-again-off-again history of this terrorist organization since its birth in 1924.
Al Sissi’s voice is one that may be heard as a call to reform. Islamic reform is needed, but whether the fundamentalists can ever be convinced is, in my mind, doubtful. The end point for a peaceful world for Islam is to embrace modernity. Ataturk did this after WWI in Turkey. The Burkas and Hijabs were removed. A productive society was the objective. Islam became more a cultural heritage than an imposed religion. There was tolerance, pluralism and improved human rights, especially for women. Egypt, a non-tribal Arab nation, may provide for the greatest opportunity for success today.
Beware however, those now living as citizens of Turkey. Your President, Erdogan, is more a fundamentalist (Islamist) than not. He has called for the education system to focus anew on the children, teaching the Quran and the foundations of Islam at the earliest grades. It is to be a requirement. He wants to change Turkey and have it revert to the days of the Ottoman Empire when it was at the head of Islam worldwide. Erdogan also continues to support the MB.
Al Sissi is disturbing to the MB, the AQ franchisees, ISIS, and fundamentalists wherever they lurk. Adherents of Wahhab, Maududi, and Qtub will cower at the idea of not killing infidels. What sport would remain? What to do with all those bomb laden vests and IEDs? How can Allah accept locales where pagans, infidels, can live, and espouse freedom, with Muslims? This is the hurdle over which Islam must jump. Can it jump that high?
No 7th century for this 21st century Egypt.
Islam needs a new covenant. Will al-Sissi be its scribe? You know there will be a fatwa for his head upon his first public proclamation of reform. He may have already done this. On December 28, 2014 he spoke at a Coptic Church. On January 1, 2015 at a speech at Al Azhar University in Cairo he called for an (Islamic) Religious Revolution. From his remarks, “It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma (Islamic World) to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!”
Admittedly on Jan 22, 2015 al Sissi during a speech in Davos backtracked somewhat, in all liklihood under pressure from the fundamentalist community at Azhar University, or as a result of having a different audience where he appealed also for respect for “each others cultures and beliefs.” He however urged the international community to join forces regarding security, information and social media uses by the extremists. Still he calls for the adoption of modernity within the Islamic world and understanding of the causes of Islamic terrorism. The MB is a cause for much of what is evidenced today by violent Islam and he has vowed during his Presidency (Egypt) that the Muslim Brotherhood is ‘finished.’
Blame the West
The West may be seen as Satan influencing Egypt with the thoughts of Freedom, prosperity, and stability. Oddly though America’s President (Obama) was not a supporter of al Sissi. Obama preferred the MB leader, Morsi. Obama remains soft on the MB. The MB has placed many of its agents in the United States, most prominent among them in organizations such as C.A.I.R. and Muslim Student Associations (MSAs). In the ME the MB is called a terrorist organization. Those words have not been spoken about the MB by Obama. What is wrong with this picture? Will Allah have a problem with reform?
Al Sissi is not calling for a revolution with guns blazing. But that’s what it may require. My sense is this revolution requires cultural reform that allows neighbor to live side-by-side with neighbor, regardless of their belief or convictions. Governments in the Middle East, and elsewhere, must rule for the common good of everyone, not the common good of the Islamists or Muslim moderate alone. No more beheadings, no more restrictions of education (such as for women), no more protecting Muslims when they violate the rights of a Coptic Christian, any Christian or Jew. No more hatred of Israel. No more hatred of America or the West. No more great Satan and little Satan. No more hatred of Freedom.
Proselytizing by other faiths must be permitted. What has become sacred to the Islamists, those referred to as ‘Islam’s guardians and articulators’, must be changed. They too must respect what is sacred to others. Skeptics say that is impossible. Interpretations of texts and ideas must be different, totally so from what is today a reflection of Sura 60.4. [“We disbelieve in you and there has arisen enmity and hatred between us and you forever (the Infidels) until you believe in Allah alone.”]
In Davos al-Sissi softened his commentary with the statement, “While the articles of Islamic faith are immutable, there is a need for a new kind of discourse among Muslims.”
All the world will not have to be for Allah if reform, the revolution called for by al-Sissi, occurs. Tolerance needs to be a byword. Muslims must assimilate with others. Multiculturalism will reign, separatism will diminish. A country’s Constitution will be honored. Sharia Law will not be the requirement for Muslims when not in a Sharia compliant culture. Allah must not see the infidel as an enemy. Can Allah love a non-Muslim neighbor? Can the Islamist put down their weapons and hold hands with those not of the same belief? Can honor killings become a diabolic action of the past? Can hearts be changed?
For there to be such a reformation other ME leaders must also speak out – from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, and so on. Al Sissi cannot stand alone in this effort. He struck a match, but will it be extinguished before the candle is lit?
The Day of Judgment, when God would arrive to intervene decisively in the affairs of nations, some say, is on the horizon. The various Islamic factions, from AQ to MB to ISIS, and so on, are as the Assyrians and Babylonians at the time, 500 to 700 years, before Christ. Those who have not honored God are to be punished, but by God, the acts of man just showing the barbaric toll possible on the disbelievers; a test of faith and a reflection on their failure to uphold God’s commandments. The venal acts are from black hearts that may claim an association with the Almighty, but for sinful, selfish reasons, not as a true believer. The fruit of God’s garden has been spoiled and must be uprooted and replanted with fresh seeds. The debate is over identifying the bad fruit; is it ISIS (etc.) or the West (free nations)?
Where there is tolerance there exists a blend of good and bad fruit, yet the opportunity presents itself to improve the crop before it has totally gone bad. Christ made that possible. He provided the ultimate herbicide that cleaned the seeds and the fruit of its inherent nature to rot. All can be good if accepting of the spray and made right with the gardener.
Grace and Peace
[i] Also spelled Al-Sisi