Cleric links radical Islamists with violence and segregation
Western politicians should stop pretending that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam, a top Muslim cleric in Indonesia has said.
According to this Time report, Yahya Cholil Staquf, 51, above, said:
There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terrorism, and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot gain victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam.
He was speaking in an interview first published last month in German in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The cleric, described as being “among Indonesia’s most influential Islamic leaders” said:
Radical Islamic movements are nothing new. They’ve appeared again and again throughout our own history in Indonesia. The West must stop ascribing any and all discussion of these issues to ‘Islamophobia’. Or do people want to accuse me – an Islamic scholar – of being an Islamophobe too?
Asked what basic assumptions within traditional Islam are problematic, Staquf replied:
The relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims, the relationship of Muslims with the state, and Muslims’ relationship to the prevailing legal system wherever they live … Within the classical tradition, the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims is assumed to be one of segregation and enmity.
Perhaps there were reasons for this during the Middle Ages, when the tenets of Islamic orthodoxy were established, but in today’s world such a doctrine is unreasonable.
To the extent that Muslims adhere to this view of Islam, it renders them incapable of living harmoniously and peacefully within the multi-cultural, multi-religious societies of the 21st century.
Told that a Western politician would likely be accused of racism for saying what he just said, he replied:
I’m not saying that Islam is the only factor causing Muslim minorities in the West to lead a segregated existence, often isolated from society as a whole. There may be other factors on the part of the host nations, such as racism, which exists everywhere in the world. But traditional Islam – which fosters an attitude of segregation and enmity toward non-Muslims – is an important factor.
Asked whether calls by radicals – including by ISIS – to establish a caliphate, is un-Islamic, he replied:
No, it is not. [ISIS’s] goal of establishing a global caliphate stands squarely within the orthodox Islamic tradition. But we live in a world of nation-states. Any attempt to create a unified Islamic state in the 21st century can only lead to chaos and violence … Many Muslims assume there is an established and immutable set of Islamic laws, which are often described as shariah.
This assumption is in line with Islamic tradition, but it of course leads to serious conflict with the legal system that exists in secular nation-states.
He went on to say that over the past 50 years, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have spent massively to promote their ultra-conservative version of Islam worldwide.
After allowing this to go unchallenged for so many decades, the West must finally exert decisive pressure upon the Saudis to cease this behavior … I admire Western, especially European, politicians. Their thoughts are so wonderfully humanitarian. But we live in a time when you have to think and act realistically.
The last time I was in Brussels I witnessed some Arab, perhaps North African, youth insult and harass a group of policemen. My Belgian friends remarked that such behavior has become an almost everyday occurrence in their country. Why do you allow such behavior? What kind if impression does that make? Europe, and Germany in particular, are accepting massive numbers of refugees.
Don’t misunderstand me: of course you cannot close your eyes to those in need. But the fact remains that you’re taking in millions of refugees about whom you know virtually nothing, except that they come from extremely problematic regions of the world.