RECOMMENDED READING: "Contextualising Islam in Britain: Exploratory Perspectives"By
A Cambridge Islamic Studies Center founded by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has issued a report titled “Contextualising Islam in Britain: Exploratory Perspectives.” The conclusions of the report appear to closely following the global Muslim Brotherhood doctrine on interpretation of Islamic concepts such as Jihad. As a previous post discussed, deceiving the public about the nature of Jihad is an important component of Brotherhood rhetorical tactics
2. DECEPTION- In order to defend Islam (Islamism) from charges that it is inherently violent/terroristic, the Brotherhood deceives the public about the nature of Jihad. This is necessary because Jihad plays an important role for Islamism and the Brotherhood and if the connection between Islam and violence is to be denied, Jihad must be explained away. Again, the Brotherhood represents the “Jihadism” of the Islamists as opposed to the “classical Jihad” of Islam but since that distinction is also lost on the public, the Brotherhood defends Jihad. It does so usually in one of two ways, sometimes employing both deceptions. First, the Brotherhood claims that Jihad has little or no connection to violence and warfare (i.e. there is no “Holy War”), and is instead akin to various forms of inner struggle or self-improvement. Second, the Brotherhood suggests that Jihad is a form of “freedom fighting”, even comparing Jihad to the American Revolution. Lately, there has been a suggestion that Jihad should be replaced with the term “Hirabah” which, if successful, would represent a victory for the Brotherhood deception strategy
The most frequent public use of the term Jihad by global Muslim Brotherhood leaders is in connection with calls for boycotts and violence against Israel.
The report issued by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies (CIS), Cambridge explains Jihad as follows:
Jihad in its true sense is a key part of active citizenship. It means a positive ethical struggle: for example, striving for social justice, fighting against poverty, or making efforts to reform oneself. Jihad has recently been the subject of intense debate, partly because of the abhorrent misrepresentations promoted by some misguided groups from Muslim communities. In some, stringently defined, circumstances, jihad means the legitimate use of force to defend oneself. However, it is important to stress that Islam is opposed to all forms of terrorism, regardless of who sponsors them. While all legal systems recognize self- defence as a legitimate rationale for the use of force, it is clear that foreign conflicts cannot justify violence in Britain. The geographical and historical context to some Qur’anic verses, such as those that mention violence, need to be explained so that the verses are understood in the context within which they were revealed. There are many ways to respond to oppression other than by fighting. While there are strong emotions about certain foreign conflicts and political situations, due to the secular, pluralist and democratic nature of modern Britain, the struggle against injustice can take many forms, such as lobbying, activism, and writing. British Muslims should take advantage of these opportunities. This is part of what it means to be a good citizen – but will only become a reality when backed up by education, access to resources, and the self-confidence that these enable.
Another passage from the report is similar:
Jihad has recently been the subject of intense debate, partly because of the abhorrent misrepresentations promoted by some misguided individuals and groups from within Muslim communities. In some, stringently defined, circumstances, jihad means the legitimate use of force to defend oneself or to remove a greater evil. In classical Islamic thought, there was a rigorous legal framework for the legitimate use of force – similar to the international law framework today. Islam is opposed to all forms of terrorism, regardless of who sponsors them. While all legal systems recognise self-defence as a legitimate rationale for the use of force, it is clear that foreign conflicts cannot justify violence in Britain. Both suicide and suicide bombings are absolutely forbidden (haram) in Islam. There are many ways to respond to oppression other than by fighting. The struggle against injustice can take many forms, such as lobbying, demonstrating, writing and discussing. However, many young people lack the confidence or the skills to protest in these ways; this is an area where more work needs to be done.
An Arab business publication reported in January that the newly founded CIS had been part of a $30 million grant from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal that was also to establish a similar center at Edinburgh University.
Previous posts have discussed Prince Talal’s donations to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), both part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, as well as his support of the Georgetown University Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CCMU), run by long-time Muslim Brotherhood supporter Dr. John Esposito. Prince Talal has also made numerous financial contributions to a pan-Islamic interfaith dialog organization that is closely tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood and which has an antisemitic statement posted on its website. In March 2008, the Kingdom Foundation established by Prince Talal was one of the sponsors of a conference held by the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP), a new international Islamic philanthropic organization with strong Muslim Brotherhood representation.
The director of the Cambridge CIS and project leader for the report is Professor Yasir Suleiman. Professor Suleiman is part of the Advisor Board for the U.K. Association of Muslim Social Scientists, the U.K. partner of the American organization by the same name which is headquartered at the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The AMSS was founded in 1972 as an outgrowth of the Muslim Student Association by important members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood including Jamal Barzinji, currently a leader of IIIT, and the late Ismail Faruqi, a pivotal figure in the “Islamization of Knowledge” project. The AMSSUK Advisory Board includes other individuals tied to the global Brotherhood including:
- Mustafa Ceric (Grand Mufti of Bosnia)
- Charles Butterworth (University of Maryland)
- Khurshid Ahmed Pakistani (Jamaat-d-Islami)
- Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens)
- Lord Ahmed of Rotherham