New Civilization News: A Brave Muslim Scholar    
 A Brave Muslim Scholar11 comments
3 Jun 2004 @ 14:35, by Bruce Kodish

Professor Khaleel Mohammed rejects the fanatical, narrow, antisemitic and anti-zionist political ideology (Islamism) that threatens to become mainstream among Muslims.

For, you see, according to Professor Mohammed, the Koran actually teaches that Israel belongs to the Jews.

The Koran and the Jews

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5 Jun 2004 @ 01:56 by b : Good find, Bruce
Accurate interpretation of Koran by an Arab American scholar. The Quran says what it says. It says: Israel belongs to the Jews.  

5 Jun 2004 @ 20:57 by The Devil's Advocate @ : Pan-Islamism

There are some concerns that {link:|Sheik Ahmed Yassin}'s assassination is likely to radicalize the conflict as it reinforce pan-Islamism and weakens the moderates further (Hamas has just be handed an ideal martyr and a new mantle of leadership.)

Arafat's people will warn of chaos, but their fear is that the new Hamas leaders will take charge. If they do, a Palestinian independence movement that began as secular and nationalistic will increasingly become more pan-Islamic, in the tradition of the Muslim Brotherhood, which created Hamas. The new leadership will also follow a much harder line than Arafat, waging a religious jihad "until all of our blessed land is liberated from the river to the sea." Just as many Jewish extremists believe that God promised the whole Land of Israel to them, Hamas believes that, in the eyes of Allah, "the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day." Those are the words of the Hamas Charter, which they could change, as Arafat did with the charter of his Palestinian Liberation Organization. But given Hamas's appeal to religious authority, any recognition of Israel's right to exist would be less likely.

In this light, the assassination of Sheik Yassin does appear ill-considered---except to those perhaps (mainly, the Likud party and the extremists on either sides of the conflict) who possibly desire a radicalization of the conflict and who have a vested interest in making a negotiated peace close to impossible.  

6 Jun 2004 @ 10:05 by bkodish : Questionable Assumptions
Less of a difference exists between "Pan-Islamists" represented by Hamas (Yassin, et al) and the "moderates" (Arafat, et al) than you imply. Arafat's involvement and sympathy with the Muslim Brotherhood goes back more than fifty years. As Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin point out in their biography of Arafat, his orientation has always drawn major inspiration from Islamist roots.

Furthermore, Arafat and the P.A. have tolerated Hamas and used it (as one of the militias) in the ongoing war against Israel.

You also incorrectly claim that the P.L.O. (now Palestinian Authority) changed its charter. A major propaganda success of the P.L.O. and Arafat has been to convince a large number of people that they did change the charter. In fact, they have not. Efraim Karsh deals with this point extensively in his book, Arafat's War.

In this light, killing Yassin and the other Hamas leaders has had a major effect in disabling and disrupting Arafat's War.

How this all relates to my blog entry?: Khaleel Mohammed's view of Islam has no influence on Arafat and Hamas and until it does the war against Israel will continue.

I guess this makes me an "extremist" in your political lexicon.  

6 Jun 2004 @ 14:53 by The Devil's Advocate @ : The timing of Sheik Yassin's killing
The assassination of Sheik Yassin had the (fuly anticipated) effect of derailing on-going negotiations among Palestinian forces that were expected to led to a significant diminution of violence. Although Sharon’s announced plans for a “unilateral withdrawal” of settlers and soldiers from much of Gaza has escalated tensions, the Palestinian Authority and key Islamist factions, including Hamas, were negotiating plans for how to govern Gaza in the event of an actual Israeli withdrawal. The negotiations could have led to a calm, orderly assertion of unified Palestinian authority instead of a chaotic, violent transition.

On two separate occasions in past years Israeli forces arrested and held Sheik Yassin for long prison terms. If Israel had evidence of Yassin’s actual involvement in murder, as opposed to inspiring or even approving of such acts, it could have arrested him. Given Israel’s current full military access to the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, there is little doubt that a similar arrest could have been made.

Popular support for the assassination among Israelis reached 60%, although 80% believed it would lead to more violence. Support would be particularly high among Sharon’s most right-wing constituency, especially settlers, who were raising questions about his Gaza withdrawal plan.

Despite Israel's recent assertion that he was an uncompromising, militant Islamic murderer, Yassin (and radical Hamas activists) originally received backing from Israeli circles as a counter to the Palestine Liberation Organization of Yasser Arafat----a move recently described by the Israeli-born historian Ahron Bregman as "Israel's folly."

Until September 2003, at no point did Israel deem Yassin, dangerous enough to kill him. Although Yassin had endorsed suicide bombings as a means for Palestinians to combat their militarily powerful occupiers, he was also regarded as a voice of relative moderation WITHIN HAMAS (e.g. Yassin persistently downplayed the call in Hamas's charter for the creation of an Islamic Palestine incorporating and extinguishing Israel, guiding his movement toward acceptance of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem along the pre-1967 borders.)

While rightist Israeli leaders such as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu in effect rejected the Oslo peace process from the beginning and worked hard for its destruction, Yassin, despite his serious objection to Oslo, tolerated the process and supported the PLO's efforts to make it work for more than two years.

Interestingly eough, Hamas carried out no substantial operations against Israel until after the assassination by a Jewish extremist of the Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin----a central partner in the peace process----and the build-up of Palestinian frustration over the slow progress of the peace process thereafter. (In fact, Yassin's and Hamas's position weakened during the initial phase of the Oslo process, only to be strengthened after the Rabin assassination, leading them in the last year to become possibly the dominant force in Gaza.)

For all these reasons, and notwithstanding his support of suicide bombing against Israeli civilian targets, Yassin was widely respected among the Palestinians and looked upon by many in the Arab and Muslim world as an Islamist defender of Palestinians and the Islamic faith. This was a distinction which could not be claimed by figures such as Arafat (or Saddam Hussein.) There now will be many elements within the Muslim world who will view his assassination as another concrete example of an assault on Islam and Muslims.

Why does Israel pursue counter-productive policies [and provocations---Remember Ariel Sharon's visit to the temple mount in Jerusalem, 9/28/2000]? Is it ignorance and poor strategy or are there other reasons? Whatever the reason, Israel policies (and Bush's invasion of Iraq) are radicalizing the Arab world, and the more radicalized the situation becomes, the more reasons we have to commit our troops to "pacify" the Arab World, and the more reasons Israel has to "defend" itself.  

6 Jun 2004 @ 14:58 by The Devil's Advocate @ : Questionable Assumptions
{link:|Critical Thinking}: “Each of us has a name usually given to us at birth. We may have been labelled "Steven Lewis" or "Bill Clinton." Although the name allows us to differentiate one person from another, it does not call attention to the differences in an individual at different stages of life. Yasser Arafat 1994 is different from Yasser Arafat 1970, and these differences were evaluated as potentially significant by most members of the {link:|Nobel Peace Prize} committee. Not only is Arafat different, but so is the environment in which he lives. If we overevaluate by the similarities evoked by the name, and underevaluate by the actual differences, we might miss an opportunity for peace in the Middle East.”

You ask, how does this all relate to your blog entry, Bruce? I thought it’d be rather obvious. Your are talking very specifically about “islamism” and about “Israel” (as a matter of fact this is what most entries in your entire Blog are mostly about.) And so my comment, very much along the same lines, was probing into pan-Islamism and about its influence on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I’d say my comment was in fact very pertinent to the subject matter of your entry, don’t you agree?

There is no arguing, Bruce, that Al-Qaeda and militant Islamic groups that have international presence are dangerous and must be contended with. However, the valid war against international terrorism is threatening to turn into an indiscriminate (an illegal) war against a great part of the Arab world. Opposing Al-Qaeda does not excuse the constant anti-Muslim rhetoric in print, talk-radio and Internet columns. The hate propaganda that attempts to align Western nations against Moslems (oh, and I’ve read your entries, not “all” Moslems nations, of course, thanks goodness, only the bad ones…lol…) is apparent in the mass e-mail distributions that echo the offensive remarks against Islam. The attempt to associate Islam with Al-Quaeda (suggesting that most of Islam, except for some “brave Muslim Scholars,” is currently out of touch with “Mohammed's view of Islam”), and the attempt to reduce the Israeli/Palestinian conflict into nothing more than just yet another element of the war against “Islamism” (and you know that I know, and I know that you know, that there’s much more to it than that, Bruce) indicates a well-calculated and organized effort to blur the distinction between Islamism, the Palestinian people and the Arab world in general (I hear you, Bruce, not “all” of the Islamic world…lol…only the “bad” part of it, the one whose country we want to invade or the Palestinian people we want to “transfer” on the other side of the Jordan river.)

An acquaintance of mine recently told me “I want the Palestinians out of Israel [meaning the Promised Land] and if they don’t leave, I want them dead.” She sometimes forward me some of the e-mail she receives (they do remind me of the way {link:|} and some of your friends here at NCN talk of the so-called Palestinians.) You ask me if your positions make you an “extremist” in my political lexicon? I don’t know, Bruce. I didn’t call you an extremist, I said “many Jewish extremists believe that God promised the whole Land of Israel to them” and I made a comment about “the Likud party and the extremists on either sides of the conflict who possibly desire a radicalization of the conflict and who have a vested interest in making a negotiated peace close to impossible.” Extremism, I gather, is recognized by the extreme positions of those who support extremist ideological or political solutions. So, I don’t know, Bruce, you tell me, are you an “extremist?”  

6 Jun 2004 @ 15:21 by vibrani : Once again
I call your attention to a plan I think can work for a cooperative committee to oversee Jerusalem. {http://www.vibrani/com/jfuture.htm} And it doesn't do anyone any good to try to wipe out history - the fact that Israel was created to be a JEWISH NATION, by the U.N. Deal with it. Anyone who considers themselves to be a true Muslim MUST accept the Jews and Israel. And here's a good article talking about why Jerusalem is not one of the three holy places in Islam. {}  

6 Jun 2004 @ 16:38 by bkodish : Don't Hog and Clog Blog Comments
I prefer brief comments.

I prefer comments that I judge directly related to the topic of the blog entry.

Although, I advocate for Israel on this blog (among other things), I endeavor to do so fairly with the sword of fact and the shield of reason. So I try to be fair and I take criticism seriously. I try to document what I claim, although I'm sure that I could do even better in that regard.

In relation to Israel and the Jews the perpetuation of error is vast. So I'm not interested in providing another forum here for lengthy diatribes which contain an unbalanced melange of fact, half-truth and falsehood about Israeli and Jewish sins. It takes time to provide adequate documentation and argument to challenge faulty claims. The truth is still putting on its shoes, while some new falsehood has already gone halfway round the world.

When someone like the Devil's Advocate uses this space to post multiple lengthy comments that may have only peripheral relation to my blog entry or which contain serious errors of fact, etc., I feel in a bind.

Frankly, I feel frustrated when, for example, as soon as I knock down some mis-statements of fact, as I did in my first response here to The Devil's Advocate, he's right back with 2 more lengthy diatribes with more half-truths and frank falsehooods. Including more mis-information about when Hamas' suicide bombings started in relation to the Oslo Agreements, what Netanyahu did and Sharon did to antagonize the 'peace-loving' Palestinian authority and its Nobel Peace Prize winning leader (must be a peaceful man then, musn't he?), how the current Oslo War started ('Sharon provoked it, of course!'), etc., etc., etc.

His posts are like the many-headed hydra--knock off one or two heads and several more pop out in their place. I honestly don't have alot of tolerance for this kind of thing.

So I request that if anyone does take objection to something I say on this blog (or if you agree or want to add to it) please keep keep your comments short and to the point. That will make dialogue and debate more congenial, as far as I'm concerned.

In the meantime, I have temporarily removed the general public's ability to make comments. I also want to thank The Devil's Advocate for providing me with enough topics for many more future blog entries.  

6 Jun 2004 @ 18:47 by vibrani : This interview
is excellent and thank you Bruce for putting it in your log as it explains how misinterpretations and prejudice are taught early on in religious format, with the assumption it is sanctioned by God, and how people fear challenging their prejudices when confronted with the facts. Good example in the article:
What is the interpretation of the final two verses of the first chapter of the Quran? "Guide us to the straight path--the path of those upon whom you have bestowed your bounty, not those who have incurred your wrath, nor those who are astray." This verse has nothing about Jews or Christians...yet, almost every person learns that those who have incurred divine wrath are the Jews, and those who are astray are Christians. What is more problematic is that the average person learns this chapter and its interpretation between the ages of 5-8. And we know that things learned at this stage of life become ingrained, almost to the point of being in one's DNA, if I may put it that way. And then denying they are taught this! This is the problem. I especially liked reading this:
The reformation will come from Muslims based in the West, and the voices of women will be loud and pivotal in that reformation.  

6 Jun 2004 @ 20:49 by bkodish : Thanks Enamrani
You have just provided an example of the kind of brief and to-the-point commentary that I feel happy to have on this blog.

And which provides some further light and the possibility for more and fruitful discussion--whether someone, even me, agrees with you or not.  

7 Jun 2004 @ 16:11 by b : This devil is a she
Calling herself the devils advocate. That's my belief and I am entitled to it. One answer to why A. Sharon took a walk on the Temple Mount is because it is the holiest site for JU's. The site of the Temple to the One God created by Israelis before Jesus, before Mohammad ever existed. It belongs to the country of Israel and moreover the Mount is in the country of Israel. The mosques on it are a defilement and should be removed. I personaly think the mosques on the Mount should be dismantled and transported to Iraq where they could be reassembled and made into a theme park for moslems and would be shahids. How about that devil? The Ju's have only one Temple to God and its ruins are on the Temple Mount.  

7 Jun 2004 @ 16:43 by bkodish : The Temple Site
I guessed The Devil's Advocate to be a male and, as unlikely as it might seem to some people, quite possibly Jewish. I have encountered a distressing number of Jews, even Israeli Jews, who sound very much like him (those especially smitten with leftist messianist ideology, what Thomas Sowell calls "the vision of the annointed.")

In my opinion, dismantling the two mosques built upon the ruins of the Second Jewish Temple and building the Third Temple, would not lead to a good or useful outcome.Although I must admit the idea does have a fleeting appeal.

Rebuilding the Temple is only considered viable by a small minority of Jews and perhaps some evangelical Christians.

The fact that the Muslim authorities of the Palestinian Authority have disrespected Jewish religious sites (including destruction of Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount) does not, in my opinion, justify the measures that you suggest.  

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