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Religious Freedom and the Intellectual War of Ideas

Religious Freedom and the Intellectual War of Ideas

Published in July 14, 2010

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

Firstly: what is, briefly, the intellectual war of ideas?:

1- Our using the word ''war'' here might be problematic, because we talk here about a peaceful intellectual war that will be an alternative replacing any military war or would be limiting the use of the military endeavors. This is the culture of our modern age, when humanity has reached a high degree of civilized behavior, peace, human rights, and democracy, while realizing that wars never solve any problems as they exacerbate and complicate matters and create needless troubles. Humanity in our modern age still retains painful memories of WWI and WWII and their resulting in the loss of tens of millions of souls (soldiers and civilians), and then of ensuing regional and local wars in the Middle East, Korea, and Vietnam. No wars ever achieve their purpose of restoring peace, security, and harmony among people and to diffuse possible and imminent wars   

2- Thus, using the word ''war'' with its negative connotations in the term "intellectual war of ideas" might be unacceptable by some readers; yet, we have to use this word for two reasons. A) Our Quranist intellectual war of ideas is peaceful and includes no use of any sort of military actions and it will succeed to stop (or lessen the number of) terrorist operations and indiscriminate killings of civilians. We must bear in mind that Wahabi terrorists use intellectual war of their own to brainwash the gullible masses of Muslims (whom we call the Muhammadans) and convince some of them to become suicide bombers. Hence, our intellectual war of ideas is a must to achieve peace and save potential victims (including the potential suicide bombers themselves). In contrast, the intellectual war of Wahabi terrorists aims at massacres and indiscriminate killings of the innocent peaceful people. B) The Quranist intellectual war of ideas is real, effective, and comprehensive as it is of a unique unprecedented type; where ideas collide against one another using evidence from religion (the Quran), history, fatwas, fiqh, and traditions, so that Quranism (i.e., real Quran-based Islam) as a trend or school of thought would refute and debunk Sunnite Wahabism (i.e., the terrorist religion hijacking the name of Islam). This will end religious terror all over the globe sooner and easier than anyone can imagine. Hence, the term (the intellectual ''war'' of ideas) is OK, since military wars never ended until now; and the intellectual war of ideas exclude or lessen the military actions to save more lives of people, of both sides and of civilians and soldiers as well.

3- Consequently, the Quranist intellectual war on Wahabi terrorism differ totally and categorically from the military war waged against terrorists; the military war consider the other side as an enemy that must be eliminated, eradicated, and defeated and whose infrastructure must be despised. As for the Quranist intellectual war of ideas, the other side in it is not that; rather, it is deluded side controlled and brainwashed by bad, corrupt, and evil notions driving them to be suicide bombers while thinking they do a great deed/jihad that leads them to Paradise. The enemy here to be eradicated and wiped out is bad, evil, Wahabi ideas; terrorists and potential ones who might join them should be saved from such evil thoughts to be turned into friends instead of enemies. This intellectual war of ideas aims also at introducing peaceful reform to Muhammadans in general to make them become Muslims (i.e., peaceful ones) who would embrace democracy, religious freedom, human rights, and higher values of justice, equality, tolerance, peace, charity, etc. as higher values are the essence of Islam (i.e., Quranism) in the aspect of how people should coexist and live and deal with one another. Besides; this intellectual war of ideas aims also at activating 1.5 billion of Muhammadans by raising their awareness of the rights of which they are deprived because of the tyrannical rulers; this will turn them into a source of power and action toward peace and charity as per Quranic teachings, after they stop being controlled and ridden submissively by corrupt and corrupting tyrants. The tools/arms of this intellectual war of ideas differ totally from the tools/weapons of the military actions/wars; the ammunition of Quranist intellectual war of ideas is based on deep knowledge and expertise in the fields of Islam and 'Muslims', and the tools/arms of this peaceful war are the word and the image within audiovisual media, published books, researches, and articles, launching websites, creating TV Satellite channels, and producing TV series, documentaries, and movies. The soldiers of this peaceful Quranist  intellectual war of ideas are Quranists who are researchers with deep knowledge and the ability to refute and debunk notions of extremists and callers of violence and terror, as all Quranists are peaceful reformers and callers of peace. The battlefield of this peaceful war is the mind and heart of each one of the 'Muslims'; we, Quranists, attempt to re-educate, reform, and raise awareness of ordinary Muslims by asserting the often forgotten Quranic facts of Islam, and we try to win their hearts and minds to reform them peacefully from within Islam (its only source: the Quran itself). Our Wahabi foes/enemies impose their sharia on Arabs and 'Muslims' as if it were Islam and spread the culture of tyranny and enslavement; thus, their 'jihad' means massacring any non-Wahabis as 'righteous' deed! This is manifested in suicide bombers who commit their heinous crimes while thinking they serve God and they will enter into Paradise! Those brainwashed persons were earlier filled with deep-seated hatred against all non-Wahabis to deem them as deserving to die or violently killed. As for our Quranist intellectual war of ideas, it attempts to save such potential terrorists by convincing them, using the Quran, that their suicide and massacring others is a heinous act that shows enmity toward God, the Quran, the Prophet, and Islam, and that crime will lead its committer to be cursed in Hell for eternity on the Last Day.      

 

Secondly: obstacles of applying religious freedom in Egypt and the Arab world:

  There are mainly two interrelated obstacles that hinder achieving religious freedom in Egypt and the other Arab-world countries; namely, the culture of religious extremism and the tyrannical rule. The extremist religious trends and currents, that are submissive apparently to current Arab regimes and control its religious life and institutions, seek at any cost to reach power and authority to rule the Arab world, such as the terrorist MB group with its secret and overt organizations and societies under it. In Egypt, for instance, such extremists persecute all non-Wahabis: such as Christian Copts, Shiites, Quranists, and Baha'is. The same applies to the KSA, where all non-Wahabis are persecuted. Shiite extremists in Iran, on the other hand, are persecuting their Sunnite minority. The tyrannical rule present itself as more 'religious' than callers for theocratic rule, and thus more extremist as per the dominant corrupt mode of religion (or rather religiosity). Besides, the Arab and Middle-Eastern tyrants who ally themselves to the West (esp. to the USA) are keen on spreading the culture of religious extremism and fanaticism for many reasons as follows.

1- In order to terrify the West in general and to terrify the civil secular trends inside the Arab world of the veritable danger and threat posed by religious extremist trends, and then, the tyrants would present themselves as if they were the only ones specializing in combating and crushing extremism. Thus, tyrants need extremism and the dominance of its quasi-religious culture as raison d'être to remain in power. Hence, tyrants sponsor and spread such corrupt culture and at the same time quell and crush any military militias of Wahabis against them as they pose a threat to tyrannical rule. Simultaneously, tyrants persecute any free discussions that undermine and refute Wahabis religious extremism from within Islam (Quranism) that prove Wahabism as contradicting the Quran. This is why Quranists have been persecuted.      

2- The Extremist quasi-religious trends and currents, especially Wahabi ones, can never accept democracy, as their political/religious notions are derived from theocratic notion of caliphate: tyrannizing over people in the name of religion. Hence, Arab tyrants in power and Wahabis seeking power (e.g., the MB + Salafists) share the same notion of tyrannical rulers who cannot be questioned, and both sides reject democracy that entails rulers to e servants of people. likewise, both sides can never accept transparency and insist on tyranny as the dominant culture that imposes the notion that the rulers must confiscate all wealth, power, and authority (or in the words of Middle-Ages obscurantist traditions: to own the lands and people living in it!). Such despots could not be questioned, impeached, or held accountable or responsible for their actions or for money they spend or gain. Meanwhile, tyrants maintain a façade/décor of sham democracy by putting trusted persons in parliaments within rigged elections, so as they applaud any deeds or words of tyrants. The Wahabi power-seeking extremist trends compete with such tyrants, as they see themselves better rulers who would confiscate all wealth, power, and authority after overthrowing tyrants, but this time, they would control and dominate people in the name of religion within a theocratic tyrannical rule. Thus, both tyrants and power-seeking Wahabis share deep-seated notion of corruption and tyranny and they can never accept transparency and democracy advocated by Quranists as essence of Islam and among its forgotten and overlooked teachings and duties.      

3- Thus, extremism of Wahabi quasi-religious trends allow dictators and tyrants in the Arab world the chance to divide citizens in a given country as per religious denominations or doctrines by turning religious bigotry and fanaticism into religious strife, and victims would be mainly from religious minorities who seek help of tyrants to provide protection for them. Tyrants at that times would resort to superficial and fake solutions that exacerbate troubles and problems and increase sectarian violence, by allowing extremist religious discourse of Wahabis to dominate media, cultural venues, and educational venues of a given country. Such state of affairs inculcate fanatic, extremist ideas into people, leading some of them to join movements that encourage sectarian violence; thus, tyrants make sure that people are kept too busy to resist their "secular" tyranny and corruption. Hence, despite the political (and sometimes military) struggle and conflict between the tyrants and power-seeking Wahabi trends, both stand united against all political and religious reform endeavors and all political and religious reformers. And because religious freedom is part and parcel of any religious reform movements, it remains a taboo for both tyrannical rulers and Wahabi trends. Because tyrants confiscate all wealth, power, and authority, they quell all internal reform movements, driving reformers to seek their only outlets to voice their ideas: the international community, the UN, the USA, especially within specialized organizations, on top of them all the Office of International Religious Freedom.                

 

Thirdly: the Quranist intellectual war of ideas is the solution:

1- Since military wars and actions never yield any results in changing the deeply rooted extremist religious cultures and in establishing reformist ideas, the only alternative available is the peaceful Quranist intellectual war of ideas that makes use of the fact that the world has turned into one global village, where boundaries are of no consequences when trying to reach minds directly via TV satellite channels and websites. 

2- Sadly, Wahabi extremists were the ones to first use the intellectual war of ideas against the USA in particular and the West world in general since 1950s, and Shiite extremists imitated the Wahabis in that filed since 1979. Both types of extremists are experts in spreading hatred of all those who have different faiths that theirs and propagating extremists, bigotry, and fanaticism, and both managed to infiltrate the EU and the USA, where they brainwash the communities of the Muhammadans there to manipulate and use them as fifth column. It is an undeniable phenomenon that religious extremism spread among such communities of the Muhammadans in the West, resulting in terrorist operations committed by military and civil citizens among the Muhammadans in the West and especially inside the USA. This is clear evidence that Wahabi extremists managed to get the desired results of their intellectual war against the West that has begun in the 1950s.      

3- Accordingly, it is expected from the West (esp. the USA) to wage a counter intellectual war of ideas that depends on Muslims (i.e., Quranists) who are devoted to their religion and to all higher values that Islam (Quranism) and the West (and American) culture share: religious freedom, justice, democracy, human rights, peace, tolerance, etc. Besides, Quranists have the required expertise and qualifications to intellectually defeat, undermine, and refute all types of extremists using the Quran and to prove how religious terrorism and extremism contradict Islam (i.e., the Quran alone) and its tenets, sharia laws, principles, and higher values. Quranists with their modest means and lack of financial help are the ones who has waged this intellectual war of ideas relentlessly against Wahabism since 1980s in Egypt, and both the tyrants in power and power-seeking Wahabis cannot refute Quranists, and this drive tyrannical regimes and Wahabis in their religious institutions (serving the despots) to persecute, incarcerate, torture, and terrorize Quranists and to issue fatwas to declare them as 'infidels' and 'heretics'. Thus, tyrants and extremists unite in their stance to quell Quranists and all reformers, and because they cannot refute views of Quranists (or else, they would be denying the Quranic verses), they resort to violence and persecution in their unlimited power and influence to oppress non-violent and impecunious Quranist thinkers and researchers. The Quranists, on the other hand, use peacefully all their mental faculties and their knowledge of the Quran to undermine and refute Wahabis to clear the name of Islam and to defend it against its arch-enemies (i.e., Wahabis). This entails that the USA and American Quranists must cooperate against their common enemy (Wahabis extremists and terrorists) by providing protection and all possible aid and required tools (i.e., websites, publishing Quranist books, TV satellite channels, producing TV series and movies etc.), while Quranists dedicate their lifetimes and their experience to this peaceful Quranist intellectual war of ideas, using all the languages of the Muslims inside and outside the USA.          

4- Costs of this peaceful Quranist intellectual war of ideas in one year is much less than the cost of one hour of military operations of the USA done in Afghanistan and Iraq! No victory was achieved by the USA in Afghanistan and Iraq so far, despite the high costs of military wars, whereas the victory is assured and guaranteed 100% when adopting this peaceful Quranist intellectual war of ideas without any military wars.

5- In fact, the peaceful Quranist intellectual war of ideas is the ideal and only solution to combat religious terrorism, not only by spreading religious freedom to face them but also by facing tyranny by raising awareness of Arabs to make them get to know the culture of democracy; democracy must be taught before its being imposed. In fact, the USA made a grave error when it used military wars against Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Lebanon. The only effective war is the peaceful Quranist intellectual war of ideas, which is helped to be one day waged sponsored by the USA while using the military power only as a deterrent to enemies but without using this military power. Indeed, the peaceful Quranist intellectual war of ideas would need military power for its protection and defending people involved in it as a deterrent so that no one would harm Quranists, whose only weak point is that they are never protected and are always impecunious.        

6- It is a sad fact that the USA continues to ignore the intellectual struggle of the Quranists against Wahabism and extremism; the rich and powerful USA never launched even one website to face tens of thousands of websites that spread Wahabi terrorism and extremism of Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden and recruit agents and terrorists while sponsoring, training, and financing them to be suicide bombers as well. Sadly, the only website defending the USA against Wahabi extremists is our Quranism website: www.ahl-alquran.com, and our non-profit IQC (International Quranic Center) in VA, the USA, is the only Islamic enter specializing in this peaceful Quranist intellectual war of ideas that defend Quranic values (which are identical with American values). Though our IQC has the right to receive tax-deductible funds and financial aid, we never receive any. Though the IQC, and its website, has its good reputation as the only one representing Quranism worldwide and in the Islamic world, both the center and website never receive any attention by American policymakers and apparatuses of the USA, and its totally overlooked and ignored, despite our relentless endeavors in contacting all people to whom it may concern since 2002. The only support Quranists have received from the USA and the West is few lines in reports issued by of Human Rights Watch and the Office of International Religious Freedom, without their mentioning any reasons for persecution suffered by Quranists or about their struggle to defend freedoms and higher values and how they stand against extremism and tyranny.       

7- This stance of the USA of overlooking and intentionally disregarding o Quranists and their struggle and their intellectual war of ideas since June, 2002, until now as we write this article (June, 2010) deserve analysis provided by us in a year from now, if we would be still alive. Within the Bush administration, we have contacted consultants of G. W. Bush and most prominent policymakers to tell them about the intellectual war of ideas to help the USA, but hey overlooked us and we lost all hopes in them. But as we write this article now, awareness of our Quranist projects of the intellectual war of ideas reached all those nearer Obama and within his circle, but we received no response at all, until now. Some consultants of G. W. Bush met with us and listened attentively to us and did nothing at all. No consultants of Obama contacted us until now, but we hope they will one day, and our hopes are raised as Obama seems to be open to new ideas, even if we cannot meet with him. But we will wait for one year for the Obama administration to contact us, and then, if still ignored by it, we will write an evaluation of his administration and why the USA adamantly refuses to adopt the peaceful Quranist intellectual war of ideas despite our ten years of our contacting all high-rank officials in vain since 2002. Within one of our letters to Obama, to which we received no answer, we have written the following:   

(... How long will it take to convince America to help us in defeating Al-Qaeda and other terrorists in the war of ideas? How many thousands of lives and thousands of billions of $ that America will lose until the American policymakers will be convinced to wage the required war of ideas? Who will be responsible for this wasting of money and loss of lives?! ...). After one year, we will write our testimony for the sake of history if we never received the required response and the hoped-for answer.

 

Lastly:

 Anyway, our recommendations and pieces of advice to American policymakers are as follows.

1- Urging Muslims to respect and apply religious freedom can never be isolated from the call to apply democracy, justice, and all other types of freedoms or from intellectually combating religious extremism and political tyranny; reform must be done on all levels simultaneously.    

2- The above point entails adopting the peaceful Quranist  intellectual war of ideas as an alternative to military operations.

3- Adopting the peaceful Quranist  intellectual war of ideas requires a change in the mentality of American policymakers and policies in general so as the USA would befriend Arab nations, NOT to ally itself to Arab tyrannical rulers (as if real rulers!) who are hated by their nations. How come the USA would ally itself to Arab tyrants while making their nations its enemies only to satisfy few criminal despots? Those tyrants must be tried as war criminals who committed crimes against humanity, as evidence against them is provided in all UN and HRW reports. How come the USA would deal with Mubarak in the same manner like the French president? Or the Saudi or Jordanian kings as if like constitutional kings of Europe? Arab tyrants are not elected to serve their peoples, but they are enthroned to oppress, torture, terrorize, and murder them, turning homelands into big prisons and graveyards. That the USA allies itself to Arab tyrants is against present and future American interests (more on that in later articles authored by us) and against the American values, Constitution, and the value of justice learned by each American child at school. It is a sad fact of reality that despite changing conditions worldwide, the USA has never changed its old policies since the Cold War when it deals with Arabs and 'Muslims', and this is why Americans have failed externally in Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, Afghanistan, etc. and internally; for instance, the American  Al-Hurra Channel that uses the Arabic language to call for freedom and democracy in the Arab world failed miserably because they support Arab governments and NOT Arab citizens or nations; this is because this channel submits to American policies and it is not a free channel as its misleading name might imply. This chronic failure of the American policies is exemplified by granting 100 billion $ to the Mubarak regime in Egypt, and Mubarak used such money to male frustrated angered Egyptians vent their fury toward the USA instead of himself, and most Egyptians hate the USA now more than ever, while Mubarak and his corrupt cronies got such money into their bottomless pockets! And naïve Americans still ask: why do they hate us?!

 The answer to that question is as follows:

1- because the USA launch and wage military wars in cases that only entail the intellectual war of ideas, and

2- because the USA allies itself to the arch-enemies of Arab nations: Arab tyrants who are beasts supported with four legs/pillar as follows:

* confiscating police and military armed forces and using them brutally to terrorize their unarmed peoples,

* maintaining the Israeli-Arab (and Israeli-Palestinian) conflict without any possible solution, 

* spreading Wahabis religious terrorism without limits, and

* the American limitless support for Arab tyrannical rulers.

The last line:

  We know that this article will not appeal to the Americans, the allies of the USA, and even haters of the USA. Our only solace is that we write our testimony for the sake of history, so that generations of the mid-21st century would draw useful lessons from our writings.   


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