Saturday, March 18, 2006

Al-afif al-Akdahr; a heroic voice among Muslims

Haaretz posts a feature on Tunisian-born intellectual Al-afif al-Akhdar, a powerful voice for reform in the Muslim and Arab world. A man marked for death by Tunisia's radical Islamist group Al-Nahdha, Akdahr lives in a poor Paris neighborhood and just a few years ago found himself on the brink of starvation. I found the interview a great lesson in history and how it applies itself to the modern world. Among the highlights:

*Akhdar favors treating Islamic terrorists as war criminals. Currently he is considering whether to pursue legal action against Al-Nahdha leader Sheikh Rashed al-Ghanousi, who issued a fatwa against him for a book he did not write.

*The recent cartoon war only served the needs of the Arab dictators and extremists, not the ordinary Muslim.

*Akdahr explains the divisions in the teachings of Mohammed. In Mecca, Akdahr points out that the Prophet developed a Christian-like Islam based on teachings of peace and love. After his exile to Medina, Mohammed developed the concept of jihad to justify the use of violence to return to Mecca. Today, proponents of the Medina teachings of Islam dominate the religion and use it to warrant the drive to eliminate all other religions and Muslims who would prefer to practice the Mecca scriptures.

*Akdahr maintains that Israel is not the root cause of Islamic extremism. Al Qaeda and Hamas both use Israel to provide slogans enabling them to recruit masses to the cause of implementing worldwide sharia.

*Hamas did not want to win recent Palestinian elections. Hamas is now in a position where it must forgo its charter and seek to negotiate with Israel. In doing this it risks being foresaken by the Palestinian people. However, Akdahr adds that Hamas will not give up power through a democrtic election because it would be heretical.

Voices like Akdahr's must be heard. It would help if the West adopted his cause instead of all the self-flagellation that seems more preferable than standing up to true totalitarianism.


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