Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Three ex-Terrorists Attack Islam @ Stanford

It was a full house at Kresge Auditorium with relatively high security measures surrounding the place. The event was publicized as a talk by three ex-terrorists who presumably had turned into peace activists. The fact was that it was more of three ex-muslims for some reason waving a huge attack on Islam and the Muslim world. The three speakers were Walid Shoebat, Kamal Saleem, and Zak Anani. Shoebat was the most eloquent of the three and thats probably why he's the one attracting media attention.

The three of them portray Islam as non peaceful religion that promotes violence and hatred towards Christians and Jews. They claim that Islam is a huge threat to the US. They say that there is no moderate Islam and mocked professors who make a distinction between Islam the religion and Islamic fundamentalists.

As a muslim, i saw how they manipulated Quran or Hadith to substantiate their arguments. But a non Muslim - the majority of the audience - can hardly notice that. They were focusing on specfic versus of Quran or Hadith either out of context, inaccurately, or in isolation from the whole text. Any scholar knows that the basis for Share'a (Islamic law) is to look at Quran and Hadith within context and in their totality.

Considering the one sided nature of the talk and a relatively uninformed audience it was clear how what they said appealed to the majority who stood up to applaud to them as each of them finished his piece.

Among others, I tried to use the Q&A to express as a muslim from Egypt how i find no ground to their claims. However neither the seconds we had to pose the question nor the sophistication of our background could counter their negative effect.

I was dissapointed to c such a hostile monologue take place a Stanford. I would have been happier if I had seed a dialog that fostered understanding rather than ignited hatred.

Most important, it made me think how sophisticated one should be to stand to such misleading claims and/or how active should one be in making sure the right views of Islam get their chance to be expressed.


oldmoe said...

what's interesting is that Waleed does not come from a salafi or jihadi background, rahter he was a PLO member, a fairly secular organization, his mission right now is to bring justice to Israel, inetersting, very interesting!

check his website http://www.shoebat.com/

Ziad Mokhtar said...

yeah but although the PLO might be a secular group, i think a big part of how they motivate their members, particularly those who carry ground operations, is thru religious convictions.

Another thing is that Shoebat is not anti Jihadists or Salafi's. He's anti Islam in general.