Dr. Sakr who is the President of Foundation for Islamic Knowledge, California, USA, presented the following speech at the request of Dr. Burd, President of the Baltimore Council of Foreign Affairs. The speech was presented on May 13, 1993. This speech was also printed in the "Muslim Reader", a publication of the Muslim Converts' Association of Singapore (Darul Arqam) in the Jul-Sept 1994 Issue, Vol. 12, No.3.
As you are aware, there are more than 1 billion Muslims in different parts of the world; 8 million are in North America. Muslims are from different nationalities, ethnic, national and linguistic backgrounds. 20% are Arabs and the others are non-Arabs. 6%-8% of the Arabs are non-Muslims. There are 50 sovereign Muslim states and 23 Arab sovereign states.
It should be stated here that there is no clergy in Islam, and there is no pope as well. There is no one single Muslim State that represents Islam or Muslims of the world. Each and every one of them represents themselves. The final authority and the legislator is only God.
Islam is not just a religion as is the case with Western religions. It is a total way of life, and has complete systems for mankind. This means that there is no separation between state and religion. They are both embodied together under the umbrella of Islam. The state and all those in power are under the domain of God.
|1. Fundamentalism as explained by Webster Dictionary has nothing to do with Islam or Muslims. It has to do with Christianity.||2. Holy War and the idea of the infidels are terminologies that have to do with the Christian crusaders.|
|3. Croissant pastry has to do with the crusaders who made and sold them to raise money to kill the infidels (who happened to be Muslims of the Middle East at that time)||4. The inquisition has to do with the Spaniards in Andalus who killed all the Muslims, and destroyed every type of Muslim culture and other civilisation.|
|5. Jihad is NOT Holy War, but to excel and to do the best to achieve the best.||6. The Holocaust has nothing to do with Islam, Muslims or Arabs. It has to do with Hitler, and the Jews.|
|7. The massacre of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut was not done by Muslims, but by Christians of Lebanon, protected and supported by the Israelis.||8. The genocide of Bosnian Muslims is committed by the Serbs (Greek Orthodox), and the Croats (Catholics). The Bosnian Muslims were denied the means to defend thousands, while non-Muslims were given arms to kill Muslims.|
|9. The fight between the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland is not the work of Muslims.||10. The demolishing of the Babri Mosque in India, the continuous rioting and the killing of Muslims by the militant Hindus has nothing to do with Muslim fundamentalists, but with fundamentalists of the Hindus themselves.|
|11. The 40 million salves who were brought from Africa to Europe, North and South America were not brought by Muslims, but by the Catholics, Protestants, and Jews of the West.||12. The fight between Iraq and Kuwait has nothing to dow with Islam; it was done for political and economic reasons by a dictator, and monarch; and orchestrated by the superpowers.|
|13. The deportation of the 418 Palestinian educators by the Israeli government to South Lebanon is against the concept of freedom of speech and/or religion. Israel refused to abide by the decision of the UN Security Council as well as of the USA.||14. The violence that was conducted by some factions of the PLO in different parts of the world has no justification.|
|15. The incident of the World Trade Centre is a crime and whoever had done it is to be blamed, and penalised accordingly. Islam [does not encourage such horrid acts] and Muslims in general have nothing to do with it.||16. The Ku Klux Klan is a white militant Christian fundamentalist group. They still exist in the USA, and are not banned. They are not accused as white militant Christian fundamentalists.|
|17. David Koresh, the leader of the Davidian sect proclaimed himself to be Jesus Christ. No one accused Christians or Christianity as a source of inspiring him to be fundamentalist.||18. The invasion of Panama by the US Government and putting President Noriega in jail is not considered state terrorism or a state of fundamentalism. It was considered liberation of that country and offering the people the so called America democracy.|
|19. The invasion of Genada by the U.S. Government, and the shackling of its president as a slave is considered a liberation movement, but not a state of terrorism.||20. The attack of Libya by American weapons during the Reagan administration was not considered terrorism or fundamentalism, but part of the New World Order scheme.|
|21. The attack on the nuclear reactor in Baghdad by Israelis was considered a heroic achievement of the government of Israel, but not terrorism and fundamentalism.|
Islam vs Fundamentalism
1. If fundamentalism means to follow the fundamental teachings of Islam, then every Muslim is a fundamentalist. But to be fanatical, to be dogmatic and to be radical is against the teachings of Islam. 2. Islam condemns any person who is fanatical, or extremist. Islam insists on moderation and tolerance towards one another and especially towards non-Muslims. (The Holy Quran, [2:143] and [22:40]) 3. Islam instructed Muslims to call upon People of the Book to come together and live peacefully with the Muslims. (The Holy Quran, [3:64] and [29:46]) 4. Islam praised those People of the Book who are honest, sincere, faithful and God-fearing. (The Holy Quran, [3:113]) 5. Muslims are to respect People of the Book, honour them, to protect them, and to encourage them to live with moral teachings of their Books. 6. In some Muslim countries we see groups, movements and individuals committing acts of terrorism and acts of fanaticism. Such acts have nothing to do with Islam. The individuals are to be blamed. 7. It is understood that Muslims in different parts of the world did not have a chance to practise a democratic way of life. They have self-imposed leaders who are either dictators, monarchs, feudal or tyrant military rulers. They were self-imposed or were imposed by outside foreign powers. Some of them committed crimes, killings, imprisonments, and they did not respect the rights of their local citizens. Some of the denied freedom of speech and freedom of practising the religious teachings of Islam in its purest form. 8. Most of the Muslims who came to the US from the Muslim world are passive. They don't get involved in politics and they are not vocal. They have lived in America for a number of years and still they are afraid to express their views to non-Muslims. They are afraid to be known as activists. Either they are afraid of losing their jobs or their citizenship. Therefore, they are not in the mainstream of American politics. On the other hand they came from a totalitarian system and they learnt not to express their views to anyone otherwise they will be in trouble.
1. Early Muslims and Arabs were excellent friends to the West. People in the Muslim countries were, and still are good to the people of Europe and America. 2. Europeans and Americans were and are welcomed in Muslim lands at most levels: education, religious missionaries, health, economic, and other areas too. 3. Religiously, Muslims do consider Jews and Christians as People of the Book. They have a tremendous amount of commonalities in terms of values, family ties, respect, obedience, and belief in God, the creator. 4. Historically, Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together peacefully so many times except for a few incidents. 5. Non-Muslims were and are still holding ranks of political ministers, administrative positions and membership in executive councils. They also held the position of advisors in the cabinets of the caliphs themselves.
1. The religious leaders of America have a moral obligation to build bridges of understanding among all the faithful and the God-fearing people. 2. The National Council of Christians and Jews (NCCJ) should include other religious groups and especially the American Muslims. Instead of being called NCCJ, it should be called the American Inter-Faith Council (AIC). 3. In as much as Christian and Jewish leaders are invited for invocations, Muslim religious leaders should be invited for the same. 4. The religious leaders should stop accusing Islam and Muslims during their sermons. They should bring the commonalities among all the religious people in the world, and especially those who are living in America. 5. Dialogues and trilogies should be initiated among the leaders of the Abrahamic religions. 6. Field trips should be conducted among the religious groups to visit other religious centres to observe and to learn about others. Workshops, and training programmes should be conducted as well.
Building a Better Future
by Dr. Ahmad H. Sakr
1. The White House should recruit a group of American Muslims to act as a council of advisors to the White House concerning Muslim affairs in American, as well as affairs of the Muslim world. 2. The State Department should recruit some American Muslims and appoint them as ambassadors, counsels general or other echelons to be sent to some Muslim countries. 3. The State Department of Education should recruit American Muslim intellectuals to help in writing those chapters about Islam in text books for the public school systems. 4. The Press Secretary should inform the mass media to be fair with all Americans, and treat them equally. They should not correlate American Muslim with any Muslim countries. Muslims of America are Americans, and they have already demonstrated their love and respect for America. They have already contributed to the success of America, and have improved its image nationally, and internationally. 5. American Muslims have reacted nobly even whenever a crisis took place in any Muslim country. They acted as "shock absorber." If the American leadership does not absorb them, they may lose them. Some may react negatively and be extremists as we have seen in some Muslim countries. 6. The Department of Education should recognise that there are more than half a million Muslim students from different foreign countries. They are at different academic institutions. If they are welcomed, absorbed and treated with fairness, they will become the best spokesmen for America in their home countries. 7. Since freedom of religion is one of the cardinal features of the American Constitution, and since Christians and Jews have acquired their religious freedom on Saturdays and Sundays, Muslims who wish to observe Friday congregation prayer should be given the freedom to do so without being penalised. 8. American foreign policy makers should realise that democracy of the West is a man-made system. There is no uniformity among those who believe that democracy is the best for the welfare of humanity:
a) In the USA, the commander and chief is the President, and not the chief of staff
b) The democracy of England has monarchy as a symbol, while the exact chief commander is the Prime Minister.
c) In Canada, the Premier is the chief commander. The Canadians don't have a President.
d) In Israel, India, and other countries, the Prime Minister is the ruling person for that country, and not the President.
9. American leaders, and the West should recognize that Capitalism is not the best solution for the betterment of humanity. It is a system whereby the rich exploits the destiny of the people. Through the economic system of capitalism, many people become jobless, and homeless. The rate of crimes, drug pushers, vandalism, and family breakdown has increased tremendously, while family values have been reduced totally. 10. American leaders should stop helping Israel, and the Arab leaders. They should be left alone to solve their problems by themselves. The American leadership should concentrate on their local problems, and try to solve them before it is too late for the existence of American as a super power.