DARING OPINION

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The Website of Elie Elhadj
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A Turkish Martin Luther?!
March 2008
 
The BBC reported on February 26, 2008 that Turkey's Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University's School of Theology to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet. An adviser to the project says some of the sayings can be shown to have been invented hundreds of years after the Prophet Muhammad died, to serve the purposes of contemporary society (BBC, February 26, 2008).

Turkey, yet again takes the lead in trying to usher the Muslim world into the modern age. However, the challenge ahead is formidable. Accusations of heresy and apostasy will be flying around by Islamist extremists and their political benefactors, especially from the Arab world. The following explains the nature of the controversy and the reasons for my cautious and guarded optimism. To read more...
 
 
Apologists and propagandists
December 2008
 
In response to the London bombings on July 7, 2005 more than 500 British Muslim religious leaders issued a fatwa stating that Islam condemns the use of violence and the destruction of innocent lives. Also, British Muslim leaders condemned on July 6, 2007 the two failed car-bombing attempts in London (June 29, 2007) and the failed car-bombing attempt at Glasgow airport (June 30, 2007).

On October 12, 2007, 138 Muslim scholars and clerics of different sects; Shi’ites, Sunnis, Ibadis, Ismailis, and Zaidis sent a twenty-nine-page letter entitled A Common Word Between Us and You to Pope Benedict XVI and to twenty-six other leaders of Christian churches worldwide urging greater understanding between Islam and Christianity in the interest of world peace.

While admirable, these declarations, however, are apologists’ attempts at changing Islam’s image in the West after the atrocities of 9/11 from a religion of violence to a religion of peace. Such declarations will fail to end jihadists violence because they do not address the religious root causes that inspire jihadists’ martyrdom. The signors on these documents would have done a better deed had they issued  instead a fatwa that abrogated the intolerant and the violent verses in the Quran. To read more...


Democratizing Islamic Law Making
January 2010
 
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For a thousand years the Sunni ulama have preached that the Islamic Shari’a is the unchangeable law of God sent to the Prophet Muhammad in the Arabic Quran to be the perfect way of life for the Arabians of the desert as well as for all mankind for all time. This article contends that certain Prophetic statements and sayings ought to make it possible to modernize Shari’a laws by the agreement of a majority of Muslim men and women in Muslim countries, or by the agreement of a majority of their chosen representatives. To read more...
 
In Defense of Pre-Islamic Arabian Culture
August 2007
The pre-Islamic epoch in Arabia has become commonly known as the age of Jahiliyya, meaning the age of barbarism, darkness, and ignorance of God’s guidance. The absence of reliable historical sources makes ascertaining the truth about pre-Islamic life challenging. On the critically important evidence of pre-Islamic life, poetry, Taha Hussain, the eminent Egyptian scholar, philosopher, historian; doyen of Arabic Literature, contended in 1926 that the “great majority of the poetry reputed to be pre-Islamic had been forged by Muslims of a later date and has nothing to do with Jahiliyya. Such poetry, Professor Taha Hussein continues, is Islamic, representing the life of the Muslims, their predilections and inclinations more than the life of the Jahilis (On Jahilyya Poetry, 19). To read more...
 
Is Muslims' Treatment of Women Islamic
February 2010
On March 11, 2002, fire struck a girls' school in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Firemen and concerned citizens were quickly on the scene. However, the religious police locked the schoolgirls inside the inferno rather than let them escape into the streets without their veil and head-to-toe cloak. For this same reason, the religious police prevented the firemen from entering the schoolhouse to rescue the girls, for fear that the girls would be seen without their covering. Fourteen young girls were burned to death and dozens more were injured.

Is this treatment Islamic? To read more...

Neutralize the Ulama

February 2009

Following the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, it quickly became clear to Muslim rulers that Quranic law did not cover every aspect of life in the Arabian Desert, let alone life in the territories of the Romans and the Persians, which the Muslims conquered soon after the Prophet’s death. The Quran deals primarily with personal status matters, such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Of the 6,236 verses contained in the 114 Suras (chapters) of the Quran, only some 600 verses address legislative affairs. The vast majority of the rest is concerned with theological matters, religious duties, rituals, and recounting Biblical stories. To read more...




An Open Letter to Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, Promoter of the New York’s Ground Zero Mosque
August 2010

 

Dear Imam Abdul Rauf,

 

Congratulations on attaining your aim to build an Islamic community center and mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero.z

 

Allowing the construction of this complex close to where the former World Trade Center stood on the morning of September 11, 2001 is a tribute to American’s sense of justice and strength, self-confidence and tolerance, respect to the rule of law and secularism.

 

Imam Abdul Rauf, your big challenge has just begun. To fulfill your interest in reconciling religions and countering the backlash against Muslims you must deal with very serious and sensitive issues. With respect, sir, I would like to outline six issues. To read more...



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