|Mohammed Sajjad Source|
We witness the horrible crimes committed in the name of Islam. We read the manifestos distributed by terrorists, manifestos that cite Koranic verses and hadith to justify the sex slavery of little girls in the Islamic State, the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar, Pakistan, the decapitation of a British soldier on a London street.
We say, well, at least Muslims will see this, and begin to question how their scripture is interpreted and applied. And then they will call for a reform of Islam.
In my experience, though, Muslims often don't do this.
I have face-to-face conversations with Muslims who are convinced that crafty Jews created ISIS, that George Bush planned the 9-11 terror attacks, that the CIA is responsible for the murder of schoolchildren in Pakistan.
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, we have the ritual of confession. You examine your conscience, confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and start anew. In Christianity, that ritual is highly developed.
I don't see the same thing in Islam.
Rather I see finger pointing, never at Islam, never at the Koran, or the hadith, or their interpretation or application.
This tendency was exhibited on December 15, 2014, at Georgetown University.
Hamza Yusuf is a highly influential American Muslim. Of him, The Guardian newspaper said "Hamza Yusuf is arguably the west's most influential Islamic scholar." The New Yorker magazine said that Yusuf is "perhaps the most influential Islamic scholar in the Western world"
From Wikipedia: "Jordan's Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre currently places him 42nd on its list of the top 500 most influential Muslims in the world. The magazine Egypt Today described him as a kind of theological rock star, 'the Elvis Presley of western Muslims.' Recently, Hamza Yusuf was ranked as 'the Western world's most influential Islamic scholar' by The 500 Most Influential Muslims."
Hamza Yusuf used to be Mark Hanson, American son of two "academics" in Washington State and Northern California. Interestingly, Yusuf studied Islam in Mauritania, one of the worst human rights abusers in the world. Mauritania is notorious for its huge number of slaves. These slaves, and their horrific treatment, apparently did not alert Yusuf to any misgivings about how the Koran is applied in the Muslim world. You can read more about slavery in Muslim Mauritania here. You can read about how attempts to liberate Mauritania's slaves "violates Islamic values," in Al-Arabiya, here
At the Monday, December 15, 2014 Georgetown conference, Yusuf acknowledged jihad violence, but said that the West was to blame. Western pornography causes Muslim men to blow themselves up. From Investigative Project:
"Intelligence agents routinely find sexually explicit materials on laptops belonging to captured jihadists. Yusuf offered a theory in which young men 'become deeply defiled' by the pornography habits and blame the West for providing the corrupting influences. They turn to jihad for religious purification and redemption.
'I really think that we underestimate the amount of people that have this experience of wanting to restore some kind of purity to themselves,' Yusuf said, 'and the only restoration for them is blowing themselves up and get rid of the part that is the source of my defilement which is my body.'" source
Yusuf's "blame the West" finger pointing does not work. Jihad predates the invention of the West and of modern pornography by hundreds of years. Jihad began under Mohammed, 1400 years ago. Further, all cultures are exposed to Western pornography. Not all cultures engage in jihad.
Yusuf's comment is significant because it is typical of an influential approach to Islam. Many Muslims, and many Western leftists, refuse to engage in any serious critique of Islam.
I am Catholic. My church is regularly criticized. That's a good thing. The criticism invites Catholics to examine ourselves and constantly realign ourselves with the right path.
I heartily applaud Muslims like Zuhdi Jasser, who confronted Yusuf at that same conference, who want Muslims to take a look at the violence committed in the name of Islam, and who want Islam to be reformed.
As long as influential Muslims like Hamza Yusuf allow no serious critique of Islam, and as long as Muslims like him have powerful support among Western leftwing professors, journalists, and cultural leaders, any reform of Islam will remain remote.