The Danger in Letters to a Young Muslim
I was browsing the bookstore, and this book caught my eye — Letters to a Young Muslim
by Omar Saif Ghobash. I literally froze. Literally, my entire body was shaking. This is a whole new method of Islamization. It gave me insight into why a lot of western youth are converting to Islam.
This author is from United Arab Emirates. He is a westernized, suit-wearing Muslim. He is the Ambassador of the U.A.E. to France, and former Ambassador to Russia.
He studied law at Oxford, and math at the University of London. He is educated, westernized, wealthy, and now as an author, he is telling young people how to be a Muslim in the 21st Century.
This book is basically a masterful work of Taqiyya. It opens a scary new methodology to promote Islam, in a way that non-Muslims can easily become confused into not knowing whether to listen to people like Aynaz Anni Cyrus, or to the imam, or to mainstream media, or to any other self-styled voice for Muslims.
Without calling himself a reformer, the author reminds me of Zhudi Jasser, who is a westernized Muslim seeking to reform Islam. I have had my private debates with Dr. Jasser, while he was on our show. Dr. Jasser would like to persuade everybody that Islam is a religion of peace, but that bad people have hijacked it. And so, Islam must be somehow rescued back from them.
This author almost has the same point of view. At the end of the day, the Islam that is being practiced in the Middle East is not the true Islam. So, he pretty much made up his own Islam in this book — an Islam that is so beautiful.
This book consists largely of purported letters and essays that he wrote to his youngest son, who decided at some point to become what he calls “an extremist” and what we call “a devoted Muslim.”
When the author saw his son shift toward embracing “extremist” war faring doctrine (hopefully most of my readers understand it to be simply adherence to the “excellent example” set by Muhammad), he decided to start writing letters to the son, to try to explain to him that the way he is going is the wrong way, and is not the true Islam. He gathered all those letters and published them as this book.
On page 69 begins the chapter titled, “Who on Earth Told You That?” he asks, “Where does religious knowledge come from? Who has the right to talk about Islam?” He is asking the question of who holds authority — who gets to speak for Islam.
So, he brings us right back to typical Islamic defender claims of, “Hadith was hijacked. Quran was mistranslated. Imams don’t have authority to make the ruling.” So then, if those are true, then what is Islam? Who exactly knows the truth about Islam?
Jihadis think they have it right. So-called moderate Muslims think they have it right. Reformers think they have it right. Ex-Muslims like me think we have it right. What then is the true Islam?
If his young son is not supposed to listen to an imam, or to a scholar, or to a Supreme Leader, or anything of, as he calls them, “authorities,” then who specifically is he supposed to listen to?
We simply end up in a circular argument with such Islamic defenders who avoid definitions and authorities. This is what we often see regarding the unpleasant practices of Islam. That is not the true Islam, simply because we find it unpleasant.
His position comes down to saying that everything that everybody else of authority in Islam is saying is wrong, or questionable.
And that is where it becomes ironic. His argument, if convincing to his son, could very well get his son killed by those who do adhere to a long, established scholarship of Islamic definitions and Islamic authorities. No matter what type of Muslim you are, if you start questioning Islam, you will become dead, at the hands of those adherents. You are not supposed to question Islam. But he is telling his son to do that.
Next, he brings us to a very interesting part. He asks, “What is the true Islam?”
He brings up two possible alternatives. One is that there once existed a true Islam, which somehow got distorted by foolish human beings who added all sorts of innovations and distortion to it.
I have never heard of this type of Islam. I have heard of the idea that Islam was hijacked by Shia, an accusation from Sunnis. And Shia say Sunni hijacked it. But this was the first I have heard of any “perfect” or separate existence of Islam.
The author acknowledges that this is a very abstract idea. It suggests that there is an Islam which exists without people to practice it. It is a very odd concept, and one for which he offers no citation to explain its background basis in any Islamic tradition.
The second way in thinking about true Islam, he says, is the way in which Islam is practiced in the specific community to which Muslims each belong. He suggests that true Islam is not a set of doctrine but is instead the way it is practiced in different cultures.
So, this argument goes, it is not about the religion. It is about the culture. Islam changes based on culture, is the claim being made. And that is a typical argument that is made by defenders of Islam, every time they need to deflect from problematic practice of the doctrine, by adherent Muslims in the world.
By word definition, Islam is submission. The definition of Islam is control by Allah, to whom a Muslim must submit. That is an obligation that even reformers would agree to. So, what is going on here, in the worldview that the author is presenting?
He is saying that there are many expressions of Islam, and each is bound within each Muslim’s own culture, and that all those world expressions together make up the true Islam. To that end, his basic premise is that all Muslims of all culture types should unite. And that is what makes this book scary.
This book is being sold all over America. The publisher is in New York. Islamization is taking place in that mass media publishing realm. I have a feeling that pretty soon this book is going to be in all our colleges and schools and universities, as suggested or required reading.
This is a new method of attack by the Islamic Movement. So far, we have had Shia, Sunnis, imams, reformers. What is scary in this new approach is that he is the first one who says to them all, “Let’s put our differences aside.” He is the first one to try to unite all Muslims.
He is very powerful. He has influence, money, education, connections, his ambassadorships. He comes from the most moderate Islamic country, the U.A.E. That whole combination is very dangerous to us as a non-Islamic civilization.
He uses language that is very calming about Islam. Somebody without knowledge of Islam can easily walk into that trap. The language he uses is soothing to our young generation. A lot of them may decide to convert, by this book.
It is becoming critical that we must find ways to counter this new methodology. We must reach that same audience with the basic facts about the doctrine. And those facts always start by exposing the intolerant words of Quran, and the militant life of Muhammad as a conquering warlord.