Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum: Egyptian Cleric: ISIS Grows out of Islamic Mainstream

To read abit about foremost Middle East and Islam specialist Raymond Ibrahim, kindly click on this link:

http://www.raymondibrahim.com/about/


RAYMOND IBRAHIM is a widely published author, public speaker, and Middle East and Islam specialist.  His books include Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, CNN, LA Times, Fox News, Financial Times, Jerusalem Post, New York Times Syndicate, United Press International, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, and Weekly Standard; scholarly journals, including the Almanac of Islamism, Chronicle of Higher Education, Hoover Institution’s Strategika, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, and Middle East Review of International Affairs; and popular websites, such as American Thinker, the Blaze, Bloomberg, Breitbart, Christian Post, Daily Caller, FrontPage Magazine, Gatestone Institute, the Inquisitr, Jihad Watch, NewsMax, National Review Online, PJ Media, the UK’s Commentator, and World Magazine. He has contributed chapters to several anthologies and been translated into dozens of languages.

Ibrahim guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts. Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, Blaze TV, CBN, and NPR; he has done hundreds of radio interviews and instructed two courses for Prager University.

...

Raymond received his B.A. and M.A. (both in History, focusing on the ancient and medieval Near East, with dual-minors in Philosophy and Literature) from California State University. There he studied closely with noted military-historian Victor Davis Hanson. He also took graduate courses at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies—including classes on the history, politics, and economics of the Arab world—and studied Medieval Islam and Semitic languages at Catholic University of America. His M.A. thesis examined an early military encounter between Islam and Byzantium based on arcane Arabic and Greek texts.
Ibrahim’s resume includes: serving as an Arabic language and regional specialist at the Near East Section of the Library of Congress, where he was often contacted by, and provided information to, defense and intelligence personnel involved in the fields of counterterrorism and area studies, as well as the Congressional Research Service; serving as associate director of the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia think tank; and serving as a CBN News analyst and contributor.
To read a bit about the Middle East Forum, kindly click on this link:

Mission

The Middle East Forum promotes American interests in the Middle East and protects Western values from Middle Eastern threats.

The Forum sees the region — with its profusion of dictatorships, radical ideologies, existential conflicts, border disagreements, corruption, political violence, and weapons of mass destruction — as a major source of problems for the United States. Accordingly, we urge bold measures to protect Americans and their allies.

In the Middle East, we focus on ways to defeat radical Islam; work for Palestinian acceptance of Israel; develop strategies to contain Iran; and deal with the great advances of anarchy.

At home, the Forum emphasizes the danger of lawful Islamism; protects the freedoms of anti-Islamist authors, activists, and publishers; and works to improve Middle East studies.

Methods

The Middle East Forum realizes its goals through three main mechanisms:
  1. Intellectual: The Forum provides context, insights, and policy recommendations through theMiddle East Quarterly, staff writings, public lectures, radio and television appearances, and conference calls (see below for details).
  2. Operational: The Forum exerts an active influence through its projects, including Campus Watch, Islamist Watch, Legal Project, Washington Project, Apartheid Monitor, and Shillman/Ginsburg Writing Fellowship Program (see below for details).
  3. Philanthropic: The Forum annually distributes US$1.5 million in earmarked donations through its Education Fund, helping researchers, writers, investigators, and activists around the world.

Activities

Campus Speakers Bureau provides knowledgeable speakers capable of relating accurate and balanced information regarding the Middle East and Islam to American university students.

Campus Watch exposes the politicization and biases of Middle East studies in North American universities with the goal to improve them. Its research critiques the teaching and scholarship of academic specialists, bringing the content of their work to the attention of a broader audience.
Conference Calls offer leading analysts discussing topical Middle Eastern and Islamic issues every month. Participation is limited to MEF donors but summaries and audio recordings are posted at MEForum.org.

DanielPipes.org. The Forum's president, Daniel Pipes, maintains a website with over three thousand pages of his writings, television transcripts, testimony, and more. Since 2001, DanielPipes.org has received 60 million visits.

Islamist Watch. Arguing that violence is not the only, or even the best way to apply Shari'a law, Islamist Watch monitors and exposes the growing influence of non-violent radical Islamist groups in the West while empowering moderate Muslims.

Lectures. The Forum forwards a robust consideration of Middle East issues by sponsoring lecture series in New York and Philadelphia. Speakers include heads of state, ranking ministers, and leading journalists and scholars.

The Legal Project protects authors, researchers, and activists from (1) predatory lawsuits filed by Islamists who seek to stifle free discussion of Islam and related topics and (2) the imposition of laws to restrict public free speech of these topics. The Legal Project arranges for pro bono legal help, assists with litigation costs, develops expertise, and works with policymakers.

MEForum.org (this website) hosts a complete archive of Middle East Quarterly articles; articles by MEF staff; audio recordings and summary accounts of guest lectures and conference calls; and MEF alerts for Forum events, media appearances, and news releases.

Middle East Quarterly, published since 1994 and edited by Efraim Karsh, it is the only scholarly journal on the Middle East consistent with mainstream American views. Delivering timely analyses, cutting-edge information, and sound policy initiatives, it serves as a valuable resource for policymakers and opinion-shapers.

Public Outreach. Television and radio rely on Forum specialists, who appear on virtually all the major American over-the-air and cable news programs, plus stations around the globe. MEF staff also brief ranking officials of the U.S. government, testify before Congress, and conduct studies for executive branch agencies.

Research and Publications. Forum scholars produce a bi-weekly newspaper column which runs in the Jerusalem Post, write articles in magazines and journals, and publish books (most recently,Palestine BetrayedThe Al Qaeda Reader and Hamas vs. Fatah). Newspapers include the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Websites range from HuffingtonPost.com to NationalReview.com.
Shillman/Ginsburg Writing Fellowship Program, which provides timely analysis by specialists on the Middle East's most pressing problems, with an eye toward policy solutions.

Student Internship Program. The MEF devotes attention to offering hands-on experience to students in a range of research, editorial, and administrative tasks, with an emphasis on getting them into print. Among other careers, MEF interns have gone on to work as professional staff at the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, and as writers for the New Republic, Fox News, and the Wall Street Journal.

Volunteer Program. The Forum's Volunteer Program for professionals complements our student internship program. Distance and in-house volunteers—many with expertise and knowledge of the region—aid Forum staff with research, writing, proof reading, administration, and fundraising.

The Washington Project, directed by Steven J. Rosen, formerly of AIPAC, influences U.S. policy, particularly in regards to Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict, primarily through intensive in-person contacts in the capital.

To read this item by foremost Middle East and Islam specialist Raymond Ibrahim Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum, originally published at the Middle East Forum Blog, kindly click on the link below:

http://www.meforum.org/blog/2015/11/isis-byproduct

Egyptian Cleric: ISIS Grows out of Islamic Mainstream

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  Nov 25, 2015
Cross-posted from Coptic Solidarity
Originally published under the title "Al Azhar and ISIS: Cause and Effect."




Originally published under the title "Al Azhar and ISIS: Cause and Effect."

Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr heads a group of former Al Azhar graduates who support a civil government.
Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr, a scholar of Islamic law and graduate of Egypt's Al Azhar University—regularly touted as the world's most prestigious Islamic university—recently exposed his alma mater in a televised interview.

After being asked why Al Azhar, which is in the habit of denouncing secular thinkers as un-Islamic, refuses to denounce the Islamic State as un-Islamic, Sheikh Nasr said:
It can't [condemn the Islamic State as un-Islamic]. The Islamic State is a byproduct of Al Azhar's programs. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic? Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world [to establish it]. Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate. Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches, etc. Al Azhar upholds the institution of jizya [extracting tribute from religious minorities]. Al Azhar teaches stoning people. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?
Nasr joins a growing chorus of critics of Al Azhar. Last September, while discussing how the Islamic State burns some of its victims alive—most notoriously, a Jordanian pilot—Egyptian journalist Yusuf al-Husayni remarked on his satellite program that "The Islamic State is only doing what Al Azhar teaches... and the simplest example is Ibn Kathir's Beginning and End."

Al Azhar, which the New York Times calls "Sunni Islam's leading religious institution," refuses to denounce ISIS as un-Islamic.

Ibn Kathir is one of Sunni Islam's most renowned scholars; his Beginning and End is a magisterial history of Islam and a staple at Al Azhar. It is also full of Muslims, beginning with Muhammad, committing the sorts of atrocities that the Islamic State and other Islamic organizations and persons commit.

In February, Egyptian political writer Dr. Khalid al-Montaser revealed that Al Azhar was encouraging enmity for non-Muslims, specifically Coptic Christians, and even inciting for their murder. Marveled Montaser:
Is it possible at this sensitive time — when murderous terrorists rest on texts and understandings of takfir [accusing Muslims of apostasy], murder, slaughter, and beheading — that Al Azhar magazine is offering free of charge a book whose latter half and every page — indeed every few lines — ends with "whoever disbelieves [non-Muslims] strike off his head"?
The prestigious Islamic university—which co-hosted U.S. President Obama's 2009 "A New Beginning" speech—has even issued a free booklet dedicated to proving that Christianity is a "failed religion."

In short, the phenomenon known as "ISIS" is not a temporal aberration within Islam but rather a byproduct of what is considered normative thinking for Al Azhar—the Islamic world's most authoritative university.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum