Sick of terrorism, Copts convert to Islam to experience its peace

In the wake of the latest terrorist attack on Egyptian Copts, where gunmen stopped their vehicle, ordered them out, and executed them on site, dozens of Copts have converted to Islam hoping to experience the Islamic peacefulness and tolerance they have always heard about but never witnessed.  

“It was time we got a taste of that sweet Islamic peace,” M.K.L. told our reporter minutes after performing his first Asr prayer, “it feels really good, Muslims are now accepting of my beliefs and I’m free to pray wherever and whenever I want, we can even build new mosques with great ease, as a Christian, I couldn’t do that,” he added with a look that either reflected satisfaction or faked it.

But being a Muslim does not mean full protection from Islamic terrorism. The Takfiri ideology justifies labeling Muslims who don’t practice Islam strictly, according to particular fundamentalist texts, as infidels and allows killing them. For now, however, these new Muslims are enjoying some peace of mind, and you can tell they needed it. 

The Voodoo of fighting terrorism while cradling Islamism 

Following every terror attack in Egypt, secularists, myself included, engage in long conversations on the necessity of combating Islamist ideologies [Islam as a religion and constitution] for the sake of our country’s national security. We also urge the state to allow Muslim reformers to speak freely without fear of getting thrown in jail and to prevent government senior officials, especially in the ministry of Islamic affairs and Al-Azhar, from promoting extremist, fundamentalist, and Islamist ideas. High on adrenaline, we tend to forget that most Muslims in Egypt actually put Islam high above the Egyptian state: they are Muslims living in Egypt not Egyptians who believe in Islam. It is one of the reasons why some Europeans are rightly concerned about the increasing numbers of Muslims in Europe alongside declining birth rates. Islam, unlike Christianity now, supersedes the state. Sharia courts and FGM in England come to mind.

Islamists in Egypt, including the ones in the government and Al-Azhar and Salafists, hold great sway over the minds of Muslims, particularly younger ones. Islamism gives these men of God the moral and executive authority to mobilize millions of youths towards a particular goal should the situation arise and the need for action is true enough. If Sisi challenges the core ideas that enables Islamists to control Egyptian Muslims without a meticulously calculated plan implemented incrementally, the outcome can be devastating for him and Egypt. Islamists will not watch helplessly as the rug is pulled from under their feet and the authority they worked years to achieve evaporates. Sisi is surely well aware of what happened when Saddam Hussein and his party tried secularizing Iraq in an economy much better than Egypt’s. Islamists have the know-how and texts to label him an enemy of Islam if they sense he is sincere about delegitimizing the authority they derive from the interpretation of Islam they promote, preach, and write literature for; they also have the capability to turn millions of youths against him and Christians, like some of them do now but on a mass scale. It is delusional, for example, to think that Salafists believe in anything but an Islamic State, they are just currently relaxed because the government allows them to freely, absolutely freely, propagate the ideas ISIS is putting into action and instill them in the minds of children.

Islam Beheiry, who had been jailed for criticizing extremist interpretations of the Quran and Hadith, says Al-Azhar University’s curricula must be updated to remove all hard-line stipulations derived from the Quran and Hadith such as the ones on fighting infidels and hating non-Muslims or discriminating against them. According to Beheiry, former head of Al-Azhar Mohamed Sayed Tantawi had actually taken this step before the current Grand Imam Ahmed Eltayeb rescinded it. Sisi, on more than one occasion, called on Al-Azhar scholars to actively combat extremist texts, not Islamism, but was met with deaf ears time and time again. And while it is true that Sisi’s authority is unchecked and he can pretty much get away with anything, when it comes to religion, if his vision of reforming and modernizing Islam, which neither denotes nor connotes rejecting the principle of Islam as a religion and state constitution, is not fully aligned with the Islamists and Salafists inside and outside his government he can find himself up against a volcano of terrorism and disobedience.

Taking small but real and effective steps, and cementing them, towards a secular Egypt is the only viable way. Sisi, however, still seems reluctant to take it. Sisi and many Egyptians seem to think terrorism can be fought without challenging Islamism, but if the statement Islam is a religion and state constitution is true, does it not follow that Men of God should rule or fight until power is in their hands?!!

Islamosocialism in Egypt

The list of why leftists hated and revolted against Mubarak goes as follows:- systemized corruption, appalling education, terrible services, normalized favoritism and nepotism, and a vicious oligarchy. All of which Mubarak is guilty of, but he is also guilty of fostering the Islamosocialism ideology and lifestyle. Throughout his thirty years in power, socialists, read most Egyptians, kept circulating the rhetoric of victimhood; blaming the government for everything but never the people. On a parallel line, Islamists, with full power to preach freely, continued the work of fundamentalists to make an ideology out of Islam complete with overlords and marionettes; a mind prison.  

Can Mubarak be blamed for all of this? Yes, because when you wield absolute power you carry absolute responsibility.

Islamosocialism produces intolerant citizens who believe they have the right to organize every little thing in your life under the authority of Islam while being entitled to goodies from the government who should step into everything and regulate it. Islamosocialism puts up a great fight against human rights through true liberalism by creating an atmosphere of authoritarianism enacted by citizens on one another and by the police – who uses Islamism and the giant hand of the government to discipline people without any regard for any rights- on the people. Leftists cannot claim to be for progress as they have always worked with and supported Islamists’ right to be major political players and social influencers.  

When Sisi seized power from Morsi, he signaled what many thought was a battle cry against Islamism, and Islam Beheiry continued introducing new ways to contextualize the Quran and Hadith within modern understandings. Sadly, all hope was lost when AlAzhar’s word came louder and Beheiry was locked up.

I say we continue fighting though, not through dialogue and debate, neither will do anything with Islamists, but rather by living our lives and speaking our minds to the fullest, maybe while avoiding anything that could put us in jail.

We should let it be known that our conscience is a doctrine of god and music is one of his voices.


Beyond WWJD: Overtaking the Egyptian Muslim Critical Mind

Islamists have hijacked the Muslim critical mind. One can argue that the What Would Jesus Do motto undermines the individual’s judgment and character, Egyptian Muslims have gone beyond that. Starting in the seventies, Egyptian Islamists began, brilliantly, with extreme dexterity, convincing Muslims against even asking what would Mohamed do, but rather to ask a sheik to tell them what Mohamed would do. Their method involved:
1- Fear tactics: What if you don’t follow true Islam and keep incurring sins?
2- Employing fundamentalism and literalism: Promoting the idea that early Muslims, including those who leaned towards extremism even in their time, are the best representatives of Islam and their interpretation of it will lead to the rise of Muslims.
3- Mystifying Islam: Claiming that Islam is not simple enough to be understood by laymen and therefore they must be the ones in charge of explaining it to the public.

Islamists also managed to insert religion into all aspects of life via the rebirth of fatwas. Now, you have to ask a sheik to find out if your haircut is haram, if your shirt is haram, if working with infidels is haram, whatever you do has to be approved by a sheik.

This is by no means a very detailed or accurate description of their strategy because what Islamists did with the Muslims of Egypt is nothing short of sorcery. They have cemented Islam as a dogma in the minds of Muslims; a solid immovable rock only they can move. Yet, Muslims believe the version of Islam they currently adopt has nothing in common with the Christianity of Europe’s former Catholic Church. Sorcery.

Before Islamists taught Muslims they need to consult a sheik about the correct way to enter a bathroom, sheiks were not quite revered, now, they are walking Gods. From T.V. Shows and books to influencing politics, the sheiks are everywhere. Unlike Europe, we regressed to the shackles of men in costumes who know what God wants. The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists have taken this to levels that border on servitude, other Muslims remain infected with the Sheik Virus, albeit less severely than the Brothers and Salafists, and Islamism remains in control of Egypt even though neither the Brotherhood nor Salafists is ruling.

If you control the mind you control everything.

However, as long as we are we have to fight. We have to challenge their ideas. Of course when we do this we risk prison, like Islam Behiery and possibly Sayed AlQemni, but hey, if you’re gonna die die with blood on your boots.

And we’re all gonna die.

And there is nothing more humiliating than submitting to Islamism.

***

Sheik: A Muslim cleric and advisor.

Salafists: Muslim fundamentalists.

Haram: Forbidden in Islam.

Islamism: Islam as a religion and constitution for a state.

 

What do the Muslim Brothers belong to?

What do the Muslim Brothers and Sisters belong to? Certainly not to Egypt, at least not as it is. Although they have made great steps towards the Egypt they seek – Islamic wear, widespread Islamic bigotry, revival of the Islamic supremacy dream- it is still not a place they would call home, to this day Egyptians in love with life can be found next to true liberals and libertarians. Not to mention the Egyptian administration will never go full caliphate. Yet, a threat remains as Islamism in Egypt is on the rise, aggressively.

Do they belong to the US and Europe? No, even in their villas and luxury vehicles they are nothing but aliens there, aliens in ghettos, ghettos that are getting bigger, but that’s another discussion.

The Brothers and Sisters belong to the scriptures of their elders, they are what they believe in and what they understand, which is an impressive achievement. The ability to uproot an individual from the songs they love, the movies they watch, and the things they do, their culture, and embed them in a set of books and disciplines influenced by the dream of the caliphate -what the Brotherhood did in Egypt- is nothing to ignore.

Islamists, and to some extent Muslims in general, don’t believe in live and let live. Because they still take the Quran and Islamic faith literally, Islamic supremacy exists as a dream, Islamists don’t just occupy a place, they attempt to assimilate its elements. One of the biggest problems Europe, and the US to some degree, will have to confront is the idea of legislation based on the Quran and Sunnah -different groups want different versions-, which is entrenched in the minds of Muslims who see salvation and justice in it.

Nietzsche’s and Sartre’s Europe will face the catholic church with a Quran.

 

London’s Mayor and the muslims-in-the-west entitlement program

What does electing a Muslim mayor say about Londoners as a group of people? It says they do not discriminate negatively against Muslims, among other things. For perspective, in 2011, just after the Egyptian revolution -touted by western media as a movement for freedom and dignity not just better financial conditions- Muslims of Qena protested by blocking a main road against the appointment of a Christian as their governor until the decision was overturned. This incident illustrates how Muslims are not tolerant of others in their countries and thus their ideals and practices- particularly the ones hostile to western values- must not be protected from criticism and investigation out of fear of ostracizing or alienating Muslim minorities in the west. Without pressure, challenge, and discussion, Muslims will not, magically, begin accepting those with different creeds and views: their sense of entitlement to respect from others without respecting them back will be falsely and arrogantly empowered.

 

In other words, Muslims play professional victims (Ahmed Clock, Isis Philips, four Muslim women asked to leave restaurant after overstaying table occupancy time) in Western countries while practicing horrendous forms of social and political bigotry in states where they are the majority.

 

For a second perspective, Islam Elbeheiry, a religious reformer, is currently behind bars for questioning the authenticity of some sayings (hadiths) claimed by Albokhari to had been said by Prophet Muhammad. Albokhari collected these sayings after Muhammad’s death from some people’s memories hundreds of years ago. Elbeheiry also offered new methods for interpreting some Quranic verses that would fundamentally eliminate any violent readings of the Quran that could be acted on, which, yes, contributed to his sentence. Ahmed Nagi was also imprisoned when some chapters of his novel were published in a public paper, the Prosecutor found the lines “explicitly sexual and constitute a threat to our moral fabric”. The phones of suspected homosexuals are monitored and they also get locked up. This is not just the policies of the Military-Islamist regime ruling Egypt, most, if not all, Muslims here outspokenly oppose tolerating whatever they deem is out of line.

 

And I hear atheists and Christians are not doing great in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

 

So when Muslims demand inclusion of their beliefs in the West there are considerable reasons we should think this inclusion goes only one way. More to the point, Islamic beliefs must never be guarded from necessary reformatory challenges and debates, because the contemporary Islamic culture, represented by Muslim-majority countries, makes an enemy out of freedom of speech and, of course, freedom of acting.

 

The power of words: Haram

Haram, adj./noun: Prohibited in Islam
Halal, adj./noun: Allowed in Islam

Up until the early seventies, Egyptians were not used to inserting the words haram and halal in every minute activity of their lives. They lived with a version of Islam that embraced modern life while providing the spiritual bliss, moral support, and wisdoms needed from religions. They did not indulge in orgies nor drink their livers to death, they weren’t sinners nor blasphemers, just people trying to figure out their place in the world. After the 1952 coup, the quality of education in Egypt began declining steadily when all of its stages, from grade one to last year of college, were made free. Egypt could not offer free schooling to all citizens while maintaining quality. As a result, the Egyptian critical mind was dulled, just in time for the arriving preachers spreading Salafism like the plague on Saudi oil money during the seventies.

How do you plant an idea in people’s heads? An idea that grows and empowers itself? Keep it simple, one word, sufficient and powerful, Haram. But you need to support it with mental engines to keep it active. If you enter the bathroom with your left leg you invite the devil, if you stand naked before a mirror you will be possessed by djins, if you don’t cover your hair you anger God himself. Use the unknown, which works perfectly with a malfunctioning critical mind. There are djins everywhere ready to interfere in your life and harm you and there is a God willing to burn you for the simplest of things, the Saudis have the scriptures and interpretations to prove it.

If there are people who get paid to exorcise a house that constantly and mysteriously gets set on fire, don’t you think we have a financial motive to question?

Once an idea is planted in the collective consciousness of people it can gain new mental engines and even leave its old ones. It is extremely important here to mention the Egyptian middle class was taken over by peasants, technicians, fishermen, merchants and workers who migrate from upper Egypt and coastal cities to live, study, work, get married, and raise their children in Cairo; they come with their traditions and beliefs, djins included. The word Haram has became prominent in many discourses in Egypt, it’s new mental engine is “I need to be good, I must not do anything Haram, I have to ask the sheiks about Harams”.

Our good is being dictated by Saudi Sheiks on oil money, even some Egyptian Muslim conservatives are aware of this and they are furious.