Monday, May 29, 2006

God protect us from extremism

According to a report in Al Rai today, IAF deputy Mohammad Abu Fares and a group of thugs accompanying him assaulted an imam in an Irbid mosque last Friday. The imam did his job by preventing Abu Fares from giving the Friday sermon. He was subsequently beaten up and insulted by Abu Fares' entourage.

Last January, Abu Fares denied fellow deputy Raed Hijjazin the right to criticize IAF actions because he is Christian. The IAF failed to apologize for that.

Meanwhile, the IAF head, Zaki Bani Ershaid warned that "continuation of repression of people's choices will lead to atmospheres where extremism can thrive replacing the moderate Islamic groups". Basically, he is threatening everybody that if his "moderate" party doesn't get what it wants, violence will ensue.

The failure of the IAF to rein in loose canons such as Abu Fares (who IS a member of the IAF) really doesn't bode well for their ability to restrain extremism. I essence, they don't seem to have neither the will nor the ability to prove themselves to be the force of moderation they claim they are.



At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the IAF?

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Islamic Action front, the political branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Natalia said...

I loathe the IAF

At 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said... you want to start a party? you and I and a few others...we'll get JP bloggers to vote for us.

At 2:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf, are we supposed to take the government controlled Al-Rai's version of the events at face value? Did you bother look for the IAF version of the events or that of a third party?

Besides that, is it right in your version of liberalism for the mosques to be run by the government? Does the U.S. government (and we all know how you love the U.S. and their way of doing things) appoint the clergy and dictate who is to give the sermon in each church?

At 6:11 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Nas: That would be great. Would Jordan Planeters vote for us?

JC: I never said I was liberal. Actually, I watched the IAF's website all day to see if they would say anything about it. They didn't.

The mosques are funded by the state. If they are to be used for political purposes, then all parties of the political spectrum and individuals running for office (including Christians) should be allowed to use them, not only the IAF. Either that or they shouldn't be used for such purposes.

At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Direct funding is a ruse for direct control. It is not as is if the appointed clerics do not use the mosques for political purposes themselves.

At 7:22 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

JC: The IAF has plenty of platforms to get it's message across. Abu Fares and his likes shouldn't use the captive audience of the Friday prayer for his or his party's political agenda. Friday surmons should speak to Muslims of all political persuations.

Of course he who pays gets to control. When were things any different?

At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf, your answer is simply not honest. The IAF has always been allowed as much freedom as it suited the interests of the regime (who used as a tool against secular and radical opposition). And it was the repression of the regime that led to the extreme politicization of mosques, trade unions, universities, etc. in the first place.

The fact that the government provides the funds doesn’t not justify its co-opting of the mosques, which should be truly independent and autonomous in its administration (take for example the ideal of public universities in your beloved U.S.).

You give the appearance that you are for the de-politicization of the mosques when in fact you are supporting the monopoly of pro-government politics there and everywhere.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

JC: It seems that you haven't been following what I write. I suggest the following post, if you would bear with me.

Mosques being independent and autonomous doesn't mean that they are the realm of the IAF. Why does the IAF feel that the government owes them a platform, to the exclusion of other political parties?

I suggest that you are the one being dishonest, calling for the mosques to be independent, for the sole purpose of allowing one extreme part of the political spectrum to be able to use it.

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf, I never said that mosques should be the “realm of the IAF.” nor that “the government owes them a platform.” I don’t know where you come up with this stuff.

I do not support the IAF at all, even though I have to admit that if one was to judge the legitimacy of a political movement by their grassroots support and the accuracy with which they reflect the mood and politics of the general public, they are much more legitimate than the pro-government pro-mukhabarat hacks.

I was merely pointing the hypocrisy in your article. It is not the fact that the mosques are politicized that irks you; it is simply the fact that it is the IAF who are most active there. You would be quite happy and satisfied if every Friday sermon went through the latest government talking points just before they go on to the du3a’ for the well being of uli al-amr.

At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder to myself, when was the last time I ever went to a friday prayer and heard the imam go through a list of pro-government talking points?

Fact is I've never heard a mosque do that, and if anything it tends to be the other way around. I've been to mosques where I thought any minute now a mob will form and overthrow the government.

Some north american mosques are funded by Saudi Arabia and I've heard their wahabbi politics spewing from the loud speaker over here.

Fact is, politics should not be in the mosques. However when it comes to Jordan I would rather see them in line with the "Amman Message" moderate Islamic thinking, rather than fighting to the extremes.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

JC: Actually, my article has nothing to do with the politicization of mosques. This is something you brought up. If you reread the post, you will see that that there is no hypocracy about something that is tangential to the main point, and which I didn't discuss at all.

So, I really don't know what the purpose of your comments are. You seem eager to charactarize what I am and what or what not makes me happy. It would be more useful to read the text rather than trying to read me.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Nas: I'm sorry I missed your comment. Of course you are right. Islam doesn't need more ignorants, opportunists and extremists defiling her name.

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NAS, I did not say that the imams in Jordan “go through a list of pro-government talking points,” I said that Khalaf wouldn’t really mind it if they did. You effectively admit so much by writing “However when it comes to Jordan I would rather see them in line with the "Amman Message" moderate Islamic thinking, rather than fighting to the extremes.” Of course you use euphemisms to describe the “Amman message.”

I have never been to a mosque, but I have heard enough Friday and non-Friday sermons broadcast to be familiar with the way the religious language could be coded to deliver the government line. This could be done simply by emphasizing the importance of blind loyalty to the leadership (as exemplified by the story of the archers in Ghazwat Uhud), because you shouldn’t second-guess those who know better even when their actions seem really bizarre (as in the story of Moses and Al-Khader). The sermon could rage against Israel and America, and their crimes against ahlana fi filasteen and iraq, but only to diffuse the people’s anger and in a way that exonerates the government from collusion with Israel and America and implies that the government is dealing with these enemies of the Umma in the most sagacious way to bring the most benefit to our brother in Palestine and Iraq. They could emphasize the importance of unity under the leadership and warn against the munafiqeen who sow the seeds of division and descent among Muslims. If they are really decide to go completely shameless and join in on the attack against Iran and that whole Shi3i crescent bullshit (as Khalaf does in this blog taking his queue from the Jordanian Government who take their queue from somewhere else), then they could use any pretext to recall stories of the piety of Abu Baker and/or Omar, radhi allahu 3anhuma (wa la3an man la3anahuma, ya3ni the Shi3a). Or they could simply direct the anger of the people away from the real issues (and people are angry for a reason, Nas) and foam at the mouth declaiming against the spread of the fusooq, fujoor, and video-clips.

Khalaf, what was your post about? Were you simply hatin’ on the IAF? I guess I made the mistake of thinking you were making some substantive argument. You were happy to be drawn into the argument about politics in mosques, until you lost it.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Your arguements shift as you lose ground. First you say that the government shouldn't appoint the clergy and control the discourse. Then you say that since the Islamists were allowed in the past to use mosques, then this is acceptable (you only choose government behavior that suits your thinking to raise as a model for acceptibility). Then you say that the mosques should be autonomous, whatever that means. This is a copout since you evade the question of whether the Islamists should use the mosque to the exclusion of other political parties (as what used to happen in the golden days you eluded to). Then you shift again and say that the only reason that you are commenting is to point out my "hypocracy".

So, reading all your comments, I am still at a loss as to where you stand, except to be against me. That's fine. If you care to post again, I challenge you to clearly state what you think about the politicization of mosques. If you change the subject again I won't answer.

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And where dakhlak and pray tell me do I argue that “since the Islamists were allowed in the past to use mosques, then this is acceptable?”

How do I get it into your head that I am not defending the IAF, but attacking you and your likes?

If anything I am wary of the IAF, mostly on the grounds of their dirty politics, especially their past collusion with the palace, but partly--I have to admit--on account of being a "dhimmi."

At 12:01 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

So we agree.


At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

! أشق الثوب واطلع منه

At 12:20 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Ha ha.


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