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BOSTOM: Uncovering the roots of Islamic radicalization

King hearings should probe imams whose teachings threaten Americans

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Despite opposition from the usual Muslim Brotherhood offshoot "advocacy" groups in the United States, Rep. Peter King is forging ahead with hearings Thursday on what he terms domestic "Muslim radicalization."

Mr. King, New York Republican, has cited eminently reasonable concerns as justification for the hearings:

"Federal and local law enforcement officials throughout the country told me they received little or - in most cases - no cooperation from Muslim leaders and imams. ... I also know of imams instructing members of their mosques not to cooperate with law enforcement officials investigating the recruiting of young men in their mosques as suicide bombers. We need to find the reasons for this alienation."

I believe direct cross-examination of clerics from the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), including a frank discussion of their public "fatwas" (Islamic religious rulings), is essential to the congressman's critically important goal of understanding Muslim radicalization in America.

The AMJA mission statement maintains that the organization was "founded to provide guidance for Muslims living in North America. ... AMJA provides practical solutions within the guidelines of Islam and the nation's laws to the various challenges experienced by Muslim communities."

A report in the Muslim Observer published Oct. 21 highlighting the AMJA's just-completed annual conference, confirms that the organization is accepted as such by the mainstream American Muslim community. AMJA and its "training" conference for American imams were described in these banal terms:

"AMJA just had, in Houston, its seventh annual American conference of imams, and two local Michigan imams attended, namely Imam Musa of Bloomfield's Muslim Unity Center, and Imam Ali of [the Muslim Community of the Western Suburbs of Detroit]. Mr. Sadiqul Hassan ... said that the AMJA is 'a fiqh [jurisprudence] council, basically [with] scholars who live abroad and inside the U.S.; we have experts in different fields to educate about life in the U.S. - fatwa* are based on life in the U.S.' "

Notwithstanding this mainstream acceptance, including uncritical endorsement of the October conference to train American imams, the AMJA has issued rulings that sanction hatred of non-Muslims, the killing of apostates, "blasphemers" (including non-Muslims guilty of this "crime"), or adulterers (by stoning to death), and condone marital rape and female genital mutilation.

Moreover, the AMJA, despite some equivocation, issued a blatantly anti-American fatwa directed at U.S. troops and their mission, which was deemed an "occupation." Indeed, as AMJA cleric Katem Al-Hajj explained in a 23-page fatwa in 2007 forbidding U.S. Muslims from working for the FBI or U.S. security services because of the ostensible harm these institutions cause Muslims, Muslim minorities in non-Islamic countries are "subject to man-made laws, which Islamic law [Shariah] does not recognize, either fully or in part." It is also of grave concern that the AMJA, as an American organization, offers only grudging and conditional support to the fundamental notions of acquiring citizenship in, and swearing allegiance to, the United States and our Shariah-antithetical governing legal system. The AMJA-issued Fatwa 77223 states:

"As for optionally obtaining citizenship of a non-Muslim country it is definitely prohibited without a doubt. ... As for obtaining citizenships in light of circumstances of Muslims today who are residing outside the lands of Islam - on the condition that they do not accept indefinitely the law and legislation of that country, then it would not be farfetched to say that it would be permissible."

Finally, another Arabic-language fatwa from Salah Al-Sawy, secretary-general of the AMJA, leaves open the possibility for offensive jihad against America and the West as soon as Muslims are capable of waging it. When asked whether "the Islamic missionary effort in the West ... [was] to the point where it could take advantage of offensive jihad," Mr. Al-Sawy ruled: "The Islamic community does not possess the strength to engage in offensive jihad at this time. With our current capabilities, we are aspiring toward defensive jihad, and to improve our position with regards to jurisprudence at this stage. But there is a different discussion for each situation. Allah Almighty knows best."

Given these odious, if unabashed, public rulings, it is incumbent upon Mr. King and his committee staff to subpoena, if necessary, the AMJA clerics who have issued them. Publicizing and elaborating the "rationalizations" for such Islamic rulings by these clerics - authoritative representatives of mainstream, institutional Islam - will afford critical insights into the radicalization of American Muslims.

Andrew Bostom is the author of "The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism" (Prometheus, 2008). This is a shortened version of a longer article that appears at andrewbostom.org.

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