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January 07th 2015 print

Peter Smith

Islam’s Martin Luther?

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has done what no other leader of an Islamic nation has dared: called on an assembly of imams to lead "a religious revolution" that renounces the jihadism which has made the creed a synonym for bloody outrage. Judging by the subdued applause he shouldn't consider it a done deal

sisiIt seems too farfetched to be true. And the silence — so far as I can tell — of the mainstream media adds to the mystery. Did Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – a devout Muslim, despite his dislike of the Muslim Brotherhood — make an extraordinary and revelatory speech on New Year’s Day at Al-Azhar University in Cairo (a leading center for Islamic learning)? Did Sisi let the smelly cat out of the bag?

Are Muslims everywhere self-reflecting or trying to stuff the cat back in the bag lest the smell gets abroad? Is the mainstream media trying to ignore the smell in hope it will quickly dissipate before multiculturalism takes a hit? Mind you, maybe it wasn’t Sisi at all but a doppelganger, the product of an Islamophobic stunt. Questions and still more questions, without answers at this stage.

For those in Australia who depend on the mainstream media for their news and are curious about ‘the speech’, here is a translated extract of it, as reported by Raymond Ibrahim on his own blog, on the Middle East Forum, on PJ Media and on a number of other online sites.

“I am referring to religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing – and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be the source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!

“That thinking – I am not say ‘religion’ but ‘thinking’ – that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!

“Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants –that is 7 billion – so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

“I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and umela – Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I am talking about now.

“All this that I am telling you; you cannot feel it if you remained trapped within this mindset. You need to be able to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.

“I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost – and it is being lost by our own hands.”

The video, just posted on YouTube, can be viewed with subtitles below.

You can appreciate the extraordinary nature of the speech, measured against civilised standards. Imagine some Western leader saying: ‘Is it possible that two billion plus Christians should want to kill the rest of humanity so that they themselves can live?’ I will guess: it just might make the headlines, before the spoof was laid bare. But, apparently, if the reports are correct, this is no spoof. Welcome to the cockamamie world of Islam, where the leader of the largest Arab nation feels it necessary to reject an Islamic agenda to kill all non-believers.

He calls for a ‘religious revolution’ within Islam. And this is why I have my own doubts about the genuineness of speech. Why, if Islam is the religion of peace, as we are constantly being told, do the imams have to engineer a profound reformation? It quite simply doesn’t make sense, which is why I am puzzled. If, in fact, President Sisi has been correctly reported I suggest that he speak to President Obama, former President George W. Bush or Prime Minister Cameron, who will all be able to put him right.

Islam needs no reforming, Sisi! It is a religion of peace. Don’t you get that? Haven’t you been listening?

Every evil act, and they are legion — Sisi is right about that — perpetrated in the name of Islam are really being perpetrated by followers of a radical perversion of Islam. But don’t expect the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils or the Council on American-Islamic Relations or any other of the growing plethora of Islamic associations and groups in the Western world to echo President Sisi’s call.

I also doubt that many Imams, wherever they preach, will be lining up to reinterpret their scriptures — to turn themselves inside out in other words — to give warlord Muhammad and vengeful Allah more neighbourly demeanours. There is no reason to do so. Islam is already a religion of peace, remember.

Sisi must be talking through his hat. There is no smelly cat. It is clearly a false narrative cunningly crafted by infidels.


Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics