WE MUST CHAMPION APOSTASY FROM ISLAM

By | Islam, Opinion pieces for the press, Religion, Terrorism | No Comments

  About six weeks ago, in a televised address during Ramadan, the leading Muslim cleric in Egypt, Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar University in Cairo, who is hailed as one of the leading ‘moderate’ teachers in the Islamic world, denounced apostasy from Islam as ‘grand treason’. He stated categorically: ‘Those learned in Islam and the imams of the four schools of jurisprudence consider apostasy a crime and agree that the apostate must either renounce his apostasy or else be killed.’ This prominent cleric has been a critic of ISIS, of Salafist radicals and of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was…

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VOLTAIRE WOULD HAVE BEEN HOUNDED FOR HIS MAHOMET

By | Islam, Opinion pieces for the press, Religion, Terrorism | No Comments

On 23 July, Waleed Aly will be presented with the Voltaire Award for free speech from Liberty Victoria. It would be rather charming were he to give a speech on that occasion reflecting on Voltaire’s play Mahomet, which depicted Islam as based on false miracles, personal ambition and ruthless fanaticism. Aly has for some time been the go to person for commentary on Islam and avoiding what is widely dubbed ‘Islamophobia’. It is safe to say he does not share Voltaire’s assessment of Islam. Yet Voltaire remains a figure for our time and free speech on the subject of Islam…

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 DUNCAN’S DILEMMAS HIGHLIGHT THE REAL PROBLEM

By | Intelligence, Islam, Opinion pieces for the press, Terrorism | No Comments

Perhaps the story of the past week has been controversy over the Director General of ASIO, Duncan Lewis, publicly rebuking a number of politicians and urging that they curb their outspokenness regarding Islam. Lewis had made two crucial points: that intemperate criticism of Islam risked inflaming Muslim opinion, making ASIO’s job harder; and that it was ‘blasphemous, to the extent that I can comment on someone else’s religion’ to suggest that Islamist terrorism springs from Islam itself. It is, surely, rather unusual for the head of the security service to rebuke senior politicians for their remarks; but that a man…

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IT’S NOT A REFORMATION ISLAM NEEDS, BUT AN ENLIGHTENMENT

By | Islam, Opinion pieces for the press, Religion, Terrorism | No Comments

ISIS has just taken Ramadi and is close to the ancient ruin of Palmyra. While Western leaders persist in denying that ISIS is Islamic, everybody should be reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s newly published manifesto, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now (Fourth Estate, 2015). It is a clarion call we all need to hear and heed. Her argument that Islam needs a Reformation – on the model of the 16th century Reformation in Europe – is problematic. She is actually calling for an Enlightenment to descend upon Islam. But she has what might be called a genuine moral compass. Her…

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