ZSTREET Conference: Rethinking the End Game – May 4th, 2011
Thank you very much for inviting me I am honored to be amongst all these great thinkers.
UPRISING IN EGYPT
We all watched the revolutions in Egypt and the rest of the Arab World and we wish the best for them it was a very emotional time for me watching Egyptians running in the streets, putting their lives on the line to be killed just for wanting freedom and democracy. But does Egypt have the moral and cultural foundation to have a true democracy and freedom unfortunately the answer is no – I was looking for signs I read Arabic so I was reading all the signing that the people were holding and writing about and I saw no sign that called for separation of Mosque and State I never saw a sign by women asking for the removal of laws that oppress women or equal rights for women all the signs said was remove the dictator, remove him, time is up.
And the problem is not really the dictatorships, they are a byproduct of the Islamic State, it’s a byproduct of Sharia Law and Egypt had a very long history of being a super-power until the 7th Century when it was invaded by the Arabs of Arabia and became an Islamic State. After that, Egypt has not seen its glory days again. And the lesson we learn here is the passage of time does not necessarily mean progress or positive progress, the passage of time can often mean getting worse. Will the Egyptian revolution bring freedom, democracy I am not very optimistic and the reason is because in a recent survey 75% of Egyptians said they want to live under Allah’s law, under Sharia law. Those are people who don’t know what Sharia law says. 50% of Egypt is illiterate, they haven’t read the Koran let alone the Sharia, so when you have a population like that its very hard for the students who started the revolution to have the people vote for what they want.
It’s the minority in Egypt understands what democracy is or freedom is. The majority wants Allah’s law. How can you have democracy like that? So I am not very optimistic. That’s why I wake up every day thanking God [because I was] a Muslim women who lived under Islamic law in Egypt for 30 years of my life, [so] I am so grateful and I cherish all the freedoms that America has given me. I remember my first day on the job in America I read a sign that said that this business does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, race or national origin. I was in awe it was nothing short of miracle for young women who lived under Islamic law all her life that finally I am going to be equal to men under the law I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t get use to it for a while to really know my rights even if you know them it doesn’t click right away. So this is the mentality we are confronted with and that’s why women in Egypt don’t even understand the relationship between their oppression and Islamic law they don’t get it, they think it’s the “dictator.” And let me tell you about the dictatorships why they exist in the Middle East there is not one Muslim county that has true freedom not even Turkey. People say Turkey – let me tell you can’t legally leave Islam in Turkey and become a Christian. That tells you that Sharia law plays a big rule culturally even under the law there laws even in Turkey that prevent a person from leaving Islam and becoming Christian. (7:07)
THE CURRENT ISLAMIC WORLD
I lived under Islamic law for 30 years of my life and lived in oppressive dictatorships and police states and its getting worse, not better. I lost my father to the jihad against Israel, I lived through the ‘56, ‘67 and ‘73 Wars and everything in between. I was a journalist in Egypt and never knew what voting means or why is it important and I was a journalist let alone the people on the street who many of them are illiterate. A lot of so called intellectuals in the Muslim world are fooling themselves to really believe that these revolutions are going to being them freedom. Now the Muslim brotherhood, according to many dialogues I have had with people in Egypt, the Muslim brotherhood are convincing a huge amount of people of so called Egyptian “intellectuals,” that if they join them in the power they are going to get freedom and democracy and women’s rights – just trust us. And they are buying it.
TREATMENT OF WOMEN UNDER SHARIA [according to both PA and Hamas official documents, any Palestinian State will be ruled by Sharia. /LLM]
I witnessed honor killings of girls female genital mutilation my mother’s generation all of them had these operations including my mother who came from an “educated family” I witnessed polygamy and its devastating effects on the family dynamic. Polygamy does not produce a healthy family unit because there is something called the “marriage contract.” The Muslim marriage contract in Egypt where it asks the husband to list the name and address of wife number 1, number 2 and number 3 if any so means what the women – the bride goes into a marriage not expecting a loyalty from her husband. If he give her loyalty that’s only because of his good graces - oh I am such a lucky women I have a man who is loyal to me. But it Is not required by God - loyalty from the man to the women, only from the women to the man. So as a Muslim under Sharia, a man has a right to beat his wife, beating a rebellious wife that’s in Sharia many Muslim women don’t even understand that. They think its only the dictator! The testimony of a women in court is half the value of a man’s. If one women and one man go to court guess who wins?
Divorce is in the hands of a man, the laws under Sharia give her half the inheritance, he has the right to beat her, police can’t interfere. If he kills her it’s a different story and even if he kills her he can always say I caught her in bed with another man. By the way, under Sharia if aman caught his wife with another man it is okay to kill her – there is a law that states that. (11:22)
DISPARITY OF TREATMENT FOR NON-MUSLIMS UNDER SHARIA
There are three murders under Sharia whereby any man on the street in Islam can kill and will not go to jail for it. Three murders are justified as vigilante street justice under Islam: killing an apostate – which is me, killing an adulterer who is usually an adulteress, of course, or killing a highway robber.
There is one other law that if a Muslim kills another Muslim they get the death penalty, if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim, he will not get the death penalty. Can you believe it? If you are a Christian or a Jew living in an Arab county you have to know that your killer will not be treated the same way. So if you are jeweler and have a nice jewelry store in Cairo and the store is robbed – good luck if you catch the guy. The police ignore it if the victim is a Christian or a Jew.
THE REAL MEANING AND REQUIREMENTS OF JIHAD
Mainstream Islamic books define the word ‘jihad.‘ After 9/11, all these Muslims were becoming experts on Jihad, going on American TV saying that jihad means an “inner struggle, self analysis.” I love that meaning, but I have never heard it in the Middle East. The definition of Jihad according to their books - not mine - is to war with non-Muslims to establish a religion. In the books of al Azhar University, [jihad] is a permanent institution against Christians, Jews and Pagans. They teach it like that, but they come to America and I debate them and they look me in the eye and I look them in the eye and they know I know they are lying. But what can I do to convince the public in America that they are lying? Ninety-seven percent of the time, when the word Jihad is mentioned in the Koran, it means to kill, go to war, hate, do violence against non-Muslims. Only percent of the time does it not mean don’t do violence.
The problem of Jihad - which creates a big problem and is the core of the problem with Israel - is that Jihad is not only the duty of every Muslim individual but also every Muslim head of state. It is his number one duty as head of State. The are hundreds of commandments for Muslim heads of State to do jihad - to kill non-Muslims in neighboring non-Muslim countries. It says here, the Khalifa fights all people until they become Muslim – that’s the law in Sharia – its law number 0.9.9.
When non-Muslims are in their own country, in which case jihad is a communal obligation, each year he who provides equipment for a soldier in jihad has himself committed jihad – what an honor. And you wonder why they are sending money to Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda? All this is Arab money because they feel like they are doing jihad, its part of the jihad to support these groups. The reason Osama bin Laden was not found for 10 years was not because of America, he was surrounded by millions of people who love him and will not give him up for millions and billions of dollars. And this is why I believe that several Muslim states knew where he was and were supporting him - not just the Pakistan government, it was several Islamic governments keeping him there.
The commandment under Sharia is not only to attack non-Muslim lands, but also to rob it - it’s the main duty of every Muslim head of State. Leaders who don’t want to do jihad can either pretend to do jihad or openly sign a peace treaty with Israel and say “I want to be your friend, I want to be a friend of the West.” What happens to leaders who do that, leaders who don’t want to do their obligation of jihad against non-Muslims, violating this scared obligation to do jihad?They get killed - remember Sadat? That’s a good example of having violated his duty as a Muslim head of State (18:30).INCOMPATIBILITY OF SHARIA AND DEMOCRACY
They can never have democracy with Sharia at the same time – Sharia is part of the Egyptian constitution today, Article Number II requires Egyptians to live under it. I have been in touch with people under the new administration and they are telling me if you touch Article II, there is going to be a blood bath, which means that Sharia is going to be more enforced under the revolution then under the previous administration. A Muslim head of State, even if he is unjust, they have to obey him.How can you have a democracy with the laws of Islam? The only product of an Islamic State and Sharia law is dictators. When the people in Egypt are writing we want freedom, we want democracy they have to look at the Sharia first, not at the dictator. The dictator is the by-product of Sharia. You cannot be a Muslim head of State and not be a dictator because he can only come to power through seizure of power, meaning by use of force. How can you be a Muslim head of state and be secure in your position when there is a law in the constitution that anyone can come and overthrow you, kill you and be a hero? And be a hero of another revolution.
Note: Articles listed under this section provide information on the current discourse concerning the Israeli - Arab Palestinian End Game. The views expressed in these articles are the views of the authors' and are not included here to represent the views of Z STREET.