Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Cool, Hip, Avant-garde ― The Modern Islam at al-Maghrib Institute in USA!

It’s the kind of article Jethro Bodine would have written about possum hunting. Cool! Hip! Getting back to the good old days—buckskins, muzzle-loaders, hound dogs, log cabins, smoky campfires and lots of possum pelts! Fortunately there was someone around to keep an eye on Jethro so the silliness wouldn’t leak out of his fountain pen onto some writin’ paper. Apparently there was no one around to keep an eye on Susan Smith; no Daisy Mae, no Granny Clampett, just a fountain pen, or more likely, a word processor, as she set to work on a paean of praise for the new ‘hip’ modern Islam being taught at al-Maghrib Institute.

Ms Smith is a freelance writer. She is based in New York City. (All freelance writers are based in New York City; the Big Apple has a better telecommunications system than Swaledale, Iowa—any dummy knows that) The fluff piece was written for Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and first appeared on Islam in America. It should be taken with a grain of salt or a slug of good rye whiskey—not on an empty stomach.

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, fundamental Islam and ‘cool’ are not necessarily mutually exclusive,” she wrote. (Why that’s what Jethro said about possum hunting!)

“In fact, since 9/11 the pursuit of Islamic scholarship has grown exponentially, and part and parcel of the revival is a new generation of ‘hip’ and self-confident young Muslims.” (Exponentially? Poor Jethro, he couldn’t get anybody interested in possum hunting—not even Potsy and Ralph Malph)

“While previous generations sought to emulate mainstream American society by shedding their scarves and beards, today’s younger Muslim Americans increasingly show up in classrooms wearing traditional Muslim garb with self-esteem.” (Traditional Muslim garb—isn’t that what Osama bin Laden and Abu Hamza wear? If Jethro had shown up in a classroom in buckskins or a Crusader T-shirt he would have been sentenced to ten days at the Donna Shalala Sensitivity Center)

So who is Susan Smith and why would she write such puffery? Jethro was exaggerating—and he knew he was exaggerating. Possum hunting wasn’t much fun. He always ate his three-day rations on the way to the woods and would have to go home before noon empty-handed.

“Much of the phenomenon,” explained Ms Smith, “is in response to the microscope put on Muslims since 9/11. The intense scrutiny and resulting introspection have caused Muslims to defend, protect and relish their faith and identity. As a result, North America is witnessing a burgeoning of organizations promoting Islamic education and awareness.” This is so hip, so cool and so avant-garde, it’s more than enough to make an empty head swim! Did Ms Smith follow the money trail? Someone has to pay for all this hip burgeoning and money, like possums, doesn’t grow on trees. (Of course not, silly—it grows in oil wells and is imported from Saudi Barbaria. Uncle Bubbadullah is very generous)

Field and Stream sent Jethro a rejection slip and the Spanky-and-Alfalfa Free Press told Jethro business was very slow and they would call him. But Susan Smith found a publisher and it wasn’t Hoax Monthly—it was Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. It might not be as well known as Field and Stream but they pay real money. They also have something of a reputation. They endorsed UN Security Council Resolution 242 and support a Palestinian right-of-return. Honest Reporting describes Washington Report as “a journal known for its strong anti-Israel bias.” The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America accuses Washington Report of being “bitterly anti-Zionist” and “violently anti-Israel.”

Nor is Islam in America free of taint. Among the articles carried on the main page of their website is Howard Zinn’s War is not a Solution. It’s listed under Perspective. War cannot solve the problem of terrorism; it’s time to try submission. Some perspective! Don’t be afraid of Osama bin Laden. It’s all just one great big misunderstanding.

Another whipping boy is capitalism. It has failed us! “With unbridled individualism increasingly eroding civil society, higher standards of living have not made us happier.” The answer is submission. Yeah? That’s funny, Jethro is happy and so is maxflack and as soon as George W. Bush is done with his Presidency he will be happy. The Rosie O’Donnells will never be happy.

Islam in America traces the American roots of Islam to the Founding Fathers. In Knowledge of Islam in Early America, Azizah Y. al-Hibri takes the gullible on a magic carpet ride to the days of Washington and Adams. “Given this historical backdrop,” he writes, “we turn now to the task of presenting a more accurate and genuine understanding of Islam, its basic constitutional principles…(Whoa! Constitutional principles? What happened to Sharia Law? Is it interchangeable with the Constitution? Jefferson and Adams didn’t think so!)

Be that as it may, al-Hibri continues with the basic constitutional principles, “ and the dynamics of Muslim societies. This task is within reach because contemporary America is very different from and significantly more free and diverse than, the America of the Founding Fathers. After all, in those early days, most Muslims in America were slaves. As such, they were denied the right to speak freely. (Obviously an early instance of Islamophobia) By introducing Islam from the perspective of an “internal observer,” it is finally possible to present Islam accurately and, thus, to properly refute the claim that Islam is inherently anti-democratic and disrespectful of human rights.”

There is logic in there somewhere—convoluted perhaps, twisted maybe, Islamic certainly, but it doesn’t refute Allah’s turning Jews into apes and pigs.

Al-Hibri suggests that two of Jefferson’s slaves, Jupiter and Sally Hemmings, were Muslims. So pay attention, Inspector Clouseau. There is no evidence that they were not Muslims, so ipso facto, they must have been Muslim. Muslim slaves were literate and were assigned to household duties and that was how Jefferson learned about Islam. The only two non-Muslims in the world who would believe this absurd nonsense are Woody Boyd and Woody Harrelson.

The mastermind behind this ‘hip’ burgeoning of Islamic education in America is Muhammad al-Shareef, the founder of al-Maghrib Institute. By the time he was eleven years old al-Shareef had memorized the entire Qur’an. That is something! It took Opie Taylor two weeks to memorize the last two lines of A Christmas Carol! Al-Shareef was either a child prodigy or a kid with an awful lot of time on his hands. “When I was in high school, studying in journalism class,” he wrote, “our teacher had placed on the wall a statement that I spent many days contemplating. It simply said, ‘Freedom of the press (speech) belongs to those that own the press.’ Who owns the press? Well, you can believe me when I say that it is not the god fearing beloved of Allah…Many of our brothers and sisters are illiterate to the words of Allah…it is with little doubt that their ideas are subconsciously molded by what Seinfeld tells them at 8 pm every Wednesday evening.” (Seinfeld? Seinfeld? Let’s see—he’s Jewish, isn’t he?)

Yet, Susan Smith worships the ground al-Shareef walks on. (Susan is a student at al-Maghrib Institute) Hip…Cool…Avant-garde…a little Wahabbi money…a freelance writer…gullibility begins at home and ends in the mosque…it’s a small world for Susan Smith.

Who knows how far Jethro Bodine might have gone if he had been subsidized in his literary efforts by, say…someone like George W. Bush? Maybe Jethro would be taking Dick Cheney on a possum hunt.

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