Eclectic Grounds

conflicts and conversation

Muslim ‘hate monger’ preaches peace

with 2 comments

There has been considerable controversy about a speech by Khalid Yasin at the Islamic University Rotterdam over the last few days. The Islamic lecturer is a notorious figure who in the past was quoted saying that, according to the Qu’ran, homosexuality was an immorality punishable by death, and also that the US was responsible for the 9/11 attacks and the development of the AIDS virus. Before his speech yesterday, some politicians in the Netherlands demanded from the government to deny Yasin entry into the country.

Quite surprisingly then, his actual message was one of peace and understanding between Muslims and Non-Muslims. He did condemn Geert Wilders and the likes but he also had a message directed at Dutch Muslims.

The NRC Handelsblad quotes this sections from his speech about Muslim youth in the Netherlands:

Yasin, who converted to Islam after being inspired by Malcolm X, expressed criticism for the Dutch Muslim community, which he said is not doing well. No wonder, then, that Dutch people talk about “those Moroccan youths,” according to Yasin. He also criticised pious, fundamentalist Muslims. “Don’t be so full of your own righteousness. Islam is not a religion of hermits.”

He also called for integration efforts and understanding between believers and non-believers:

Indeed, he said, “Western society offered Muslims the best possibilities for development.” He said, paraphrasing John F. Kennedy, “This nation wants to know what one million Dutch Muslims can do for their country.” He also warned Dutch Muslim youth: “Don’t come to me with the nonsense that you won’t obey the kafirs (non-believers).”

This is not to forget Yasin’s previous remarks about homosexuals, but it has to be said that it is quite refreshing to have a Muslim authority speaking so self-critically and with such candour to Muslims. Where are Muslim voices from within Europe who speak in this way? I have met some personally. But either they are not heard in the Muslim community or they are ignored by the media.

Update (2-2-09): The blog ‘Salafi Burnout’ has an interesting discussion on Yasin here, on his alleged scams, his conspiracy theories and on how he is seen by Muslim communities in the US, Australia and Britain.

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2 Responses

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  1. The adjective ‘Islamic’ should not apply to people, even if newspapers often use it that way. The correct adjective is ‘Muslim’.

    See: Islâmic Values vs. Muslim Values and Islamic vs. Muslim?.

    Also, when Muslims criticize Muslims or when they protest peacefully, it doesn’t make the news, but when Muslims explode something or riot, it makes headlines. This is because people talking or giving lectures isn’t that interesting to most people. You should not blame people for being ignored by the media when they don’t control over it. What appears in the media is not representative of what happens daily in real life. Things become newsworthy when they are unusual.

    Restructure!

    February 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm

  2. Thanks for the clarification. For some reason I had picked up the notion that ‘Islamic’ refers to politics made based on the Qu’ran – which is bullshit.

    That said, I am still not sure about the media thing. You are right, Yasin’s speech would not have produced any headline were he not such a controversial figure. At the same time, the issue of Muslims in Europe is complex and you can’t pin it down to ‘Muslims criticizing Muslims’ in general. I think there are many people in the print media – and the alternative media – that are genuinely interested in the topic of Muslims in Europe and the problems that surround it. Since it’s a debate that is continuously discussed, I believe Muslim voices of authority that are critical of Muslim communities would be heard by the media.

    Of course there are people Like Tariq Ramadan. But I am missing voices that are more connected to Muslim communities. I guess what bothers me is that there are few people that could serve as role models for young Muslims. Muslim voices in the media are either radical showcases (like Yasin), or they are cited because they defend Muslims of anti-Muslim sentiments. But there are few that could stand exemplarily for a positive Muslim identity in Europe.

    henrik

    February 18, 2009 at 11:29 am


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