Whenever Islamists grow in strength and influence, non-Muslims — and even Muslims not deemed Islamic enough — bear the brunt. This is the history of Islam. In weakness, it is tolerant and “inclusive,” in strength, it is aggressive and demanding of conformity — just as its prophet’s career suggests: when he was in Mecca outnumbered, Muhammad preached tolerance; when he went to Medina and became a warlord, he preached war. Compare the Mecca verses of the Koran to the Medina verses for an idea.
Since the Muslim Brotherhood took over Egypt, empowered Islamists have become less bashful and hesitant about showing their true face. Even once well-respected and authoritative Muslim scholars are under attack. Ali Gomaa, the outgoing grand mufti of Egypt — often described as one of the world’s leading authorities on Islam — was the latest to experience this phenomenon.
During a recent sermon he was giving about the importance of jihad in masjid al-rahma (“Mercy Mosque”) in Port Said, at least one listener interrupted him, screaming “You’re a hypocrite …. You’re a member of the former regime!” Other disparagements were likely hurled as the recording appears to have been partially censored.
Interestingly, these insults were hurled at the esteemed Gomaa while he was quoting from the following Koran excerpt:
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors. And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitna is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers (2:191-192).
Even so, in the new Egypt, apparently Ali Gomaa isn’t Islamic enough — even though he was promoting the cause of jihad and even though he earlier labeled all Christians “infidels.” Of course, Gomaa has long been disliked for other, more “moderate” stances — but by al-Qaeda types hiding in caves or imprisoned, not, as they are now, empowered, and thus unabashed.
A visibly shaken Gomaa fired back (see beginning around 1:27) — saying that prophet Muhammad labeled those who create fitna, or discord in Muslim societies, as “dogs of hell,” who “corrupt the earth,” and take the teachings of Islam out of context, like the Kharajites before them, who must be fought and killed.
If the grand mufti is not Islamic enough — and during a sermon extolling the virtues of jihad no less — who is? The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis are. And now that they are empowered, and thus emboldened, they seek total conformity.
At any rate, isn’t it ironic how Islamists un-caged and empowered always turn on those Muslims who, while long nurturing of Islam, are just not “Islamic” enough? For example, former Egyptian President Sadat, though much more sympathetic and tolerant to Islamists than his predecessor — Sadat included Sharia in the Egyptian constitution and released a great many jihadis imprisoned under Nasser – was repaid by being assassinated by those he freed, those he un-caged, under the rationale that he was just not Islamic enough.
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