The French news site Fdesouche reported Tuesday that Ahamada Mmadi, an imam from Comoros who has been deported from France, has no regrets: “I have nothing to regret and nothing to apologize for as long as I have spoken the word of Allah. If I repent, I am no longer a Muslim.” Fair enough, Mmadi, but France’s action in deporting this Muslim cleric is curious. If he was really deported for speaking the word of Allah, what do French authorities think the other imams in the country are teaching?
Mmadi added: “I don’t have to apologise for the moment I spoke the word of Allah….Our sisters live a nightmarish life….and we call it a land of freedom.” Mmadi was claiming that women in France live a “nightmarish life” because they aren’t subject to the restrictions on women’s freedom that Islamic law entails. The good imam was apparently criticizing the status of women in France, as compared to the status of women in states that enforce Islamic law (Sharia), during a sermon at the Saint-Chamond mosque in the Loire department. During that sermon, he quoted a passage from the Qur’an that French authorities thought was unacceptably misogynistic.
According to the Islamic news site 5 Pillars UK, Mmadi and his family were “deported from France after he recited a verse from the Quran and quoted a Hadith which encouraged women to be chaste, stay at home and obey their husbands.” He was accused of making “comments incompatible with the principles and laws of the Republic.”
5 Pillars UK says that Mmadi quoted this passage from the Qur’an: “And stay in your houses. Do not display yourselves with the display of the time of ignorance. Be regular in prayer, and give alms, and obey Allah and his messenger.” (Qur’an 33:33)
The Qur’an has much worse; it even calls for the beating of women that Muslim men even suspect might be contemplating getting out of line: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend of their property. So good women are obedient, guarding in secret what Allah has guarded. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, give them a warning and banish them to separate beds, and beat them.” (Qur’an 4:34) But it doesn’t seem as if Mmadi even quoted that verse; the other one, calling for women to cover themselves and stay at home, was bad enough in itself for French authorities.
According to 5 Pillars UK, however, Mmadi did go a bit farther: “He also told worshippers at the mosque about an authentic Hadith in which Abu Huraira (ra) reported: ‘The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: ‘If a woman prays her five prayers, fasts her month of Ramadan, guards her chastity, and obeys her husband, she will enter Paradise from any gate she wishes.’” This was the basis upon which “French authorities in the Loire region deemed his sermon, which was made at Eid prayers last year, ‘discriminatory.’”
Mmadi was defiant: “I don’t regret anything. These are not my words, they are the words of the Prophet and of God. All I did was repeat what was in the holy books.” Indeed. And so it is extraordinary that French authorities deported him for this. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other imams in France. Do French authorities think that they don’t read the same Qur’an that contains the passage Mmadi quoted? Do French authorities assume that all other imams in France reject the Qur’an’s exhortations to violence, misogyny, and hatred for unbelievers? Do they not realize that other Muslims besides Mmadi read and believe in the Qur’an as well?
If French authorities think Mmadi is some kind of extremist outlier, they’re in for a rude awakening. They continue to insist that they want to create a new Islam with French characteristics, an Islam that will be compatible with French secularism. Yet the Qur’an also has Allah telling the believers: “This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed my favor to you, and have chosen Islam as the religion for you.” (5:3) If Islam is perfect as it is, any change will only make it worse, not better. That’s why innovation (bid’a) is a serious sin in Islam. Do French officials really think they will be able to create a new, Westernized Islam, shorn of its features that are offensive to contemporary Western sensibilities? They are indeed in for a rude awakening.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.