Binyamin Natanyahu mugshot

Who and what is the real Netanyahu?

Alan Hart finds the key to understanding Binyamin Netanyahu in his father, Benzion Mileikowsky, an advocate of colonisation who believed the only way Israel could survive was "by killing all Arabs”. More »

Netanyahu’s expensive speech

Binyamin Netanyahu’s expensive speech

Uri Avnery says by spiting President Obama in Congress Netanyahu may succeed in outflanking his opponents in Israel’s coming elections, but the price could be Israel’s lifeline – the alliance with Washington. More »

Qatar map

The poisonous State of Qatar

Nureddin Sabir examines Qatar’s policy of reliance on the USA and support for Islamism, and its media strategy, as represented by Aljazeera, which talks democracy to Westerners but espouses Islamism to Arabs. More »

International Criminal Court1

Palestine at the International Criminal Court

Lawrence Davidson assesses the potential and problems of the Palestinian request to the International Criminal Court to begin a preliminary investigation of Israel’s actions during the 2014 invasion of the Gaza Strip. More »

China loves Israel

Israel’s new Asian allies

With Israel turning to Asia to compensate for its loss of Western support, Jonathan Cook wonders how long it will be before it starts replying on a Chinese veto at the UN. More »

Islamic State terrorists

How to defeat violent Islamic fundamentalism

Alan Hart says Western foreign policy and repressive Arab and Muslim regimes are at the core of violent Islamic fundamentalism, and that Western leaders could change both, but they will not. More »

Hasbara alert

The myth of rising anti-Semitism in Europe

Uri Avnery debunks the flurry of Israeli and other Zionist propaganda which claims that European anti-Semitism is rising, blaming instead local historical baggage and Israeli behaviour for recent attacks on Jews. More »

Christian Zionism

Church of England’s hidden Zionist agenda 

Stuart Littlewood says the Church of England is home to a mission preaching the Zionist gospel, and that is why truthseekers such as Rev Stephen Sizer are hounded out of their jobs. More »

Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson, Israel’s casino king

Uri Avnery examines how the ultra-right-wing American Jewish Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson dominates Israel through Binyamin Netanyahu and the yellow press, and the US Congress through the Republican Party. More »

Guernica

The nightmare we called the “Arab Spring”

Nureddin Sabir says the “Arab Spring” had been misunderstood from the start and, at least in Syria and Libya, what were said to be pro-democracy revolutions were in fact Islamist insurrections. More »

Daily Archives: April 3, 2013

Ahmad al-Qabbanji, brave Islamic scholar

If it is hard nowadays to find an ordinary practising Muslim who is able to exercise his critical faculties and willing to embrace the modern world, you would have thought it would be impossible to find a Muslim scholar with these qualities.

If so, then meet Ahmad al-Qabbanji, an Iraqi Shi’i scholar with a difference. In contrast to the primitive Islamist charlatans permeating the Arab world these days – Salafis, Wahhabis, Muslim Brotherhood and the rest – Al-Qabbanji is against the notion of government by religious people – a theocracy – and also against an Islamic state ruled by shari’ah law.

Instead, he believes that society should be organized not on the basis of literal interpretations of Islam, but in accordance with “religious values and divine principles” and that, crucially, these values and principles must embrace modern universal precepts of human rights, freedom, pluralism and respect for others.

Al-Qabbanji says current Islamic scholars have shackled themselves with the understandings and rules of a bygone era, an era that passed “more than a thousand years ago”. He believes that if Islam is to be relevant, then it must embrace modernity and modern scientific thinking, as well as universal principle of human rights and freedoms. He calls this “liberal Islam”.

Those who understand Arabic can hear a profile of Al-Qabbanji, and an overview of his thoughts, in this nine-minute interview:

 

Controversially – and courageously – Al-Qabbanji challenges the consensus in the Islamic world which views the Quran as the literal word of God. Through a foresnic analysis of the Islamic holy book, he argues that there is enough illogic, non sequiturs and passages clearly based on ancient beliefs that we now know are plainly wrong, to show that rather than being the word of God from cover to cover, the Quran has in fact been added to and distorted by mortals over the years.

He cites, among many examples, passages from the Quran proclaiming that the Sun and Moon revolve around the Earth and that the sky was elevated and placed on pillars by God. Rather than being the words of God, these ideas, he argues, are products of the “age of ignorance” – the philosophy of the universe prevailing in the seventh century.

Arabic speakers can enjoy Al-Qabbanji’s analysis of the Quran in the short video below.

 
 

We salute the brave Ahmad al-Qabbanji and wish him peace and security in a part of the world where ignorance, bigotry and charlatanism are rife.