Gaza prison

How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison

Jonathan Cook argues that the Palestinians’ humanitarian needs and their right in international law to resist their oppressor are being sacrificed to make the enforcement of Israel’s occupation more efficient. More »

Anti lobby demonstration

America’s special interest problem

Lawrence Davidson argues that only popular action can free United States legislators from the shackles of special interest groups, or lobbies, that have hijacked and corrupted US foreign and domestic policies. More »

India's space mission

India’s space madness amid astronomical poverty 

Graham Peebles questions the justice and wisdom of India’s ruling elite, which spends USD1 billion annually on its space programme while India has the world’s highest number of people practising open defecation. More »

US Congress traitors

Israel, the US Congress and treason

Alan Hart explains how members of Congress who put Israel’s interests ahead of those of the United States could be charged with treason, despite the US constitution’s narrow definition of a traitor. More »

Pro-Palestinian demonstration in Britain

Israel ignoring “tectonic change” in public opinion

Uri Avnery argues that, oblivious to Israelis, a tectonic change in public attitude towards Israel is underway, as shown by the UK parliament’s and Sweden’s decisions to recognise the state of Palestine. More »

David Cameron and Binyamin Netanyahu

Cameron still hasn’t got the message on Palestine

Stuart Littlewood examines the spurious arguments used by the British government to try to wheedle its way out of recognising Palestine as a state, as emphatically demanded by the British parliament. More »

UK parliament votes for Palestine recognition

A shot across the bows of Israel and its stooges

Stuart Littlewood says the UK parliament’s vote in favour of recognising Palestine as a state is a clear instruction to the government to act with honour and decency towards the Palestinian people. More »

Map showing how Palestine is being swallowed up by Jewish squatter colonies

The UK House of Commons Palestine vote…

Alan Hart explains why the two-state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict – the premise on which British lawmakers voted in favour of recognising a Palestinian state – is no longer possible. More »

UK Palestine recognition

Which way will the UK Parliament jump…

Stuart Littlewood looks at how Israel’s flag wavers in the lower chamber of the British parliament are rallying their forces to thwart a motion to unilaterally recognise the state of Palestine. More »

Arab sand niggers

Israel and the genocide word

Jonathan Cook argues that the word “occupation” does not adequately describe Israel’s “unique strategy of incrementally destroying the Palestinian people”, a strategy comprising a mixture of ethnic cleansing, apartheid and incremental genocide. 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.