Dick Cheney

Israel – America’s torture consultant

Jamal Kanj notes that the similarity in torture techniques described in the Senate’s report and those used by the Israelis on Palestinians points to an Israeli role in America’s practise of torture. More »

UN-Palestine State

Israel’s splendid isolation

Uri Avnery reviews Israel’s international isolation and assesses the consequences of a US veto or non-veto of a draft UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to the Israeli occupation. More »

US torture

America and the forgotten futility of torture

Lawrence Davidson says showing once more that torture is futile will not stop it from recurring in the USA, and that the only deterrence is to hold the politicians responsible to account. More »

US imprisoned by Israel

US feels the heat on Palestine vote at UN 

Jonathan Cook says while Europe is becoming increasingly disenchanted with Israel, as shown by the growing recognitions of Palestine, US policy towards Israel is paralysed by fear of upsetting the Zionist lobby. More »

Ziad Abu Ein

Whitewashing a Palestinian minister’s murder

Jamal Kanj examines the murder by Israeli Wehrmacht soldiers of Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein and the subsequent propaganda blitz by Israel and its Western stooges and nincompoops to whitewash the murder. More »

Alon Ben-Meir

Israel’s Jews trapped in their own narrative

Alan Hart explains why Israeli Jews must acknowledge that a terrible wrong was done to the Palestinians by Zionism in the name of all Jews and that this wrong must be righted. More »

Media determinism

Free choice vs media determinism

Lawrence Davidson questions the extent of free will, whether in commercial or political choices, in the face of media manipulation amounting to determinism and exercised through advertisements and selective news and emphasis. More »

Sanctions Russia Israel

Palestine and Europe’s symbolic gestures

Alan Hart says Europe needs to go beyond gestures towards Palestine and submit a Security Council resolution with an ultimatum for Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories or face international sanctions. More »

Ethnic cleansing

Israel’s ethnic cleansing manifesto

Jamal Kanj argues that Israeli politicians such as the present foreign minister, the Moldovan former nightclub bouncer Avigdor Lieberman, are seeking to complete the ethnic cleansing begun by Israel’s founders in 1948. 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.