Binyamin Netanyahu and Ed Miliband

UK opposition leader falls for Zionist propaganda

Stuart Littlewood reminds us of UK opposition leader Ed Miliband’s broken promise – that he would visit the occupied Palestinian territories – and views his decision instead to regurgitate Israeli propaganda. More »

Pollution in Delhi

Filthy, deadly mayhem in India

Graham Peebles highlights the debilitating effects of pollution in India, arguing that it is time to end the official corruption and complacency that is turning India into the world’s biggest sewer. More »

Burst bubble

Why the Palestinian-Israeli talks bubble burst

Uri Avnery examines the myths, the comprehensive lack of understandings and the fears of the alternatives to a world of make-believe surrounding the failed US-mediated talks between Israel and the Palestinians. More »

Israeli serpent

Israel the unprincipled entity

Jamal Kanj says American spinelessness towards Israel – once described by a French diplomat as a “shitty little country” – is responsible for the collapse of so-called “peace” talks with the Palestinians. More »

BBC Israel Public Inquiry

BBC misreports John Kerry on talks failure

Nureddin Sabir detects the hands of Zionists behind the BBC’s misreporting of US Secretary of State Kerry’s statement, to downplay his blaming of Israel for the failure of talks with the Palestinians. More »

Israeli theft of Palestinian rights

The reality behind the Israeli-Palestinian talks

Jonathan Cook argues that, with the imminent failure of the Israeli-Palestinian talks,“the era of wishful thinking may finally be coming to an end – and that will be progress in itself”. More »

Israeli bullying

Threats from Palestine’s nasty neighbour

Stuart Littlewood views Israel’s threatening response to Palestinian moves to join international organizations as they’re entitled to, and wonders what entitles the squatters to threaten the indigenous people from exercising their rights. More »

Sheldon Adelson

Zionist billionaire eyes US presidential purchase

Uri Avnery examines how big money is corrupting US and Israeli politics, and highlights the role of American Jewish casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson who is now considering his next US presidential purchase. More »

Zionism is racism

Rosenberg’s conundrum: Zionism vs reality

Lawrence Davidson says, contrary to Michael Rosenberg’s defence of a racial Israel, “Zionism… has to go – for the sake of the Palestinians and... for a more promising future for the Jews”. More »

Free Palestine, Boycott Israel

“BDS is irrelevant.” Oh, really?

Stuart Littlewood debunks the Israel apologists’ argument questioning the relevance of the boycott and sanctions movement, which he explains is necessary if there is to be hope for justice for the Palestinians. 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.