Sometimes challenges to jihadist orthodoxies come from the most surprising places. A challenge to the idea that ‘Islamophobia’ equals racism has been made by an influential and seemingly widely supported Islamic cleric.
Yahya Cholil Staquf, the leader of an Indonesia based Islamic sect that claims 90 million adherents that it was some aspects of Islam itself that are creating and sustaining conflict. Mr Staquf wrote an article in the UK Daily Telegraph and quoted by the website of the Christian Barnabas Fund, in which he said that the ‘Islamic mindset must change’. He took aim at the Islamic orthodoxy that fuels both jihadists and other Islamic extremists in places like Europe and called that orthodoxy ‘obsolete and problematic” and “fuelling violence on both sides”.
Mr Staquf is in my opinion correct in his assertions. Many of us do not despise Islam for reasons related to ignorance or mindless bigotry, but because of the theology of Islam that propels some Muslims to do the most appalling things. These terrible things are done either in the name of Islam or because the perpetrators grew up in a culture that promoted Islamic orthodoxy and that has become the world view of these individuals. It is as Mr Staquf said the ‘perpetual enmity’ between Muslim and non Muslim that is encouraged by shariah law and has its roots in the Koran. It is good to see this cleric be honest and admit that Islamic terrorism is everything to do with Islam.