Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Daniel Maldonado's Wikipedia Page, Iran and Thoughts on an Islamic "Reformation"

Wikipedia is notorious for its Western apologist-filtered fantasy version of Islam. It follows something which they refer to as "verifiability, not truth". In regards to Islam, this has meant that they accept what "notable/reliable" Western commentators say about its religious text and Muslims over what the religious text and Muslims actually say themselves (Karen Armstrong, anyone?).

For anything even remotely "controversial" (i.e. politics or religion), it can be pretty useless. However, it still can be great as a starting point, even for topics related to Islam, and I regularly use it for non-religious related material. I was browsing it the other day and stumbled upon their page for Daniel Maldonado. This page left me thinking, "sometimes the truth is staring people in the face, but they refuse to acknowledge it ":

Daniel Maldonado, also known by his adopted Muslim name Daniel Aljughaifi, is a U.S. convert to a fundamentalist Islam who faces charges for an alleged association with terrorism.
Maldonado converted to Islam in 2000 in Methuen, Massachusetts. According to the Boston Globe his views became so extreme his mosque's imam asked him to either quit criticizing the mosque's other members, or to leave, according to a friend of Maldonado, Soner Uguz, of Lawrence, Massachusetts:
"He was arrogant; he knew the book [the Koran] better than anyone, He went from loving rap to hating poetry."
In mid-February 2007 Maldonado was charged with playing a role in terrorist activities in Somalia. Maldonado is notable because his charge, in a Houston, Texas court, was the first time a US citizen faced charges for participating in terrorism in Somalia.
The Boston Globe reported that, as a youth, Maldonado had minor brushes with the law, but nothing serious. Maldonado, his wife, Tamekia (née Cunningham) and three young children, moved to Egypt in November 2005. The Boston Globe reports that an FBI affidavit asserts he moved to Somalia a year later, where he undertook training in bomb-making and military skills.
According to a speech FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III delivered on March 28, 2007 at National Defense University
... such as the arrest of suspected terrorist Daniel Maldonado. Maldonado, an American citizen who converted to the Muslim faith, moved from Houston to Egypt in November 2005. He then traveled to Somalia to practice what he called 'true Islam'. According to the indictment, while in Mogadishu, Maldonado participated in a jihadist training program that included weapons and explosives. He said that he was willing to fight on behalf of Al Qaeda and even offered to act as a suicide bomber. Kenyan military authorities captured Maldonado in January. Members of the Houston Joint Terrorism Task Force transported him back to the United States.

If you read the underlined portions, you will note that, instead of correcting Maldonado's "erroneous" and "extremist" interpretations of  a "peaceful religion", his mosque's imam tells him to either shut up or leave. Could this have anything to do with the fact that Maldonado "knew the book [the Koran] better than anyone", a fact that left an imam unable to correct a mere convert?

The answer to that question is, in all probability, a resounding 'yes'. The cleric was unable to shut him up intellectually because that particular member of his congregation was the one who was interpreting Islam through it's actual texts and not filtering it through his own understandings of what is moral or not.

This is one of the many reasons why I believe that there is no hope in mainstream Islam reforming itself. The "extremists" have scripture on their side, whilst the so-called reformers only have the ignorant, agenda-driven Western media to repeat their claims to more ignorant, agenda-driven Western viewers/readers.

We've all heard of the American Muslim apologist, Laleh Bakhtiar, and her false claim that the Qur'an does not instruct men to beat their wives. The fact that her ridiculous claim has been completely dismissed by mainstream Muslims, has led to her translation being banned from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) bookstore, and that the nonsensical lie is apparent to any Arabic speaker, doesn't seem to matter to Western media/apologists and sites like Wikipedia.

The same thing has happened with the claim of Aisha, Muhammad's child bride, being anything from 12 to 21-years-old at the time of her consummation. The fact that these claims were concocted by an Ahmadi (not a Muslim), have been completely dismissed by mainstream Muslims, and have even been refuted by Muslim scholars, doesn't seem to matter to sites like Wikipedia who devote large amounts of space (undue weight) to such silly and obscure apologetic arguments.

Westerners love to say how Islam is no different to other superstitions, that all it needs is a "reformation" like Christianity. But they fail to consider two very important points:

1. Individuals who criticize mainstream Islamic doctrines are labeled by apologists and "moderate" Muslims as hate-mongering "Islamophobes", and the so-called "reformists" almost never admit there is anything wrong with Islam. You cannot reform something if you refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem with it. These "reformists" usually make excuses and pass on the blame to "Wahhabis" (who are in fact not a part of a deviant or innovative Islamic sect, but strict orthodox followers of the Qur'an and Sunnah). They also conveniently spend all of their time trying to "refute" critics rather than actually attempting reform by discussing problems within Islam with fellow Muslims.

2. The Protestant Reformation was the 16th-century schism within Western Christianity. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to ("protested") the doctrines, rituals, and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led to the creation of new national Protestant churches.

The split between Sunnis and Shi'ites resemble that of the split between Catholics and Protestants. The historic background of the Sunni–Shi'ite split lies in the schism that occurred when Muhammad died in 632, leading to a dispute over succession to Muhammad as a caliph of the Islamic community. Some Muslims sided with Ali and believed he was the rightful successor to Muhammad, leading to what we know today as Shi'ite Islam.

So, the Islamic equivalent of the Protestant Reformation has already taken place, and if you want to see what post-reform Islam looks like.... go to Iran.