Letters to Free Press and Detroit News about Tawfik Hamid


Response “ISLAM MUST CHANGE” article in Detroit Free Press

I was very disturbed to read your article “Islam must change, Muslim Activist Says” (March 14, 2007). Tawfik Hamid’s suggestion that “Islam must be reformed because [it] allows for hatred against other religions, terrorism and violence against women” not only shows his lack of knowledge of the religion of which he supposed to be an expert, but shows his hatred of it. Nowhere in Islam, which literally means “peace” is there anything that can be used to justify terrorism and the killing of innocents. What is most disturbing though is his message that Islam “threatens the civilized world and must be militarily and theologically defeated before it can be reformed.” Instead of calling for dialogue and understanding, his advice to the American people is that we need to bash someone into submission and then force change on them. His arguments that it will take violence to end violence will only serve to increase the instability in the Muslim world, and help extremism thrive and grow. As a Middle Easterner he knows more than anyone else that the root cause of violence in the Middle East is not religion, but politics. His blaming Islam however, leads one to question his motivation. His distortion of Islam will not serve to increase dialogue and understanding of the religion, his extremist views can only serve to increase the islamophobic environment that exists today. Tawfik Hamid does a disservice not only to the Muslim community but to American society as a whole. He does not serve to build bridges but destroy them.


Response to “Talk on Islam under Fire” article in Detroit News

I was disturbed to read in your article titled “Talk on Islam under fire”, that people like Tawfik Hamid are invited to speak about Islam. Tawfik Hamid is not representative of the Muslim community in America. You would not invite a former Klu Klux Klan member to talk about Christianity, similarly why would you speak to a “former” extremist about Islam? The fact that he joined an extremist organization in the first place shows his lack of knowledge and understanding of Islam. Muslims have been saying over and over again that the actions of a few do not represent our religion. We have been trying to “take back” our religion from such “experts”. But it is very difficult to do so when people like Tawfik Hamid claim to speak for and misrepresent our community. Islam is a religion of peace, and the nowhere in the sacred Muslim text, the Qur’an, is there any justification for terrorism. If you want to understand Islam and Muslims speak to the average every day Moderate Muslim. Not a former “extremist” and now anti Muslim zealot. He does not represent us nor did he ever.

Ruqaya Ali

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Self-Proclaimed Expert on Terrorism

Hail freedom of speech, as the dubious self-proclaimed former terrorist, Tawfiq Hamid, was featured in DetroitFree Press on 14th March this year. Again, hail freedom of speech when another self-proclaimed reformer in Islam, Irshad Manji was also featured on March 1 of this year. These islamophobes are part of a new wave of speakers recently being brought to Michigan to speak authoritatively about Islam when they represent the same end of the bell curve that Osama Bin Laden does. One wonders why such extremists, who misinterpret the Qur'an and demonize the religion of Islam, are being sponsored so vehementlyby such sponsors as the Zionist organization of America.
The real focus should be to fight terrorism whenever and wherever they appear. Terrorism, unlike Tawfiq Hamid's claim, is not connected to any religion, if correctly interpreted. What is the point of religion if it doesn't promote peace! Terrorists may selectively use passages of any divine text, whether the Bible, The Torah or the Qur'an,mistranslate it and concoct plans to destroy their enemies regardless of method or means, however inhumane and unjustified.
When Tawfiq Hamid is given a platform in the name of freedom of speech, he and those who sponsor the likes of him risk being labelled as discriminatory or anti-islamic. Again, terrorism can have no religion. None of the monotheistic religions have ever supported terrorism. If Tawfiq Hamid and the sponsoring organizations want to talk about terrorism, let them be fair and bring in former terrorists from judaism and christianity as well. Let's bring Timothy McVeigh to talk about terrorism. I'm sure he would be rolling in his grave if he read about Tawfiq Hamid.
Several points about Tawfiq Hamid. He wrongfully claims that Islam promotes violence, and claims that this teaching of hatred will cause us to lose our freedom one day. He says, "that the most critical aspect of violent Islam...is the threat to our freedom". Firstly, there is no such thing as violent Islam, violent Christianity or violent Judaism. Islam does not teach of violence against any other religion, unless for self-defense. Terrorists and former terrorists, are a splinter in the majority muslim world. They reflect an extreme group without sufficient understanding of any religion. So do we fight the splinter or do we fight the entire muslim world! Also, the divine text of the muslims, the Qur'an declares "that there is no compulsion in religion". It promotes the freedom to chose to follow or not follow the text. Yet, the self-proclaimed expert, Tawfiq Hamid, declares that due to Islam, as understood today, we risk losing our freedom? What does "islam needs to be reformed" mean? How about claiming that judaism and christianity need to be reformed? Rather, Tawfiq Hamid needs to reform himself to allow for more sophistication when analyzing the issue of terrorism, as terrorism has no religion.
In the Detroit News, Tawfiq Hamid was quoted as calling for war upon "violent Islam" both militarily and theologically. Let me elaborate an obvious fact. Any war against any sovreign muslim nation, would actually initiate violence against the war mongers themselves. The case in point is Iraq, a country that never possessed any weapons of mass destruction. Tawfiq Hamid should change his message to promoting the peaceful message of Islam. Islam promotes justice, equality of women and recognize christians and jews as being people of the book whom God has commanded in the Qur'an to respect. Tawfiq Hamid's claim that the growth of the hijab is correlated to the growth of terrorism is false. Mother Mary wears the veil, nuns wear the veil, orthodox jewish women wear the veil. Tawfiq Hamid should respect the right of women to practice their religion as they interpret it.
It is hypocritical to address Tawfiq Hamid as a peacemaker when he is in truth a warmonger. It seems that he is still on the same side of the coin. If he is truly a former terrorist, he must have never read the Qur'an, as God surely commands muslims to respect christians and jews as the people of the Book.


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