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Rev. Sookhdeo blames Islam! In aid of Israel?
By Shaykh Riyad Nadwi, PhD
30 July 2005

Anyone reading this week's lead article in The Spectator entitled 'The Myth of Moderate Islam' (30 July 2005) is likely to conclude that Muslims are about to dominate the world through violence and will soon take over or destroy Britain.

Rev. Patrick Sookhdeo, mimicking Daniel Pipes' 'There Are No Moderates' theory (1995), writes: "The Muslim community now inhabits principally the urban centres of England as well as some parts of Scotland and Wales. It forms a spine running down the centre of England from Bradford to London, with ribs extending east and west. It is said that within 10 to 15 years most British cities in these areas will have Muslim-majority populations, and will be under local Islamic political control, with the Muslim community living under Sharia." (The Spectator, 30 July 2005).

It is obvious, apart from the deception aimed at those who are unfamiliar with the demographic realities of the Muslim population in Britain, that Rev. Sookhdeo is attempting to exploit the recent tragedies in London to foment religious and racial tension. This comes as no surprise since we know that the Reverend has made a career for himself over the last decade by peddling 'Israeli-conceived' fallacies and tactics against Islam and Muslims.

This is evident in the fact that although he claims the ill-treatment of Christians around the world as is primary concern, the anti-Christian policies of the Israeli regime is seldom mentioned in his writing. Rather strangely, the Reverend happens to be a showpiece figure for the Israeli government! Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs journal (Christians and Israel Vol VIII, No 1 - Autumn 1999) speaks proudly of Sookhdeo's visit to Israel, which was sponsored by the Anglo-Israel Association. It is therefore not surprising when other pro-Israel activists like Melanie Phillips applaud Sookhdeo for saying: "What disturbs me at the moment is the very deeply rooted anti-Semitism latent in Britain and the West. I simply hadn't realised how deep within the English psyche is this fear of the power and influence of the Jews" (Melanie Phillips, The Spectator, 22 March 2002). We must also note that Rev. Sookhdeo was initially promoted by the Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR) and his articles are published in its Nativ journal (e.g. Nativ Volume 15, Number 3 (86) 2002). In my response to Mr Browne's article of July 2004, I had cited the words of Professor Paul Eidelberg from the ACPR website. Now, given The Spectator's recurrent zeal to create religious tension in Britain, I think it is important that Muslims and Christians in this country are reminded repeatedly of Professor Eidelberg's contentions in his policy paper entitled 'The Clash of two Decadent Civilizations, towards an Hebraic Alternative': "It is in the clash between Western relativism and Islamic absolutism that we are to understand the world-historical necessity of Hebraic civilization, whose restoration awaits the establishment of a New Israel'. The executive summary reads:

'Part I discusses the decadence of Islamic civilization. Part II discusses the decadence of Western civilization. Part III discusses the basis of Hebraic civilization, showing how it transcends East and West. Part I portrays Islam's decline as rooted in hate. Part II reveals the West's decline as rooted in indifference. Part III reveals Hebraic civilization as rooted in Hesed - kindness. What is called the 'West' today is not equivalent to Western civilization. The latter has been eroded and emasculated by multiculturalism and feminism. The Great Books of Western civilization no longer set the tone of higher education in the West. The quest for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful have been replaced by relativism. Pop culture is the result. Spread abroad, it threatens Islam. In reacting to this threat by means of suicide bombers, Islam reveals itself not only as a religion driven by hate, but a religion that has exhausted its original creativity. Islamic absolutism, like Western relativism, ends in nihilism. It is in the clash between Western relativism and Islamic absolutism that we are to understand the world-historical necessity of Hebraic civilization, whose restoration awaits the establishment of a New Israel' (Policy Paper published by the Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR). http://www.acpr.org.il/)

If we are willing to propagate Rev. Sookhdeo's conspiracy theories about Muslims taking over Britain in ten years time might we not, at least, consider the theories of Professor Eidelberg, who is an influential player in Israeli politics? Also, given his view that an Hebraic civilisation will rise from the ashes of a clash between the West and Islam, should we not then speculate on reasons for the recent quality meltdown in global intelligence reports? Similarly, we should ponder the reasons why we are constantly being told about the 'threat of a Muslim invasion', or that the Quran is to be blamed for everything (instead of actual invasions of Muslim countries), or that Islam needs to be reformed.

Rev. Sookhdeo runs two multi-million pound charities (Barnabas Fund, Reg. Charity No. 1092935 which received £4.2 million in 2002-2003 and The Barnabas Fund, Reg. Charity No. 271602 which received £2.9 million in 2002). These are used as advocacy vehicles to lobby politicians for what might be the agenda of a foreign government and yet no one in the Charity Commission appears to have taken notice. There is no way of knowing what is the true source of funding of these organisations. Patrick Sookhdeo also runs an institution called The Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity (ISIC), which is publicised as the educational arm of the Barnabas Fund. To all intents and purposes, this Institute appears to function as the British equivalent of the well known Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), whose function, it seems, is to cherry-pick soundbites from the Arab media, for Western consumption, in support of Israeli policy (see the investigation by Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, 12 August 2002).

In February 2002, Rev. Sookhdeo lectured to an audience in Fairfax County saying: "The question is what policies Western governments take vis-à-vis Islam? I think we must drive Islam to have a reformation, which is what Salman Rushdie is saying, that Islam unreformed will be brutal and barbaric. Its only future is in having a Martin Luther..." (Washington Times, 16 January 2002).

Instead of regurgitating 'Israeli spin' theories, if the Reverend had actually studied the reformation of Christianity and Judaism, he would have seen the inherent flaws in his argument. Far from preventing violence and terrorism, the reformation of Judaism is arguably one of the causes of Jewish terrorism in Palestine during the 1940s. Zionism and modern Jewish terrorism share a common history rooted in reformation. For example, on 31 July 1947, Zionist Irgun terrorists killed two British sergeants, Marvyn Paice and Clifford Martin. Their booby-trapped bodies were found hanging from eucalyptus trees. Martin's guts were blown to bits all over the officers who tried to cut him down. Have we forgotten that Zionist justification for such terrorism was derived in a post 18th century reformation of Judaism, a Judaism that had departed from the passive and traditional interpretations of waiting for the Messiah before reclaiming the Holy Land? Zionist ideology as a whole is only feasible with 're-interpretation' of the text and extreme relativism, a relativism that even led some Zionists to welcome Hitler's rise to power. For example the Zionist Rabbi Dr Joachim Prinz, who later became vice-chairman of the World Jewish Congress and friend of Golda Meir, had famously published a special book in 1934 - Wir Juden (We Jews) - to celebrate Hitler's German Revolution and the defeat of liberalism.

Perhaps the Reverend, who is so keen for Islam to have its own 'Martin Luther', has not yet read Martin Luther's 'dirty little book' on the Jews, which provided justification to Hitler for his Final Solution. Luther's reformation was responsible for promoting anti-Semitism to a level never before seen in Europe. His 1543 book, On the Jews and Their Lies ends with a chilling plea: "My essay, I hope, will furnish a Christian (who in any case has no desire to become a Jew) with enough material not only to defend himself against the blind, venomous Jews, but also to become the foe of the Jews' malice, lying, and cursing, and to understand not only that their belief is false but that they are surely possessed by all devils… Amen." Luther wanted to 'be rid of them' and urged European governments and ministers to deal with what he saw as 'the problem'. He requested pastors and preachers to follow his example of issuing warnings against the Jews. He declared that "We are at fault in not slaying them" in order to avenge the death of Jesus Christ. Luther's Jewish eliminationist rhetoric is identical to that of the beliefs held by Hitler and much of the German populace in the 1930s. In fact, his reformation set the stage for the future of German nationalistic fanaticism. In Mein Kampf, Hitler listed Martin Luther as one of the greatest of reformers. In addition to his vile anti-Semitism, Luther's reformation was followed by what is arguably some of the most brutal and violent phases of European history. Let us not forget the Inquisition that massacred thousands of innocent women.

Anyone who suggests that a 'reformation' of Islam will stop terrorism is not only deceiving themselves and others but they are also demonstrating a profound ignorance of history and a serious lack of knowledge of the human condition. Telling the world that 'belief in the Quran is the problem' while we continue to invade Muslim countries, carpet bomb cities, usurp Muslim land wholesale, destroy homes with impunity, displace families without compassion and build walls to imprison millions may indeed provide some comfort to a guilty conscience, but for Muslims it will always remain an offensive proposition and will be perceived as furthering the onslaught against everything to do with Islam and Muslims. Anyone vaguely familiar with traditional Islamic scholarship would know that fiqh (jurisprudence) is not derived from isolated chapters and verses of the Quran. Moreover it is incredibly ignorant to argue that tafsir (Quranic exegesis) has been restricted to Madinan surahs alone for 1400 years or that naskh (abrogation) is the primary or sole principle through which meanings are derived. These are myths based on ill intent on the part of orientalist clerics, and on ignorance on the part of their confused and intellectually inept 'Muslim' students.

When the bill against incitement to religious hatred was defeated in April 2005 in Parliament, Rev. Sookhdeo, following the campaign led by Evan Harris MP, had remarked triumphantly: "We are very pleased that the government has been forced to withdraw these laws' (CNS News, 7 April 2005). Reading his venomous article today in The Spectator sheds ample light on the motives behind his opposition to the bill. He is evidently keen to continue his attack on Islam and Muslims.

Over the past two weeks we have been told repeatedly, despite our prompt and unambiguous statements in denouncing the London bombings, that Muslim scholars are not speaking out enough against terrorism. I think the time has now come to focus on a plea towards the leaders of churches and synagogues. In the interest of community cohesion we need to see them stand up and speak out against these attacks on Islam disguised in the rhetoric of 'reformation' as postulated by Rev. Sookhdeo and others. When Muslims are expected to look within and bring out intelligent and sincere voices to deal with the problems we face in the modern world, we expect the same from the Christian and Jewish leadership in curbing incitement against the Quran and Islam. I strongly believe that if it is allowed to continue unabated it will lead us further down a road towards a clash of civilizations - precisely of the sort envisaged by Professor Eidelberg (above).

Related articles:
- Mr Charles Moore, is it only Christianity and Islam that are fair game?
- Statement on the bombing of London
- It's the "attack" on Islam stupid!
- An Open letter in response to the Prime Minister's Brighton Conference Speech
- The Triumph of the East? Who are the real winners? A response to the Spectator
- Questions for the BBC Producers