ClarionProject.org has twice reported on Imam Zaid Shakir, a founder of America’s first Muslim college (click here and here). In a video posted on YouTube on May 29, Shakir is asked about groups that work towards creating Islamic states like the radical Hizb ut-Tahrir organization, a group that openly despises democracy and seeks to resurrect the Islamic Caliphate ruled by Sharia.
“They have the rights of Islam and of Muslims over you, so you should treat them with respect. If you disagree, you should do so in the best of ways. You should try not to make a public focus so that others can point to and say, ‘Look how these people are,’” Shakir answers.
He says that there are “sincere Muslims in that group” that “should have the rights of Islam,” including the “right not to be vilified.” He says Muslims should have a friendly relationship with HUT, saying with a smile, “If they cook well, go to their house for dinner.”
His light criticism of HUT was limited to its preaching that the United Kingdom is the “root of all evil in the modern world” and a belief that a resurrected Caliphate would solve the problems of the Muslim world, noting that the Ottoman Empire decayed. He also defended the Muslim Brotherhood from HUT’s accusations that it has failed as a movement.
That’s it. He didn’t criticize the drive to create Sharia-based Islamic states, HUT’s hostility to democracy, its support of jihad against the West or its general extremism. HUT doesn’t hide its colors. Its radical views are out in the open, as documented here. Yet, the most Shakir could bring himself to say is that it is too hopeful about the success of a Caliphate and its criticism of the Brotherhood is misplaced, while telling Muslims not to publicly criticize HUT and to be friendly towards its members.
Shakir’s answer is an example of a larger problem: The Islamist treatment of the worldwide Muslim community as a single collective. This ideology holds that Muslims can disagree with each other but they are on the same team and must unite against the non-Muslims. At the end of the day, they belong to Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam).
The Muslim informant for the FBI who helped foil a terrorist attack on Fort Dix is a victim of this attitude. He describes losing a tight circle of family and friends after his involvement became public knowledge. He explains the sentiment that “For Muslims, we are all brothers, and I betrayed a brother.” The hostility led him to stop going to his mosque.
Public debate between Islamists and non-Islamists has to happen in order to defeat Political Islam, the ideology driving non-violent and violent jihadists. For the sake of the world’s security and the Muslim community, this debate has to happen. Islamists like Shakir don’t want that happen.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.