Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘civil laws

“Are there moderate Muslims?”

Posted on September 25, 2008 (and written in Oct. 26, 2207)

Note: This lengthy article was meant to be exhaustive. If you want me to split it in two articles, I will be ready to do it.

It coincided that I was reading chapters of two books concomitantly “Quand l’Amerique refait le Monde” by Ghassan Salameh (Salami) and “L’Apocalypse” by Oriana Fallaci  when I realized that the topic of current Islamic fundamentalism is wreaking havoc on the disposition of many western people.

Mostly, the western people tended to be liberal in many issues but could no longer reconcile a liberal attitude toward Islam: Mainly the reality of the virulent traditional Islamic behaviors toward strict adoption of the Koranic laws that regulate the daily life for the Muslims and trying to circumvent the civil laws in Europe.

Ghassan Salameh has investigated the genesis of the new trend in the US ruling government toward Islam after the Twin Towers September 11 attack and which was based on the studies of a few “prestigious” American academics on Islam. 

Salame stated that the neo-conservative elements in the Bush administration have adopted Bernard Lewis as their guru in matters related to Islam and the anti-Muslim movements. 

Professor Lewis was fascinated and excited in the 1950s with everything related to Islam and then turned sour, negative and dissatisfied with the Islamic World: he repeatedly claimed in his studies that the Muslims have a rage and a strong tendency to hate the Western Nations as a product of their sense of inferiority complex toward the West and propagated the concept of an invasion to saw the grains of democracy in the Near East.

After the September 11 attack on the Twin Tower, the neo-conservatives like Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrams, and Gaffneys directed the debate toward the confirmation of pre-emptive offensive against the infantile specie of the political regimes in the Muslim World.

The spreading notion of an ineluctable conflict of Islam with the USA.  Pipes went as far as eliminating any cause for using cultural instruments in the arsenal of the war.

It is obvious that Oriana Fallaci has made up her mind that there are no moderate Muslims, unless they are Muslims by birth but No longer practicing  believers: simply because the Koran is the Koran and there is no way to interpret the Sourates to coincide with civil laws in the western nations. 

Actually, the late Oriana Fallaci was a staunch liberal but could not swallow the latest slaughtering of foreign prisoners by extremist Muslims and how Muslim immigrants are flaunting the civil laws in Europe.

Fallaci insists that the word “terrorism” is not good enough; the mass media should remain consistent and say “Islamic terrorism”; a term that would satisfy the terrorist Zionists immensely. 

Fallacy relied on St. John’s apocalyptic vision where a Monster with seven heads and ten horns would emerge from the sea and then the Beast on land would execute all the Monster’s orders. Thus, the Monster is Islam and the Beast is represented by the European liberals and leaders who are trying to appease Muslims and exhorting them to moderation by dangling carrots instead of raising the heavy sticks.

I was surprised by the coincidence to read that Oriana Fallaci also adopted the views of Bernard Lewis on Islam and considered him as the ultimate authority for truth on Islamic matters.

Apparently, the then 80-years old Lewis and growing more senile by the by, gave an interview to a German daily where he lambasted the West for not believing that radical Islam is the main enemy, instead of the new fascists. Lewis is hammering the notion that all of Europe is going to be Islamist by the year 2100. (If mankind survive till then)

Thus, there is a disposition to fit theories that antagonize the Muslim World by accepting as evidence the many terrorist acts perpetrated by extremist Muslims.

The vehement attitude of Fallaci toward Islam stems from two premises:

First, all of the terrorist attacks in the World are perpetrated by Muslims, (obviously wrong and faked wishes) and

Second, the practices of Muslims’ behavior in the Western World are based on the teaching of the Koran which cannot be reconciled with the rational civil laws in the western countries they live in. (How these laws are biased to the privileged elite classes are Not broached)

The first premise may be true if we rely solely on the media accounts that, almost exclusively and consistently, show that the current terrorist attacks in the Western World, such as USA, Spain, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Holland where “terrorism had struck”, were done by Muslims.  She focused on the terrible acts of slaughtering hostages by Muslim radicals in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Russia.

Fallaci forgot to mention that terrorism has also been striking in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Philippine, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Palestine, and Lebanon, Africa, to name but a few, in order to destabilize these States, where terrorism was carried by Hindu, Christians, and various Muslim sects against each other castes.

The hidden facts that terrorism is done by the western extremists are not widely publicized and mostly toned down and not taken up relentlessly by the media.

For example, the Oklahoma City bombing was first attributed to Muslim extremists and then the US had to admit that it was a purely US extremist act; not to mention the dozen of mass killings in the US schools and universities

Moreover, most of the western terrorist acts are ordered by the states or committed by organizations supported by the states and consequently not divulged and buried as national security secrets.

Actually, all the terrorist acts of the Israeli settlers and the government on Palestinians and other adjacent States are coined as “individual actions by crazy people”

Fallaci should have recalled the many terrorist acts that ravaged Italy and Germany in the 60s and 70s and committed by the extremist left movements and done by non-Muslims; she also decided to forget the recent decade long terrorism and genocides that plagued former Yugoslavia and which was started by Christians among themselves in self cleansing mechanisms and then cleansing themselves with the blood of the Muslims in Kosovo and Serbia. (And current far-right parties terrorist activities)

Fallaci should have taken up also these terrorist occurrences of destabilizing many third world countries, and going on even today, by the US and Israel. She has indeed experienced these Western terrorist acts during her long career as a journalist, but she decided to focus her venom on Islam, thus satisfying the present Western propaganda strategy of misinformation and distortion.

As for the second premise, Fallaci poured her venom on those Muslims who claim to be moderate, simply because they didn’t join a radical group or didn’t commit a terrorist act but engage practically in “awful behaviors”. 

For example, how can a Muslim claim to be moderate if he prevents his wives or daughters to be integrated in their new societies, ordering them to swim in their long robe “dishdasha/jalabiya”, even if this practice is tantamount to drowning, or having three wives and treating them as slaves, or beating his wives because it is permitted by “Al Shari3a”, killing his daughters because they refused to marry the men that he selected for them, lambasting school directors because they allowed their sons and daughters to be offered sweets containing hints of alcohol, and so on.  (But many of these customs are practiced by many non-Muslims religious sects, and the Koran does Not encourage many of those imposed patriarchal privilege systems)

Fallaci claims that nine out of ten of the Islamic divine inspired laws are opposite to the Italian civil laws, and consequently, there is no possibility of coming to acceptable terms with Muslim believers. (Let Italy just carry out the civil laws on non-abiding Muslim citizens to encourage “moderate Muslims” to follow suit)

If we recapitulate the history of the world we can demonstrate that almost every religion encouraged terrorist acts throughout history when the goal was to establish a theocratic state, governed by the clerics, or to maintain the power of the religious hierarchy caste over the citizens and the other minority castes. 

European history is packed with genocidal periods where the majority of a Christian sect tried to exterminate other secondary Christian sects in France, Spain, Byzantium, Russia, and Germany, to name a few, and labelled them “heretics” and their shed blood a duty.

The one main factor that permitted the western Christian societies to edge toward rational civil laws and weakens the Christian Orders was that the New Testament dealt only with spiritual doctrines: Christ died before his religion was firmly established and didn’t have to enact laws organizing society when the Roman civil laws were the law of the land.

The major problem with the Muslim religion and its inability to establish rational civil laws for the land is that the Prophet Muhammad vanquished his arch enemy the Koreish tribes in Mecca, while still alive and had to re-organize the tribal society with laws emanating from the “unique God” and the mainstream customs among the tribes.

For maybe esthetic reasons, the Sourats of the Koran were organized according to length and not chronologically as logic would dictate; otherwise, the Muslims would have realized that the sourats in the first 13 years of Islam were purely spiritual and not deviating far from Jesus’ teaching. 

Actually, whatever variations there are in Islam and Christianity, are identical to the views of the different schisms in Christianity in the early centuries (mostly based on Jewish customs sect) and which provoked mass extermination of the smaller Christian sects by the dominant Christian sects.

For example, the status of the Virgin Mary, the duality of Jesus, the Holy Ghost and a multitude of other differences that Byzantium was famous with splitting hair were points of contention among the Christian sects and still are.

If the Koran was divided into two volumes, the spiritual volume related to the first 13 years of its formation and the second volume related to the earthly laws governing the City-State of Medina and then society in the Arab peninsula among the tribes, then communication among the two cultures would have been possible and the Muslims would not have reverted to rigid dogma forced upon them by 10 centuries of domination of Central Asian tribes (Mongol Empires) and culminating by their close associated tribe the Ottomans.

As is common among all religions, the religious orders emphasize the earthly concepts that can be impressed upon the believers by attaching heavy burdens on their daily life for total subjugation. 

Ironically, Christianity created daily burdens of religious obligations that were Not included in the “Bible”, just to impose its hegemony over the soul of its believers.

Jesus strongly denounced the Jewish Order for the daily heavy burdens they encumbered the Jews with and lambasted the order as a hypocritical order. 

Nevertheless, Christianity, whether Roman or Lutheran or Protestant, feverishly created religious obligations that were not in the New Testament but dug up from the Jewish religious books or from the proclamations of the saints and religious leaders to subjugate their members into a tight closed caste.

In general, Christianity is an open religion and the Western Nations in their zest to proselytize their respective dominant religion endeavored to invade the “barbarous” people for the proclaimed purpose of indoctrinating these people into the Christian values; most of these people were subjugated into changing religions nominally but kept their “pagan” traditions.

However, the Christian Maronite sect in Lebanon has reverted to a closed religion and adopted the caste system since the independence of Lebanon in 1943. 

The Maronite sect has agreed on a tacit pact with the non-Christian castes not to allow non-Christian members from the other castes in Lebanon to be baptized Maronites; I can testify that even Lebanese living overseas were not permitted to change religion: the Maronite Order made it clear that the process of changing religion is not feasible. 

This Maronite Christian sect has sold out its soul to preserve its supremacy as a caste in Lebanon local politics and ended up losing its supremacy in 1989 at the Taef Conference in Saudi Arabia.

Consequently, the divergence between the western societies and the Muslim societies are the result of types of revealed Books; the main Christian Book that basically does not contain earthly laws but were created later by the dominant Christian orders, and the Muslim Book that does specifically include earthly laws for governing societies.

The western societies have succeeded in establishing rational, though debatable, civil laws created by men (women had not yet fully participated in most of these laws); and they don’t have to bend their laws to accommodate Muslim immigrants who are stuck with divine laws to run their daily lives. 

This is not to say that the Western World has to adopt pre-emptive strategies of conquering Muslim and Arab countries on the flimsy crusading abstract notion of spreading democracy and the international civil laws, when the geo-political reality is clear and is meant to control energy resources and stopping the expansion of China in world politics.

As for the Moslem World, if the purpose of all these upheavals is catching up with the technology of the western societies then the burden resides mainly on accepting the premise that the spiritual doctrines should be separated from the rational civil laws. 

Otherwise, if the Muslim World wants to survive under its own set of divine obligations and be ruled my mullah, and sheikhs, and muftis then let it be proclaimed openly and unite under this purpose and let the world live as separate entities; societies that instituted civil laws and those insisting on man-made “inspired divine laws”.

In either case, there is no basic need for forced hegemony of one civilization over another if the human mind cannot device a method for human communication and entente: forced hegemony has never worked or lasted in history, and all the evidences are leading to the fact that the current western forced hegemony is failing, unless partitioning the Arab World into cantons is viewed as a definite success of the new pre-emptive “war” strategy, which has nothing to do with cultural differences.

Islam is carrying an insurmountable burden of awkward traditions, not just because of the 5 centuries of Ottoman domination, but 11 centuries of Muslim Sunni of Central Asian tribes that dominated most of the Muslim World, from Mongolia, to Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Azerbaijan, the Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan, India, and Turkey.  These hordes have established empires and the local vassals adopted the rigid dogmas and tribal customs of their caste systems.

Any recent reforms undertaken in the Middle East were thwarted by the Western powers to divide these nations and establish theocratic States and dictators most amenable to their creators.  Our inability to change and communicate, even internally among ourselves, is related fundamentally to our autonomous caste structure.

Fallaci was sensing right, but she was fighting cancer. Anyway, rational behavior is not the rule in this somber period within the Bush Administration, even if many of its leaders seem physically fit, aside of Dick Cheney.

Note 1:  The proposition that the Sourates of the first thirteen years were spiritual in nature was investigated by Antoun Saadi in the 1940s and published in a book “Al Islam fi ressalataih al Massihiyat wa al Mohammadiyah” translated liberally as “Islam (Message of Peace) by its two messengers Christ and Mohammed”

Note 2: Antoun Saadi is the founder of the Lebanese-bases Syria National Social party in 1936. A secular party , wanting to separate the religious sects dominance in the political and social structure and the government civil laws and regulation. This party was attacked by the sectarian parties encouraged by the mandated colonial powers of France and England on the Near-East region. This party claimed that we are one people in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq and was the preadhead of confronting the Zionist plans that were backed by the colonial powers and the USA and Russia.

What Social and Political System?  What Electoral System after the withdrawal of Syrian troops?

Written in Dec. 5, 2004

Note:  This article was written a year before the Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon as the international squeeze on mandated Syria was on to vacate Lebanon.

The dialogue on “what Lebanon we want for after the Syrian withdrawal” is still not serious and very superficial.

There are nowadays heated discussions about the parliamentary laws for the coming election in April and the heavy interference of the Syrian intelligence services in our internal affairs.

The coalitions of pro and con the current political orientations of the government in Lebanon have missed their targets.

Their political programs are non existent. Their political discourses are plagued by coded insinuations of pure sectarianism and a coward evasion to face the requisites of the future.  The society has made a full circle to where it was before the civil war.

The only differences are that:

1) the Muslim bourgeoisies (Sunni and Shia) have captured a sizeable share of the economy compared to the overwhelming monopoly of the Christian, especially the Maronite, bourgeoisie and

2) the polarization of the citizens into sectarian enclaves is almost complete throughout the land.

How the retreat of the Syrian forces from Lebanon would change this stagnant social fabric if we are still apprehensive of asking the right questions?

What forces would replace the Syrian forces to ensure law and order if there are no communication among the political parties?

How the Lebanese citizens could ever fall again into the trap that foreign powers could guaranty a long lasting stable political system that satisfies the interest of all the citizens?

We all know that the Lebanese Army (soldiers and officers) is old and still is no match to the entrenched militias who have been governing ever since the Taif agreement.

If Lebanon is to experience a profound and lasting rebirth, drastic political reforms have to be discussed at all levels in the society.

These reforms should attack the fundamentals of a civilized society, mainly a new Constitution and the clipping of the sectarian powers that is insidious in every phase of the citizen life and status.

What I propose is an alternative that would make digging of trenches a worthwhile endeavor if no rational responses are offered for a compromise.

I will develop two facets of Lebanon in the future:

First, the fundamental internal changes needed in the Constitution and

Second, the 4 political problems that are dividing the Lebanese society:  Mainly the presence of the governments with all its institutions in the South, the disarming of the Palestinian camps, the dismantling of all the armed militias, including Hezbollah and obviously, the withdrawal of the Syrian troops and its intelligence services.

The Constitutional acts to be discussed are as follow:

1) Half the parliament members should be represented by the female sex in accordance with the spirit of a true democratic representation.

The rationales: Women are more than half the population and their intrinsic problems are more intimately understood by them as well as their solutions. They will be the guarantee that their rights are fully considered, applied and secured.

2)   Election laws should be revisited.

Everyone who voted twice in any general election, municipality or parliament, and who can read and write in the Arabic language should be eligible to be a candidate. No fees should be attached to the application for candidature in order for the election to be for the people and by the people.

The minimum age for voting should be 18 so that new spirits and demands become major factors in political programs.

3)   Part of the parliament members should be elected on the basis of individual departments that would guarantee the fair representation of all religious sects.

The rationales: Electoral districts should include between 15,000 and 25,000 voters and a male and a woman deputy elected. This system might prevent unknown candidates to win by taking advantage of the notoriety of the other candidates on the list.

Also, this system will insure the representation of all sects implicitly and save the Constitution to be discredited by explicitly requiring that Christians and Muslims be equally represented.

Part of the parliament members should be elected on political party lines and syndicated affiliations and on the proportional basis.

The rationales: The political life in Lebanon is almost non existent because the political parties have been weakened and sidelined after the civil war. There is a strong link between the immigration of the youth and the political void that excludes them from expressing their dreams and their needs of varied opportunities.

I suggest that the election law allows voters to select two political parties so that part of the members should represent the political parties that come second in the ballot boxes. The second choices should be among parties that are non sectarian historically or have proven to include other religious affiliations in their membership.

The rationales: The non sectarian political parties should also be included in the first choice list of parties.  The second choice is important so that sectarian parties would embark on programs that would promote them to be acceptable by many more than one sect.

Everyone of the 18 officially recognized religious sects should be represented by one member in the parliament.

The rationales: It is becoming urgent that responsible and legitimate discussions on religious differences be aired to the public and how these different values might be affecting the interests of all citizens..

Decentralization and autonomy of the districts in the administration and financial spending on projects and programs so that competition heighten performance and efficiency.

The rationales: Many ministries have to be eliminated and decentralized so that communities start enjoying the benefits of the concept of subsidiaries.

Ministries like Youth, Sport, Tourism and Communication (Propaganda)…should be dismantled and regrouped within the administration of the districts (Mohafazat) and a post of a general counsel, for each one of these ministries, attached to the Prime Minister, has to be created in order to coordinate and harmonize among the administrations of the districts.

The districts have to keep three quarter of the tax revenue without the need to be redistributed by the Ministry of Finance at later date, if ever. I suggest that Lebanon should be divided into only 3 districts having a continuous link from the sea to the Bekaa Valley, direction west/east.

Beirut should NOT have a special status since all the central administrations are located in the Capital and would enjoy the expenditures of the central government anyway.

Competition for performance and attraction of investments would drive these districts into steady growth in all fields.

The Mohafazat should enjoy their seaports, local airports and equal number of citizens and land size. The local airports should service the internal requirements, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, and Cyprus.

Election of the administrative bodies of the Mohafazat should take place with the elections of municipalities.

The Northern and Southern regions should retain three quarter of the tax revenue for 4 years, because they were denied serious budget investment since Independence, the middle region two third and Beirut a third. These proportions should be revisited on the fourth year to establish an equitable balance.

As working examples, the North region might include the departments (Cadaa) of Batroun all the way to the northern borders of Lebanon with Syria and the Bekaa and Hermil to the East;

The South region might include the departments of Shouf in the north all the way to the southern borders of Lebanon and the Hasbaya and Rashaya in the East.

The Middle region might include the departments of Jbeil in the north, Aley in the South and Zahle and middle Bekaa in the East all the way to the eastern borders..

Civil marriage should be the law of the land.  Providing options outside the civil law is tantamount of increasing the power of the religious sects by their effective means of rendering the law virtually weak and inexistent

All marital rights and responsibilities, like heritage, divorce, adoptions and so forth should be governed by civil laws.

The rationales: It is about time that sectarian powers to our everyday life are reduced to their bare minimum and allowing the citizens to mingle, communicate freely and do commerce freely among them.

The President of the Republic should be elected by the people for 4 years with the option of being reelected for another single term.

The rationales: It is of paramount importance to curb this vicious cycle of making a mockery of the Constitution every six years in order to prolong the term of the President. A four years term with option for another full term would give strong incentives for the President to perform in order to be reelected for a second term. Personally, I would encourage the citizens to desist in re-electing a President for a second term.

The 3 highest political positions President, Prime Minister and Parliament head must be rotated according to their religious sect (Maronite/Christian, Sunni and Shia) every 8 years.

This rotational arrangement will be the best catalyst for thinking out a fairer Constitution and restructuring the rights and responsibilities of the highest political personalities

Ambassadors Extraordinary should be appointed in Beirut and Damascus.

General Commissioners for the inter commerce and common policies should be attached to the Prime Ministers in Beirut and Damascus.


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