This is a charter developed by Sam Solomon, a former muslim as a model for acceptability of Islamic teachings. He believes that "Moderate Muslims" (I feel uncomfortable with that term - RZ) should find it easy to sign this document, and if they do, society should welcome them into the multicultural fold (my words - RZ).
ICJS Research invites commentary on this charter by our readers.
We the undersigned as the representatives of Muslim communities in our capacity as leaders at various levels as Muftis, Ulemas, Imams, community leaders, heads of Islamic madrassas, Muezzins, Mazuns and all other Islamic relevant offices including those of free thinkers and leaders of NGOs as well as NPOs (Non Profit Organisations ), youth leaders, women leaders at all levels of all Islamic institutions commit to uphold, promote, propagate and abide by these articles in letter and spirit of this Charter of Muslim Understanding.
We commit to the fostering and promotion of peaceful coexistence across Europe in the spirit of one brotherhood amongst all humanity treating all as equals in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the charter of the United Nations, the
United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (General Assembly resolution 217A(III) of 1948), and the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966).
Whosoever breaches any of the articles stated and detailed below will be regarded as a person outside the House of Islam, and shall be denounced as a non-Muslim, and will find no protection in the Muslim community.
We will respect all other non-Muslim religions in word and deed by issuing a clear fatwa with an immediate effect prohibiting: a) The use of force and violence of any kind against the followers of any1 or all non-Muslim religions b) The issue of threats through any religious fatwa threatening with violence against institutions or assassination of individuals or groups and followers of other religions who may be domiciled in the affected localities or any other country be it a Muslim majority or a otherwise c) The use of any force in any form for whatever grievances felt or actual d) Forbidding the killing or targeting of any civilian or civil institutions2 in Islamic and non-Islamic countries as a way and means of addressing any of our grievances.
We will respect and honour all civilisations, cultures, and traditions of other nations and people irrespective of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
This will be achieved by introducing a clear educational programme through all Islamic institutions and outlets, as well as organising special meetings to address youth:
a) By promoting brotherhood of all mankind without any religious or ethnic discrimination or differentiation
b) By declaring the equality of all men and women and the profanity3 of none
c) By promoting the validity and the viability of the national domestic law to be fully adhered to and taking precedence over the Shari’ah.
In the spirit of the saying, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Sura 2:256), we commit to the upholding the value of freedom, and in particular freedom of belief and expression. The signatories hereby declare that religion is a private and personal matter and a personal choice. It is neither a right of a community nor a state right to dictate or interfere in a person’s personal choice of faith.
a) As such there will be no recriminations against any Muslim or non-Muslim who chooses to change, discard, or adopt another faith be it within the House of Islam, from any Islamic faction, or to a non-Islamic religion or faith.
b) This concept will be re-issued as a binding fatwa across Europe and offered for publication in national and local newspapers in order to avoid any misinterpretations.
The basis of the legitimacy of Islamists’ acts of terror and their perpetuated violence is the authority that they obtain from being sanctioned by religious leaders. These sanctioning statements are known as fatwas. This situation is now being reviewed in many Islamic nations.
Jordan has passed a bill regulating the process of fatwas and the accountability of those that issue them. Those in breach of that regulation are liable to face severe penalties. Saudi Arabia too has tabled proposals to that effect, and other Arab Islamic governments have commissioned a study into it. Nation states must consider this measure as a safeguard.
Following from the foregoing articles, the signatories to this Charter ban and prohibit the right of issuing any fatwa that would results in violence against individuals or institutions.
a) Any such fatwa will be null and void.
b) The right of issuing fatwa will be limited to a specified body, and only that body will have the right to issue relevant religious fatwas.
c) Fatwas issued by anybody else (either an individual or an institution) apart from the authorised body will be invalid and of no effect.
d) In case other than the specified body issues a fatwa it would be regarded as unlawful and it would be for the appropriate governmental authorities to bring him/her/them to justice.
e) The signatories to this Charter will fully co-operate with the police and security forces in bringing him/her/them to justice, including measures of deportation where appropriate.
As peace-loving and peace-promoting people domiciled in Europe, and equally believing that Islam is a religion of peace that promotes co-operation and collaboration of all peoples irrespective of their religious or ethnic or gender backgrounds:
a) The notion and all teachings of violent physical Jihad is to be regarded as invalid, inappropriate and irrelevant - hence inapplicable
b) Therefore all Qur’anic Jihad verses encouraging physical violence, whether implicit or explicit, or any other quotations from any Islamic source, be that Sunnah or the sayings of the Prophet or that of the learned scholars or leaders of Jihad at any given time or place, are to be regarded as inapplicable, invalid and non-Islamic
c) All Qur’anic verses that could be of inciting nature religiously, ethnically or discriminatory in regard to gender are just historical and will be regarded as non-effective for today’s world
d) These verses will be either deferred or suspended until such time as scholars find a solution for their interpretation.
Based on the acceptance of equality of all mankind, brotherhood of all and the freedom and sanctity of all human life, and based on the principle that “whosoever slays one man is as though he has slain the whole of humanity,” all acts of terrorism are prohibited, shunned and outlawed:
a) No suicidal mission undertaken for whatever the reason is justified
b) No violent physical Jihad operation will be regarded as sacred
c) No one who chooses to die in such an operation will be regarded as martyr.
We jointly will fight terrorism and do all within our abilities to stem it from our institutions through:
a) Full co-operation in with all the relevant authorities, including those of the Police and Intelligence Services
b) By watching and monitoring mosque sermons and other mosque teaching programmes for messages not in accordance with this Charter
c) Making certain that at the religious gatherings and lectures given to youth co-operation and peaceful existence with non- Muslims is proclaimed and the hate ideology is rooted out
d) Reporting any secret or suspicious gathering of youth cells in any of our institutions
e) Monitoring all publications, including books, CDs, DVDs and all other media, that serve the cause of militant Islamists
f) Ensuring transparency and full access to the authorities to verify the implementation of this Charter.
We will foster a better relationship with non-Muslims and promote peace by:
a) Issuing regular fatwas promoting peace and brotherhood between Muslims and non-Muslims as a foundational teaching of Islam
b) Produce a clear programme promoting peace and forgiveness amongst all people groups irrespective of their religious, cultural, linguistic or ethnic background
c) Taking stern action through establishing by-laws to expel any Muslim official or office-bearer at any level who engages or promotes any teaching or activity not in accordance with this Charter
d) Forbidding any anti-Jewish or anti-Christian supplications at all times, particularly at prayer times and other religious gatherings.
We the signatories request all Islamic institutions and all of its associates, affiliations and outlets in co-operation with the signatories to this Charter:
a) To discard all texts that discriminate with impunity against Christians and Jews by describing them as Kaffirs, apostates, polytheists, the children of apes, and swine, and prohibit any inciting, insulting, and all discriminatory references based on their religion
b) To abandon the practice of takffir (infidel) against anybody, be that a Muslim or a non-Muslim. (Once a Muslim leader declares anyone as such, it is for the faithful
ones to see that person eliminated.)
c) To prohibit and abolish the practice of Takkiya (Islamic doctrine of legitimate lying and deception of others) to advance the cause of Muslims and Islam. This insulting, inciting, discrimination, and deception is not to be upheld or practised.
Request all officially constituted Islamic bodies and institutions to revise and issue new interpretations of those Qur’anic verses that call for Jihad and violence against non-Muslims. For example, but not exclusively:
a) O Prophet (Muhammad)! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand.
b) Let those (believers) who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter fight in the Cause of Allah, and whoso fights in the Cause of Allah, and is killed or gets victory, We shall bestow on him a great reward.
c) Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghuat (great Satan). So fight you against the friends of Shaiytan (Satan); Ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaiytan.
d) And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (dissension, disbelief and polytheism ) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone (in the whole of the world). But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.
e) And kill them (unbelievers) wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid-al-Haram (the sanctuary at Makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
f) Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun (unbelievers) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salat, and give Zakat, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
g) The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.
h) Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people…
i) Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah (humiliating tax on non-Muslims) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
j) And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (i.e. all forms of weaponry) to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allah does know. And whatever you shall spend in the Cause of Allah shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly.
k) (Remember) when your Lord inspired the angels, “Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes.”
l) We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they joined others in worship with Allah, for which He had sent no authority; their abode will be the Fire and how evil is the abode of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers).
(This verse was given in Medina regarding the pagans of Makkah, during the battle of Uhud. Soon after that it was made effective with the conquest of Makkah, and its application from the Shari’ah or Islamic jurisprudence is to be on all non-Muslims, here and now.)
m) O you who have been given the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Believe in what We have revealed (to Muhammad) confirming what is (already) with you, before We efface faces (by making them like the back of necks, without nose, mouth, eyes, etc) and turn them hindwards, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath breakers. And the Commandment of Allah is always executed.
n) O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyah (friends, protectors, helpers, etc), they are but Awliyah to one another. And if any amongst you takes them as Awliyah, then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers and unjust).
o) O you who believe! Take not as your Bitanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayatt (proofs, evidences, verses) if you understand.
p) Surely, they have disbelieved who say: “Allah is he, the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary.” But the Messiah (Jesus) said: “O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) there are no helpers.
q) Surely, disbelievers are those who said: “Allah is the third of the three (in a Trinity).” But there is no god but One Allah. And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall the disbelievers among them.
(Sura 5:73) (This painful torment is both here and now as well as being punished by Allah’s angels in the grave and in the last day as portrayed and expounded by Islamic religious and legal manuals.)
These, and other similar verses from the Qur’an and the sayings of the prophet reported in Islamic manuals called Hadith, are sources of inspiration for hate and terrorism.
The Signatories to this Charter re-affirm their profound beliefs in those fundamental freedoms of justice and peace upon which the maintenance of domestic political democracy is dependent.
The Signatories to this Charter re-affirm their profound belief in the charters of the United Nations, the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (General Assembly resolution 217A(III) of 1948), and the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), including the fundamental freedom to proselytise and in the fundamental right of the individual to change their religion.
The Signatories to this Charter re-affirm their profound belief in peace between the Islamic communities and other non-Islamic communities.
1 Refers to and includes Muslims of all factions. Thus from the stance of Islamic jurisprudence it covers the various warring factions within the House of Islam.
2 Islam as expounded by its scholars is an all-encompassing system (socio-political, socio-religious, socio-economical, socio-educational, legislative, judiciary and military), cloaked and garbed in religious terminology. It does not distinguish between sacred and secular. Fatwas by leading scholars such as Yousif Al Qardawi have been issued legitimising the targeting of all, whether civilian or military
personnel, as well as their institutions. It is important to note that there is a clear distinction between (a) and (d) in this article.
3 The concept and the doctrine that all non-Muslims are profane (known as najees) is stated in Sura 9:28. This impurity is not only ceremonial but has practical implications, resulting in devaluation of and discrimination against non-Muslims.
Title of an Islamic scholar. An Alim’s other title could be
Shaykh ul Islam, recognised as an elder without being old but
a leading figure who expounds the Qur’an and the Islamic
way of life and its regulations to the Muslims and others.
A legal binding decree issued by the Mufti based on religious opinion from Islamic manuals. This could be in any or all fields, whether financial, political, judicial, governmental, etc.
The abode of Islam, the territory where there is an Islamic
majority and where the word of Islam is supreme.
A person who leads the faithful ones in Islamic prayer. This
title is given to the one who presides over them, or he could
be a learned scholar and would act as one of the leaders of the
Means to exert effort, struggle or force; is a means to achieve
A religious school where children and adults learn and are
grounded in Islamic doctrines, both religious and political.
A person who lives close to the mosque and has official duties
of marrying, and burying and attending the naming
ceremonies, circumcisions as well as all social and community
activites of the Muslim community.
Plural of Muezzin.
A person who gives out the prayer call just before the times of
prayer. This an official office bearer in the mosque and
recognised by the Muslim society.
A highly qualified Isalmic scholar, usually the head of the Islamic
scholars whose declarations or answers to given questions or
issues raised are formal and legally binding verdicts on those
that have asked. This could be private or at national level.
Islamic jurisprudence. Its basis is in the Qur’an and the
Sunnah (the traditions and the example of the Prophet).
The example of the Prophet in all things, his sayings, his
actions and what he endorsed and condoned.
Plural of Alim.
The worldwide body of all Muslims as a distinct and cohesive
An Islamic teacher of a Madrassa which is a religious school
attached to the mosque or under its supervision and ultimately
under the ministry of religious and endownment affairs.
Founded in 1997 on the initiative of the Federation of Islamic
Organisations in Europe (see below), the ECFR is a largely selfselected
body, composed of Islamic clerics and scholars, presided
by Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
The FIOE is an umbrella organisation which represents Muslim
groups in Europe. Its aim is to maintain the Muslim presence in
Europe and to enhance and develop that presence so that Islam
is properly and accurately introduced.
The MCB is an umbrella organisation which represents over 250
Muslim organisations. It was founded in 1997 and it is regarded
as the voice of Islam in Britain.
The MWL is one of the largest Islamic NGOs. It was founded
in Makkah in 1962 by Islamic religious figures from 22
countries. The organisation considers itself as the cultural and
religious representative of the Muslim believers and is Saudi
financed and led.
The OIC is an inter-governmental organisation grouping fiftyseven states and was established in Morocco in 1969. The primary goals of the OIC are “to promote solidarity among all member states; to consolidate cooperation among member states in economic, social, cultural, scientific, and other fields of activity; to endeavour to eliminate racial segregation and discrimination and to oppose colonialism in all its forms; to support the Palestinian people in their struggle to regain their national rights and to return to their homeland; and, to support all Muslim people in their struggle to safeguard their dignity, independence and national rights.”
I was a student for twelve years, all on government grants. Nowadays, on ly a few can afford to go to univ ersity, and certainly not for that long. (The other degree is another 4-year degree in English literature. Overqualified is certainly how something like that goes down now.)
Posted by Denis on 2013-03-01 01:21:00 GMT
Thank you Denis, for sharing your erudition so generously. If you applied for any job at nearly any of our universities, the ones with some self-awareness would have to tell you "you are over-qualified" ;) With the diluting of Religions, the cracks achieved by Attaturk and the Shah, where some light got in, did not last unfortunately, and now it seems to me that we are going in the other direction. The gallopping islamisation in Europe frightens me, and I'm not even talking about the conquest the so-called "Arab spring" made. As to changeing one dot in the text of the koran, I wish that they had the reverse of that little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke. (But that is me).
Posted by Rita on 2013-03-01 01:10:33 GMT
Rita, An Islamicist is someone with qualifications in Islamic Studies. I have a Scottish MA in Persian, Arabic and Islamic History and a PhD in Persian Studies from Cambridge (1979). I have taught Arabic-English translation and Islamic Civilization at Fez University and Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University. I have also edited The Middle East Quarterly and written many books and articles on Islamic subjects, including contributions to the Encyclopedia of Islam. An Islamist could probably do with studies like mine! When I said secularization, I really meant secularization of Muslim societies, not of the religion, which would be, as you say, 'a contradiction in terms'. When societies become secularized, religion tends to become weakened, democracy replaces religious hierarchies, common law replaces religious law, and so on. That usually creates a space within which religious people can weigh up their beliefs and behaviour without being threatened by clerics and jihadists. There were signs of secularization in Turkey after Atatürk and Iran after Reza Shah, in Syria to some extent and so on. Western sociologists of religion have studied the impact of secularization very closely. A separation between religious and policial Islam is totally impossible. Even to remove a single dot from the text of the Qur'an would have people burning everything in sight. This is because thew removal of a dot (above or below a letter) would alter the letter into another one and create a new word, and if one word could be changed, then the entire text would be up for change, and that would invalidate the belief that every single letter in the Qur'an is divinely inspired. Muslims have never learned how to do Higher Criticism and to treat the text like any other text, as progressive Jews and Christians have done.
Posted by Denis MacEoin on 2013-03-01 00:56:02 GMT
Denis, you write: "I'm not a Muslim, just an Islamicist" What is an "Islamicist" as opposed to an "Islamist"? And also, if you speak of a "secularisation of Islam" is that not a contradiction in terms? I dont think, despite what "they" might say, that a separation between political and religious islam is possible.
Posted by Rita on 2013-03-01 00:10:18 GMT
Ralph, You're right in one way. But to sign the Charter a Muslim would have to adopt a Western viewpoint, and once he/she does so, it would be hard not to conclude that Islam really is deficient in certain areas. A Sufi of the spiritual type might have no problems, but anyone brought up in a traditional family would come face to face with hard choices. That's why it's so hard for Muslims to move towards a Western understanding, because it would involve recognition that the Qur'an preaches violence, that Muhammad was a violent man, that the 4 Rightly-Guided Caliphs were violent (and mostly died violently), that the Islamic invasions were violent, that the Qur'an and Sunna do diminish women, that the Qur'an displays hatred for Jews and Christians. Dumping all that mentally will have a lot to do with one's upbringing and the extent of one's commitment to what one might call standard Islam. One prospect is for more secularized Islamic societies. But one has only to look at the amount of time that has gone by without the slightest change in the Muslim attitude to Jews and Israel to see that secular societies may yet be far away and that they may never come. Islam is so different from other weltanschauungen that it is unlikely ever to march alongside Western thought.
Posted by Denis MacEoin on 2013-02-28 23:48:10 GMT
But Denis, dont you think that it's like asking someone to sign a document saying "I promise to stop beating my wife" ? You are asking people to do 2 things: (a) to affirm that which is right and (b) to retract all previous crimes and misdemeanors. There may be people who are perfectly happy to sign up to the (a) aspect, but for various reasons are not prepared to sign up to the (b) aspect, ie to sign a document implying that Islam is a terrible religion. Our Western values surely can never demand that an adherent of a religion may remain a member of it only if they acknowledge that it is a terrible religion.
Posted by Ralph Zwier on 2013-02-28 23:21:52 GMT
I've read the Charter and agree with all of it, though it leaves some things out (for example, he wants to ban attacks on Jews and Christians, but there are many other religions – e.g. Baha'ism – that Muslims hate and persecute). However, I'm not a Muslim, just an Islamicist, and I honestly don't think you'll get a single Muslim to agree to every article, especially Article 10, calling for restriction or re-interpretation of Qur'anic passages. Many may sign while mentally reserving matters referring to the Qur'an, the Sunnah, the ahadith, fatwas, and so on. Islam is in no sense based on notions of peace and brotherhood among all men. Jihad is a core belief, combined with a sense of supremacism where Muslims must always rule. To treat all people as equal runs counter to basic beliefs in the utter wrongness of the kuffar, the need to control or kill them, to tax them, and so on. A Muslim may not, under Shari'a law, be tried if he kiulls a Jew, a Christian, any other kafir, or an apostate. This attitude is closely ingrained in the system and very hard to argue against. The problem is that it's not possible to remake Islam, certainly not through a charter imposed from above with however many signatures. Muslims may do this themselves, but not, I fear, for centuries, if at all. A weakening West and a more successful Islamic world will resuscitate the supremacism of yesterday. Sorry to be pessimistic, but I've had over 40 years experience with Islam, and nothing I have ever read or heard convinces me that this leopard can easily change its spots. But it's good to work with those Muslims who do have some sense and can think along similar lines.
Posted by Dr. Denis MacEoin on 2013-02-28 23:03:12 GMT
I only just now read the introduction and see that the charter was developed by a 'FORMER' muslim. In which case it is not, as I suspected, pure Taqiyya. Geert Wilders thinks that there are "moderate muslims", but there is no "moderate islam".
Posted by Rita on 2013-02-28 06:41:59 GMT
I think this proposal is making too much fuss. There are existing laws to ensure that people behave legally. I think that that a general campaign to promote citizenship and tolerance could work more effectively than this heavy handed approach.
Posted by Ymr on 2013-02-28 06:27:55 GMT
This Charter, was written by Sam Solomon in 2008 and given to the European Parliament by George Batten MEP at that time. Presumably it did not gain momentum?
Posted by Elaine Black on 2013-02-28 05:31:57 GMT
This is a proposed charter. I did not hear Sam speak, but I was told that he can't get any Muslims to sign the charter. Taqiyya is indeed missing from the glossary in the original document too.
Posted by Ralph Zwier on 2013-02-28 03:35:27 GMT
Who are the signatories? The glossary is missing the word "Takja" (sorry if I misspelled that).
Posted by Rita on 2013-02-28 02:34:31 GMT
This is for DISCUSSION, and does not necessarily represent the views of any or all of the editors of this, the ICJS Research website
by Ralph Zwier on 2013-02-27 06:06:38 GMT