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Beware of the rock star imams!

Salina Khan

Muslims are now going to b confronted by US-promoted Imams through the Internet. Welcome to a new form of cyber warfare on Muslims!

If you are among the growing number of Muslims who get their information on Islam online, keep reading but with your antennas on alert. There is a conspiracy afoot to virtually misguide you. A new report released in February by the US global policy think tank RAND Corporation, entitled “Promoting Online Voices for Countering Violent Extremism,” discusses plans to more deeply infiltrate, co-opt and subvert popular sources of online Islamic information — websites, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more — with disinformation that is packaged as Islamic guidance based on the Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) but in reality is government propaganda aimed at aligning the political views and behavior of Muslims with imperialist interests.

The report’s authors, Todd C. Helmus, Erin York and Peter Chalk, all of whom have links with the US military (RAND originated as a project of an American military aircraft manufacturer), instruct government officials, nonprofit organizations and private funders on how to “encourage and empower credible, authentic, and constructive online Muslim voices” that echo the White House’s 2011 initiative to “counter violent extremist (CVE) narratives on the Internet.”

These efforts are ostensibly to foil online recruitment by al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremist groups, but RAND analysts admit in their own report that “…this [al-Qaeda] campaign has produced an extremely low yield of recruits in the United States and that vast majorities of American Muslims hold no sympathies for al-Qaeda’s distorted vision.” So the true purpose of this expansive initiative lies elsewhere: to control, direct and shape the social and political agenda of Muslims, who they realize are mandated to de-establish the existing oppressive systems and replace them with peace and social justice in the world.

Some of the RAND recommendations to be aware of include the following:

  1. Building alliances with existing “rock star imams” that already have huge online followings. “US officials should identify both established and up-and-coming social media personalities and incorporate these individuals into interagency engagement strategies.”
  2. Creating new “Web sensations.” This is to be done by developing leaders who have “scholarly credentials, understand and are able to work in an American context, and can speak to young American-born Muslims who may feel disenfranchised from local religious institutions.”
  3. Disseminating political information through popular online magazines, virtual masjids, blogs and other portals that cover all aspects of Islamic life. “The key is that efforts placing less emphasis on CVE and security aspects will gain better traction and resonance among many important audience members and promote participation from a broader cadre of influencers.”
  4. Funding technology, public relations and marketing training for “Muslim influencers” at home and abroad. Recently, during two-and-a-half day training sessions in Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Jakarta, people were introduced to social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. “Individuals were taught the basics of how to successfully get a message out, the art of storytelling, and the creation of viral messages.”

History has repeatedly shown that coordinating with imperialists to bring peace and justice is not only folly but also counterproductive. Leaders, movements and organizations directed by the ruling elite don’t speak out against oppressive systems like Zionism, capitalism and globalism and end up supporting extreme violence in the forms of imperialist wars (e.g. Afghanistan and Iraq) and terrorist groups that serve their interests (e.g. al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria).

While this RAND initiative to take on high-tech Islamic personalities is new, sell-out scholars have been around for ages. When Moses (foster son of Asiya, one of the four perfect women of all times) went to the mountains for 40 days, Samiri — a religious scholar and savvy engineer from among the Israelis — used his knowledge and skills to turn the people back to the Pharaonic system and ways. Allah (swt) says in the noble Book,

“Said He [Allah], ‘Then [know that], verily, in your absence We have put your people to a test, and Samiri has led them astray’” (20:85).

Imam ‘Ali said, “I warn you about the munafiqs [dual-loyalists]. They are misguided and they misguide as well. They have appeared in society in different colors and with different faces. Their speech is eloquent, profitable and is even a cure for pain. But their actions are like incurable diseases.”

To prevent such false scholars from gaining power and influence, the Muslim masses must be able to identify them, put pressure on them to return to Islamic principles, and if they refuse, abandon them for principled scholars who not only have knowledge but also the courage and strength to speak truth to power — like Talut, a true leader of the Children of Israel mentioned in the Qur’an.

“You think it’s easy to propagate the truth in hostile territory, even if that hostile territory is your own [Islamic] center? It takes bravery,” says scholar Yusuf Husayn. Thanks to social media tools that allow interactions, we can put public pressure on scholars through questions, comments and feedback online.

Imam Khomeini, leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, teaches us how to deal with court scholars when it becomes evident they are cooperating with tyrants and their dual-loyalist enablers. In an open letter he wrote to Hussein Ali Montazeri, the imam informed him that he will no longer be the imam’s successor, “Can you see what valuable services you have offered to arrogance?” Imam Khomeini asks and then gives Montazeri the following advice in his letter:

  1. Change your advisors or “bureau.”
  2. Because you are “gullible” and “provoked easily,” stay out of political matters.
  3. Stop ridiculing scholars truly committed to Islam.
  4. Don’t be a “mouthpiece” of the oppressors.

Imam Khomeini said, “Muslims must think about training, controlling, and correcting the leaders… They must use advice or warnings to wake them up from their deep sleep that is killing them and the interests of the Islamic nation. They must not be unaware of the danger of the dual-loyalists and those who work for the arrogant powers of the world.”

For those willing to take on such “leaders,” I also have a tip: get a thick skin. Recently, I questioned a popular American Islamic scholar on Facebook for supporting the Western-backed Syrian opposition. He called me a “lunatic.”

Salina Khan runs the blog: theperfectionistas.blogspot.com/

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 42, No. 3

Jumada' al-Akhirah 20, 14342013-05-01

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