This is the second part of our interview with author, scholar, and activist Dr. John Andrew Morrow. He is best known for his Covenants’ Initiative that aims to create better understanding between Muslims and Christians in the world today.
CI: You have taken a public stand against celebrity “shaykhs” with ties to networks that in turn are tied to Gulf monarchies. It is no secret that Wahhabi networks have bought their way into masjids in Western countries, often with the blessings of Western regimes and normalized the regressive and parochialized understanding of Islam. What could Muslims in the West do in practical terms in order to reduce the influence of petrodollars and their socio-political agenda?
Since the passing of the Prophet (pbuh), and the end of relatively righteous rule, Muslim scholars were compelled to make decisions: to side with those in power or to operate independently on the basis of principle. From the Umayyads to the Ottomans, Muslim rulers were of many kinds. Some were corrupt, to varying degrees. Others, however, were relatively benign. It was long determined, in both Sunni and Shi‘i circles, that collaborating with governments, and even joining military forces, was permissible, so long as one was not directly involved in any evildoing and the rulers one served were operating, to a reasonable degree, within the limits of the legal and the illegal. Unfortunately, a clerical class developed that served the people in power regardless of their orientation and actions. Rather than “promote the good and forbid the wrong,” these court clerics legitimized the rule of wrongdoers and endorsed their evil deeds in the name of Allah (swt), the Prophet, and Islam. They are those who sold the signs of Allah for a miserable price (3:187). They are merchants of religion and hypocrites of the highest order who trafficked Islam for money, power, and influence.
The greatest scholars of Islam were not court clerics but independent thinkers and actors who supported the authorities when they acted according to the best interests of humanity and reprimanded them when they acted nefariously. After the disintegration of the Ummah, and the dark days of occupation, many court clerics turned to the service of Western powers. They called upon Muslims to submit and collaborate with the colonialists and when the spark of independence started to shine, they strove to snuff it out. Although the imperialists were driven out physically, they continued to control the Muslim world by means of puppet regimes that continued the campaign to secularize and Westernize the Islamic world. Understanding that non-Muslim orientalists had limited legitimacy in Muslim eyes, Western powers set out to create a class of “Muslim” authorities — lackeys of imperial powers — who could advance their ideas on their behalf. Hence, the rise of the Muslim academic, professor, and cleric who was trained directly or indirectly by non-Muslims and thoroughly saturated with contagious ideas that would contaminate the Islamic faith. Whether they wear a suit and tie or a turban and a cloak, these scholars for dollars spread STDs, namely, spiritually-transmitted diseases, among legions of Muslims.
How is consciousness shaped? By means of think thanks that produce policy papers. By means of universities and intellectuals. Academic freedom? There is no such thing. It exists only in appearance and in a limited and controlled scope. Think tanks, funded by the real rulers of the world, the billionaire elites, set the objectives. Long gone are the days of overthrowing governments and imposing an ideology on a people. That was not sufficiently sophisticated. The occult emperors of the New World Order set out to change the thought patterns, beliefs, values, and worldviews of entire populations. If you change the way people think, over the course of a few decades, they will not even notice that they have been overthrown.
Judaism and Islam strongly dislike and disapprove of divorce unless there are extenuating circumstances. It is so serious that the Throne of God trembles when it takes place. The Catholic Church, however, is adamant that divorce is prohibited unless properly annulled. In the 1980s, it was still taboo to get divorced. Teachers would whisper to each other that the parents of such and such a child were divorced. It was shameful to speak about it. The establishment determined that divorce would be normalized as a means of weakening the traditional family network. Within a few decades, they succeeded. It was decided, long before the 1960s, that fornication, adultery, illegitimacy, and other forms of sexual immorality, perversion, and debauchery, would be normalized to weaken the moral and ethical fabric of Judeo-Christian and Islamic society. And succeed they did.
Psychological programming is a reality. Since most people are like livestock, nay, even more astray (7:179), namely, content to follow blindly, they are relatively easy to reprogram over time. Only people with strong spirituality, deep convictions, and a sharp intellect can resist the process of brainwashing. The spread of radical Salafism, Jihadism, and Takfirism, produced by Western powers and supported by Eastern lackeys, is simply one example of how people with power, money, and influence can hijack, redirect, and redeploy a religion. It was no easy feat. When the Wahhabis took power in Arabia in the late-18th century, they represented less than 1% of the world Muslim population. By the 20th century, they were dominating Muslim discourse. It took two centuries for takfiri ideology to saturate the Ummah. Most of the damage, however, was done during the second half of the 20th century.
This Great Theft took billions of dollars. It took state support. It took embassies and attaches. It took thousands of masjids and schools. It took foundations of all sorts. It took a network of national and international organizations. It took universities around the world. It took endowed departments and chairs in East and West. It took hundreds of thousands of full scholarships for students. It took publishing houses and distributors. It took grants and scholarships. It took academic journals. It took dozens of television stations. It took billions of dollars in support to extremist groups. It also involved domestic and foreign policy along with diplomacy not to mention billions in investment in foreign countries to convince them to open their doors to takfiri influence. This is how radical Salafism was spread.
To avoid being tools of the enemies of Islam, both internal and external, Muslims should strive to maintain their independence from foreign and domestic governments. We must reject interference in our religious affairs. We should neither be lackeys of the East or West. We should not do their bidding. We should feel free to criticize the governments in both the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world. Does this mean we should not accept foreign funds? Not necessarily. We can accept financial support so long as no strings are attached. The funds need to advance our interests, as western Muslims, and not the interests of some foreign nation. Does this mean we should not accept domestic, tax-payer funds? Not necessarily. So long as it serves our interests as western Muslims and not the interest of governments that wish to make Muslims more malleable so that they can shape them into secularists, reformists, liberals, or terrorists as the political climate calls for. We, western Muslims, those who have been here for centuries, and those of us who are of immigrant origin, must call the shots: end of story. Our survival depends on our sovereignty, not our submission to domestic and foreign forces. We are western Muslims and proud of it. Unlike transnational Muslims who left the land of Islam to enrich themselves materially in the West, we western Muslims wish to enrich the West with Islam.
Muslim immigrants made a major strategic miscalculation when they started to move to the West in the 20th century. They appealed to the authorities. They presented themselves as pliant, obedient, and loyal citizens who were patriotic and simply wanted a piece of the material pie. There have been Muslims in the West since the time of slavery. The most massive repression of Muslims took place in BahSa, Brazil, in 1835. Unlike others, this rebellion was entirely planned, executed, and directed by Muslims. The fact that Muslims could plan such a powerful revolt, under such horrific and subhuman circumstances, is testimony to the power of Islam. Although there were organized communities of African, Hispanic, and Caucasian Muslims in the West in the 1920s and 1930s, Muslims from abroad opted, not to join, support, and help strengthen the existing communities; rather, they decided to create institutions catering to their own racial, cultural, ethnic, national, linguistic, and sectarian origins. While American Muslims were acting independently and associating Islam with uplifting people of all colors, immigrant Muslims sought the patronage of foreign powers and their petrodollars. African Americans, who represent 50% of American Muslims, were largely left in the lurch except for a token few leaders who cast their lot with Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis, and Iranians.
Rather than build masjids where there were already African American Muslims, transnational Muslims made a conscious decision to construct them in white, middle-class suburbs, making them essentially inaccessible, not only to blacks, but to poor Muslim immigrants and refugees. They sought the good graces of various governments, humbly professing that they were moderate Muslims. They invested in brick and mortar, which is important, however, they stopped there. They failed to engage publicly in society. They did not build alliances. They did not buy radio and television stations. They did not invest in newspapers. They overlooked the importance of volunteerism and giving back to the community. They created charitable foundations, but only to help people in their countries of origin: not Americans irrespective of race, gender, or class. Until recently, they demonstrated little concern for issues such as poverty, unemployment, homelessness, child neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Transnational Muslims rarely, if ever, expressed solidarity with the struggles of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans, among others. And to this day, immigrant Muslims virtually never foster or adopt children, even when they are Muslims. What is more, many transnational Muslims hold fast to cultural traditions that are incompatible with Islamic values and principles.
Transnational Muslims acted as if Islam in the Americas commenced with immigrants. They failed to acknowledge that many of the rights and freedoms that they enjoyed were earned through the blood, sweat, and tears of African American Muslims. They usurped the authority and leadership that rightfully belonged to western Muslims and then treated them like their mawali or servants. Regardless of how many generations they had been practicing Islam, and regardless of how much Islamic knowledge they had acquired, westerners were viewed as second-class Muslims since they belonged to the wrong races and spoke the wrong languages. Rather than join the western Muslim community, immigrant Muslims created communities that were replicas of their homelands, bringing all sorts of negative baggage in the process: racism, tribalism, classism, patriarchy, misogyny, sectarianism, elitism, corruption, and despotism. They imported and imposed a version of Islam, typically Salafism and Wahhabism, that views the West and westerners with hostility, scorn, and contempt. Immigrant Muslims also tend to view themselves morally and intellectually superior to westerners due to their education and cultural origins. While they bring much that is good from their rich cultures of origin, transnational Muslims also import conflicts that have no place in the Western world. And, rather than assert their independence as western Muslims, immigrants pledged religious and political allegiance to foreign-nation-states.
Although Muslims of foreign origin have prospered in the West, they have little to no power or influence in society unlike their Jewish brothers and sisters in humanity who, at 1% like Muslims, exert considerable influence. Jewish conspiracy? Far from it. Call it brains and long-term strategic thinking. It was all accomplished openly in the light of day. Jews have made fortunes and have put their money to good use. They give back to the community. They build hospitals. They build community centers. Jews are active in politics. Jews fund think tanks. Jews operate public relations firms. They run strategic information centers. Jews have well-funded political action committees. Jews are represented in both the Democratic and Republican Parties. Regardless of who is elected, Jewish interests are protected. Muslims can learn a lesson or two from the Children of Abraham. Call me a “Jewish agent” if you wish; however, the Jews of Spain survived the re-Conquest while the Muslims of Spain did not. The Jewish people know a thing or two about surviving persecution and succeeding in the most trying of times.
So, yes, we have celebrity “shaykhs” who court the kings of the kuffar and who dance with devils. However, they are only a small part of the broader problem that faces the worldwide community of Muslims. Western powers are working with Eastern powers to undermine the socio-political, economic, spiritual, and religious principles espoused by the prophets of God. Who are the enemies of Islam among Muslims? Just ask the enemies of Islam among the infidels. They identify them quite clearly. As the RAND Corporation stated in Building Moderate Muslims Networks (2007), “The potential partners of the West in the struggle against radical Islamism are moderate, liberal, and secular Muslims with political values congruent to the universal values underlying all modern liberal societies.” Who are the allies of the soul-sucking savages and imperialists? “In general,” writes the RAND Corporation, “there appears to be three broad sectors within the spectrum of ideological tendencies in the Muslim world where the United States and the West can find partners in the effort to combat Islamist extremism: secularists; liberal Muslims; and moderate traditionalists, including Sufis.”
These are the “Muslims” who are currently supported by the establishment. They are “moderates,” they are “liberals,” and they are “secular.” They are the ones who get millions in funds. It is their message that the powers-that-be promote. They are given positions as professors and chairs at universities. Promote Islamic “reformation” or deformation, you are hired! Promote Islamic “feminism” or de-feminization, you are hired! Legitimize “gay” Islam, you are hired! Promote Sufism or “spiritual” Islam to emasculate Islam’s political potential and legitimate claim to power, you are hired! And, surprise, surprise, all these efforts to spread “moderate” Islam are being closely monitored by the Mossad. In a top-secret document titled The Struggle of Islamic Regimes, dated May 29, 2014, that was leaked to al-Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, we learn that the Israeli secret service actively assesses attempts to promote what it calls a “moderate” interpretation of Islam.
As Muslims, we should be alarmed at any Islam that pleases occupiers, imperialists, tyrants, and illegitimate authorities, as well as the pillagers of people and this sacred planet. We must stand with the Islam of the oppressed as opposed to the Islam of the oppressors. As Muslims, we should be outraged at celebrity shaykhs who support sexual immorality. Allah (swt) commands us to promote the good and forbid the wrong. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was adamant that the lawful and the prohibited was applicable until the end of times. As Muslims, we cannot endorse, authorize, approve, legalize or bless major sins and moral abominations.
Who are these proponents of Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Tasawwuf who profess “non-interference in political affairs” and whose interests do they serve? Do they serve the interests of Islam and Muslims or the Gulf monarchies that fund and support them? And whose interests do the Gulf monarchies serve? Certainly not those of Islam and Muslims. Rather, they serve the interests of the Evil Empire. They legitimize the status quo. Being apolitical is profoundly political. It pleases the Deep State and the New World Order. Clearly, the counter-extremism strategy of Western powers, in collusion with Eastern powers, is really a counter-Islam strategy. I bear witness to Almighty Allah: I will denounce despots, oppose oppression, and fight injustice like the Prophet Elijah, Prophet John, the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, and the Prophet Muhammad (a).