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Is this the same Khaled Abou El Fadl?

Reader comment on item: Stealth Islamist: Khaled Abou El Fadl

Submitted by Michael Voytinsky (United States), Nov 13, 2005 at 13:32

I have just read "The Great Theft" by Khaled Abou El Fadl, and I am curious whether or not this is the same El Fadl that Mr. Pipes writes about.

I know that Mr. Pipes is a scholar of outmost integrity, and would never resort to prooftexting or lies to make a point - and if I accept that premise, which I do, it would follow that Mr. Pipes is writing about some other El Fadl.

For example, Mr. Pipes writes:

In common with other Islamists, Abou El Fadl wants Muslims to live by Islamic law (the Shari‘a), the law that among other things endorses slavery, execution for apostasy, and the repression of women, and treats non-Muslims as second-class citizens. "Shariah and Islam are inseparable," he has written, "and one cannot be without the other." In a revealing passage, he confesses that his "primary loyalty, after God, is to the Shariah."

But Mr. El Fadl writes in "The Great Theft" (p. 159) that Islamic moderates (of which he obviously considers himself to be one) do not believe that any punishment attaches to apostasy.

Mr. El Fadl writes (p. 255) writes that most Muslim scholars have reached the conclusion that slavery is contrary to Quranic morality.

Take a look at p. 214-215 for Mr. El Fadls views on non-Muslims (or read the entire chapter 203-129). Supremacist attitude towards non-Muslims is inconsistent with Islamic theology.

Similarly, the Islamic law as described by El Fadl concerning women does not fit with Mr. Pipes summary of Islamic law above.

In Ch. 12 El Fadl condemns the various oppressive practices - from mandatory veiling to women always being under the control of a male relative.

As to the Sharia (p. 150), Mr. El Fadl states that it is the eternal unchanging law as it exists in the mind of God. Human implementation of the Sharia are, on the other hand, fallible - so loyalty to the Sharia, in this view, is not a loyalty to an inflexible set of laws.

So the opinions Mr. Pipes attributes to El Fadl do not fit the opinions presented in this book.

Since I know that Mr. Pipes would never resort to prooftexting or making stuff up, other possibilities include:

1) This is not the same El Fadl.

2) El Fadl changed his mind.

3) El Fadl is presenting these beliefs as a deception, and does not really believe these things.

4) Mr. Pipes is prooftexting. Wait. This is impossible. Never mind.

5) I have overlooked some other explanation.


Regards,
Michael
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

My 2004 article obviously could not anticipate what appears in a 2005 book. I have not read the book and cannot say if it is consistent with the author's prior thinking or marks a change.

DP

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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