Herald confused about Al-Azhar


The Herald editorial today buys the peaceful Islam line and that the Egyptian imams coming to take over to “reduce” radicalisation and jihadism are here to help:

It is a measure of this country’s confidence in its Muslim communities that it comes as a surprise to learn clerics are being sent from Egypt to bring a moderating influence to mosques and Islamic centres here as well as in other Western countries. One security observer, Paul Buchanan, called it “perplexing”. Beyond the possibility of “one or two hotheads”, radicalisation was not a problem here, he says. “Australia has a radicalisation problem, we do not.” He can be that categorical because if diatribes against the West and its religion and values were being delivered in mosques and learning centres here, it would be news – just as it has been in Britain, Australia and some other places.

The moderation and maturity of Muslims in New Zealand was evident once again in their response to the Egyptian initiative. Rather than express fearful resentment at the implication they needed a moderating influence, the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand welcomed the imams as emissaries from Egypt’s Al-Azhar university, the oldest and most respected seat of learning in Sunni Islam.

Egypt’s Government is sponsoring this mission to the world and it ought to be welcomed by all concerned.

They clearly haven’t watched the video from Egyptian television above, or done any research at all about Al-Azhar. I blogged about it the other day highlighting the aims and goals of Al-Azhar University and what their leaders and spokespeople have been saying.

They are coming here to proselytise. If a Christian tried that on Egypt they’d be dead in minutes. I’m not sure we should be letting these folk in. As Egyptian author Sayyid Al-Qemany says in the video:

“Al-Azhar represents terrorism of the moderate kind. They tell you, for example, not to kill 100 people, just 10. … Al-Azhar represents reasonable terrorism. They believe that anyone who is not a Muslim, and anybody who does not subscribe to their Sunni-Hanbali-Wahhabi school, is an infidel.”

So when liberal idiots at the Herald make statements like this:

Islam has struggled to express a moderate view to the world to disown the deadly acts done in its name and the distortions of its beliefs and texts that lie behind them. Jihadism appears to be a wholly Sunni affliction with its roots in Saudi Arabia but it is at war not only with Shia Islam and non-Muslims but also the Sunni mainstream.

Unlike the Shia branch with its authoritative religious leaders in Iran and Iraq, Sunni seem to have no hierarchy able to rule on misrepresentations of their religion and correct the worst impressions given to the world. Some of the words and deeds of Shia authorities, unfortunately, have added to these impressions.

The Al-Azhar missionaries may be heard only inside mosques and Islamic gatherings, and may be preaching to the converted, so to speak. But if their message of moderation does not percolate to the world outside it might at least strengthen the resistance to radicalism within. That was the hope of Egypt’s dictatorial President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when he spoke at Al-Azhar last year. “You, imams, are responsible before Allah,” he told them. They had to deal with a “source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. The entire world,” he said, “is waiting for your next word”.

It is indeed. The imams of Egypt’s global initiative will have opportunities to talk publicly in Western countries. When they do it is to be hoped they realise moderate, reasonable, measured religious views are not interesting to most people unless they address hateful attitudes in equally robust terms. Gentle understanding will not cut the mustard.

People everywhere have been waiting a long time for the reassurance that Islam remains the peaceful religion it is said to be. New Zealanders need to know we are not unusually blessed by the goodwill of Muslims in our midst. May Egypt’s mission help us remain so.

They are missing the point. These imams are Sunni…and the Herald editorial notes that jihadism is almost exclusively Sunni in origin. The video shown above was made just after al-Sisi spoke at Al-Azhar; it is contemporaneous to the speech quoted by the Herald editorial writer. It shows that the Herald is clutching at straws and desperate to appease with their reasonableness and tolerance.

Islam, by its very definition, means submission. It gets that submission by force; it is stated for all to read in the Qu’ran. There is not realistic justification to describe Islam as the religion of peace. Muhammed never preached peace, reconciliation or anything of the sort. He preached violence, destruction, jihad and total domination. There is no free will, only submission.

The media are supposed to be the fourth estate; they are supposed to question and hold the powerful to account. They promote themselves as the guardians of society, yet they write editorials that show a distinct lack of investigation or even basic thinking.

Their lack of understanding about Islam is alarming, especially as they are now trying to say that the arrival of Al-Azhar imams is a good thing. Indeed Al-Azhar, when they conducted a summit on terrorism in 2015, supposedly encompassed all the world’s faiths…except one.

Al-Azhar excluded Jews from this worldwide summit on terrorism. Its failure to invite synagogues and Jewish leaders was not disguised by its otherwise inclusiveness. Joining the Egyptian Mufti, Dr. Shawki Allam, Al-Azhar University chairman and deputy, and six hundred Muslim scholars (including those of minor sects) from 120 countries were heads of the Eastern Orthodox churches, including Egyptian Copts, and Vatican representatives. Protestant denominations from the West were present, and speakers from communities persecuted by terror groups (Pakistan, Syria, and others) attended.

Did this important conference at the heart of Sunni-Muslim religious learning hold the least promise for genuine examination of worldwide terror? Not really.

We’ve seen Al-Azhar fail to denounce Muslim Brotherhood members as terrorists when the pro-democracy presidency of Al Sisi banned the organization from Egypt last year. Also, the Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar, who is required by law to confirm or deny death sentences issued by the Egyptian courts, reversed the death penalty of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and others — all convicted murderers.

Al-Azhar speaks out of both sides of their mouth. They have one message they like to push on useful idiots like the Herald editorial writer, and quite another message signalled through their deeds and actions.

If the Media party won’t tell the truth, then who will?


– NZ Herald, Israel Today, MEMRI

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.