This is a guest post by Al-Qanaas Al-Masri
Since taking office, President Obama’s administration has tried hard to break with Bush-era ‘them and us’ rhetoric and reach out to ordinary Muslims around the world.
However, I don’t think that anyone thought this policy would include publicly sucking up to Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group which, much like al-Qaeda, aspires to create a global, totalitarian and expansionist Caliphate.
And yet, as Counter Terrorism News website reveals, this is precisely what has now happened.
On Sunday, Dalia Mogahed (pronounced ‘mujahid’), a high-profile member of President Barack Obama’s Faith Advisory Council, spent 45-minutes on the Islam Channel’s programme ‘Muslimah Dilemma’ alongside fellow guest, Nasreen Nawaz, HT’s national women’s media representative (the video is available here).
There are some initial problems with this:
- The ‘Muslimah Dilemma’ programme is an HT-run programme whose producer, Casa Sharif, and host, Ibtihal Bsis Ismail, are all active members of HT.
- The appearance of such high-profile member of the US government alongside an HT guest risks legitimising HT in the eyes of ordinary Muslims.
Even more problematic, however, is that Mogahed, best known for her work with the pro-Islamist, Saudi-funded academic John Esposito, did not once challenge HT’s speakers during the 45-minute discussion.
This was despite the fact that Nawaz was introduced as “the Women’s Media Representative for the pan-Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir” and that during the programme, Nawaz openly:
- Called for the re-creation of “Islamic Khilafah state” in which women are “not permitted to hold a position of leadership in government”.
- Called for Sharia law to be “the source of legislation” and for “strict regulation in terms of social laws” (explicitly saying that “men and women cannot socialize” and “they cannot be alone together”).
- Attacked secular “man-made law” and the west’s “lethal cocktail” of “liberty” and “capitalism” which they blamed for “promiscuity”, “pornography”, “teenage pregnancies” and “adultery”.
In addition to not directly challenging HT on a single one of these issues, Mogahed additionally cited evidence from surveys that neatly backed up HT’s regular claim that “the Muslims” are calling for the implementation of a hard-line version of Sharia law and the creation of a despotic and repressive Caliphate. For instance, at one point, Nawaz explaining how HT’s Caliphate will work, saying:
For example, you have political parties underneath an Islamic Khilafah state. This is all defined by the Islamic state—this is all defined by the Islamic texts. You have political parties where women again are encouraged to be a part of. You have a mechanism called the majlis al-ummah, which is the consultative body that holds the ruler to account and advises the ruler. You have the Qadi Muthalim, the court of unjust acts, where a woman can directly account the rulers of her society. These are some examples of the issue of governance and the principles of governance in Islam.
Mogahed responds, not by challenging Nawaz’s laughable claims that HT’s various absurd inventions like the “Majlis al-Ummah” are “all defined by the Islamic texts” but by saying:
I think the solutions are many and quite complicated. [In] certain societies the issue is around the lack of money and [in] other societies resources are plentiful. What Muslims around the world tell us that they believe is a key to progress is attachment to their spiritual and moral values. They really do see, many of them, that Islam offers a solution for their problems and that they see Islam as their society’s greatest asset. When we asked people what they admire most about the Muslim world, what they tell us is their attachment to Islam, Islamic values, even the value of hospitality, the value of family. So I think that whereas people around the world do feel that the problems are diverse, many many of them do mention Islam as a as a part of that solution. When we asked people what Muslims can do to help themselves, one of the most frequent responses is for them to unify and another is for them to follow Islam and and make it a greater, more authentic part of their lives.
So, in other words, Dalia Mogahed, advisor to Barack Obama, by failing to clearly say that very few Muslims actually agree with HT’s aims instead implies that HT are not only right but their ideology is also popular among Muslims around the world. Ibtihal Bsis Ismail, the HT presenter of the programme, loved this response so much that she ended the show by inviting Mogahed to talk about her future reports on the ‘Muslimah Dilemma’ show:
I think we’d love to have you on personally to discuss the findings of those surveys once they come out. I want to say Jazakallah kheir to my guest Dahlia Mogahed from the United States of America and Jazakallah kheir to Nasreen Nawaz, women’s media representative for Hizb ut-Tahrir.
How the hell are ordinary Muslims meant to challenge Islamist groups like HT (as they are constantly being urged to do) when the very same groups are simultaneously being promoted and empowered by those in positions of power in the Whitehouse and elsewhere?