Saturday, January 28, 2012
Sheik al-Zindani - The father of "Rational Islam"
Take a good look at the avuncular, smiling face above. It belongs to a man who might justifiably claim to be the most influential Muslim alive. Never heard of him? Let me enlighten you.
Abdul Majeed al-Zindani is, inter alia, founder of the Commission on Scientific Signs in the Quran and Sunnah, based in Saudi Arabia. As such, al-Zidani should interest all those who wonder at the recent rise in numbers of apparently intelligent and well-educated Westerners "reverting" to Islam. Many such Westerners have been persuaded that logic, reason and science can be used to "prove" the Qur'an is the word of God. People like Cat Stevens. Poor sod. And my friend, "Kevin" (or Tarek as we shall call him now - since that is his real name and he has agreed that I refer to him as such)
These unfortunate souls have fallen prey to what amounts to nothing less than a sophisticated and hugely well-financed con trick.
In 1984, Zindani approached the Saudi government's largest charity, the Muslim World League, to establish the Commission on Scientific Signs in the Quran and Sunnah. The Saudis were, of course, delighted to offer their (considerable) financial support. Such initiatives fitted their Wahhabi vision of domination of the Islamic world - or petro-Islam as it has become known in some cynical circles (According to observers, such as Gilles Kepel, Wahhabism gained considerable influence in the Islamic world following a tripling in the price of oil in the mid-1970s and the progressive takeover of Saudi Aramco in the 1974-1980 period. The Saudi government began to spend tens of billions of dollars throughout the Islamic world to promote Wahhabism According to the documentary called The Qur'an aired in the UK, presenter Antony Thomas suggested the figure may be "upward of $100 billion". Its largess funded an estimated "90% of the expenses of the entire faith", throughout the Muslim world, according to journalist Dawood al-Shirian.)
The Commission describes its mission as "showing, verifying and publishing Scientific Signs" found in the Quran and Sunna, an endeavor that has also been described as attempting to prove that "the Qur'an prophesied the Big Bang theory, space travel and other contemporary scientific breakthroughs," This is also known as Bucailleism which I have discussed at length in previous posts.
In 2002 The Wall Street Journal published a now famous article in which several non-Muslim scientists spoke of questionable practices used by the Commission to coax statements from them, such as hard-sell interviews by Sheikh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, and false promises to be “completely neutral.”
Together with Maurice Bucaille's ridiculous book, The Bible The Quran and Science, the Commission on Signs set in motion a trend that was to dominate Islam for the next three decades. Henceforth traditional scholars would be side-lined as the Science-in-the-Qur'an bandwagon gathered speed and swept all before it. Muslims the world over swallowed the new paradigm, and websites and media-junky imams and experts such as Zakir Naik and Ahmed Deedat set out to convert the world to Rational Islam. Muzaffar Iqbal was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal article, “All over the Arab world, in the universities, you will find people who hold onto this line of thought more and more. It has more credence there than creationism has here. In the Muslim world, there is no organized opposition to it.”
And yet the man behind this New Islam is hardly one to inspire confidence in the breast of your typical sophisticated Western "revert". In domestic politics, Zindani’s views are quite simply barking. He has, for example, led a campaign against a law that would prevent adult men from marrying children. He claims to have invented a cure for HIV/AIDS. And best of all, he says has scientific proof that women cannot speak and remember at the same time — an assertion that justifies excluding women from testifying as sole witnesses in a court of law.
Sheikh Zindani founded the controversial al-Iman University, a religious college in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. The university was briefly closed by authorities after September 11, in a crackdown on fundamentalism. The university was again suspended last year, according to the Yemen Times, which reported its admission requirement to recite five parts of the Koran were found by officials to be inadequate. I'll just run that past you again. His University will accept you if you can recite a few bits of the Qur'an.
Internationally Zidani also has a worrying reputation. Many experts attest to his shared history with some notorious Islamic militants of the past three decades. The U.S. claims that he served as a spiritual guide for Osama bin Laden in the 1980s and, more recently, Zindani was said to be affiliated with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Yemeni-American cleric who preached to two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, and Nidal Hassan, the man accused of killing 13 people in Fort Hood. And on February 24, 2004, the US Treasury Department identified Zindani as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist".
And yet none of this appears to bother those who espouse Rational Islam. Do they not know, not care or are they so brain-washed that nothing can convince them that there might, perhaps, be something a little fishy going on?
How ironic that a religion which succeeds in gaining converts by denying the need for faith in its apparent espousal of science and logic should have at its very heart a medieval, misogynistic, lunatic terrorist who wouldn't know a scientific theory if it shoved a pipette up his fundament.