Monday, September 9, 2013

20 Questions for Hamza Yusuf & His Followers (1/2)

War Criminal Sitting with American "Muslim" Celebrity Imam along with other American made commodities

America Exports a lot of cultural garbage in the name of globalization/capitalism to the rest of the world.  Everything from cheaply manufactured pop 'music' acts (boy/girl bands, Britney Spears, etc), to McDonalds/fast food, to trashy 'reality' TV shows, to cheaply made plastic toys, to pornography -- if there is a way to monetize behavior in the name of profits and new markets, the tools and levers of capitalism are there to help commoditize human experience.

To this disposable scrap heap, should be added the new US Government made version of "American" Islam.  It's chief principal spokesperson or BritneySpears-like pinup namely being (self-styled) "Sheikh" Hamza Yusuf [Mark Hanson], pictured at Bush's post 9/11 speech above)

This un-elected, media anointed "spokesperson"for Muslims, like any media celebrity, comes with his own fawning entourage, many of whom would sell their souls just to bask in his presence.   In an attempt to help clarify where reality/truth begin and where the celebrity/fantasy world ends, consider this blog post a very humble request for "Sheikh" Hamza Hanson & his followers to get a reality check.  To that end, here are 20 questions (which can be answered in any order) that we have helped compile over the years at iSiyasah that can help expedite the process:


1.  On June 9th 2001 you, "Sheikh" Hamza gave an interview to the IIS (American Muslim Hour) Program in which you claimed the following:
  • The majority of the US Constitution is Islamic 
  • That when you spoke to a Moroccan 'alim, the 'alim said that if Buddhist teachings were applied, we would be closer to Islam
  • You also said that those who want to establish an Islamic society are necessarily talking about a "utopian" society.
As you can imagine, this gives rise to 3 questions amongst us:
      Q.  Was the US constitution still 'Islamic' when Rodney King's torturers were found not guilty?
              How about when Trayvon Martin's murderer George Zimmerman walked scot free as well?
      Q2.  Do you and this Moroccan "alim" consider those same Buddhist teachings currently put into
              practice by Buddhists in Burma against the Rohingya closer to Islam than Islam itself?
      Q3.  Did Muhammad (SaW) establish an Islamic society in Medina? Was this also "utopian" (in
              your view) for him to do so?

2.  Pre-9/11, on Sept 7, 2001 You gave this lecture and claimed that Islam was/is at war with Secularism.  Do you still stand by that now? (See Question#20 for why) Which of your 2 contradicting statements should we take at face value here?

Post 9/11:

3.  Let's start with the uncomfortable elephant in the room, when you were introduced to America by the political establishment as our first celebrity Imam, coming to lend legitimacy to Bush in his war on Islam, err "War on Terrorism".  To those too young to remember, a refresher (start watching at 29:37):

Keeping in mind what Imam Abu Hanifah said:
If you see the scholar at the gate of the ruler then accuse him in his deen

Can you please explain:

  A.  How is it considered "naseeha" when you are giving counsel to a murderer of Muslims? To quote the Washington Post on October 2, 2001:

"That day Yusuf was at the White House, the only Muslim in a group of religious leaders invited to pray with President Bush, sing "God Bless America," and endorse the president's plans for military action."

  B.  How did this subsequently make you an "Advisor" to George W. Bush, as you insisted the BBC
        introduce you as such following this encounter?
  C.  How do you square your actions above, with what US counter-terrorism advisor, Richard Clarke
        testified to at the 9/11 commission, that George W. Bush & Rumsfeld on 9/12 wanted to blame this on Saddam Hussain and use that as a pretext for invading Iraq

  D.  Despite your "advising" this is what a Conservative activist had to say about meeting you and
        other Muslims after 9/11:   
"I can say with certainty that [the president] knows what the real score is," Weyrich says. "He feels he has to say these things -- and maybe if you and I were president, we'd have to do the same thing."  Weyrich says if the president actually declared that America is in a war against Islam, there might be more Muslims taking up arms against the U.S. -- a "real jihad," as he puts it. So Bush, according to Weyrich, is soft-peddling his rhetoric in order to "tamp down" any worldwide activity that might occur.

"I know the president has to say certain things -- and I understand that," the conservative icon says, "but I also know that he doesn't believe it."

  E.  After the criticism you received after this event, if you and (some of) your followers consider this episode a "mistake" why is it you still can't find the time to apologize for your own behavior of that time nor that of the administration for whom you gave support for during this event?

4.  3 days after this grand spectacle with "Sheikh" George W. Bush, you gave an interview with Michael Enright on the Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC) Sunday September 23rd, 2001.  The highlighted portions of the interview with questions regarding your statements in it are here.  It is filled with so many inaccuracies, mistranslations, and outright mistakes that it would merit a separate blogpost here all by itself!

Please get back to us if you or your followers decide to answer and hold yourself accountable for any of your words and statements in it.

5.  Given your post-9/11 histrionics and behavior, just some related questions:
     A.  Do you consider yourself to be "Patriotic" and a "proud" nationalistic American?  Especially
           given the imperial actions of America (invading Iraq & Afghanistan) in the Muslim World post
     B.  Are nationalism and patriotism sentiments, thoughts, and ideas that are compatible with Islam?
           Here and here (along with this photo below) are some things to help you to grasp this issue:

6.  Again, post 9/11 in your lecture entitled "The Question of Hijab these days" you said this:
     "..Islam is an intelligent religion. The laws are there to serve human beings; we are not there to serve the law. We are there to serve Allah, and that is why whenever the law does not serve you, you are permitted to abandon it, and that is actually following the law. That is where the confusion lies because people do not realize that. The law is for our benefit, not for our harm. Therefore, if the law harms us, we no longer have to abide by it.You cannot worship the sacred law because the law is there to serve you; it is for your maslaha, your benefit, and that is our fiqh."
     The question here is rather simple:
If Islam by its very essence means peace attained through submission to God, how is one to attain that (using your definition above) if he/she makes their own desires their Lords? More to the point, if it is not in the benefit/maslaha of someone (Muslim or Non-Muslim) to practice something mandated by Islam and laws are subservient to us as human beings then why even be a Muslim?
    Moreover, rather unknown to most, there was a girl who took your advice on this issue (removing
    her hijab post 9/11) and still got raped in New York, do you care to comment on that?

7.   Given your grandstanding and racist calls to the British/American establishment here:
      "If you Hate the West, Emigrate to a Muslim Country" We believe that this racist nonsense of yours
       was pretty well refuted by Jamshed Bokhari at the time here:

       "The most offensive part of the article, however, did not come from Sullivan, but from  
      Yusuf himself. Addressing a question concerning "British [Muslim] extremists" and 
      criticism against them that they "have not been loud enough in condemnation" of the 
      September 11 attacks - a false assertion in the first place - Yusuf said, "I would say to 
      them that if they are going to rant and rave about the West, they should emigrate to a 
      Muslim country….In the minds of many, such assertions conjure up visions of pick-up 
      driving, Confederate battle flag waving, bad haircut, good ole boys, yelling "America:  
      love it or leave it" followed immediately by the spitting out of that ever so attractive 
      chunk of chewing tobacco with an occasional "Yee haw" added in for color.  
      And does this criticism of "British extremists" also apply to American Muslim critics of 
      unfolding events? Does that also mean that non-Muslim Americans who disagree with 
      U.S. government policy should go somewhere else as well?

      Valid points concerning the current state of affairs within the Muslim world made by 
      Yusuf, specifically that some Muslims are in denial over the events of September 11 and 
      are developing conspiracy theories, or of Islam's current theological shallowness, were 
      overshadowed by the assertion that they should emigrate to Muslim countries, a 
      statement that reeks of a patriotic jingoism better left for anti-Muslim bigots.  

      And this is the person presently advising U.S. President George W. Bush concerning the 
      state of affairs within the American Muslim community. It is not bothersome that an 
      American Muslim should be advising the administration, but it should be someone less 
      controversial and one who makes less vitriolic statements concerning his fellow 
      believers. This is aside from the fact that Yusuf was not elected by any Muslim to be    
      their representative to the President.
Anyone, and especially a Muslim in North America who counters any opinion I, as a Muslim "darkie" may have in opposition to any U.S. Government policy (whether it be tax cuts for the wealthy, racial profiling, the curtailing of constitutionally mandated civil rights, or even yes, foreign policy) by saying I should go somewhere else if I don't like this or that policy certainly does NOT represent me."
A.  Again, do You ("Sheikh" Hamza) care to comment on any of this?
B.  If not, then why did you scream like a coward at your own subsequent treatment by US Border Patrol following your speech at the Toronto "Reviving the Islamic Spirit" summit of hot air Conference? Why couldn't you take your own advice on this issue and if you didn't like your treatment by ICE or US Customs, choose to permanently emigrate and stay in Toronto?

Questionable Political Agenda

8.  This then leads to even more disturbing questions.  You see most of Hamza Yusuf's actions certainly are not happening in a vacuum or isolated cases of being misquoted or 
"out of context" but have happened and are happening against a backdrop in which the US government (led by Neo-Conservatives in the US and UK) are making an active effort to change Islam to suit US Imperial dictums.  The US Govt is backing this up with not only political muscle but lots of government money.  This is not something that was kept secret but publicly announced by different media.  Some samples:

A.  Hearts, Minds, & Dollars - In an Unseen Front on the War on Terrorism, America is 
     Spending Millions to Change the Very Face of Islam
     Article outlined how 3 different US Govt Agencies Conferenced on promoting moderate "Sufi"
      Muslims in preparation for the invasion of Iraq and EXPLICITLY said that they must change
      Islam to fit this new political imperial reality.

B. RAND Report:   Civil Democratic Islam 3/18/2004
     (Author, Cheryl Benard is wife of US Afghan Neo-Con Warlord Zalmay Khalilzad)
     Policy Recommendations:
  •      Support the modernists first.  
  •      Support the traditionalists against the fundamentalists  
  •      Promoting Sufism
  •      Confront and oppose the fundamentalists.  
  •      Selectively support secularists.  
   "Support the traditionalists against the fundamentalists:
     —Publicize traditionalist criticism of fundamentalist violence and extremism;
     encourage disagreements between traditionalists and fundamentalists.
     — Discourage alliances between traditionalists and fundamentalists.
     — Encourage cooperation between modernists and the traditionalists who are closer to the
          modernist end of the spectrum.
     — Where appropriate, educate the traditionalists to equip them better for debates against
          fundamentalists. Fundamentalists are often rhetorically superior, while traditionalists practice a
          politically inarticulate “folk Islam.” In such places as Central Asia, they may need to be
          educated and trained in orthodox Islam to be able to stand their ground.
     — Increase the presence and profile of modernists in traditionalist institutions."

     RAND Report:  Building Moderate Muslim Networks
     Policy Recommendations:

      "The report recommends targeting five groups as potential building blocks for networks: liberal
       and secular Muslim academics and intellectuals; young moderate religious scholars; community
       activists; women's groups engaged in gender equality campaigns; and moderate journalists and
       As America learned during the Cold War, moderate groups can lose credibility – and therefore,
       effectiveness – if U.S. support is too obvious. Effective tactics that worked during the Cold War
       include having the groups led by credible individuals and having the United States maintain some
       distance from the organisations it supports.
       “This was done by not micro-managing the groups, but by giving them enough autonomy,” Rabasa
        said. “As long as certain guidelines were met, they were free to pursue their own activities.” To
       help start this initiative, the report recommends working toward an international conference
       modeled in the Cold War-era Congress of Cultural Freedom, and then developing a standing
       organisation to combat radical Islamism."

   * It should be noted that RAND is not just some run-of-the-mill think-tank, but one intimately
      connected with the Neo-Conservative, project which sees America as an everlasting Empire, very
      well documented in this book here.

C.  Blair Government's Strategy to Police British Muslims Leaked:

     "The government also intends to “promote awareness” of foreign-based imams, including Hamza
       Yusuf, Suhaib Webb, and Tariq Ramadan. Yusuf, 45 (born Mark Hanson), is an 'adviser' to US
       President George W. Bush and has been described in the media as the “rock star of the new
       Muslim generation.” He recently completed a lecture tour of the UK, which included an
       appearance on BBC television’s “Question Time” programme.

Our simple question to you is where you personally a recipient of any of this money for this purpose? Is the IRS aware of this? We know that your British lackeys and stooges (especially those connected to the "Radical Middle Way") were and are government welfare queens in the UK:

i. ”The Radical Middle Way initiative has received funding totaling £350,000, of which £250,000 was provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and £100,000 by Home Office."


and you defended them for taking government money here.  Despite your own previous statement on the exact same action when it applied to Wahabis taking money from the government of Saudi Arabia implied at the keynote speech you gave at the ISNA convention in Rosemont, IL in 2006:
  "Do not to take any money from foreign governments while building masjids or for Islamic organizations as this creates “a cycle of dependency”.
9.   This then leads to more questions regarding your relations with the UK govt, specifically at events hosted by former British PM and war criminal Tony Blair.  (For a background on why Tony Blair should be indicted for war crimes please read here and here).  Could you explain how it is that you were actually invited to share a stage with Tony Blair at the "Malaria No More" event here:

       A.  Smiling with a War Criminal and the War Criminal Smiling Back

10.  Moreover, could you kindly explain to us whether you were "tricked" "deceived" or simply "forgot" that you would be sharing a stage with Tony Blair at this event? You see Zaid Shakir's story has changed so many times on the explanation of that day and event that we simply lost count and thought we'd ask you directly.  Could you also comment on why is it that Desmond Tutu refused to share a stage with Tony Blair but you somehow could find a way to do so? We are reminded of Tutu's own quote here:

(End of Part I, Continued in Part II)

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