Different Versions of Neo-modism

It is interesting to study the same music coming at different frequencies, from different channels set up by different quarters of Muslim Neo-mods -” the self-proclaimed “progressive,” “liberals,” and “moderate” Muslims.

The common tunes on all these different channels are apologies for the uncommitted crimes and misconceptions that have no place in Islam. Their common target is the ears of the Neo-cons of the West. These ears want more of the same music to justify their destructive march towards total domination.

The direct victims of the Neo-mods music are non-Muslims, mostly those who have no knowledge about the ABC of Islam. Its indirect victims are Muslims in the Muslim lands under the US direct and indirect occupations.

When any of these channels of Muslim Neo-mods is discussed in a short write up, it gives the impression as if it is an isolated case, or it has no impact or connection with other channels.

That is not the fact. Actually Muslim Neo-modism comes in different versions. All are well connected and all have the same objectives: a) exploit the fear of Islam, b) generate some more in a different way, and c) milk Washington. Collectively they have a wider impact, but again, only in the non-Muslim world.

One can easily look around to find different versions of Neo-modism in operation. However, discussing these versions in detail is beyond the scope of a short write up. To give readers an opportunity to independently research, personalities displaying a specific form of neo-modism are given below.

It is a common tendency of the Neo-mods to consider every criticism as a personal attack. They consider every critic having some kind of personal vendetta against them. However, that is absolutely not the case simply because their critics are neither on the CIA payroll, nor they get career building opportunities. They don’t get scholarships or fellowships at Brookings or Rand in return for criticizing the neo-mods, nor are they promoted on high profile media outlets.

The following broad classification of different versions of Neo-modism will show how collectively and mostly unintentionally, they sow the seeds of hatred and terror. They can hardly realize the extent of the damage they are doing to both the East and the West under the fine banners of moderation, building bridges and interfaith interactions.

1. Academic Neo-modism:

There are personalities in academic circles, both students and teachers, who have either fully embraced the point of view of the Neo-cons of the West or they just pretend to be on the same wavelength with them when it comes to promotion of radical secularism and military adventurism for imposing all associated ideas on the Muslim world.

It is not difficult to find this version of Neo-modism in the world of Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed (Stockholm University), Muqtedar Khan, Akbar S. Ahmed, and company.

These dollar scholars of Islam have distinct views about almost every issue. Take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for example. Muqtedar Khan for example believes, “Allah, through the Qur’an, tells Muslims to forgive injustices that Jews and Christians commit against Muslims,” which means, in other words, to accept Israeli oppression in the present context. He writes, The Israeli occupation of Palestine is "perhaps central to Muslim grievance against the West."

The use of word “perhaps” means, he is either still doubtful or purposely ignore the reality. He goes on to say that the Israeli government treats its one million Arab citizens "with greater respect and dignity than most Arab nations treat their citizens." It means, there is no need to support the suffering Palestinians. In a New York Times article, Muqtedar Khan writes: “Muslims must realize that the interests of our sons and daughters, who are American, must come before the interests of our brothers and sisters, whether they are Palestinian, Kashmiri or Iraqi.” [1] Consider this prioritized classification in the context of the message of Islam.

Akbar Ahmed recently appeared with Rabbi Johnny Sax in a documentary celebrating the Jewish New Year and publicly stating that he is ashamed of the brutal murder of Danny Pearl by one of his alleged countryman, yet Rabbi Johnny Sax is not ashamed of the brutal policies of the racist/apartheid state of Israel that has taken lives thousands of Palestinians and butchers them on daily basis. Do we hear Johnny Sax or Ariel Sharon expressing shame and revulsion at the way Palestinians are treated or the atrocities committed by Baruch Goldstein et al?

2. Political neo-modism:

This version of Neo-modism is also displayed by Muslims both in the East and the West. Kamal Nawash with political ambitions in the US is no different than Hussein Haqqani with even greater ambitions to be tomorrow’s Karzai or Iyad Allawi. Such personalities have their own way of presenting the facts and promoting themselves under the wings of Pipes and JISNA.[2]

Some Muslim dictators who are presently in power also hide behind this version of Neo-modism. General Musharraf’s attempt at self-perpetuation under the banner of “moderate” Islam is a prime example in this regard.

3. Journalistic Neo-modism:

Then there are Muslims in print and electronic media, as well as on the internet who would go to any-length to bash Islam in the name of reformation. Tashbih Syed of Pakistan Today, Khalid Hasan of Daily Times, Najam Sethi of Friday Times. All those who criticize Daniel Pipes for anti-Islam bigotry need to visit the work of these journalists infected with this form of Neo-modism and see the way they have gone far too ahead of Pipes in promoting some ideas that are in total contradiction to the core of Islam.

4. Below-the-belt Neo-modism:

This version of Neo-modism has no trace of scholarship or logical argumentation. It has no objective to serve other than self-projection and heaping curses on Islam’s basic sources: the Qur’an and Hadith. This trend began with Salman Rushdie, then moved on to the age of Taslima Nasreen and Irashad Manjee and then is trying to become mainstream with all and sundry participating in below-the-belt Neomodism at “sex and umma” section of the MuslimWakeUp.com. The problem is that you cannot even argue with this kind of Neo-mods who are bent upon heaping curses.

It is very important to note that 9/11 and subsequent bloody invasions, human rights abuses and occupations would never have been possible without years of Islam-bashing by the neo-cons and their associates. This "intellectual" alliance played a vital role in paving the ground for the political and military alliances to bypass the world opinion and go on the killing spree for domination. All the above forms of Muslim neo-modism, knowingly or unknowingly, support neo-cons’ lies and misconceptions about Islam in different ways.

It is also interesting to study and compare similarities between the mindset of Neo-cons of the West and Neo-mods of Islam.

Freedom of Expression

Both of these groups believe in selective freedom of expression. They feel free to not only challenge Divine wisdom by criticizing the Qur’an (which all Muslims believe as the word of God), but also to go to the extent of mocking its verses and making fun of the Ahadiths (saying of Prophet Muhammad PBUH) -” together these two sources form the foundation of faith for 1.3 billion people.

However, when it comes to criticizing their below-the-belt approach to reformation of Islam, they resort to personal attacks, strongly demanding removal of that critical analysis from the source publication along with apologies from the authors and editors. It seems as if their wisdom is above the Divine wisdom. They have the right to mock the Qur’anic wisdom,[3] but no one has the right to point finger at them.

Criticizing the Critic

The Neo-mods leave the subject and start criticizing the critic. They forget that no one needs to be an angel to criticize an evil trend. Being evil and being the promoter of evil are two different things. For instance, being a homosexual, knowing that it is against the core principles of Islam, and staying conscious of one’s evil acts is far better than not being a homosexual but justifying homosexuality and promoting its cause.

So, it is absolutely not that critics of the Neo-mods of Islam are angels from heaven. It is that they simply point out that the Neo-mods participation in demonizing Islam for their personal interests undermines future of both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Twist and spin

The other commonality with the neo-cons is their quality to spin and put words in others mouth. The article criticizing MuslimWakeUp.com very clearly states that the Neo-mods of Islam are promoting agenda and point of view of the real culprits behind 9/11. MuslimWakeUp.com instead turns it around and presents it as if its team has been called the real culprits behind 9/11. This is the poorest defense of a below-the-belt section at this site.

Guilt by Association

The Neo-cons and Neo-mods cry foul when they feel that they have been considered guilty by association. However, they forget that not only thousands in the US concentration camps but millions of other Muslims around the world are targeted just for being Muslims. They are harassed and tortured unless they somehow prove themselves to be perfectly “moderate,” liberal,” or “progressive” Muslims. Racial profiling is nothing by harassment based on simple association with Islam.

The Question is: Who, after all, are responsible for this kind of attitude towards Muslims? Why is there an “enemy is Islam” sign hanging outsider a church in the US? If the answer is “terrorists among Muslims,” it is absolutely wrong.

Muslim “terrorists” are the product of some policies and acts of aggression. A realistic look reveals that the crimes committed by Muslims pale by comparison with the crimes systematically committed by the US and Israel. Despite all that, why is not any sign hanging outside any mosque saying Christianity or Judaism is the enemy?

Simply because no one -” neither Muslims nor non-Muslims -” have the intentions to undermine Christianity or Judaism as a faith, whereas undermining Islamic values and way of life is a clear intention on the part of Neo-cons who promote the so-called war on terror and the “war within Islam.” The neo-conism is becoming mainstream due to increasing activity of Muslim Neo-mods.

Promotion of hatred

The idea is to make non-Muslims aware of these Neo-mods benighted opportunism, who do no more than promoting hatred against Islam and Muslims by cursing and mocking the basic sources of Islam: the Qur’an and Sunnah. That becomes the basis for interference in Muslim lands and justifies invasions and occupations for secularizing them through crusades against Islamic ideology, as the 9/11 Commission report has confirmed.

This is no less than sowing the seeds of hatred and terror. Who actually get terrorized with such nonsense? Non-Muslims. Who their leaders in turn terrorize? Muslims. That’s how the cycle of terror begins and takes lives of millions on both sides. This is the chain reaction which the Islam-bashing Neo-mods do not realize and ask: what is the correlation between “sex and umma” at MuslimWakeUp.com and the seeds of terror.

Discussing sex

Only a stupid would believe that people engaged in a frank discussion on sexuality do the work of Paul Wolfwitz. However, critics of “sex and umma” section strongly believe that calling Islam “shitty” and making a mockery of Sahih Bukhari and the Qur’an, above all, are far worse than what Paul Wolfwitz can do. This gives Wolfwitz and Co. the basis for planning, invading, killing and dominating any Muslim country where people may express their desire to live by Islam.

Let Paul Wolfwitz come out and say publicly what the Neo-mods on MuslimWakeup.com say about Islam. He would face a flood of worldwide condemnation and reaction. That’s why the Neo-mods are no more than gifted mouthpieces for the neo-cons’ innermost thoughts and wishes.

Let us forget about Islam for a moment. Let us try to find out which part of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism or any principle of common decency allows promotion of out-of-wedlock sexual relations, out of wed-lock births, homosexuality, cursing and mocking the sources of others’ religious beliefs, and all other norms that are being promoted by the Neo-mods?

For personal interests it is too big a price to pay with presenting Islam as a degraded, outdated, medieval philosophy that oppresses women and does not let people enjoy their sexual life. That is what the Neo-cons want; this is what the Neo-mods provide.

Hidden enemies

A real understanding of the rising trend of Neo-modism among Muslims would make the Western public realize their hidden enemies, who in the quest for indirectly milking Washington, indirectly lead to wars and occupations.

Hidden enemies are not those who mask their faces and shoot the US occupation forces in Iraq and elsewhere. They are well-known enemies of injustice and oppression, not the American people. They are the direct product of occupation, not of Islamic ideology.

The real hidden enemies are those, who do not intentionally want to harm the US. They just want to shine their little businesses; have a bit promotion in their career; make a headway in politics; have their articles published in the New York Times; get interviewed on the Fox; or like Musharraf, have a chance to rule his nation for a little longer.

However, they forget that the opinions they consider so naïve become seeds for terror in the hands of Neo-cons, who use them as a solid argument to defend their proposed invasions and continued domination of Muslim lands at any cost.

Appropriate Action

When Iran issued a fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie -” the father of neo-modism, we thought he should be intellectually defeated through debate so that others get a lesson out of his failure. However, now we realize how difficult it is to argue with the Neo-mods. Can anyone convince Bush. He is always right together with his team. Same is the attitude of Muslim Neo-mods. What discussion, for instance, can one make, when he gets a message of 100 words out of which 44 go like this:

“Amazing garbage! -¦ the ravings of a demented conspiracy-theorist, a raging fundamentalist crackpot and a barking-mad loon. Wow. the IQ of a squashed apricot, the intellectual sophistication of a backward gerbil and the integrity of a crack-whore. A foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.”

To avoid turning the whole Muslim world into Palestines and Iraqs and to avoid turning their own countries from becoming Nazi Germany, the appropriate action for non-Muslims is to identify and just ignore what the neo-cons and neo-mods produce in support of the Neo-cons’ views and policies.

No matter how strongly Muslims may cling to the fundamentals of Islam and live by its principles, they are definitely not the enemies of the West or non-Muslims. Nor is the world the way these neo-mods and neo-cons want us to consider.


[1]. See: M.A. Muqtedar Khan, "A Memo to American Muslims," Column on Islamic Affairs, at: http://www.ijtihad.org/memo.htm and Muqtedar Khan, “Putting the American in American Muslims,” The New York Times, September 07, 2003.

[2]. To avoid repetition, please refer to http://icssa.org/Islamic_terrorism.htm and http://icssa.org/brand_washing.htm to read this version of Neo-modism in detail.

[3]. Sex and umma section of MuslimWakeUp.com is filled with numerous examples where the Qur’anic wisdom has been challenged.