Book of the week: Connivance by Silence

· Book Review, Book Reviews

This book covers several themes and many messages to different groups of Muslims around the world.  The underlying message is that under a defeatist mindset, Muslim scholars adopted politically expedient positions through fatwas many of which are contrary to the scripture.  This was established through the Investigative Commission established in Pakistan in 1953-54.   Their report documents this fact (covered in Chapter 6 and Appendix 2) and exposed the many inconsistencies in the radicals’ doctrine.  The book essentially revolves around the findings of this report.

Terrorists and politicized clergy use those flawed interpretations to radicalize and recruit youngsters to their cadres.  Many Muslim scholars and leaders justify the terrorist strikes as retaliatory actions against the US or Western anti-Islamic policies.  The only way to reverse this destructive trend is for Muslims to understand and reject the incorrect interpretations.

There are consequences for Muslims living in non-Muslim countries because Muslim scholars and leaders testified that Muslims cannot be faithful citizens of a non-Muslim government.  Europe has seen this trend and it is now starting in the US.

The Muslims living in non-Muslim countries should clearly establish their loyalties.  The new US National Security Strategy released in May 2010 will focus closely on home grown Muslim terrorists. It is therefore imperative for Muslims to be clear that Islam requires them to be faithful to their country.

About the Author:

As a US citizen and a practicing Muslim, Arif Humayun is a student of comparative religion – an interest he developed while living in Australia from 1989-92 – and has published two books on Islam.  Islam: The Summit of Religious Evolution, published in 1992 and Islam and the US Constitution, published in September 2002 to coincide with the sad anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack. He authored a White Paper on Radicalism among Muslims after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2009.

Keenly interested in understanding the motivation that catalyzes radicalism among Muslims, particularly those living in the US and other democracies, Connivance by Silence highlights the political-inspired interpretations of Islam that have crept in the Muslim discourse.

He manages a global intellectual property licensing business as an employee of a large multinational corporation.  His frequent and extensive global travels bring a clearer perspective to this destructive phenomenon that afflicts the world.


Comments RSS
  1. Zia H. Shah

    Readers are welcome to add their comments and reviews of the book.

  2. Zia H. Shah

    Separation of Mosque and State and freedom of individuals to understand their scripture‏:

    In this short comment, I articulate a clean and concise understanding for Separation of Mosque and State.

    If we lump all possible Islamic teachings together, it is not an honest dialogue but merely political posturing! Each and every recommendation of Sharia, whether it is mentioned in the Holy Quran or not, whether it is about individual life or social life, should be judged on its utilitarian value and not lumped together with all other teachings to promote the monster of Islamophobia or a political agenda of grabbing power.

    Individuals have varying understanding about their scripture and some of those understandings could be grandiose or beyond reality. But, these can never be forced on a society and they cannot be forced away from their opinions. Any teaching in a scripture or the Holy Quran only gives a suggestion or a choice in a pluralistic society. Any verse applicable to a social, political, economic or judicial aspect of life should not be taken as mandate. In a pluralistic society, a congress could discuss the merit of any idea, or lack thereof, whether it comes from the Quran, the Bible, the mind of a visionary or someone with a myopic vision. As long as we agree on the legislative process and have set our priorities as a society there should be perfect peace and harmony!

    So, individual is free to think whatever he decides about scope of the Holy Quran but in society, every teaching has to go through a civic process. Intelligence agencies could manage to control any mutiny against the due process by Mullahs, be they Muslims or Christian or Jewish extremists. In other words any pro-establishment approach by a Mullah or a fundamentalist is kosher but any revolutionary inclination, which puts constitution and law and order at risk, would be treated as rebellion. This is how scope of religion can be defined in a way that it is limiter to personal sphere and inspirations and sticks in the minds of all believers, who value their scripture very highly.

    This paradigm gives a pluralistic society a decent chance to develop and survive and gives individuals freedom of religion and thought!

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