Netherlands: Speakers at the National Islam Congress

Netherlands: Speakers at the National Islam Congress

See also: Salafism dominates at Dutch Islamic Congress

I bring below a summary of what some of the speakers at the congress said.  Though some were speaking in English, this is a translation from Dutch.


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According to the organizers, Islam institute Dar al Ilm, about a thousand people were present in the audience of the first National Islam Congress in the Amsterdam Apollo Hall.

Though it was called 'national', there were only Sunni speakers.  There were no Shiites, Sufis or Alevis, though they form a considerable percentage of the Muslim community in the Netherlands.  

According to organizer Saoed Khadje, the day shows how diverse the Muslim community is, but the ultra-Orthodox Salafi speakers dominate.  They are concerned about the radicalization of their youth.  Their double problem: how to get the youth to their sense, and at the same time make it clear to a suspicious world that they don't think the same as the youth.

The public, including converts, was mostly young - people in their 20s and 30s - many women, some with niqab, mostly with a headscarf, but also bareheaded.  


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Professor B├╝lent Senay, director of the Dutch branch of Diyanet, the Turkish ministry of religious affairs, says that religion begins once the sermon is over.

"Islam has been kidnapped by terrorists and Islamophobes," he says and describes true Islam as a broadminded religion which originated in a varied, urban area and is therefore appropriate for a multicultural society.

He tells of the tradition in which Muhammad attended the funeral of his Jewish neighbor, telling critics that he was also a man.

Senay's ideal is an intercultural society, in which various groups involve themselves with each other.  The congress itself seemed like a good example, with few groups along ethnic lines, and the rest mingling together.


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Haitham Al-Haddad, a Saudi preacher of Palestinian origin living in London, spoke about solving apparent absurdities in Islam.  

Al-Haddad says that the definition of Islam is not peace.  Muslims who claim that have an inferiority complex.  Islam means submission, to the will of the creator.  Only Allah can make laws.  The problem with democracy is that people never agree.  The Islamic solution is that an external, unprejudiced authority decides: God.

Submission means that you follow the law of Allah, even if you don't understand why.  That is a test.  the whole goal of creation is a test.

You don't need to answer troubling questions from unbelievers.  "Why did the prophet have so many wives?  Why did he have a wife who was nine years old?"  I say: If you don't  believe that Allah is the only creator and the only one who makes laws, you don't understand it.  If you believe that Mohammad was honest, you won't ask about his women.  That is also a test.  Whoever obediently accepts Muhammad's marriage with 9 year old Aisha, though it goes against one's feelings and judgment, passes the test and goes to heaven.

Just because people don't think something is valid doesn't mean that it's not logical.  Take male circumcision: we couldn't understand why we should do it, but now we see in Africa that it prevents HIV.  And female circumcision: now we say of it that it's against human rights, but in the future maybe we'll think it's logical?

Al-Haddad says that Salafism is plain Islam.  The interpretation of the Koran by the companions of the prophet may not be altered.  Islam can not change in new circumstances, since then you'll presently have as many Islams as there are people.

Al-Haddad urged Dutch Muslims to demand Sharia courts which enforce Islam family laws.  It can't be otherwise,.  The number of Muslims is growing quickly.  They also do halal meat - as if that's not Sharia.   He told Dutch Muslims to say: I'm a dutch citizen and you must give me that.


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Sheik Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, an Islamic convert from Jamaica now working in India, says that dialog is the same as preaching.  Through dialog a Muslim gets nonbelievers acquainted with his religions.  Sometimes bad Muslims need preaching too.  

Q: Is it therefore not the time, for example in this hall, to hold a sermon against Bin Laden?
A: Can you tell me where he is?  Don't ask for the impossible.

According to Philips Islam sees female circumcision as horrible.

Philips encouraged Muslims to explain to non-Muslims that polygamy is not obligatory in Islam, that the religion didn't spread through the sword, but through peace, and that corporal punishment such as cutting off hands and beheading should be seen in context - he praised the safety in Saudi-Arabia.

Philips says that Salafism is the correct Islam.  

Philips said that media spreads misinformation about Islam, which can be traced back to the crusades.

According to Philips the devastating influence of Western society should be fought with education.  Only then can Islam take root.  Sending kids to a non-Islamic institution is 100% haram.  To the question what should parents do if an Islamic school offers bad education and a different school offers good education he answers: what is more important?  That your child becomes a manager or that he goes to heaven?


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Sheikh Khalid Yasin, born in New York and operating from Manchester, one of the star attractions: Islam will get the upper hand, though the unbelievers, idolaters and hypocrite Muslims hate that.

The aim is really that Islam will rule the world, but because Muslims were weak, Allah gave executive power to another people.  This can be reversed at any moment, if the Muslims just compete for the power.  Yasin says Western leaders disqualified themselves and that offers Islamic leaders opportunities, but "you have to be in it to win it!'.  You have to be reasonably integrated in order to compete.  

He recommended to his audience a number of non-Islamic books for inspiration, including The Prince by Machiavelli , which he says is used by most heads of state to keep in power.

Yasin thinks that Islam has been planted in the West like a seed, and that here is the best soil for it to grow.  The rise of Islam will come from the West.  not with hate and terrorism.  If we demonstrate that Islam is superior, the majority, those that will not become Muslims, will embrace, accept or tolerate Islam.

Yasin said Muslims need their own TVs, web sites, and search engines, since it's worrying what kids see elsewhere.  He collected donations for his new Muslim broadcaster Purpose TV. 


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One of the few moments of debate came at the end of the day.  The audience could ask questions anonymously and somebody wanted to know if a man can divorce a woman if he doesn't love her.  

Haddad answered no and that he should learn in time to love her.  Philips suggested that if he can afford it, he should also take a second wife.  

Haddad thought that this won't solve the problem with the first wife and Philips laughed: but than he at least as somebody he loves.

According to organizer Khadje, this is a good example of discussion among scholars.


Sources: Trouw, De Pers, Volkskrant(Dutch), h/t NRP

See also: Netherlands: National Islam Congress

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