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"...We Make No Distinction between any of His Messengers..." (Quran 2:285)
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Has decreed mercy upon himself
Fatwas Part Fifty-Six
When in Rome
Within a Quranist Vision, We Tackle The Fact That Arabs, As A Nation, Never Understand
Quranic Terminology: Truth/True/Truly/Truthful: (2) in the Sense of Fulfillment of Divine Promises
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Why Did Libya Vote Against the Muslim Brotherhood?
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A propos de l'article précédent intitulé (Un appel adressé au président égyptien...)
Female soldiers break their silenceþ
Reverting Islam Back to its Tolerant Roots
Islamic Tolerance: A Comparison between Egypt and the USA:

Islamic Tolerance: A Comparison between Egypt and the USA:

Reverting Islam Back to its Tolerant Roots

Published before in Arabic and in English in January 19, 2005

Edited by Ahmed Fathy

 

  The loving and tolerant teachings of the Quran and Islam have been perverted over the years by hypocrites who twist the Word of Allah, the Quran, to gain money, power, and authority. The consequences include the hateful ideology that has created several terrorist groups. This false doctrine of hate has been spread throughout the Middle East and even inside the USA with Saudi Wahabi money. The story of John Henry below illustrates the dangers and intolerance of most 'Islamic' or rather Wahabi leaders in the USA, and hopefully, it will give readers insight regarding what must be done to make a safer, more peaceful world. To understand this story, the readers should know that there is a difference between Islam as a religion and 'Muslims'/Muhammadans as human beings who have their own human traditions, civilization, and history. Even the Muhammadans are not the same replicas of one another anywhere. They comprise mainly three sects/religions: the Sunnite religion, the Sufi religion, and the Shiite religion. The Sunnite religion is the most fanatic, extremist religion among the Muhammadans. It has four schools/doctrines; the most fanatic of them is the Wahabi cult (which is based on the extremist Ibn Hanbal doctrine) and its blood-thirsty terrorist culture. The Wahabi teachings are upheld and propagated by the KSA until now. Using the Saudi money, Wahabism is hijacking the name of Islam, controlling most of the mosques in the USA and the West countries. Because of their major influence in Egypt, the Quranists were persecuted. The Quranist are free minded Muslims who believe in Islam as the religion of peace, tolerance, justice, human rights, democracy, and freedom of belief and speech. The writer of this article is the founder of this intellectual trend or school of thought in Islam. As a witness he gives here his story in the USA and Egypt, comparing tolerance here and there.


  

    John Henry was born on March 27, 1950,  in New Jersey to a rich Anglo-Saxon American family. After successfully completing a high level of education, he worked as a diplomat and ended up working at the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt, in the early 1980s. At the time, John had a habit of eating lunch in a nearby café, not because it was the closest to his work, but because he had fallen in love with Siham, who is a beautiful Egyptian woman who has a degree in tourism and works at the café. John would go to the café even when he was not hungry and would always leave a huge tip (twenty dollars!) to get the attention of that beautiful tanned Egyptian young lady. He succeeded in getting her attention and was able to win her heart. To be able to marry her, John decided to convert to Islam and changed his name to “Sharif”. They got married in 1984 according to Islamic laws in addition to registering the marriage at the American  embassy. They had a wonderful life together. Sharif, or John, was blessed with the faithfulness and dedication of Siham. They had two beautiful daughters. As John became more and more convinced with Siham’s genuine goodness and faithfulness, he decided to be a true practicing Muslim wholeheartedly, while maintaining a great relationship with his parents, siblings, and the rest of his family. His family was happy for him and respected their son’s freedom to choose a wife that he loved and a religion in which he believed.

   When the happy family moved to the USA, Siham’s main concern was to have a strong relationship with an Islamic center. It was important to her to be able to impress John’s big family by being a part of a close-knit Islamic community. John also wanted to have some Muslim friends, and even though he “looked the role” by growing the traditionally required beard, he was not successful in making Muslim friends.

   Years later, John was diagnosed with cancer and spent five years fighting the disease with all might that he had. Unfortunately, his case worsened and John spent the last year of his life in bed. He spent his time between being bed at his house and the hospital. John enjoyed looking at his beautiful daughters and his faithful wife who dedicated her time to take care of him. Siham dedicated everything she had to her husband and her only dear wish was to please him. It made her happy to see her husband’s smile when people asked him how he was doing and his answer in Arabic, Alhamdulilla which means in Arabic: "Praised be the Lord God". John had one wish, which Siham could not satisfy. He wanted her to bring him a “sheikh’ or Muslim cleric to read the Holy Quran for him in Arabic in his room. He felt that Quran had a peaceful influence and magical effect on him. He desired to experience that feeling during his last days before he left for his journey to meet the Lord, the Creator of this universe.
   Next to their house was a big mosque filled with tens of bearded hypocrites who claim to be 'professional' sheikhs. None of them was able to make time to visit John and read the Quran to him. Siham returned home, broken-hearted, with some Quran-recital tapes instead. John had always wanted a Muslim friend to explain to him the meanings of Quran in English, but he died before his wish could be fulfilled. He died before he could learn what is even more shocking about his so-called ''Muslim'' brethren.
    
   John died on the 8th of January, 2005, and was buried on the thirteenth of that month, just a few hours before we started to write this article. Between his death and until he was buried, Siham saw a new side of the hypocrites’ cowardliness. She insisted that her husband should get an Islamic funeral attended by fellow Muslims, but she could not find anyone at the mosque who would listen to her. It was expected that those Muslim sheikhs would refuse John’s ''Christian'' family attending the funeral, especially with their ''improperly dressed'' women. More importantly, she did not find a sheikh to pray for him the final prayer at the hospital or even at the house. She was confused and terrified, but her relief came from the nearest church to that mosque. The church offered to have John’s funeral the Islamic way with all the details. That was a solution that left little sorrow in Siham's heart. She wanted a 'Muslim' sheikh to lead the final prayer at the funeral according to what she and John believed in. Through a friend of ours, our wife heard the story and we offered to do our duty at John’s funeral; this duty which those 'professional' hypocrites refused to do. Early in the next morning, our wife and we arrived at the church and waited for the person in charge. We were surprised that this person was a nice lady. This was a Protestant church where they allowed women to hold religious positions. The lady gave us a warm and sincere welcome. When we introduced ourselves as the Muslim who came to lead the funerary prayers, she welcomed us even more and suddenly tears started to fall from her eyes which made us feel embarrassed by her nobility and sincerity in contrast to those 'professional' cowards resided at the nearby mosque.

  The lady patiently explained to us how she planned the details of the funeral. She had two scenarios: the first, assuming the absence of any Muslim sheikh, in which she would lead the funeral and perform all that is needed. She had prepared a religious speech, which contained versus from the Quran appropriate for this event and prepared a great translation (from Arabic) of a prayer for the deceased, based on Quranic verses. She was prepared to do all of that herself in case we did not attend. The second scenario, including our attendance, would be as the first scenario except for the fact that our name would appear and we would have full control of planning and changing the event from A to Z.  Either way, the lady had prepared a tape that contains recitation of the Quran and recorded Arabic prayers. After explaining all that to us she told us, “If the presence of the cross in the hall offends, we can cover it.”  We refused and could not keep the tears in our eyes from falling. We were amazed and wondered at the extent of nobility and tolerance that exists here. Our wife told us that this was the first time she has ever seen our tears. We said to her,  "What we are experiencing now is the Islamic religion of tolerance in which we believe but did not find in among the so-called 'Muslims' in Egypt or in the American mosques, and we found it here in this American church." Meanwhile, the sheikhs in the nearby mosque would curse Americans in every prayer while residing in American  soil and enjoy the peace and protection of Americans!

   The lady insisted that we accompany her to speak at the funeral. This nobility was beyond what we could imagine, especially when we remember the story of our painful persecution in Egypt. Along with us in Egypt at the time were the persecuted Egyptian Quranists (those who only believe in the holy Quran only as the only source of Islam and reject the bloody religious culture of the fanatic Wahabi Sunnite Muhammadans). We compared all that with what we saw here in this church. We got up and spoke when our turn came to speak.

   The lady started her speech with John’s life story and how he met Siham and how he converted to Islam for her sake to marry her and how wonderful their life together was; how Siham made a good example of the Muslim wife and how well John did raising his children, how John was a great son and how deep his believe in God was. At last, she mentioned how John found in Islam the spiritual purity that he was searching for. She was careful to pronounce God’s name in Arabic (Allah) to insure that she maintained an Islamic atmosphere to Sharif’s funeral since he was a Muslim after all. This American tolerance made us feel so emotional and about to shed tears that we were worried that we would not be able to stay focused and steady while speaking at the funeral, especially since we were speaking in a foreign language (English) not our native tongue (Egyptian Arabic). To relieve ourselves, we started asking ourselves silly questions inwardly of course, like: “Are we now in an American  church or in a mosque? Did the Muhammadans conquer the USA and convert its churches to mosques?
    
  We led the funeral prayers and behind us stood our wife as well as the widow, Siham, and some of her Muslim friends, and one Muslim Indian man who was a friend of Sharif's. In our speech, we apologized for the absentees (and we meant those Muhammadan sheikhs in the nearby mosque), and we recited in Arabic the Quranic verse 49:13, "O humankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things." Then we translated the meaning of this verse into English. The Lord has decided that we are all equal brothers and sisters in humanity who belong to one father and one mother despite our differences, and that the Lord has made us differ in colors and tongues to learn about each other not to fight and destroy each other. The contact among different cultures and interaction between different people is what promotes tolerance and widens the horizons of human minds and confirms mercy among one another as human beings. Some of us rank themselves above others based on color, wealth, power, status, stature, and social class, but the true classification that God uses is one’s righteousness.  The most honored in the eyes of the Lord are those who are most pious and righteous. Righteousness is the true belief in the Creator, the Only One and no one besides Him. It also means the consistency in doing good deeds that benefit the society and people. This includes to insure that no one claims that they are more righteous than others and use such a claim as a means of making money and attaining power and authority. The Lord God confirms in this verse that He is the Only One Who will decide, in the Last Day, who are the real righteous ones according to their deeds and beliefs. This will only happen on the Day of Judgment, but until that day comes, let us all live in tolerance, peace, and love. Let us embrace and cherish this lesson that we learned from this noble church which welcomed the funeral of a noble Muslim and was generous to his family.

  In the second half of our speech we asserted that there is a forgotten, ignored Islam (the only right and true one) that is kept in the Quran which we can only get to know by reading it, and not translating it, in Arabic, and understanding it according to its own meanings, terminology, and contexts. And to confirm this, we read to them verses 49:10-13, of the same Quranic Chapter, which talk about the best of behavior. At the burial, we mentioned some facts about death while referencing the Quran, and how each of us will inevitably experience death one day.

  The attentiveness and the acceptance of our speech by the attendees impressed us, and the fact that they came to thank us in person and to show appreciation of what they had learned that day. They appreciated our attending the service at the church, and the first to come to us were the family members of Sharif.  His mother had cried a lot and was explaining to us how she lost her husband and another son before Sharif. Then she asked us to pray for them. After the funeral, there was a banquet at the church. The church had appointed an Egyptian restaurant to cater the banquet according to the Islamic way. The attendees were Siham’s friends at work and whoever wanted to attend from the Muslim community. We apologized for not being able to attend and we returned home to write this article.

   Upon returning home, we said to ourselves,  “Truly, how great is this good tolerant American nation?” And then pictures come to our mind and we compared between such tolerance and lack of it at our original homeland, and we asked ourselves the most painful questions. 
   Imagine a Christian Egyptian who has converted to Islam in Egypt; will his family still love him all his life? If he dies as a Muslim and the extremists deny his conversion to Islam and refuse to participate in his funeral, pray for him, or even bury him, will an Egyptian church hold his funeral as an Islamic way? In answering those questions, we started to remember a late friend of mine, the reverend Ibrahim Abdul-Sayed, the most important Christian reformist in the history of the Egyptian Coptic church of the new generation. He lived estranged and hated by Pope Shenouda III. When he died, Shenouda III refused to hold a Christian funeral for him in any Egyptian church and no one offered him any support except for the Ibn Khaldoun Center and its members. Abdul-Sayed was one of the main leaders and members of our Ibn Khaldoun weekly forums in Cairo.

  We are not going to discuss Christian extremism in Egypt although there is no doubt that it exists in the Christian community in Egypt, as a reaction to the Wahabis hatred and sectarian violence. The Wahabis animosity has poisoned Egyptian culture for decades and has extended to committing crimes like sabotage, theft, and murder. Allowing murder in the name of religion is one of the disasters of the history of the Middle East region. It is not an Egyptian deeply rooted tradition or custom, but the Wahabi ideology has helped plant the seeds for this bloody culture in Egypt since the 1970s, a country which was known for tolerance of other cultures and religions for millennia. This Wahabi ideology has spread worldwide with the support of Saudi money. 
   
   Imagine a Muslim Egyptian who converted to Christianity, will he live respected in his country until he dies and still be surrounded with people’s love and attention, or will the fear of punishment by his people for apostasy make his life a living hell? Or at least would he be accused of the 'crime' of showing ''despise'' and ''contempt'' to the 'Muslim' religion as a sin, a custom that was invented by the Wahabis who are contradicting Islam?  Anyway, he would surely be a guest at the National Security Penitentiary and would enjoy its “hospitality” which would make him forget his own name and only remember the beating and torture schedule. We remember that when they arrested us and our fellow Quranists and accused us of "renouncing the Sunna" or rather the Wahabi belief in 1987, during our interrogation, we met another person in the prison cell who was accused of converting to Christianity.  International human rights organizations were strongly defending him while we, the Quranists, had no one to sympathize with us in prison or even outside prison. The Egyptian press strongly criticized and belittled us at the time, spread lies about us, posted issued fatwas (religious rulings or edicts) that declare us infidels, which meant that anyone could murder us in the name of the Wahabi religion. When we coincidentally met this Muslim who converted to Christianity during our trip indie the National Security police vehicle, we were handcuffed. Our hands were handcuffed! We, who never stole, never killed or hurt anyone! The oppressors and thieves who stole the public money and those who had no respect for human rights or even human life were not handcuffed. The man accused of converting to Christianity said, “Your case is worse and more dangerous than mine.” Indeed, he was released quickly and we stayed incarcerated in prison for seven more weeks.

  Therefore, when we imagine a Muslim person who is not a Wahabi and lives in a society controlled by the Wahabis, he/she will be able to practice his religion according to what deemed by them as the 'true' Islam. This is demonstrated by the pain and misery of the Shiites who have been harassed and oppressed by the Wahabis not only inside the KSA, but even in Egypt because of the Saudi influence there. This Saudi influence supported by the cursed Saudi money is responsible not only for the oppression of the Christian Coptic Egyptians but also the Shiite Egyptians in their own country.  And here comes the painful persecution of the Quranist Egyptians, which is kept in the dark, because of media blackout inside and outside the country.

  In the early 1980s, we were the first spokesperson for the ''Islamic Invitation to Truth'' organization, which was a 'moderate' Sunnite  organization, led by its creator, our friend at the time, Dr. Sayed Rizk Al-Taweel. Dr. Al-Taweel is a professor at the Al-Azhar University; the most powerful Sunnite (Vatican-like) center in the entire world for the Muhammadans. He wrote the preface to our first book ''Al Sayed Al Badawi between Truth and Myth'' in 1982.  In his preface, he praises our patience in the face of Sufi oppression inflicted on Sunnites inside and outside Al-Azhar University at the time. The KSA was supporting this organization and built a marvelous mosque for its members in the most prestigious neighborhood in Cairo. The organization published a monthly magazine called ''Al Huda Al Nabawee'' (literally, Guidance of the Prophet). During Dr. Al-Taweel’s absence, during his secondment to teach at a Saudi university, his brother was the acting as the president of the organization on his behalf. However, we were the real manager of the organization and our younger brother, who is now a professor at Cairo University, shared this responsibility with us. Also Dr. Abdul Qader Sayed Ahmed, who was the chair of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the time, had helped in this mission. We worked as volunteers without remuneration. At the time, we were busy reviewing the Sunnite ideology and comparing it to the Quranic sharia laws. This is why we refused to travel and work in the KSA despite the 'generous' Saudi offers presented for us after the popularity of our book against Sufism about Al Badawi (a Sufi saint whose mausoleum is worshipped at the Egyptian Delta city of Tanta) and our irrefutable facts about the Sufis from within their own ideology and culture that debunk Sufism and show how if contradicts the Quran.

  Our research had reached a point where we have renounced the notion of the so-called intercession of the Prophet Muhammad in the Day of Judgment (indeed, Sunnite Wahabis believe that the Prophet  Muhammad will be asking God on the Day of Resurrection to forgive the sins of Muslims in Hell and to allow them to enter Paradise after expatiating their sins!). Our research had also guided us not to rank Muhammad above other prophets in importance and to believe that he was a mortal human being who did many mistakes and was blamed by God as per the Quranic text. We have declared this stance in our books, which we taught to our students at Al-Azhar University. We have also declared this in our sermons delivered at the mosques run by the organization headquarters which spread from Cairo to many other towns all over Egypt. This has generated discussions among members of the organization and those who attended the congregational Friday prayers sermons, which led to the increase of the number of our fellow Quranists at the time.

  Dr. Al-Taweel returned from the KSA and brought with him Saudi  grants and gifts of money to preachers of the organization: L.E. 700 for each, which was a large sum at the time. Soon enough after that, an urgent meeting was held for all members of the organization to question us and our ideas. We were surprised to see the strong attack on our views by the same people who had earlier championed our views and supported them, but they returned to Sunnite Wahabism soon after receiving money gifts. We later understood what had happened. Al-Azhar University administration had decided to suspend our employment, stop payment of our salaries and pension, stopped our promotion, made it illegal for us to leave the country, confiscated all our books, and recommended that we are to be investigated and interrogated by the police. We tendered our resignation without being sorry for leaving such a Wahabi organization where people can be bought for L.E. 700. The evil members of such organization chased us and our fellow Quranists out of their mosques and their organization. This was the beginning of the story of the Quranist Muslim intellectual trend and their persecution.

  Later on, our in-law Muhammad Al-Baz, who is gone now, built a mosque in Al-Ebrahimia City so we could deliver our Quranist sermons to the public and continue our mission there. The opening ceremony for that mosque was huge. We used to travel there every week from Cairo to deliver the Friday sermons. Our extended family members, who lived in a nearby village called Abu Herez, attended the congregational prayers with us.  However, the National Security Apparatus, Al-Azhar University clergymen, and the Salafist extremists were after us. They were creating problems to make the lives of Quranists miserable. After our in-law died, they confiscated the mosque and claimed it as public property of the State, with the purpose of driving us away. This is how they chased our family and us from a mosque that we have built to worship God alone in it and stay away from polytheistic mosques of the Muhammadans. We later started performing the Friday congregational prayers in houses or offices of our fellow Quranists until an opportunity presented itself for us to pray in a residential tower that housed apartments and companies in Ahmad Orabi Street in the Doqqi district in Cairo. We were thankful to find a place to perform prayers quietly and away from prying eyes of Sunnites. However, this did not last long as the workers in that tower received warnings about us. To avoid conflict and causing troubles to workers in that tower, we left the place thankful to its people for their hospitality.

   Later on, a Quranist friend found a mosque under construction where we can pray. A Sunnite person, named Fawzy, was managing the construction and was collecting donations and led the congregation as their imam during the prayer. The mosque was in the most prestigious district in Cairo, in Zamalek, facing the Nile. Those attending the mosque were from the elite: ambassadors, the well-off Egyptians, Saudis and other Arabs, among others. Donations to the mosque construction were extremely generous in efforts to make the mosque stand out between the nearby casinos and nightclubs. Those attending the mosque complained about Fawzy as an imam and a preacher of Friday sermons, as he lacked sufficient knowledge in religion but still was the one to deliver sermons on Fridays. Thus, the solution was that we preach the sermons instead of him. This was a huge opportunity for us that we were going to use wisely so that it would last. Therefore, our speech was incremental in delivering the Quranist ideas step by step. Our sermons focused on the call for the understanding of the Quranic text itself, and the importance of making it the only source for any religious knowledge to judge any issue related to Islam.  When we presented some facts related to the controversial issues, a man stood up and contradicted us vociferously. Fawzy who was ''in charge of the mosque'' took the man aside and gave him copies of some of our banned books and asked him to read them first and then express his opinions. In the following week, the same man came again; he was a very educated and excellent engineer, and he stood up and praised our books and apologized for what he had said the other week. From that day, he became loyal to us, Quranists, until he died.

   Every Friday, we led the prayer as preacher and imam and then we would return to our apartment in the Cairo low-class district called Al-Matariyya. We did not know what was happening at the mosque and what Fawzy was doing behind our back. He was in charge of everything, but our presence at the mosque made it more popular, especially because some of the attendees were journalists. At the time, we had started going into deep discussions that presented the Quranist views concerning controversial issues. We received some reaction from the press in Cairo, as expected. This press attention resulted in an increased number of people who wanted to attend this mosque which meant more donations for Fawzy. Fawzy strongly refused to make the mosque a public property and made sure that construction of the mosque would never end soon. He refused, in our presence, an offer from a group of wealthy people to undertake the construction project for free. Fawzy wanted the mosque to stay in the ''construction phase'' as long as possible to keep the thousands of pounds in donations coming to his pocket. Some people wanted us to intervene in that matter. Most of the new and huge donations came because people thought that we, not Fawzy, was the one in charge of this mosque. Fawzy stayed away from the spotlight on Fridays, as he was busy monitoring the donation boxes. We refused to intervene and confirmed that our mission was only to preach and deliver our Quranist sermons on Fridays. When we insisted that we would not intervene, people revealed the truth to us about Fawzy the swindler, which made it impossible for us to continue to go to this mosque unless we stood up with the others to purify the mosque from Fawzy himself. They showed us his criminal record. They said that he used the mosque at night for indecent activities, that he procured prostitutes for some Saudis who attended the mosque and that he collected donations from them, and they paid for the sake of their being pardoned by God after committing fornication!  He also charged them for his other nightly services of procuring prostitutes to them. He bought huge farms in Al-Ismailia desert from the ill-gotten donations that he collected. We were shocked by what we had heard and decided to leave that mosque and that neighborhood forever.

  After that, our friends found a small piece of empty land in Cairo, in the middle-class Al-Agouza district. They asked us to come pray with them and deliver Quranist sermons there. From our small donations, we started making a fence around the land and filled an application to establish an official society that could care for the needs of the mosque legally. So we started to perform the Friday congregational prayers and deliver our sermons  there, and we made sure that we maintained our independence by financing the construction ourselves without outside help. Some of us helped financially and some volunteered with labor and hard work. Slowly, what was just an empty land and a fence became walls, doors, windows, and a complete mosque, and we called it Al-Furquan Mosque. The term 'Furquan' (literally, a criterion) is the name of the Quranic Chapter 25, and it refers to the Quran itself as the criterion to distinguish Truth  and falsehoods. Many Quranists heard of this mosque and started to come from their districts to attend the Friday prayer there. The people of the neighborhood in Al-Agouza district were peaceful and did not bother us at all. We had troubles later on when the extremist Wahabi devils intervened to spoil the whole thing. We were surprised to see extremist groups invading the mosque and inciting people against us. They indeed invoked God's wrath on us through the microphone and speakers of the mosque! At the same time, the National Security Apparatus men refused our application-form requesting to establish a society to care for this mosque and kept the list of names of those in the application-form so they could arrest us anytime. We sensed imminent danger, so we left the mosque for good, which was later invaded by the Wahabi extremists, who managed this way to chase us from this last mosque, which we had built with our own hands. The Wahabis confiscated the mosque, renaming it "Al-Furquan and Al-Sunna Mosque".  

    Our refusal to attend any mosque later on foiled their plans to have us killed. They were planning a quarrel between the Quranists and the extremists inside the mosque so that during the noisy brawl and attacks, someone would stab us to death or at least they would create an excuse for the police to arrest us. When we left the mosque, they came up with another plan to harm us; they used some of the people of the neighborhood where we lived, who came to our home and begged us to attend a debate at the same mosque and guaranteed our safety. We attended the debate along with some Quranists also insisted on defending us. The debate started with a scholar/sheikh from Al-Azhar who stood and started in with the usual boring clichés. Our turn came to talk and we refuted his points using the Quran and the Sunnite traditions too. Then, we were surprised by an offensive move from young extremist men wielding their weapons. The mosque was full of building materials that we had bought and stored away.  When the clashes started, a group of the Quranists quickly rescued us and sent us home in a taxi. The other group of Quranists stayed at the mosque and gathered the steel rods and wooden posts, to be used as weapons in self-defense. The extremists found themselves fighting against men who did not fear death at all, so they retreated and fled.  Ironically, some newspapers have mentioned this incident shortly, and they reversed the course of events by claiming that the Quranists were the ones who fled the battle in fear. Anyway, this did not change what had actually happened indeed before the eyes of police and Al-Agouza district frequenters of this mosque. This fabricated story of the newspapers was used, however, as an introductory step to our arrest after being chased away from the mosque, which we built with our own hands. This mosque still stands today, with the changed name of course.

  We stopped frequenting any mosques since the early 1990s and performed Friday prayers at our home in Cairo with our Quranist friends. We rearranged the top floor of our house in the village to be suitable for performing the prayer. Our family would celebrate every time we went to see them in our small village, once a month, to deliver Friday sermons. We made sure that every time we went there was on a Friday so that we could pray together; all of the family members, men and women, boys and girls, in one location. Some of them were our direct cousins. Our grandfather was married to four women and had sixteen sons and daughters who eventually had more than one hundred children all together. Some Cairene Quranists would come and pray with us in our home in Cairo on the other Fridays. 

  Some of National Security officers sought 'glory' by playing the role of ''heroes'' by arresting and torturing peaceful Quranist Muslims who pray to God in their houses to avoid trouble. Some of our close and extended family members were surprised when they were taken from their houses and arrested. They were falsely accused of committing heinous crimes and were tortured. Our family members were asked ''During the prayer, why don’t you recite Sunnite testimonies? why instead do you recite the verse (2:255) of the Quran?'' They were asked other questions like, “What does Ahmad Subhy Mansour tell you and what do you tell him?”

  We could never imagine what to say to our people and family every time we went to see them. If we were this dangerous, why were not we arrested instead of our Quranist family members and Quranist friends?  It was clear that the extremists’ purpose was to stop us from going to our hometown and to prevent us from meeting our family and people to deliver Friday sermons. The officials made sure to release some of our family members after they had been arrested. They were sent home in the middle of the day with their faces swollen with bruises from being beaten and tortured, to humiliate and terrorize them and to frighten people who saw them being released after being tortured. This made it public knowledge that if you are a follower of Dr. Mansour, this the punishment was waiting for you too.

    It was the right, wise decision for us to stop seeing our family members fearing for their safety as we did not want them tortured. The torture did not stop easily.  We had filed a complaint to the Minister of Interior and other high officials, but in vain. Because of that trouble, we could not attend funerals of one of our uncles and one of our aunts who died at the time. Then the Egyptian-American Dr. Saad Eddine Ibrahim was arrested, who is the owner of the Ibn Khaldoun Center in Cairo, and the famous leader of the call for democracy and human rights in the Middle East. We used to work with him for five years as the second man, assisting him by our Islamic insights. When the government closed down the Ibn Khaldoun Center, we were expecting to be arrested any time. We contacted to our friends, brothers, sisters and other family members in Cairo not to come see us and not to pray with us on Fridays, fearing for their safety. We closed the door on ourselves and waited for the unknown. Soon came the news about the arrests of some of our fellow Quranist, and some of those who attended the prayers at our home in Cairo. Al-Ahram newspaper published all of this since October 2001. Later, we were being asked to go to the office of National Security Apparatus to be interrogated. We decided to escape; the Lord has blessed us by giving us the opportunity to come to the USA, as a political asylee, where we can pray in our house without fear or terror. God bless the USA!

 We are the first Quranist who comes to the USA and enjoys the tolerance and peacefulness of its people. On the other hand, our family, relatives, and Quranist brethren are still under the lack of mercy of the Wahabi extremists. When we came to the USA, we went to the nearest mosque, but found it to be filled with Wahabi extremists and fundamentalists. We later on learned how those Wahabi extremists control almost all mosques and 'Muslims' in the USA. Not only did they steal the name of Islam while being its worst enemy, but they also violated the American tolerance and acceptance of freedom of religion and expression. They used the freedom of expression to fight the USA and incite hatred toward Americans in their mosques and the so-called ''Islamic'' schools. They took advantage of the name of Islam and the freedom in the USA.

    Can you imagine anything more cowardly than this? Indeed, the USA opens its doors to them and gives them freedoms that they did not have in their home countries; they enjoy the opportunities, good living, and technological advances but curse this country day and night in hate speech. When one of them is caught red handed of some crime, they find that the American judicial system is on their side, the media watches closely but remains neutral, and human rights organizations stay on alert and insure that they get humane treatment. Human rights organizations view the USA as the ideal standard for their superior record regarding human rights issues. In contrast, the Arab nations still have not known or experienced this standard and never have throughout their history. The same incidents that the media here regards as flagrant violations of human rights are considered a gentle “tease” in our countries. However, our media sensationalize news stories and blow things way out of proportion and accuses the USA of being evil. They forget the oppression, humiliation, corruption, and extremism which they live under but choose to ignore.
 
   Here in the USA, we hear a lot of ugly stories about mosques and those people who run them, so many stories that the subject deserves a separate article. We will quickly highlight some points here: donations such as boxes of clothing that are given by non-Muslim Americans and churches are collected under the direction of the extremist sheikhs. They are later packaged in huge warehouses and shipped to Middle-Eastern ports, especially in Egypt. Once there the cronies of those sheikhs receive the product and sell it and deposit the funds into their own accounts. Therefore, we should forgive them as between all this 'hard work', they did not find time to perform the funeral prayers for John Henry or the time to help the less fortunate Muslims and Arabs that attend their mosques. One of these unfortunate people was our Jordanian friend who was arrested for violating his visa terms along with other issues related to errors in his passport. He needed to pay a huge sum of bail to get out of prison. Despite the fact that he attended that mosque, the evil sheikhs adamantly refused to help him. He remained in prison until his Christian American boss paid thee bail on his behalf. Another friend of mine, whose wife had cancer, could not find any one to help him among his friends at the mosque. When his wife died, he asked the mosque to buy a piece of land to be her graveyard (those sheikhs engage in the business of buying and selling graveyards to 'Muslims' from the land which was given to them by the church at the local cemetery). The man handed them a check for the graveyard, but they refused to take a check because they only accepted cash. The man did not have cash because it was a weekend and the bank was closed.  All this did not matter to the sheikhs and they did not allow him to have access to the graveyard until he paid them cash money that he had to borrow from some friends.

   From the story of John Henry, we assert below some Quranic facts:

1- Islam means submission in dealing with God and peace in dealing with people. It is your freedom of belief in dealing with God, but any peaceful one is deemed as a Muslim according to peaceful demeanor regardless of one's beliefs. No human has the right to judge another human regarding their faith and beliefs; otherwise, the person doing the judging is claiming to be God by playing His role. Every person has the absolute freedom to believe or disbelieve in this conceptual Islam and everyone will be responsible for his or her choice before the Creator on the Day of Judgment. Quranists consider any peaceful persons as brethren in Islam regardless of their having different beliefs. Our enemies are the terrorists and the dictators and all those who persecute and kill the peaceful humans and violate the human rights.


2- According to the Quran, a Muslim woman can be married to a man who is an atheist, a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist, etc. as long as he is peaceful and does not harm others. What is forbidden and prohibited in Islam is a Muslim woman's marriage to a transgressor, the terrorist who engages in war with peaceful nations. The houses of worship (churches, mosques, etc.) must be respected and protected from transgressors. This protection is one of the meanings of jihad in Islam according to Quran (see 22:40).

 

3- It is our belief that the traits of Osama bin Laden and his followers along with the dictators and the tyrants are exactly those of aggressive infidels, those who transgress against other people’s beliefs and behavior. Here we speak about known actions and use the great Quran to evaluate them, not about specific individuals but about their actions and traits. Those who are still alive have the opportunity to repent and return to their Lord.

 
4- What Wahabism is doing today has exceeded the transgression of the enemies of the Prophet Muhammad of the tribe of Qorayish in the 7th century Arabia, when they falsified and distorted the religion of Abraham. The Qorayish tribe used to worship idols and saints and made them holy because they believed such things made them closer to God. Wahabism is falsifying the same religion of Abraham and Muhammad by idolizing and deifying the Prophet Muhammad, his so-called companions, and other imams, theologians, authors, and sheikhs. There are no saints, deities, or idols beside God in the real Islam (Quranism). Making these mortals 'holy' persons comes from ranking these individuals as infallible, above criticism or questioning. According to Wahabism, it is against Islam to discuss the Wahabi imams. Can a Wahabi say that M. Ibn Abdul-Wahab lied about something or even made a mistake? Can a Wahabi criticize Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Hanbal, or even Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud. the founder of the current KSA?  
  During the lifetime of Muhammad, the Qorayish tribe used to control Mecca, pilgrimage, and the Kaaba. The Qorayish tribe oppressed those who believed in God alone, prevented them from the pilgrimage and allowed pilgrimage to sites other than Kaaba. And so do followers of Wahabism in the KSA by promoting pilgrimage to another site (claiming it to be the grave/mausoleum of Muhammad) thereby inventing a religious act/ritual that was nonexistent when the Prophet was alive or even during a few centuries after his death. (What we mean here is visiting the purported grave of Muhammad during the pilgrimage trip as an obligatory rite). In the meantime, Saudis control the pilgrimage according to their politics and allow some and deny others and convert the pilgrimage of Islam to a moneymaking event and an opportunity of political propaganda. 
The Qorayish tribe used to oppress the first early believers, torture them, and forbid them from entering mosques as per the Quran (see 2:114). The Qorayish tribe used to mention the names of their gods and holy saints in the mosques and they almost killed Muhammad when he objected to mentioning the names of other idols besides God in the mosques (see 72:18-23). Because of the Qorayish tribe transgression and their controlling the mosques, the Muslims had to emigrate twice, at one time to Ethiopia and then another time to Yathreb.

   The Saudi Wahabis also oppress their religious opponents. They forbid the Saudi Shiites from attending their own mosques and force them to attend Wahabi mosques where Shiite teachings are criticized, vilified, cursed, and refuted, while the peaceful followers of this denomination are being called (during sermons) as 'infidels' who should 'repent'.  The Wahabis are also after the Shiites minority in Egypt where they oppress their opponents using their Saudi money to spread their evil extremism. Our fellow Quranists also suffer from this religious oppression. We found ourselves along with other Quranists to be the victims of such oppression; unwanted, hated, and discriminated against despite our peacefulness and lack of political ambition of any type. We left their mosques, but they chased us, supported by the Egyptian authorities, in order to expel us from mosques that we built with our own hands so that we could worship God alone and not worship idols or mortals. We respect the right of every person to worship the way they believe in or not to worship at all if they choose this. While the Qorayish tribe had remained silent regarding a group of the early believers in the 7th century Arabia  who used to secretly gather and pray at one house, to allow some passive tolerance, the evil Wahabis of today use torture, coercion, and terrorism to prevent some peaceful Egyptian families from praying together in their own homes. Is there an act more evil than this? What do they want from us? What is their concern whether we perform the Friday prayers or not? What is their concern whether we recite the traditional testimonies or the Quranic verse 3:18 or not? What is their concern with the way we pray to our Lord who will judge us and them on the day of resurrection? What is their concern with us even if we never prayed in the first place as millions of Muslims do not?

     This article could have been lengthier if we would have attempted to present the similarities between the actions of the Qorayish tribe and the actions of the Wahabis of today. In a coming article, we will elaborate further on this subject. We end this article here with what caused our tears to shed at John Henry’s funeral and which has confirmed to us what we have felt since we fled with our life to the USA. Today, Islamic tolerance and noble Islamic behavior exists in the American  people while those values have disappeared in the Egyptian people (because of Wahabi influence) who were once famous for their tolerance and their love for peace throughout history. This happened because the Wahabis poisoned their minds. We cry for Egypt and for Islam, which has become estranged and hated.

 

P.S. This is the English translation of the Arabic article published on the following link of the Modern Discussion Marxist website:

http://www.ahewar.org/debat/show.art.asp?aid=30138


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