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ISLAM/ Farouq: Fundamentalism is the real problem

Professor WAEL FAROUQ comments on the protests in Cairo, the political background, the teachings of Islam, and the hidden threat of Wahhabism in the Middle East.

(Infophoto) (Infophoto)

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) said: ‘If a man promises peace and protection to another man and then kills him, I have nothing to do with the murderer, even if the man killed is an unbeliever’”.  Wael Farouq, professor of Arabic at the American University in Cairo, began his interview with IlSussidiario.net by citing this passage from the Koran. The reason, he explains, is that, after the recent violence which led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, it is important to distinguish between the minority of people who foment violence and hatred for purely political reasons and those, the vast majority, who follow the precepts of Islam without distortions. “What happened,” he says, “is completely contrary to the teachings of Islam, my religion. Islam does not allow anyone to kill another person for having insulted the Prophet or Islam itself”. One should not be misled by the fact that there were those who carried pictures of Osama bin Laden in the square in Cairo, according to Farouq, because, “They were a few hundred people, ignorant people, many of whom had been paid to protest”. The problem, he adds, lies in the fact that “the true disease of Islam is Wahhabism, represented by Saudi Arabia, however, since that country controls a large part of the production of oil, no one in the Western world has the courage to tell the truth in this regard and to condemn them”.

Can you comment on the attacks at the American embassies last week?

I just wanted to say that what happened last week is completely against the teaching of Islam. Islam, which is my religion, does not allow anyone to kill another person for having insulted the Prophet or Islam itself. The Islamic teaching is very clear, and I could write pages and pages with evidence from the Koran and the prophetic tradition that is against what happened.

Could you explain the blasphemy law? Does it just apply to saying things against God, or also against the Prophet?

If in the Koran is says, if some unbelievers say something against God or against the prophets, do not reply to them and leave the place. This is the maximum that a true Muslim can do to someone insulting their religion, and it does not even last forever, but only during the duration of the insult. Thus, what happened has nothing to do with Islam.

In your opinion, was there a political reason behind the attacks?
The political reason is obvious. In Egypt, for example, we had a debate about the loan that Egypt would get from an international bank, a debate about the Constitution, etc. What happened was exactly how it used to be in Mubarak’s regime, which tried to distract people from the real problems.