OK, I can see I have given short shrift to Naser Khader in my previous post on the Islam and Democracies Forum held at Tufts University on Friday, April 27. Let's fix that. Khader is a member of of the Parliament of Denmark for Radikale Venstre and is "one of the country's most popular politicians" according to the Tufts blurb. Here are notes I scribbled down during Khader's talk:
- Khader started a new movement, Moderate Muslims (later renamed to Democratic Muslims), in response to the Mohammed cartoon controversy in 2005. Khader says that only 3% of Danish Muslims support the Islamists (radical/fundamentlist Muslims). The radicals are a minority, but they are very loud. With lots of big signs too.
- Members of the Democratic Muslims party must sign on to a list, the Ten Commandments of Democracy, which include the separation of politics and religion, one can never use or incite hatred or violence, respect for freedom of expression, respect that all people have equal rights, respect other people's flags and religious samples.
- When the cartoon controversy erupted, it quickly showed who the radical Islamists were. Khader spoke about the naïvete of the Danish government, which basically looked to the same imams who had instigated the whole controversy for advice on dealing with it! From a translation of a Jyllands-Posten article at Gates of Vienna:
“In Denmark PET used the Danish information services; for many years the Islamist imam Abu Laban, who managed the campaign against Denmark during the Mohammed crisis, was an advisor. The earlier operations head of PET, Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, in the bargain thanked these Islamist imams for their help in controlling Danish Muslims during the Mohammed crisis. Thus the Danish government showed its indirect approval for Abu Laban and his like-minded fellows and gave them in that way a powerful platform. Now they can stand in their mosques and say, ‘We are used as advisors for PET and the government, and that is because we are important and our interpretation of Islam is the correct one.’ This is totally naïve, but Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen is now fortunately retired on a pension,” said Naser Khader.
- There's a link between Islamists and Leftists/Communnists. Both groups subscribe to a victim ideology. (We certainly see that in spades in the US).
- He said that governments should never mix religion and politics. "Religion is between you and God. If you ask me how many times a day do I pray, I say 'It's none of your business."
- Islamism is a disease, it cannot be united with a democratic society.
- On wife-beating, he responded to an earlier statement by Irshad Manji (who had used a quote from the Koran to prove that men aren't supposed to beat their wives): "Whether it's in the Koran or not [doesn't matter], do you love your wife? Do you respect your wife?"
- Islam needs to be recaptured by moderate, democratic Muslims.
- Western governments shouldn't be indifferent to the emerging reformists.
- The funding for moderate, reformists Muslims is dwarfed by the funding provided to Islamists by the Wahabi/Salafi organizations in the Middle East.
- Khader joked that maybe the U.S. needs a cartoon crisis so that it will be very evident who are the the Islamists and who are the moderates.
Please read the entry about Naser Khader at Gates of Vienna here. He was an excellent speaker, very personable and straightforward. I hope his statements make an impression (a big dent would be nice) on our confused government officials and politicians, who seemingly only pay attention to Islamists here in the U.S. (i.e., CAIR, MAS, Siraj Wahaj, Mahid Bray, Imam Husham Al-Husainy, etc.).