Wow, I wasn't kidding when I referred to the Islamic Society of Boston's "Incredible Shrinking Board of Trustees" a few days ago. The shrinkage continues..... six - five - four -three - two.......
Another ISB Trustee, Ali Yusuf Tobah, Ph.D. of Egypt, has resigned. His resignation was signed April 5, 2007 in Egypt and registered with the Middlesex County Registry of Deeds in Cambridge, MA on April 10, 2007. That's one day before the April 11, 2007 deadline given by a judge last year for the ISB to bring in all existing trustees as plaintiffs in their lawsuit, as explained in an earlier blog post. Two trustees gone, just under the wire. That means there are only two trustees left, Osama Kandil, Ph.D. of Virginia and Soud M. Ahafi, PE (not sure where Mr. Ahafi lives).
Does the ISB Trust still function, since there are fewer than three trustees (the minimal number, according to another Trust document)? Will other folks be replacing the Trustees who recently resigned? What might the new Board of Trustees look like? Will we see some Americans on the Board? Will the Muslim American Society place their people on the ISB Board? Will the ISB promote Sheik Qaradawi, who's still listed as a Proposed Trustee? Enquiring minds want to know!!
UPDATE: There is, in fact, at least one replacement trustee for the ISB: Dr. Jamal Badawi. Dr. Badawi is widely perceived to be a moderate Muslim and a highly respected scholar. He certainly peaceful-looking in his appearance, and he's been described to me as such. One wonders if Dr. Badawi knows what he's signing up for.
Dr. Badawi was in town last month giving a lecture at MIT on Jihad, Holy War and Terrorism. When I googled Badawi in March, I found that he's supported a number of disturbing things, including polygamy, suicide bombing, wife beating and punishment for apostasy. Some of my readers said that I had misconstrued his writings, taken them out of context, and mischaracterized Dr. Badawi. I don't believe that is the case. As so often happens with Islamic fatwas, there's an awful lot of wiggle room. Apostasy (leaving the Islamic faith), for instance, is punishable by death according to Badawi, if the apostasy is considered "high treason." Well, under exactly what circumstances would changing one's religion be "high treason"? That there's even a little room for the death penalty for apostasy (or wife beating) concerns me. That a highly respected and reportedly peaceful man manages to justify - even a little bit - the unsavory aspects of Islamic law concerns me. I guess it stems from the contortions a Muslim must go through when he believes that every word of the Koran is Allah's word and must be taken literally. If Allah said it's OK to beat your wife "lightly", then even a moderate, peaceful person like Dr. Badawi is forced to create some justification of that language.
At a recent "Live Fatwa" session at Islam Online, Dr. Badawi said: "Islam teaches not only accepting plurality within the Muslim ummah but also dealing with other faith communities in kindness, justice and respect so long as they choose to coexist peacefully with Muslims." Again, it sounds nice when you first hear it (kindness, justice and respect), but what constitutes "peaceful coexistence"? What are the standards? And what does Islam teach happens if Muslims don't think they're getting peaceful coexistence? There always seem to be qualifiers.
Must chew this one over a bit.