[Last update: UNKNOWN 2001]

A message from a learned Islamic scholar to the U.S. President

by Shaykh Safar ibn 'Abd al-Rahmaan al-Hawali

http://members.fortunecity.com.wakeupfreedom Assalaamu A'laikum Wa Rah'ma'tul'laa'hi Wa Ba'ra'kaa'tu'hu

Dear Mr. President

I am writing this letter to you, hoping that you will take it into consideration without paying attention to the religion of its author, or the colour of his skin or his status according to your new system of categorizing the sons of Adam as either civilized, if they agree with all your views, or uncivilized, if they do not.

This letter is of a kind that may be strange to you, for I am writing to you as one of the heirs of the noble Prophets. The Prophets taught us to address the proud and arrogant on earth that they might be admonished and fear the Lord of the Worlds. Thus Moses (peace be upon him) addressed Pharaoh, Haman and Qarun, and Jesus (peace be upon him) addressed the Roman governor and the chief priest of the Jews, and Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) addressed Abu Jahl in Makkah and Heraclius and Chosroes. This is not subject to the condition that those addressed pay heed to what is said, rather it is by way of conveying the message in order to free oneself from any blame.

I am writing to you as an individual who belongs to a weak and persecuted ummah (nation), similar to the situation of Jesus (peace be upon him) who was subjected to the enmity of the Jews from one side and of the Romans from the other.

It is unfortunate that the United States, the country which was established by persecuted emigrants, has taken the same position as the Roman Empire which persecuted the followers of the Messiah (peace be upon him) and cooperated with the enemies of the Messengers and killers of the Prophets and of their followers in all ages and places, namely the disbelievers among the Children of Israel. At that time the Roman Empire used to claim that it was the symbol of freedom and civilized values - just as you indicated about America in the first speech that you gave following the events (of September 11). It was the greatest power in the world, the heirs of the Greek civilization. It had a Senate and a form of superficial democracy; the Roman individual had freedom of belief and personal conduct. This is what made it better than the repressive empires which existed in other regions of the world, but human history does not remember that state for anything good, because of the heinous crime which it committed, namely the persecution of the Christians. That superpower lost everything that gave it distinction when it persecuted the group which believed in God, to Whom belong ultimate power, ultimate glory and ultimate justice, and He is severe in punishment; He may let the wrongdoer off now but one day He will wreak His vengeance.

And this is indeed what He did. for the Northern barbaric peoples fell upon Rome and conquered it, burning its symbols of civilization and destroying its pride at the beginning of the fifth century CE. Two centuries later, God gave the Holy Land where the Messiah (peace be upon him) had lived to the followers of the Final Prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him). There the Messiah (peace be upon him) prevailed greatly, for this Muslim ummah, which conquered most of the world, freed it from oppression and persecution and filled it with mercy and justice, made manifest the greatness of the Messiah (peace be upon him) and confirmed the truth of his message and the virtue of the Disciples and those who followed them, as is explained in detail in the Holy Qur'aan.

This ummah considered itself to be the final link in the long chain of followers of the Prophets, which started with Abraham (peace be upon him), through Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them both), and it showed the entire world that the enemies of the Messiah (peace be upon him) were the enemies of freedom and noble values, especially the Jews among them, whether they were the ones who disbelieved the Messiah and incited the Romans against him, or they were the one who falsely claimed to be his followers and distorted his message, such as Saul who is also known as Paul.

It is amazing that the peoples who had suffered the oppression and arrogance of the Romans, and their enslavement of others whom they regarded as "barbarians", should have rejoiced at the destruction of Rome and admired the actions of the northern barbarians, even though they did not like them or even know them. So how would it have been if the opposite had happened, if the attacks on Rome had taken place at the hands of the oppressed Christians? Would anyone have dared to blame the Christians if they rejoiced and felt empathy with those who did these actions?

Mr. President,

We Muslims are the ummah (nation) of justice, but at the same time our moral character does not permit us to indulge in Schadenfreude when someone is afflicted with disaster. We are still hoping that the United States will review its stance and move closer to justice, so that we may go back to thinking highly of her. For there are precedents which give rise to such hope and explain why, if the U.S. took one step towards us in friendship, we would take two steps, and indeed travel two miles in response. When President Wilson announced his Fourteen Points at the end of the First World War, the most important of which was the right of peoples to decide their own destiny, the Muslim ummah understood this to be a fair stand against the European colonialism whose yoke rested heavily upon our peoples. Indeed, the Muslims rejoiced at a voice from the Christian nations themselves which seemed to indicate that the time had come to put an end to racial discrimination and Crusader attacks - including that led by General Allenby. Hence the Muslim peoples hastened to put their trust fully in this neutral nation, the United States of America.

The United States gained a great deal as a result. In addition to the moral advantage it also gained the greatest economic advantage in history, which was not shaken even when it took an unfair stance with regard to the establishment of the Jewish state and depriving the Palestinian people of the right to decide their own destiny. Indeed they - the Muslim peoples - continued to hope that this was just a mistake that could be corrected.

Then President Eisenhower's stance towards the aggression comitted by the three countries against Egypt was one of the greatest factors that encouraged the Muslims to continue to think highly of the U.S., and to close their ears to the communist propaganda which in fact was not all lies.

But trust in America and American justice was shaken and reached an all-time low because of the conduct of America itself, in a series of incidents which undermined our positive thinking about the U.S. forever.

Perhaps the first of these decisive incidents was what President Nixon and his minister Kissinger did during the Ramadan War (October 1973) and subsequent events.

Then your father, President Bush, came and followed dual standards that were clearly obvious to everyone. It may be that Iraq violated international resolutions, but Israel has done so many times over and is still doing so. The excuse which Iraq gave was akin to the excuse which America gave for annexing Texas, whilst the excuse which Israel gave for occupying Palestine was worse than the excuse given by the British for keeping America as a British colony, and worse than the excuses that your forefathers gave for annihilating the "Red Indians"!

This contradictory stance is what caused the Muslim people to go out in their millions to demonstrate their support for the dictator whom they had never liked before. Then came President Clinton and his Jewish Administration. He was more keen than you or your father to find a solution to the problem, but he followed the same mistaken approach. He did not say more about the abominable terrorist attack on the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khaleel (Hebron) than that it was a "crime"! For your information and for his, it has never happened that the Palestinians attacked a Jewish synagogue. When there was the terrorist attack on Qana, he was not ashamed to describe it as "A mistake which the Israelis did in self-defense." When Israel was subjected to a number of explosions, world leaders and Arab leaders gathered at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference to condemn unanimously what they called "terrorism", whilst ignoring the long series of bestial massacres and calamities that Israel has inflicted upon the Palestinians and the Arabs, which no one commented on. This made the Muslim peoples wash their hands of America, because it has dictated that those who attended the conference should do what Israel wanted, and it made them wash their hands of their own governments because they were under the control of America.

They turned, with all their pain and hope, to the groups which are described as terrorists, not caring about this appellation. The conference had given them a good lesson in understanding the terminology used by the American dual standards, i.e., that when America accused someone of being a terrorist or extremist, they were putting him in the position of a longed-for hero in the eyes of the oppressed and destitute, those who needed some form of relief from their lengthy oppression and suffering. As the infamous Claus (the former secretary of the NATO Alliance) officially stated, the NATO Alliance set Islam up as an object of enmity to take the place of the former Soviet Union. This single phrase was sufficient evidence of this new approach, for every day there is more evidence forthcoming in every place, in the Philippines, Timor, Kashmir, the Caucasus, the Balkans, Sudan and many other places.

But all of that is eclipsed by what happened in Palestine after the desecration of the al-Aqsa Mosque at the hands of the greatest terrorist criminal of our time, namely Sharon.

It is unfortunate that after your difficult victory in the elections, you should be the contemporary of this criminal and continue your eternal strategic alliance with his state, that strange alliance whereby he gets everything he wants from you at times of ease, but at times of difficulty you ask him to be neutral and you reward him for that!

We Muslims were keen for you to be elected, and we have evidence that the voices which tipped the balance in your favour were our voices. I personally advised the Muslims to support you. Some of them hoped that you would be more just than the Democrats, whilst others put it more bluntly and said that it was simply the matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. We did not do that because we had forgotten the crimes committed by your party and your father in every Muslim land, but we are a fair-minded and rational ummah; we controlled our feelings and chose what we thought would be best for us and also for America. We expected that you would appreciate what we had done for you, but what you have done is the exact opposite. You have tried to outdo your predecessors in supporting Zionist terrorism both materially and politically, and this is ongoing. There are many confusing questions on everybody's lips in the Muslim world: does the U.S. Administration have any conscience? Is there any reason for this biased stance which has astonished the entire world? Will it ever end? Is America the greater Israel or is Israel the lesser America?

Against this background of ongoing confusion and frustration, the events of September 11 took place. I will not conceal from you the huge wave of joy, accompanied by disbelief, that was felt by everyone in the Islamic world, and anyone who tells you otherwise is not telling the truth.

In my view America has to believe in the freedom and democracy referred to in your speeches. Its heart should be open enough to overlook this temporary moment of joy and not to seek to control the spontaneous feelings of the Muslims. This ummah, which is the most devoted of the nations on earth to the worship of God and belief in justice did not do that out of racial hatred or any evil inclination, rather the whole world shared in that, the world which kicked you out from the human rights organization; the world in which 3000 organizations came together in the Durban Conference to express their opposition; the world in which more than 40 different peoples have suffered from your unfair boycotts and economic punishments, let alone your military invasions. Even with regard to the environment you have proven to the world that you are the worst enemy of the environment, for in every environmental conference you have taken a stance opposite to that of the whole world.

The shock caused by your first speech was greater than the shock of the events themselves, when you referred to the inseparability - indeed the oneness - of America and freedom, justice and noble values, as well as issuing a stern warning of vengeance with no promise of just dealings. We tried to make excuses for you because of the horror of the shocking events and because you were trying to absorb the people's anger, but your words, and indeed your actions, continued along the same lines and put an end to any other interpretation. The risk of making accusations and hastening to wreak vengeance was the real disaster for America and the real test of its civilized values, for its security apparatus - which used to claim that even if a fly passed over the Pentagon it would be spotted, and if there were to be a coup among one of the Eskimo tribes they would know about it before it happened - rushed to the nearest pilot-training schools and the nearest hotels and took from their lists the name of every student or guest who was an Arab or Muslim, and announced that these were the terrorists who had carried out this action.

Imagine, Mr. President, if you were sitting with your family and tribe, thousands of miles away, and you heard or saw the news that you had carried out a suicide mission on board a plane, or you heard that your brother who died a year ago was the perpetrator? Would you not thank God that you do not belong to these civilized people and that you do not believe in their type of values and justice? Especially when your civilized people responded to these messages from you and your ministers and departments, and they started to attack those barbaric invaders in every corner of the land of freedom and civilization. I, along with my countrymen, discovered just how barbaric we are when a group of westerners - and I do not say that they were terrorists because their skin is white and their eyes are blue! - set off a series of explosions in our cities, and we saw them giving their confessions, yet despite that we did not have the slightest motivation to attack any western man in any part of our country. We did not kill them, or strip them of their clothes in our airports, or put them in solitary confinement, let alone incite the whole world against them or form an alliance against them. . No, we did not do any of the things that these civilized people have done to our people and the Muslims in general.

No, Mr. President, what motivated us to engage in such "uncivilized behavior" is our religion and our morals, and we thank God Who has given us that.

Here, Mr. President, I would like to ask you a question:

If the world were to ask you to give an appreciation award to the people who have the loftiest attitude and values, and who treat others better, then to which people would you give that prize? To your people or to ours?

Does that mean that we bear grudges against the American people or that we hold a racist bias against them?

No, not at all. For we believe that the American people - in general - have many good characteristics which make them the closest of all western peoples to us, and more deserving of us wishing them good in this world and in the Hereafter, because they are a people who, for the most part, believe in the existence of God and spend a great deal in charity, more than any other people on earth (and here I am not referring to Christian missionary efforts targeted at Muslims).

The clearest evidence of the goodness of the American people is that among the peoples of this earth, they are the ones who are accepting Islam the most and hastening to embrace this faith, and trying to understand it even after the calamity that has befallen them, even though you - the government - have accused Muslims of being responsible without any evidence.

We love goodness and honor for such a people, and feel that from the bottom of our hearts. Goodness and honor cannot be achieved by any people except through one of two things:

1 - Embracing the religion of God, the only religion which is acceptable to Him, the religion of all the Prophets, namely Islam. In this way God will grant the best of this world and the Hereafter.

2 - Reconcile with the Muslims, love them and treat them well. In this way God will reward them with goodness and security in this world. This Muslim ummah are the true followers of Abraham and Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him). They are the dearest of creation to God, whoever honours them God will honour him, and whoever humiliates them, God will humiliate him even if He grants him respite for a while. History bears witness to that. You may say or you may be quoted as saying that you have apologized for using the word "crusades", and that you visited the Islamic Center and that you have advised the people to exercise restraint. We say that we have gotten used to America inflicting deep wounds then covering them with a light bandage, but your current aggression in Afghanistan has torn the bandage away violently and opened a deep wound in the heart of every Muslim.

We wish, Mr. President, when you did what you did, that you had not repeated the racist words in your address at the start of the attacks. It would have been sufficient, with no need for justification, if you had claimed the right to categorize the world as you wish, to punish whomever you wish, however you wish, whenever you wish. But then you added that the desire for vengeance is open-ended, with no limits, when you said, "Today we are focusing on Afghanistan but the battle is far more comprehensive."

Is it not sufficient for you to destroy an entire people because of an unsubstantiated accusation against one man - or one organization - who had no option but to live in that land? Is this aggression, which is undermining every kind of values and morals and shaking the conscience of the whole world, no more than a drop in the ocean of your vengeance? Has the Messiah (peace be upon him) delegated you to do this? No, he is far above such a thing. Even Machiavelli himself did not instruct you to go to such an extent. Your predecessor in this regard is Samson and his modern-day son Sharon.

Do you not fear God, you who have in recent days taken as your slogan "God bless America"? How can God bless and protect America when your Messenger, the Messiah (peace be upon him) has taught you to do the opposite:

"If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."

(Matthew 5:39-41 NIV)

Do you not realize that when you made the desire for never-ending vengeance the attribute of civilized people, you are ascribing to the Messiah (peace be upon him) the attributes of uncivilized barbarians? But he is far above such a thing.

You, Mr. President, have effectively expressed disbelief in God and in the Messiah, and you have followed the path of the popes of the Middles Ages, who issued indulgences and excommunicated people at will. You have given yourselves, the Zionist state and every wrongdoer and aggressor a certificate of eternal forgiveness and you have effectively excommunicated everyone who has refrained from taking part in your unlimited aggression, by describing them as terrorists or supporters of terror.

You look through the telescope at what you call terrorist groups in Somalia, which has been devastated by poverty, or in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon, where those peaceful nests are threatened by the Zionist terror every day, but you forget that the most terrifying terrorists are with you, holding your hand, indeed they are you and only you.

If you do not believe that then tell me, by your Lord, if your most sincere friend were to come to you ten years from now and congratulate you on the victory that you hope to achieve against mysterious assumed enemies, what would he be congratulating you for? Suppose he were to say,

Mr. President, you have killed a million Afghans, a million Iraqis, a million So and so." to the end of your evil secret list. Would this be a victory for civilization, noble values, freedom and democracy? No doubt among the victims there would be widows and barefoot, naked, starving children. Does this satisfy your desire for vengeance?

And as far as the living are concerned, you will use the fact that they are alive as evidence to show that you limited yourselves to destroying their houses of mud and their wooden huts because they were a strategic target in your clean war with your smart weapons which do not kill human beings!

At this point the world, which you made sad and depressed, will laugh. Yes, you will tell this civilized joke in which you will mention the dazzling smartness that characterized your missiles, when you aimed at Iraq and Iran screamed in pain, and when you aimed at Afghanistan - in your first act of aggression - and wounded Pakistan, and when one of your smart missiles woke up the yellow giant by hitting the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

To be fair, I will admit that one of your missiles was really smart, namely the good Patriot which saw one of the dumb Scud missiles headed in a certain direction, so it struck it to correct its course, and it became the dinner guest of American intelligence officers in al-Khobar.

As far as the cleanliness of your war is concerned, the entire world bears witness to its cleanliness, with just one small point to be made, which is that when you cleaned Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you left a little bit of garbage behind - without any intention on your part. Hopefully you will not make the same mistake in Afghanistan and the surrounding countries. Maybe you will be generous and paint the place with a bit of cheap American paint.

But to be fair, we also say that there is little doubt concerning the cleanliness of your war in Iraq, for those who say that it was not clean are children, and the law does not accept the testimony of children even if there are two million of them, whereas those who say that it was clean are adults the size of a dictator and the generals around him.

Mr. President, do you think that your list in which you announced the names of terrorist organizations and the states that sponsor terrorism will serve your interests, or does it confirm that the world is against you?

What advisor told you to publish this list at the time when people have started to realize that your house is made of glass and is still broken? Why are you inciting them to throw stones at you, from Japan in the east to Peru in the west?

Wasn't one country and one region enough for you at this moment of security crisis in your own country? Or do you want to incite everyone, so that then if any incident occurs, you can blame the Muslims alone so that you can continue your crusade against them forever.

Mr. President, do not think that I want only to count your few faults and forget the many faults that we have in your eyes. No, I shall remind you of one serious fault that we Muslims have, which is that we do not forget the disasters that have befallen us no matter how much time has passed. Imagine, Mr. President, we are still weeping for the loss of Andalusia and we still remember what Ferdinand and Isabella did to our religion, our civilization and our honor there. We still dream of taking it back. We will never forget the destruction of Baghdad, or the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of your crusader forefathers. In other words, in your eyes we are unable to attain the level of civilization enjoyed by the Germans and Japanese who are supporting you in this aggression, forgetting your past treatment of them.

What is more, the African Muslims who became Muslim after the fall of Andalusia weep with the Arabs, as do the Indonesians who only heard of Andalusia recently. This may be a problem for us, but who is going to pay the price later on?

Mr. President, your problem with the Afghans - and with the Muslims in general - is that you are stronger than you should be and they are weaker than they should be. The more you go to extremes in using force, that indicates some weakness in your power. This is a great divine secret that reminds us of what happened to mighty Pharaoh at the hands of the weak and oppressed Children of Israel. Listen to what it says in the Book of God (the Qur'aan):

"Taa-Seen-Meem"

[These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'aan, and none but Allaah (Alone) knows their meanings.]

These are the Verses of the manifest Book (that makes clear truth from falsehood, good from evil).

We recite to you some of the news of Moosa (Moses) and Fir'awn (Pharaoh) in truth, for a people who believe (in this Qur'aan, and in the Oneness of Allaah).

Verily, Fir'awn (Pharaoh) exalted himself in the land and made its people sects, weakening (oppressing) a group (i.e. Children of Israel) among them: killing their sons, and letting their females live. Verily, he was of the Mufsidoon (i.e. those who commit great sins and crimes, oppressors, tyrants).

And We wished to do a favour to those who were weak (and oppressed) in the land, and to make them rulers and to make them the inheritors,

And to establish them in the land, and We let Fir'awn (Pharaoh) and Haamaan and their hosts receive from them that which they feared"

[al-Qasas 28:1-6 - interpretation of the meaning]

Do not say, "What has Pharaoh got to do with me?" You have demanded something from the Muslims that Pharaoh did not demand of Moses (peace be upon him) and the Children of Israel, which is that they should not hate you in their hearts no matter what you do and what acts of tyranny you commit, otherwise you will wreak vengeance. But this is one of the qualities of divinity, for it is God alone Who is able to take wreak vengeance on those who do not love Him. We do not know of any dictatorial empire in history that wanted to control what is hidden in the heart and conscience of man, let alone a democratic state in the twenty-first century.

You may say, "All we are trying to do is to eliminate everything that may incite hatred in sermons, curricula, newspaper articles and media discourses." We say that if this is your democracy, you can make whatever demands you want, but rest assured that you will never succeed, for that which teaches us to hate wrongdoing and to love the truth is our religion and our Qur'aan, and that is stronger than all your means and firmer than your mountains. If you insist on behaving arrogantly based on power and the insanity of might, then you have no means other than total annihilation of all the Muslims, using nuclear or biological weapons, or whatever else you wish from your infernal arsenal.

You may ask, why all of them, when there are some among them who love us? I say, rest assured, there is no Muslim on earth who loves you, even if he donates blood to you or lets you set up intelligence stations or lets you design curricula for his people. Everyone on earth who claims to love you - and none of the Muslims can make such a claim - only loves you in the sense that the frightened prey loves the predatory beast.

You may say that you are going to give assurances to the Muslim peoples by changing their governments into tolerant and democratic systems.

We say, keep your evil away from us and that is enough. Based on these false promises you have destroyed the Iraqi people and others. We do not want any freedom or democracy from you and we will not accept it, for the enemy of freedom cannot bestow freedom.

Mr. President,

I advise you to fear God and refrain from committing aggression. Deal with this matter justly and with deliberation, and you will find us with you, with no reservation. If you change now, at the beginning of the road, that will be easier for you and better for the world at large, otherwise an easy beginning is usually followed by a difficult end. So I hope that you will think, Mr. President, for if you destroy every country you have included in your terror list, will this be the end, or will it be the beginning, unless you want to go down in history as the instigator of bloody Armageddon? In which case there will be no history at all.

Hence I offer you this advice and I say: Fear God, and think long and hard. Peace be upon those who follow true guidance.

From Shaykh Safar ibn 'Abd al-Rahmaan al-Hawali


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