Muslims Against Islamists: Hasan Mahmud

Interview with Clarion Project - Mon, July 9, 2012 


Muslims Against Islamists: Hasan Mahmud

Proving the theological illegitimacy ofSharia Law is not difficult, but that is why Muslims must be given a graceful exit fromShariaLaw with a better and non-political interpretation of Islamic sources.


Mon, July 9, 2012

Hasan Mahmud

Hasan MahmudHasan Mahmud is an expert on Sharia Law who advocates that Sharia is inconsistent with modern times. He was born in Bangladesh in 1949 and moved to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in 1965, working as a chief technologist in a hospital. In 1990, he moved to Canada and became the Sharia Law Director for the Muslim Canadian Congress, where he fought against allowing Sharia courts in the country.

He is currently the President of the Toronto chapter of the Free Muslims Coalition and was a member of the American Islamic Leadership Coalition. He is also on the Advisory Board of the World Muslim Congress and a Research Associate at Deen Research Center in the Netherlands.

Mahmud is currently translating his first book from Bangla into English titled, “Defeating Radical Islam: Undoing the Wrongdoing.” He has also produced three docu-movies on Sharia Law: Hilla, Divine Stone and The Sharia Conundrum. You can read his articles at his website and FrontPage Magazine.

Below is National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro’s interview with Hasan Mahmud: Mauro: What are the premises of your films? How have they been received by Muslims in North America?

Hasan Mahmud:HillaandDivine Stonewere shot in Bangladesh andThe Sharia Conundrumwas shot in Vancouver, Canada. The response and impact has been enormously positive. My target is young Muslims and the docu-movies are opening many eyes.HillaandDivine Stoneare written in my native language of Bangla but both are posted on the Internet with English subtitles. Later, some Turkish Muslims postedHillaon the Internet with Turkish subtitles. Similarly,Divine Stoneis on the Internet with Arabic subtitles. TheSharia Conundrumis in English. Its public showing is in mid-July.

These docu-movies are aboutShariaLaw and have romantic love stories fused with lots of references fromSharialaw books. The purpose is to educate common Muslims who supportShariaLaw without knowing the laws. But, there are also blind believers ofShariaLaw, and they will never change no matter how much justice is denied or the victims scream. Can Sharia Law really be separated from Islam?

Mahmud: Yes, certainly and irrefutably. Changing the meaning of the Quranic word, “Sharia,” from meaning moral guidance to state law was one of the first major conspiracies against Islam. The West and Muslims of the greater Middle East and North Africa are unaware of the fact that Muslims of an equally vast area, from India to Indonesia, were never ruled bypolitical Islam.

A non-political interpretation of Islam existed there for centuries based on a strong theological structure that is more legitimate than theSharia-based interpretation of Islam. Scholars have identified the theological weakness ofSharia law and proposed a theological counter mechanism. This is our greatest weapon against radical Islamists; I spread this through my books, movies, articles and speeches. 

Proving the theological and practical illegitimacy ofSharia Law is not difficult but it will create a vacuum in the minds of believers. That is why Muslims must be given a graceful exit fromShariaLaw with a better and non-political interpretation of Islamic sources. It is not a quest of finding “ real” Islam or “reforming” Islam. We cannot reform something that we cannot even define. What happened that made you decide to devote your time to fighting radical Islam?

Mahmud:   I used to believe that God’s law would eliminate crimes around the world. Actually there are many good laws inShariabooks. But later, my research showed that many of the laws were an assault on justice and human civilization in the disguise of divinity. It destroys human life, especially of women, and brings a bad name to Islam. ManySharialaws, such as killing apostates or punishing rape victims, are upfront violations of Islam. As a Muslim, it became my paramount responsibility to resistShariaLaw. AsShariaLaw is the informal constitution of radical Islam, fighting radical Islam necessarily means fightingShariaLaw.

The journey was not easy. Indeed, there are Quranic verses and “Prophet’s examples” that can be instrumental to violence. But in the same sources, there are mechanisms to defeat that violence as well. Lest we forget thatShariaLaw is not a benign legal system, it is a malignant push to create a global theocracy of Islam-traders.

Muslims, especially Muslim women, are its primary victims. We paid heavily for chasing the mirage of aSharia-based Islamic State. The institution ofShariaLaw is a corrupt produce of power-struggle and patriarchy. It has no capacity to run a modern state, and so it has no place in the modern world. Lest we forget thatSharialaw is not only its content, it is also its spirit that wants to dominate the world politically. Do you think groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Council hurt or help your cause?

Mahmud:They are the theological opponents of progressive secular democratic Muslims; they are the torch-bearers of the Trojan Horse ofShariaLaw in the West. During 2003-2005, when we at the Muslim-Canadian Congress were fighting against the TorontoShariacourt, the very firstShariacourt in the West that had the support of local law, all those organizations came up against us. 

Now it seems an accident of history that we in Canada succeeded in eliminating the TorontoShariacourt after functioning for 14 years, since 1991. Due to our furious resistance, along with two other groups (Canadian Council of Muslim Women and The International Campaign Against Canadian Sharia Court), our government repealed the law that allowed faith-based courts.

On September 11, 2005, the TorontoShariacourt became history, but today there are about 85Sharia courts running in the U.K. with the support of local law and scores of open and hiddenShariacourts are alive and well. The invisibleShariacourts on the Internet are destroying women’s lives and the blueprint forShariacourts in America supported by U.S. law has already been created. Do you think the Canadian-Muslim population is moving in a more liberal or a more Islamist direction?

Mahmud: I have no proof, but I feel that our secular environment and education system is keeping most of our kids liberal and aware of human rights. Our next generations will be more aware of human rights and the benefit of secular democracy. They will not swallow folk stories or legitimate violence in the name of divinity. I feel that time is working against radical Islam; they are losing their grip on our kids.

Radical Islam is taught in most mosques and an overwhelming majority of my community here are not mosque-going. Our society is evolving.Sharia law also went through evolution in the past – laws such as killing apostates and adultery were slowly eliminated in history but are revived recently, thanks to petrodollars. Lastly, our governments are political bedfellows of the exporters ofSharialaws from the Middle East. It has to be addressed as well. You cannot stop the flow without closing the source.

The following is a clip from Mahmud's "Divine Stone" (with subtitles in English):