"Canadian Mosque Sets Up 'Detox' Program for Would-Be Terrorists"
FOXNews (February 26, 2009)
"TORONTO — A Canadian mosque is taking a page from the Alcoholics Anonymous guidebook and applying it to its fight against terrorism...."
The mosque's director, Mohammed Shaikh, says that his "Specialized De-Radicalization Intervention Program" is the first of its kind.
The idea is to take the idea behind the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 step program, and gear it for young people who got in the "wrong crowd." (The Internet is great - but it's also a place where people can meet some very - ah - interesting individuals. When that happens to an adolescent/early adult, whose brain and mind are still sorting themselves out, bad things can happen.)
Getting off-topic there.
Complete Rejection of Religious Extremism and Suicide BombingsOne more quote. Talking about Al Qaeda's version of Islam, a counselor with the program, Ahmed Amiruddin, said:
" 'Their interpretation of the Islamic faith is inconsistent with the last 1,400 years of Islamic schools of thought,' Amiruddin says, 'We clarify the differences and bring people back toward the traditional interpretation of the Islamic faith, which completely rejects suicide bombings and extremism in all of its forms.' "
This is another case where I seem to have more in common with traditional Muslims, than with people in the dominant North American cultures. I'm a Catholic, and get frustrated by the odd, to be polite, notions of what Catholicism is. More of that in A Catholic Citizen in America (blatant, shameless plug).
What struck me about Toronto's Masjid el Noor Mosque was the "completely rejects suicide bombings and extremism in all it's forms" statement. It sounds like this group has twigged to the notion that killing people you don't agree with went out of style a long, long time ago.
However, it's close to what the Fiqh Council of North America published in a fatwa some years ago. Saying that "
'Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism....' " sounds very reasonable.
Not Even Terrorists Support "Terrorism," it SeemsJust how reasonable the Fiqh Council's fatwa is, depends on what's meant by "extremism," "innocent lives," and "terrorism." Last year, following some of the standard-issue propaganda (or news, depending on your point of view) from the east end of the Mediterranean, I wrote:
"...I think I understand now. Palestinians blow up strategic schools and students, attack tactical markets, and the Jews are to blame for it. That makes outfits like Hamas 'national liberation movements.' When the Jewish military takes down rocket launchers hidden inside someone's home, that's terrorism.
"Goofy, but pretty straightforward: and quite simple to understand, once you learn to look at the world that way."
(May 16, 2008)
So much depends on how terms are defined.
As for the Fiqh Council: I still haven't made up my mind about whether they're being extremely cautious and academically scrupulous, consciously giving an 'out' for Muslims who want to kill people they don't approve of, or something else. I really don't know.
Masjid el Noor Mosque's Program - Probably Better than Jihad RehabI haven't read many glowing reports about Saudi Arabia's 'jihad rehab' program lately. A possible explanation may be that too many people read the fine print, and found out just what the House of Saud was teaching the terrorists.
As nearly as I can tell, the message was: Attacking the House of Saud, or embarrassing the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is contrary to Islam. That's dandy for people living in Saudi Arabia, who don't offend the religious police, but not so good for the rest of us.
"Specialized De-Radicalization Intervention Program" - Let's Keep a Good ThoughtThe Toronto mosque's program isn't intended to deal with deeply-committed radical Muslims. The target group is younger people, who probably have as firm an idea of what Islam is, as many of their non-Muslim counterparts do of Christianity, Buddhism, or whatever.
I said no more quotes, and I meant it, but I suggest you read what Daveed Gartenstein-Ross has to say in the article, about the jihad rehab programs in Saudi Arabia and Yemen: He says a reason for their high recidivism rates is the high incentives for 'renouncing' terrorism.
Back to Toronto: At this point, I'm willing to wait and see. I've corresponded with enough Muslims to think that quite a number of people who follow Islam are calm, sensible, people who don't think bin Laden is right.
I hope, with some reason, that the Masjid el Noor Mosque's program has the goals they say it does: and has a chance of achieving those goals.
Related posts (so much depends on what the terms mean):
- "Gitmo Prisoner Released to Saudi Arabia, Graduated from Jihad Rehab, Rejoined Al Qaeda: Success Story?"
(January 23, 2009)
- "Hamas Facing Logical Consequences: And the Jews Are to Blame"
(January 3, 2009)
- "Palestinian Leader Condemns Hamas: That's Something You Don't Hear Every Day"
(December 28, 2008)
- "Saudi Arabia's National Day, Islam, and Tribalism: This is Big"
(September 27, 2008)
- "Iran's Ahmadinejad Wants Tyrants Tried, and the EU to Lay Off"
(June 24, 2008)
- "bin Laden: Israel is Terrorist State (This is News?)"
(May 16, 2008)
- "Indonesian Deradicalization Program Working: In Indonesia, at Least"
(January 15, 2008)
- "Saudi Breakthrough! Jihadists Reformed!! Al Qaeda Members Promise No More Jihad*!!!"
(November 27, 2007)
- * You definitely need to read past the headline of this post
- "Diplomacy: A Noble Ideal"
(September 19, 2007)
- "Celebrate Today, or You're a Bigot!"
(September 9, 2007)
- "If You Hear Someone Speaking Arabic, GET A GRIP!"
(September 1, 2007)
- "Special Consideration Doesn't Help"
(August 27, 2007)
- "Jihad Rehab"
(August 22, 2007)
- "Muslims Are Not All Alike"
(August 19, 2007)
- "Canadian Mosque Sets Up 'Detox' Program for Would-Be Terrorists"
FOXNews (February 26, 2009)