Tuesday, June 09, 2009
If you are following the responses to Barack Obama's Cairo speech from home, be sure to read Andy McCarthy's deconstruction of his commitment "to [work] with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat." As Andy ably demonstrates, it is very difficult to find space between current (i.e., legacy Bush and Clinton administration) law and policy and actually legalizing the financing of terrorism. So what, exactly, did President Obama mean?
Since Zakat can be roughly translated as “a tax you pay to god so he will listen to your prayers”, the answer seems obvious. From here on, contributions to the DNC and the Obama re-election fund may be considered “Zakat”, and in return, your prayers will be listened to. That’s the way it seems to have been operated for a year or so now, no reason to change anything but the name.
It's a very Chicago idea.
The fundamental question is whether any donation to Muslim charities can be separated from terrorist acts or intentions. Recall what it means to be a practicing Muslim:
"Islam's learned officials, sheikhs, muftis, and imams throughout the ages have all reached consensus—binding on the entire Muslim community—that Islam is to be at perpetual war with the non-Muslim world until the former subsumes the latter. Indeed, it is widely held by Muslim scholars that since the sword-verses are among the final revelations on the topic of Islam's relationship to non-Muslims, that they alone have abrogated some 200 of the Qur'an's earlier and more tolerant verses, such as "no compulsion is there in religion." Famous Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) admired in the West for his "progressive" insights, also puts to rest the notion that jihad is defensive warfare:
"In the Muslim community, the holy war [jihad] is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force ... The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense ... They are merely required to establish their religion among their own people. That is why the Israelites after Moses and Joshua remained unconcerned with royal authority [e.g., a caliphate]. Their only concern was to establish their religion [not spread it to the nations] … But Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.""
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2009, pp. 3-12