Muslim Cleric Declares All Christians 'Infidels' –

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Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar University, Ali Gomaa

It is quite possible, the Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar university Ali Gomaa did not say anything like the alleged words listed below. These guys at Middle East Forum may have cooked it up. They have done it before and that is their business. I recall two blatant mis-translations they chose not to correct. Their audience is the rich guys who write big checks and facts don’t matter to them.
****** I have received clarification from the Mufti, his words were twisted by MEMRI to suit their fund raising needs by falsifying the truth.. I will add the response asap – Mike Ghouse

Here is another point of view to explore.
On the other hand, if Mufti Gomaa is calling the Christians (or any one) infidels he is wrong. Indeed, the word Kafir is not the problems as long as it means denier of my version of truth; otherwise it is used as a denigrative word. There is a great example set by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when the other side did not accept his signature as Muhammad, the messenger of God on the peace treaty, as they did not believe he was a prophet. What did the Prophet do? He understood their point of view and changed the name to Muhammad son of Abdullah for the sake of peace and for the sake of creating a model, where we learn to accept the otherness of other.

Quraan reccomends one to tell the truth, but it does not permit one to condemn other faiths. It amounts to inviting others to denigrate you. It is clear in Sura Kafirun, to you is your faith and to me is my faith without putting each others faith down. Each one of the six verses teaches one to treat the other with respect. (

The word Islam is derived from the word peace which is beautifully explained in the parenthesis of 5:16 below by Asad. As Muslims, we claim Islam means peace… obviously it is not to Sheikh Gomaa bent on making declarations that have unintended consequences to destroy peace between the communities.

2:62 (Asad) VERILY, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians [49] -all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds-shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve. [50]
5:69 (Asad) for, verily, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Sabians, [86] and the Christians – all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds – no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.

There are bad dudes in every religion. Falwell, Robertson, Jeffress and others in Christianity make other Christians cringe; a few Rabbis do the same and the Right wingers among Hindus are no saner. The sad part is they all have a following.

Most things from Middle East Forum and David Horowitz are driven by money; they have to paint Islam as a villain to earn their bucks. They have deliberately misrepresented the translation or perhaps used one of the two wrong translations to make their buck. The translation in the article for 5:16 is blatantly anti-Christian, whereas, it is not the case in actual Quraan translation I have quoted below.

5:16 (Asad) through which God shows unto all that seek His goodly acceptance the paths leading to salvation [29] and, by His grace, brings them out of the depths of darkness into the light and guides them onto a straight way. [(The word salaam, here rendered as’ “salvation”, has no proper equivalent in the English language. It denotes inner peace, soundness and security from evil of any kind, both physical and spiritual, and the achievement of what, in Christian terminology, is described as “salvation”: with the difference, however, that the Christian concept of salvation presupposes the existence of an a-priori state of sinfulness, which is justified in Christianity by the doctrine of “original sin”, but is not justified in Islam, which does not subscribe to this doctrine. Consequently, the term “salvation” – which I am using here for want of a better word- does not adequately convey the full meaning of salaam. Its nearest equivalents in Western languages would be the German Heil or the French salut, both of which express the idea of spiritual peace and fulfillment without being necessarily (i.e., linguistically) connected with the Christian doctrine of salvation.(Quran Ref: 5:16 )]

5:17 (Asad) Indeed, the truth deny they who say, “Behold, God is the Christ, son of Mary.” Say: “And who could have prevailed with God in any way had it been His will to destroy the Christ, son of Mary, and his mother, and everyone who is on earth-all of them? For, God’s is the dominion over the heavens and the earth and all that is between them; He creates what He wills: and God has the power to will anything!”

5:18 (Asad) And [both] the Jews and the Christians say, “We are God’s children, [30] and His beloved ones.” Say: “Why, then, does He cause you to suffer for your sins? Nay, you are but human beings of His creating. He forgives whom He wills, and He causes to suffer whom He wills: for God’s is the dominion over the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and with Him is all journeys’ end.” [Cf. Exodus iv, 22-23 (“Israel is My son”), Jeremiah xxxi, 9 (“I am a father to Israel”), and the many parallel expressions in the Gospels.(Quran Ref: 5:18 )]

As a Muslim I condemn the efforts of Mr. Gomaa in creating chaos and conflicts, principally wrong approach to building societies where peace prevails

Mike Ghouse
Committed to cohesive societies
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Top Muslim Declares All Christians ‘Infidels’

by Raymond Ibrahim

To what extent was Egypt’s Maspero massacre, wherein the military literally mowed down Christian Copts protesting the ongoing destruction of their churches, a product of anti-Christian sentiment?

A video of Egypt’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ali Gomaa (or Gom’a), which began circulating weeks before the massacre, helps elucidate. While holding that Muslims may coexist with Christians (who, as dhimmis, have rights), Gomaa categorized Christians as kuffar — “infidels” — a word that connotes “enemies,” “evil-doers,” and every bad thing to Muslim ears.

Gomaa then offered a hypothetical dialogue between Christians and Muslims to illustrate Islam’s proper position:

Christians: You have the wrong idea about us; we don’t worship the Christ.

Muslims: Okay, fine; we were under the wrong impression — but, by the way: “Infidels are those who declare God is the Christ, son of Mary.”

Christians: But these are philosophical matters that we are unable to explain.

Muslims: Okay, fine; God is one—but, by the way: “Infidels are those who declare God is the Christ, son of Mary.”

As a graduate of and long-time professor at Al Azhar university and Grand Mufti of Egypt (a position second in authority only to Sheikh Al Azhar), Ali Gomaa represents mainstream Islam’s — not “radical Islam’s” or “Islamism’s” — position concerning the “other,” in this case, Christians. Regardless, many in the West hail him as a “moderate” — such as this U.S. News article titled “Finding the Voices of Moderate Islam“; Lawrence Wright describes him as “a highly promoted champion of moderate Islam”:

He is the kind of cleric the West longs for, because of his assurances that there is no conflict with democratic rule and no need for theocracy. Gomaa has also become an advocate for Muslim women, who he says should have equal standing with men.

How does one reconcile such sunny characterizations with reality? The fact is, whenever top Muslim authorities like Gomaa say something that can be made to conform to Western ideals, Westerners jump on it (while of course ignoring their more “extreme” positions). It is the same with Gomaa’s alma mater, Al Azhar, the “chief center of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world.”

MEMRI, for instance, recently published a report titled “The Sheikh of Al Azhar in an Exceptionally Tolerant Article: Christianity, Judaism Share Basic Tenets of Islam.” Of course, the day after this report appeared, this same sheikh — Islam’s most authoritative figure — insisted that the American ambassador wear a hijab when meeting him: just as Muslim “radicals” compel Christian girls to wear the hijab, “moderate” Al Azhar compels U.S. diplomats.

In short, yes, many religions “share basic tenets,” but they are secondary to the differences, which are more final and define the relationship. Or, to put it in Ali Gomaa’s paradigm: Fine, Christianity and Islam have commonalities — but, by the way: “Infidels are those who declare God is the Christ, son of Mary.”

The fact is, this Quranic verse is as much a cornerstone of Islam’s view of Christianity as the unity of God and Christ is a cornerstone of Christianity, articulated some 1700 years ago in the Nicene Creed. The issue is clear cut for all involved.

Accordingly, how can one fault Gomaa? As Grand Mufti, he is simply being true to Islam’s teachings. Indeed, his consistency is more commendable than the equivocations of Western ecumencalists who, by falling over themselves to assure Muslims that they all essentially believe in the same things, demonstrate, especially to Muslims, that they believe in nothing.

Incidentally, if Gomaa upholds the plain teachings of the Quran concerning who is an infidel, is it not fair to assume he also upholds the Quran’s teachings on how to confront them, as commanded in Quran 9: 29: “Fight … the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] until they pay the Jizya [tribute] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” Of course, prudent Muslims, undoubtedly like Gomaa himself, know that now is not the time to talk openly about such things.

Either way, here is another reminder of how Quranic verses and terms that Western people brush aside as arcane or irrelevant have a tremendous impact on current events — such as Egypt’s Maspero massacre: For the same word Gomaa, the nation’s Grand Mufti, used to describe Christians is the same word Muslim soldiers used when they opened fire on and ran over Christian Copts; the same word twenty Muslim soldiers used as they tortured a protesting Christian; and the same word Muslims hurled at Christians during the funeral procession for their loved ones slain at Maspero: Infidel.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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