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By Barry Rubin

Here’s a fascinating exchange telling us not only about the contemporary state of Islam, Islamism, and the political issues involving them but also the debates and conflicts shaping Western civilization today. It also taught me about the common theme between revolutionary Islamism and the revolutionary leftism that today masquerades as liberalism.

The interviewee is Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a leading Islamist presidential candidate in Egypt and the Salafists’ favorite. I’ll annotate his dialogue with my analysis. Thanks to Raymond Ibrahim for the translation.

Host: You have already begun to try to impose a particular dress code for us.

Abu Ismail: I’ve begun to? It’s the Lord of the Worlds [Allah] who said so. I have nothing to do with it!

Salafists have been setting up vigilante groups to impose a dress code, especially on women. Though not much has happened so far this is obviously a very dangerous implication for Egypt’s future.

What Abu Ismail is saying is that all sorts of extremist things (by Western standards and even, as we will shall see in a moment, those of many Muslims) are innate in Islam. In other words, by contemporary standards Abu Ismail is an Islamophobe.

But listen to what the host, who is also a Muslim, puts it. No, he says this is not imposed by Allah but by “you.” After all, the host could say, since Egypt has been a pious Muslim country for a long time without such measures.

The host thus gives his interpretation of Islam:

Host: Allah left it for me to decide as a personal freedom.

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