Latest Episode of the Ameer Ali saga

The former head of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils and current chairman of the Prime Minister’s Muslim Community Reference Group (MCRG) was interviewed by Stephen Crittenden on the ABC’s Religion Report this morning about his most recent controversy. It certainly makes interesting listening (listen/download here). Take particular note of the closing questions where one can hear someone else in the background seemingly telling Ameer Ali what to say.

As Crittenden says at the conclusion:

I don’t know about you, but I had the peculiar sensation that I was interviewing two Dr Alis there.

And after reading Dr Ali’s letter to The Australian and his letter to the Muslim community, one can understand how he feels.


#1 Baybers on 10.11.06 at 12:39 am

this is the episode where ameer ali and neelix take the delta flyer through a wormhole into a parallel universe inhabited entirely by people that speak backwards and wear underwear on their heads. their messages back to this universe get scrambled and are infiltrated by a recurring algorithm that sounds different depending on which ear one uses to listen to it.

#2 Umar on 10.11.06 at 9:52 am

Do you mean to imply that there are Muslims who are being used by others to try and bring about a “reform” od Islam and that Ali may be one of these people?

#3 Shadower on 10.11.06 at 10:40 am

Ameer Ali put his foot in it this time.

Firstly who in their right mind (as a Muslim leader and I use the term leader loosely here) would accept an interview with Richard Kerbaj considering his track record in attacking Islam and expect any good to come of it?

Secondly this talk about re-interpretation and it came up again in this interview, are they talking about Islamic Jurisprudence or what? You cannot simply Re-tafsirify the Quran, Islam does not work that way. The sources of Tafsir are clear first the Quran (verses that explain other verses), then the Sunnah, then the sayings of the Sahaba.

I like how Stephen asked him “Are you creating your own Islam?”

#4 Muslim on 10.11.06 at 12:09 pm

Ameer Ali sold his soul to the goverment

#5 Law Student on 10.11.06 at 8:10 pm

Okie dokie…

This is getting way too confusing. Are we supposed to follow ruling and teaching of the Quran set in a 1400 years ago context? Are we to follow interpretations of the Quran by scholars of 500 years ago?

Muslims today face dilemmas that the Sahaba (RA) and societies of the past did not face. We face issues which are not directly addressed by the Quran nor the Hadith and Sunnah. Are we allowed to practise Ijtihaad in todays society – or do we as usual refer to previous scholars such as ibn kathir, taymiyyah et al and leave ourselves in darkness?

Some one please enlighten me.

#6 Amir on 10.11.06 at 8:34 pm

Law Student: Of course, itjihad can be made to address contemporary issues that were not present in the past. This is already happening as one can see from the fact that scholars have formulated rulings on stem cell research, abortion, cloning and so on. These scholars make their rulings by applying the rules of usool al-fiqh to the problem and refering to what scholars have said on similar or related issues. This is, however, not the job for the normal Muslim because in order to deliver such a ruling requires a lot of background knowledge which most of us don’t have.  In fact, the grade of mujtahid (capable of making itjihad) is one of the highest grades of Islamic scholarship.

The problem with talking about the need for a ‘modern’ Islam is that these people ignorantly assume that the Islam that has existed for 1,400 years or more is incapable of dealing with new issues that have just appeared. That is, of course, complete rubbish and it is a nonsense to talk about there being a need for radical, new interpetation of the Qu’ran or some such. Of course, such claims travel well in the press because they reinforce the idea that there is a tension between Islamic law and modernity.

There is also a misunderstanding as to the word ‘itjihad’ which I think clouds these sorts of discussions.  Thanks to the efforts of Irshad Manji and others, the word has taken on a postmodernist hue where it now means, in the minds of many people, the freedom for laypeople to interpret religious texts without any reference to the traditional rules and principles of usool al-fiqh.

#7 Shadower on 10.12.06 at 1:16 am

And you will find the Mujtahideen and the Scholars of Islam would be linking their modern rulings to the Quran and Sunnah.

Such as the issue of smoking and how it is linked to the verse in the Quran “and do not kill yourselves” etc. The fatwa given by Ibn Baz RH that smoking is harram was linked to the Quran and Sunnah, and you will see this link in many of the fatwas given on contemporary issues.

But once more the discussion is moving towards Legal Jurisprudence, so why people are calling for re-interpretation of the Quran is beyond me.

#8 Ali on 10.13.06 at 12:23 am

there is interesting article about Ameer Ali and history of his interviews… look it up at it is called “Islam is not a Nokia”

Islam is not a Nokia

There is nothing wrong in being modern, that’s if you’re a fan of mobile phones. As times change, they (mobiles) need to be redesigned from shape to size. But religion is not a Nokia. Last week Ameer Ali former head of AFIC outraged Muslims across Australia with his comments about the Prophet s.a.w.s. and the Qur’an. In the article entitled “Prophet not perfect, says Islamic scholar” (The Australian, 04/10/06) written by Richard Kerbaj, he spoke about the “flaws” of the best human ever to walk this earth – prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s., he questioned the veracity of the Qur’an, called for the reinterpretation of it, trivialized Sunnah and so on. With the following article I will examine some of these statements, as well as his ’so called’ apology. One apology for Muslims and another one for the editor of “The (Un)Australian” newspaper.

more on

#9 Afzal on 10.14.06 at 3:59 am

I just had a look at the article and video blog on the ASWJ site. It’s one thing to criticise Ameer Ali’s comments but it’s quite another to record a lengthy video where some sheikh just lays into him, calls him a non-muslim and prays for God to curse him just on the basis of a newspaper report. Also the article says Ameer Ali doubts the veracity (truthfulness) of the Koran. That’s not true as his clarification made clear. I don’t know what it achieves for ASWJ  to respond like this.  It’s very demeaning for all concerned.

#10 Ali on 10.15.06 at 2:59 am

people know Ameer Ali and those like him, it is not first time he is doing this. Anyway, his appology is like that of a pope. he is sorry for reaction of muslims not what he said. Ameer Ali is sorry for title not comments… lets worry about attack on prophet not the one who is attacking him. what would sahabas r.a. do in our situation?… answer is self evident… allahualam

#11 Hatem on 10.29.06 at 1:37 am

Ameer Ali, AFIC and the ICV are one big joke. May Allah forgive them.

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