Islam Vs. Islamism: A Case for Wishful Thinkers

Hardly. The Muslims who take this position take it by claiming that only the Khalifa or the Mahdi can establish these. Take Hisham Kabbani, for example, a Sufi Muslim scholar whose photo Pipes posted.

Islam is the fourteen-century-old faith of a billion-plus believers that includes everyone from quietist Sufis to violent jihadis.

Nonsense. Kabbani is Sufi and is in fact a Mahdist as all Sufi Muslims are. In his work Approach of Armageddon (page 231), he writes of an entire invasion of Israel and believes as Ahmadinejad does:

Hadith indicate that black flags coming from the area of Khorasan [Iran] will signify [that] the appearance of the Mahdi is nigh.

The “black flags” from “Iran” mean the end of Pipes. Just name the Sufi scholar and I can usually find their Arabic writings and prove they are moderate for the time being. Sheikh Maulana Nazeem Kibrisi, another major Sufi scholar, was found in Turkish speaking with the fervor of Adolf Hitler (watch here). Kibrisi was no small-time Sufi either; in a speech given in Germany to Turkish students, with tens of thousands gathered – including then-prime minister-to-be Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Erbakan of the Refah Islamist party – Kibrisi is found saying:

Glory and blessing to the Lord of the two worlds who is the cause of these days. Definitely, the victory belongs to Islam. This flood of people here is a sign of the rise of the glorious Islam. Do they not think that this a great sign? When the great sign appears [Mahdi] the world will shake. Our forefathers made the earth tremble. This gathering is a memento from our forefathers… You are the grand sons of the Ottomans who will make the world tremble again. If the Ottomans do not come back the unbelievers will never be brought down to their knees…history is made of recurrences, certainly our glorious era has come, the day being born belongs to Islam…as long as we have Allah we do not need America, nor do we need the unbelievers in Europe, nor do we need the unbelievers nor will we go their path.

What about Al-Ghazali, the famous theologian, philosopher, and paragon of mystical Sufism whom the eminent W. M. Watt describes as “acclaimed in both the East and West as the greatest Muslim after Mohammed, and he is by no means unworthy of that dignity”? Scholars like Pipes know the truth, yet completely ignore it. Al-Ghazali said:

One must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year... one may use a catapult against them when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them.... If a person of the Ahl al-Kitab [People of The Book—Jews and Christians, typically] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked.… One may cut down their trees/...One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide...they may steal as much food as they need.

Pipes even went as low to claim that Muhammad was a “Muslim not an Islamist” and even distinguished him since, “Islamism represents the transformation of Islamic faith into a political ideology.”