What is a Mosque? An Interview with Sam Solomon

by Jerry Gordon (August 2010)

Gordon: Greetings Mr. Solomon and thank you for consenting to this interview. Let us start with the simple question, what is a mosque and what is its basic function in the Muslim community?

Solomon: A mosque, totally unlike a church or a synagogue, serves the function of orchestrating and mandating every aspect of “life” in a Muslim community from the religious, to the political, to the economic, to the social, to the military. In Islam, religion and life are not separate. They are indivisible. In Islam religion is not just a part of life, but “life” is absorbed and regulated to the tiniest detail by religion (See Figure 1). In other words every aspect of a man or woman’s life must be defined and governed by religion. So there is no concept of personal choice whatsoever, or in theological terms, there is no “free will,” but only limited preferences between prescribed courses of action. In addition, there is no concept of a personal relationship between the person and the entity being worshiped, so “worship” itself, is of a different nature than that performed in a church or synagogue.

Figure 1: Comparison of Non-Islamic vs Islamic views of one’s freedom of choice and options in life.So we see that a mosque is a seat of government. A mosque is a school. A mosque is a court. A mosque is a training center. A mosque is a gathering place, or social center. It is not a place of “worship” per se as understood and as practiced in Western societies.
Specifically, how is a mosque a threat to the community within which it is built?

Every single mosque in the world, by definition, is modeled on the mosque of Muhammad in Medina in accordance with the Sunnah. The Sunnah interprets the Qur’an by reporting exhaustively on everything that Muhammad said, did, or consented to. Therefore, his Medina mosque, the first mosque, was a place where he gave judgments, where he decided who would be executed, where he instituted policy—domestic and military— where Jihad war strategies were designed. Consequently, it was a storage place for arms, a military training base, and was where troops were blessed and dispatched.

Literally they were sent to conquer – first the whole of Arabia, and then the rest of the known world. Therefore if the present-day mosque is modeled as per the Sunnah of Muhammad then there should be very serious concern. As is well-known, Muslims are required to follow the example (Sunnah) of Muhammad—and according to Sura 33:36 it is not an option or a matter of opinion: “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allâh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.”  This explains and establishes beyond doubt why arms have been found in mosques in various countries, and in different capital cities.

In addition to the undisputed significance of the Medina mosque as the role model for all Mosques, there is also the Islamic policy of establishing strategic Mosques as beachheads with interconnected networks. Taken together, these two policies do constitute a clear and present danger—and a need for concern.

For example, when Abu Hamza[1] was the Imam of the Finsbury Park mosque in the United Kingdom, he trained people, he sent out terrorists  and British authorities found arms stored there.  He was well within his Islamic mandate as these activities were sanctioned by Islam. He didn’t find it wrong because it is in the Islamic manuals. Another prime example of a mosque being found to have engaged in high-level political, military and intelligence activities is the Munich Mosque, which is now considered by Islamists to be on a par with some  of highest-ranked Mosques in Muslim countries.[2]

What comment do you have on the significance of the Ground Zero Mosque set to open on 9/11, 2011?

First of all, the sponsors and supporters of the Ground Zero Mosque insist that the significance of the building of this mosque is that it constitutes a refutation of the radical “fringe” within Islam, and as such, is a gesture of peace and reconciliation toward America and the victims of 9/11.

But, it is ludicrous for anybody to accept that this is a gesture of peace in the Western sense—rather it is a different definition of “peace.” It is the Islamic definition of “peace” as a suspension of “struggle” which is ultimately said to emerge once opposition ceases, and Islam reigns supreme as Muhammad has stated, “Islam rises and nothing rises above it.”
The rationale of the sponsors is that acts of terrorism are being carried out by misguided “radicals” rather than true Muslims and that as a consequence, Islam itself has been victimized and defamed and needs to be defended. Their solution is to appear to decry all “radicalism”, and to take the bold symbolic act of erecting a 13 to 15-story Mosque—ostensibly representing true Islam—on the site itself, in their words, to “bridge and heal this divide.” [3]

So, if allowed to be built, this mosque would consolidate, solidify, and embody a fallacious and pernicious interpretation of what really happened at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.[4]

In one fell swoop, it will be a re-writing of American history with American cooperation, and will achieve another major Islamic goal of setting a high profile beachhead at a strategic location in the seat of American economic power.When you speak of setting a “beachhead,” is building this mosque tactically similar to Muslims building  the Al Aqsa Mosque  adjacent to  the Western Wall in Jerusalem?

Most Westerners do not realize that there are two Mosques on the Temple Mount. One is called Masjid Al-Aqsa, the Mosque of Ascension, and the other is called “Qubbat Al-Sakhra”, the Dome of the Rock.

To provide the groundwork for answering your question more specifically, the basic principle is, that a mosque, totally unlike a church or synagogue, is a “sign” and a “symbol” of the establishment of “authority”—both religious and political—not just a place of worship for its adherents.

A mosque is the symbol of the establishment of an Islamic authority, and an announcement of the beginning of the “rightful restoration” of the land according to Islamic claims that the “whole world is a mosque,” and is echoed in Muhammad’s words, “the whole earth has been declared unto me a mosque.” Therefore it is a matter of “restoring” rather than “claiming” the land to Islam, as any land not in current submission is at virtual war with Islam, and must be brought “back” according to the Qur’anic version of history.

This process of “bringing back” has a name, it is called “Islamisation,” and is implemented progressively though immigrating segregating, gaining rights, and slowly asserting the supremacy of Islam politically, socially and even culturally. So, yes, the Ground Zero Mosque would be a beachhead—and an important one, but it is not exactly the same as in the case of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

The building of the Al Aqsa Mosque adjacent to the Western Wall was a necessary consolidation of prior Qur’anic claims to the Holy Land and the spiritual base of Judeo-Christian Monotheism,[5] whereas the building of the Ground Zero Mosque would be more in line with the tactical aspect of spreading the base. (See footnote 3)

Having said that, some “beachhead” mosques are more strategic than others.  As we have seen earlier the Munich Mosque became the most influential of those built outside Muslim lands prior to the proposed Ground Zero Mosque.

If built, the Ground Zero Mosque will be the most influential sign and symbol of Islamic authority in the Western World.

Can you explain the significance of the ‘Hijra’ or migration?

You need to understand an important distinction: In Islam migration is a mental concept as well as a physical action.

To answer your question about the significance of the Hijra itself, it was the physical migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib [Medina] in 622 AD, making it the most important event in Islamic history and the reason for starting the Islamic calendar—while at the same time instituting it as the model for future expansion by immigration.[6]

However, the concept of migration in its broader sense is highly significant.

Conceptually, mental migration can be from one mode of operation to another, in other words from a non-Islamic mode to an Islamic mode.

The non-Islamic mode is known as Al-Jahiliyyah meaning “the age of ignorance,” which has nothing to do with the Western concept of ignorance. So Al-Jahiliyyah, is a broad title given to all sorts of practices which might be regarded as un-Islamic. For example a woman who used to dress in Western-style, (considered as Jahiliyyah practice), her “migration” toward Islamic practice would be that she now adorns herself with the Hijab (head scarf) or total Nikab (full face and body cover). This movement from Western dress to Islamic veil would constitute a migration in dress code and behaviour.

Examples of other conceptual migrations would be imposing Islamic values and systems within host countries, such as Shariah-complaint finance. It is all to achieve one purpose, the Islamisation first of the Muslim community by bringing it more and more in line with Islamic principles and, second to condition and transform the host society.

The foregoing was an explanation of a conceptual, spiritual, or mental transformation.The physical migration of Muslim communities, from one country to another or from one area to another is just as important. It is to extend the rule of Islam. For instance, there would be no need for Islamic schools if there were no Muslim children. There would be no need for Halal meat if there were no Muslim consumers. There would be no debate about the Hijab if there were no Muslim women to wear it.

Therefore, any such demand by the Muslim community within a host country is an expression of their desire to be governed by Islam. Demanding Islamic banking is a direct imposition of the Shariah Law on non Muslims, even if there may not be any Muslims in the community.

Why does Islam celebrate Mohammad’s journey from Mecca to Yathrib (Medina) annually  rather than his birthday?

The celebration of Muhammad’s birthday is controversial within the community of Islamic scholars, as it is considered as an innovation (a “Bid’a”)—though practically, it is recognized as a holiday in most Muslim countries. However, your point is well taken.

All Muslims do celebrate the Islamic New Year, based on the Islamic Calendar—which after deliberations regarding other dates in Muhammad’s life, was dated from the Hijra, his journey from Mecca to Medina, rather than from his birthday.

The Islamic calendar was established by Umar bin Al-Khattab, the second Khalifah in response to letters of concern from the various judges and governors in the new Islamic empire saying to him, your letters are undated. Thus he was confronted with a dilemma, as any dating system at that time was un-Islamic. So he called a committee to look into it and they initially decided not to start the Islamic calendar with the birth of Mohammed, and then considered various other important events that occurred in Muhammad’s life as the starting point of the new calendar.

However, Umar concluded that it would be appropriate to start the calendar from the day of Muhammad’s flight or Hijra, because from that day forward he was transformed from a haunted man to a victorious ruler.

Thus the Islamic calendar, called the “Anno Hijrah Calendar,” or “Immigration Calendar,” abbreviated as “A.H.” replaced all existing calendars and was established as a declaration of the victory of Islam over the rest of the World.

What is the most important thing for us to know about Islam?

>The most important thing for a non-Muslim to understand about Islam is that Islam is not simply a religion. Islam is a social and political system, an indivisible melding of religion and state.

It is a socio-political, socio-religious, socio-economical, socio-educational, socio-judiciary, legislative militaristic system cloaked and garbed in religious terminology.

We must never forget that Islam is an all-encompassing ideological system, and as such wherever there is a Muslim community there will be Sharia and wherever there is a Sharia there is an Islamisation of the territory and ultimately of the nation.

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