If you read in a newspaper that a cleric is touring British universities,
telling students to beat up women, defending sex slavery, and promoting polygamy, and you don’t get angered by that or feel threatened, then you must book an appointment with a psychologist immediately.
Astonishingly, I have been accused by The Daily Mail of doing just that; of visiting universities here in the UK, and promoting those very things.
In this article, I would like to explain precisely how they attacked me and try to figure out why did they do so.
So just how exactly did they attack me?
If you google these four words: Fadel – Soliman – Daily – Mail, you will find a link to an article entitled “’It’s Fine to Hit a Wife Who Doesn’t Please You’: What an Islamic Cleric is Telling Students as He Tours British Universities Unchallenged… and He’s Not Alone”
That, apparently, refers to me; but please don’t read the article before you take a moment to read mine, or you will certainly hate me… big time! Angela Schultz did precisely that and then addressed me on twitter saying “You are a disgrace to men! you don’t deserve to even breathe the same air as me! your Muslim ways suck! Then after reading my explanation, she tweeted: “Read and deleted tweet, glad you responded. Thank you”
Skip the awful things they said about me, simply because they are not true. Play the video; The text on the video says: “Islamic preacher Fadel Soliman, instructing Muslim students at The University of Sheffield to watch a series of extremist lectures on Youtube, justifying wife beating, polygamy and sex slavery”
What the Daily Mail did not say, is that this series is entitled “Islamophobia” which is a series of episodes refuting misconceptions about Islam; misconceptions that are directly related to the increasing rise of Islamophobia, and which are being used over and over by Islamophobes to attack Islam, therefore it would be very stupid for someone refuting these misconceptions, to confirm them.
What The Mail also didn’t mention, is that one of these lectures is on the topic of evolution, calling upon Muslims to accept evolutionist Muslims, because religion is not contrary to science, and because evolution does not contradict any verse in the Qur’an. Just this episode backfired on me and made many critics label me as “too liberal cleric”
The Mail also failed to mention that in two of these “extremist series of lectures” I explain that the real jihad has nothing to do with terrorism and that terrorism can not be justified in Islam.
They did not mention, either, that I have a whole episode explaining that, according to the teachings of Islam, Muslims and non-Muslims should be friends and live together peacefully; contrary to the hyper-literalistic understanding of some verses of the Quran, which may be misunderstood to cause some to believe that such friendships are forbidden in Islam.
What the Daily Mail didn’t want to tell you is that this “extremist cleric” is the one who debunked Alqaeda’s views and the views held by Sheikh Anwar Awalki, in two videos which prove that Islam doesn’t allow the killing of innocent civilians. These videos had a big impact on their followers -as can be read in the comments, such as “The truth is bitter, but sheikh Anwar is wrong and this guy (Fadel Soliman) is right’. The Mail will never mention that its journalist saw the posters of my one day workshop “How to De-Radicalise an Extremist”. They also never mentioned that I challenged ISIS theology in Edinburgh and Rochdale, and across Europe, giving a presentation entitled “The ISIS Delusion” which can be viewed on the Youtube. The Daily Mail apparently just forgot to mention all of this work against extremism in their investigation on extremism. But they did however remember to label me as an extremist.
They claim that I say “It’s fine to hit a wife who doesn’t please you.” Well, watch the video for yourself. The first cut and paste statement they make is – may be intentionally- not mentioning that I am explaining a verse in the Qur’an which says: “As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them first, next refuse to share their beds (and last) spank them.”. And that is to make me appear as if I am commanding the students to do that.
The second cut and paste job, is actually a scandal,
the cut is very obvious at 1:43 minutes into their video, directly after I say “They may continue to share a bed, but he should turn his back to her.” remember those words well because after that, their video shows that I am saying “So after passing through two stages of non-physical warnings, the next stage of warning must involve something physical in order to escalate the intensity of the warning. And this is where the first mention of spanking comes“ But guess what? I didn’t say that! And if you go to the original video on my youtube channel: ISLAMOPHOBIA TV, Episode # 25, and view the video at 5:34 minutes, after the words “They may continue to share a bed, but he should turn his back to her.” listen to what I actually say. I am actually explaining my understanding of the verse: “Now if both of the previous measures do not work, then divorce could seem to be the only option left.” However, that’s not what you see on the video on The Daily Mail’s website, because they simply cut all of the video content from minute 5:34 to minute 6:55, and then stitched it together; like a sneaky little plastic surgery, removing 1 minute and 21 seconds of discussion, which they felt was not serving their cause. So instead of hearing me saying that the third resort is divorce, you hear me saying that it is spanking.
I was merely explaining why a scholar such as Ibn Abbas mentioned light spanking with a tooth brush, but The Daily Mail did not tell its readers that, my conclusion was crystal clear at the end of the episode when I said that the Quran says: “You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful example (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day.” And we know from Lady Aisha, the Prophet’s wife, that he never raised his hand to strike a woman, a servant or anyone or anything for that matter. So the Prophet (PBUH) never beat anyone. His morals would not have allowed him to do so, and God commanded us to take him as a role model. So he is our role model and there is no such thing as wife-beating being permissible in Islam.”
Now, for polygamy. On the Daily Mail’s infamous video, at 3:22 minutes into it, they cut and pasted 50 seconds from episode # 19 entitled The Polygamy Dilemma, which is a 19 minute-long video. They show me telling a story of people who solved their marital problem through polygamy. They chose those 50 seconds well, and they cut the video precisely at the point where the viewers would hear the other side of the story.
But what the Daily Mail did not tell its readers, is that had the video continued, the readers of its online article would have heard me say clearly at 3:22 minutes into the original video “We must understand that Islam was never intended for one culture in particular. Islam is God’s religion that He revealed to all of mankind, ever since He created this Earth, and till the very end of time. In other words, Islam is suitable for all people: Arabs and non-Arabs, Indians, Europeans, Americans and all sorts of cultures. If there are cultures that accept this sort of solution, it is the role of Islam to regulate these practices and not to forbid them. “
The Daily Mail conveniently did not tell its readers that I mentioned that I come from a culture which doesn’t accept polygamy, and that was obvious when I mentioned that my mother was offended by a lady who suggested to her to marry my father to another woman in order to help her with the household chores. At 5:00 minutes into the original video, I state “My mother however, was shocked and offended by such a suggestion and would not entertain such an idea even though it was a concept completely acceptable to villagers. My father and I were practically pulling my Mum -who was about to throw this woman from the window” But again, some stitching up will help the cause of the article.
I actually don’t know anyone who promoted polygamy in the Uk except one.
And that is the daily mail itself. Read their article “Why having an extra wife may lead to a longer life”, which was published 21 August, 2008. I hope they are not still holding these extreme ideas!
Sex slavery. The Daily Mail went next to a 24-minutes episode and selected very carefully, one and a half minutes of discussion to cut and paste in order to serve their cause. They cut the clip just before I say that the Islamic way of dealing with this problem led to the freeing of many slave girls as well as their children. They cut my original episode at 14:56, just before I said “Her children too would be free like their father. So this was one source that was redirected so that it poured into the river of freedom, rather than into that of slavery. A lot of people became free in that way: their mothers were slaves, but they were free and their mothers became free as well, just because they were born to a father who was free” Now after watching their 5-minute video and then going back to my original episodes to compare and see for yourself all the cutting and pasting, and stitching that has been done to them, will you still believe their article about me?
The Daily Mail never mentioned that all these episodes are linked to my personal website, www.fadelSoliman.com on which I state clearly in the FAQ section in answering question #9 : Islam doesn’t allow violence against spouses and those who thought that the Qur’an allows it are wrong! It all stems from interpreting a verse in the Qur’an wrongly by assuming that the hitting mentioned in it is for disciplining. Then, after referring the readers to the episode I mentioned “To conclude, Islam doesn’t allow any violence against spouses, and if a woman is beaten by her husband, then she should raise a complaint with the appropriate authorities.” To even suggest that I am justifying slavery or misogyny makes me laugh! I have been always vocal against racism, violence and any kind of discrimination against women.
The question now is, why did The Daily Mail attack me in this way? We will find the answer to that question in the next article insh Allah.