Hardline preacher Daniel Haqiqatjou is rapidly become a prominent voice of discontent within American Islam. As we have mentioned on several occasions, he spends a great deal of time pouring scorn (sometimes in the form of 50,000 word essays) on the activities of modernist Islamist clerics such as Omar Suleiman and his Yaqeen Institute, which Haqiqatjou warns, are betraying fundamental Islamic values in order to partner with left-leaning movements, including 'LGBT' groups.
Given Suleiman's own history of anti-gay rhetoric, Islamist Watch has written several pieces exploring this curious Islamist-progressivist axis. Clerics such as Suleiman, we have argued, embrace people and ideas of which they ideologically disapprove because they see such partnerships as an unfortunate necessity for the advance of their own Islamist ideals. For many Islamist groups seeking greater power in America, progressivism offers much-needed legitimacy.
But at what cost? This duplicity now appears to be angering some American Muslims with hardline views, who either reject these Janus-faced clerics' tactics, or appear to believe that these elements of American Islamism have in fact genuinely embraced progressivist politics. It is thus perhaps unsurprising that Haqiqatjou finds himself a fast-growing movement of supporters, most notably on social media.
Because of his stance against the deceit or dilutions of other Islamist leaders, Haqiqatjou is willing to express his views explicitly, leaving no room for doubt.
Most recently, he conducted a four-hour debate with the "Apostate Prophet" Ridvan Aydemir, a prominent ex-Muslim activist.
The discussion has been watched by hundreds of thousands of Muslims on Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere. Haqiqatjou's overt Islamism gives him enormous appeal to some, in growing contrast to the uncertainty of 'theo-progressive' clerics such as Omar Suleiman.
We watched the four-hour debate, and have picked just a few of the most important bits. You are welcome to watch the entire debate yourself, by clicking here.
The debate certainly featured a number of shocking moments (emphasis added):
When Aydemir asks: "What would happen to me under an ideal Islamic State?" Haqiqatjou replies, firmly and swiftly: "Capital Punishment."
He later adds:
"In Islam, apostasy is a major threat. ... So there is a practical benefit to deterring it. And you deter it with severe punishment and capital punishment."
If a homosexual or adulterer is found guilty of his crimes, then, Haqiqatjou tells us, the "penalty is capital punishment through stoning."
Lashing, meanwhile, is for fornication:
"Lashing deters the sort of promiscuous behavior that leads to the destruction of society. ... How much better society would be if we return to the standard of corporal punishment."
Haqiqatjou is clear even on the subject of slavery. He explains:
"Slavery is something that I do not find to be immoral. Our understanding of what is slavery, we think of chattel slavery. ... But most slavery in history did not look like that. The slavery of Islam was not racially based; it was based on prisoners of war. ... The liberal mind has a problem with this idea of owning a person."
Judging by his substantial social media presence, and the considerable outpouring of praise for his debate against Aydemir (which he is widely perceived to have 'won') Haqiqatjou is certainly enjoying significant, fast-growing support.
How long can Islamist elements within American Islam, including clerics such as Omar Suleiman, continue to embrace progressivism before their traditional base of supporters abandons them for new voices such as Haqiqatjou?