There is a new Islamic institute in town. Founded recently by the prominent cleric, Omar Suleiman, the Yaqeen Institute claims to tackle "the rise of Islamophobia on one side, and extremism on the other," as well as the "rise in the Muslim community" of "Atheism and Agnosticism."
Islamist Watch does not discourage any attempt, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, to challenge genuine anti-Muslim hatred.
Our expertise, however, is Islamist extremism. If the Yaqeen Institute is serious about its commitment to fighting extremism, then we suggest it reconsider some of its staff, including its founder.
Omar Suleiman has been already condemned by moderate Muslim activists after he described homosexuality as a "disease" and a "repugnant shameless sin." He refers to the Islamic death penalty for the "people that practiced sodomy."
In a talk titled "Fighing Zina," Suleiman claims that women who are too close with their brothers are likely to commit incest. Women, he declares, should never be alone with a man outside of her family. Further, he warns, without condemnation, that women who commit adultery risk being killed by a family member.
Suleiman also works as an "instructor" at the Al Maghrib Institute, a prominent Salafist institution. His colleagues include Abdullah Hakim Quick, who calls upon God to "clean and purify Al-Aqsa from the ﬁlth of the Yahood [Jews]"; and Abu Eesa Niamatullah, who says of Jews: "They find it so easy and natural to do what they do....Look at them today, look at the way they massacre. They blow up babies like as if it's a computer game. They have no humanity, no morality, no ethics."
Other Yaqeen Institute "advisors" include Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood ideologue who has reportedly claimed that killing Israeli children is "contextually explicable"; and Hatem Bazian, who has called for an "intifada in this country that changes fundamentally the political dynamics," similar to the "uprising in Iraq" and the "intifada in Palestine."
The Yaqueen Institute is right: there is a serious extremism problem that must be tackled. But perhaps they should first look inward.