Dear Signatories of the Covenants Initiative,
Much has happened since my last report. This one comes in 3 parts: news items relating to our efforts; the text of an e-mail to the Islamic Society of North America on the relevance if the Covenants Initiative in this time of ISIL and renewed western intervention in the Middle East; and 8 questions for the signatories relating to the possibility of grassroots alliances between Muslims and Christians for the purpose of direct action.
~~ I may have neglected report that we have received letters of support from Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Theophilus III, Patriarch of Jerusalem. And Archbishop Vigano, Apostolic Legate from the Vatican to the United States, has sent us a letter promising to forward a message from us to Pope Francis. (The text of these documents is available on request.)
~~ The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World has been translated into Spanish, Italian, and Arabic. (Spanish is complete; Italian and Arabic are almost done.)
~~ An abridged version with just the text of the covenants and a short introduction, Six Covenants of the Prophet with the Christians of His Time has been translated into English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Persian, and Dutch. Most are finished or near completion.
~~ Dr. Morrow’s European tour in June, co-sponsored by Radical Middle Way and the Canadian government, can be considered a triumph. He spoke in Paris before ministers of the French government, in Brussels before officials of the European Union, and in London before the House of Lords. In the UK he also spoke at Oxford and Cambridge, to interfaith groups, and even to Scotland Yard.
~~ Out of this tour grew a plan for a TV documentary on Dr. Morrow’s work with the Covenants of the Prophet, tentatively involving Nazim Baksh, Anisa Mehdi, Salim Warda and Hoda al-Soudani.
~~ Ossama Elkaffash of Alexandria, Egypt, has forwarded a message from us to His Holiness Pope Tawadros, Pope of the Coptic Church.
~~ We succeeded in making contact with The Carter Center, headed by past U.S. President Jimmy Carter; they requested a copy of the book.
~~ The Islamic Society of North America also requested and was sent a copy.
~~ In August Dr. Morrow spoke to the Muslim Congress in Dallas, before the major Shi’a scholars of North America, the UK and Iran, and received an overwhelming response. Many had never before heard of the Covenants of the Prophet. Subsequently he received a phone call from Shaykh Shamshad, who informed him that the Shi’ite scholars had come to the conclusion that the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad were guarded by Allah so that they could be rediscovered at the critical moment in Islamic history: now.
~~ Fr. Justin of St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai e-mailed Dr. Morrow with the following message: “The Holy Council of the Fathers here at Saint Catherine’s Monastery….expressed sympathy for your work.”
~~ We are told by Shaykh Habib ‘Ali al-Jifri that the Sufis of Yemen are behind us, and have also received support from Sayyid Yousif al-Khoei from the Khoei Foundation in London; Shaykh Shabbiri, Shaykh Mohammed Baig and Shaykh Shamshad Haider from the Muslim Congress; Shaykh Ali ibn Abi Talib from California; and Shaykh Rasul from Washington, D.C.
~~ Sohaib Sultan, Muslim chaplain of Princeton University, authored an article mentioning Dr. Morrow and his book, which appeared on the TIME Magazine website:
~~ The Covenants of the Prophet were mentioned (though with reference to neither Dr. Morrow nor the Covenants Initiative) in an article on Alex Jones’ Infowars website, on the Fox TV network, and also by the activist/hacker group Anonymous.
~~ The Shi’a of Britain presented the Covenants to a convocation of Catholic bishops.
~~ A copy of the book was sent to Prince Charles in response to his letter of support to the Chaldean Christians.
~~ A SIGNIFICANT EVENT was the In Defense of Christians Summit that took place in September in Washington, D.C. It was apparently conceived as an opportunity for American Neo-Conservatives, in this era of ISIL, to co-opt the Eastern Orthodox Christians, many of whose patriarchs were present. Senator Ted Cruz (R.-Texas) made a speech in which he said “Christians have no better friend in the world today than the State of Israel”. He was booed off stage, and retorted by saying: “if you won’t support Israel, then we won’t support you.” We learned of the event only the day before it began; nonetheless Gary Krupp of Pave the Way was able to circulate a message from us to some of the participants, which read in part: “We, the Muslims of the Covenants Initiative movement, place ourselves at your service and at the service of Christians, Jews and Muslims everywhere who are subject to terrorist attack. We have no power to protect those whose lives are in jeopardy but the written words of our Prophet, which any true Muslim must, and will, obey gladly; they are yours if you think you can use them.” Immediately before the event Gary told us: “So far I have responses from the Vatican Secretary of State, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, The Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. I will soon hear back from the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.”
~~ Dr. Morrow was asked to provide a statement to be read at the Welsh Senedd. He has received a tentative invitation to speak to the Australian Parliament, and also at a projected pan-Islamic conference which will hopefully take place in Mecca.
~~ Last but certainly not least, the well-established and well-connected organization Pave the Way, who have been trying for years to more widely disseminate knowledge of the Covenants of the Prophet, is planning an international publicity campaign for Dr. Morrow, the book, and the Covenants Initiative, including media interviews and speaking engagements at mosques. Members of Pave the Way have provided persons in the U.S. State Department with copies of the book, and have passed messages from us through channels to John Kerry and Barack Obama.
A message to us from Gary Krupp contained the following: “In case you are wondering why we are working so hard on this, we simply want to end the illegal use of God’s Holy Name. Because you are of like mind we want your book to be a best seller.”
II: E-MAIL TO ISNA
Dear Edgar Hopida,
I would like to propose that ISNA publicly adopt and sponsor the Covenants Initiative, which appears near the front of your copy of The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World by Dr. John Andrew Morrow. How could we turn this into a formal proposal to ISNA/US?
As we see it, this would be a perfect way for you to:
1) Help deflect the inevitable anti-Muslim backlash to the ISIL development, and
2) Give the Muslim leadership in the US a way to come out strongly against ISIS without necessarily favoring total global intervention, or Obama’s specific plan for such intervention. This is a dilemma we’re all caught in right now: How can there be a peace movement against military intervention when it’s clear that ISIS must be destroyed? But how can the world destroy ISIL without destroying the Mid-east in the process?
Adopting the Covenants Initiative would neatly allow ISNA to come out against ISIL in entirely Muslim terms, based on the actual written words of our Prophet, not simply by dancing to the tune of the U.S. or other western or regional governments, whatever it might be, thereby losing our independence and becoming what Dr. Morrow likes to call “the Uncle Tom ‘ulama.” The Initiative commits its signatories to no political position, only to the proposition that our Prophet has commanded us not to rob or attack or kill peaceful Christians.
III: EIGHT QUESTIONS RELATING TO FORMING ALLIANCES WITH CHRISTIANS FOR THE PURPOSE OF DIRECT ACTION
1) If you, as a Muslim, or your Muslim group, were approached by a Christian group and invited to participate in a demonstration against ISIL, how would you feel?
2) Would you worry that you might be seen as the enemy by some Christians, that your sincerity might be questioned even if you expressed your sympathy and solidarity?
3) Would you feel pressured to participate based on a fear that if you declined, you would be seen as supporting ISIL by default?
4) Would you fear that other Muslims, though they might oppose ISIL, would see you as giving too much precedence to the Christians and ignoring the suffering of Muslims in so many parts of the world?
5) Would you be afraid of reprisals from ISIL or their sympathizers?
6) What other difficulties do you foresee in the attempt to create a Muslim/Christian united front against ISIL?
7) What positive opportunities do you think that such a united front could and should take advantage of?
8) To your knowledge, what Christian/Muslim actions against ISIL have already occurred that might not have been well reported in all parts of the world?
Your answers will be extremely useful in any future attempt to create a grassroots Christian/Muslim united front against ISIL, one that would also work to expose the covert actions of any outside nation, Muslim or western, or any other entity, in support of ISIL and other Takfiri terrorists. And they will be of immediate use in helping the author of this report in his approach to Muslims and Christians in his home town of Lexington, Kentucky, USA, to explore the advisability of some local direct action.
Charles Upton (Sidi Akram)
for Dr. John Andrew Morrow
and the Covenants Initiative