Who says it's not a war on Islam?

by Abid Ullah Jan
(abidjan2@psh.paknet.com.pk)

Weekly Nida-e-Khilafat www.tanzeem.org

It is painful to watch old news-reels of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini making speeches and crowds cheering. Mussolini's posturing seems so transparent that one wonders how adults could have taken him seriously. With Hitler, what comes across is crude, passionate intensity and the rapture of his audiences, sharing his feelings, with minds turned off. What is chilling is knowing how many tens of millions of human beings lost their lives because of these almost musical-comedy performances. The seemingly shallow stuff can have deep roots as well as deep consequences. Few things today are more shallow than the reasons most people have for supporting Bush and Blair war on "terrorism" and accepting their claims that it is not a war on Islam. To understand if it is a war on Islam, we need to honestly and impartially scan the horizon since 1990.

Apart from the massive air strikes, commando raids and a prolonged "dirty war" against Islamic movements, the police repression, deportation, torture, censorship and death squads that we are certainly going to face are certainly not planned after the September 11 attacks. The US "war on terror" is no more than translation to the physical level, of the systematic approach that started with (1) introduction of the rancid notion of "Islamic fundamentalism," (2) classification of Islam; (3) equating "fundamentalism" with extremism and then terrorism; (4) removal of governments, like Mr. Erbakan in Turkey, for having affiliations with Islam (5) support of governments' cracking down on "Islamic extremists" such as Egyptian and Algerian regimes; (6) development of agendas for government's like Musharraf; (6) initially supporting the Taliban and then demonising them to show the world the failure of Islam. The coming physical horror is simply execution of the judgments passed by the western intellectuals upon Islam in the past decade or so.

Just have a look at how the ground has been prepared for the coming "dirty war." Musharraf came to "moderate" religious schools and take Jihad related Quranic verses from school curricula in 2001. However, the Economist sensed "The Islamic Threat" way back in its March 13, 1993 edition whereby it declared: "It is the mightiest power in the Levant...Governments tremble before it. Arabs everywhere turn to it for salvation from their various miseries. This power is not Egypt, Iraq, or indeed any nation, but the humble mosque." Mosques would probably be the next targets after dealing with madrassa. Similarly, since the establishment of Israel, no one had talked about "fundamentalism," yet Yitzhak Rabin suddenly started calling the world in December 1992, "to devote its attention to the greater danger inherent in Islamic fundamentalism. [W]e stand on the line of fire against the danger of fundamentalist Islam."

Mr. Bush with a slip of tongue tells his mind in 2001 by describing the US recent missions in the lands of Islam as "crusade." Peter Rodman, senior editor of the National Review, however, saw in 1992 that the West being challenged from the outside by a "militant, atavistic force driven by a hatred of all Western political thought, harking back to age-old grievances against Christendom....the rage against us is too great..." (May 11, 1992). Charles Krauthammer summed up the expected resistance by the Islamic civilisation to the hegemonic designs of the US in one word: "Global Intifada," (Washington Post January 1, 1993).  He tried to suggest that the world is now "facing a mood and a movement...a perhaps irrational but surely historic reaction of an ancient rival against our Judaeo-Christian heritage, our secular present, and the worldwide expansion of both." The New York Times went one step ahead and confirmed on January 21st, 1996: "The Red Menace Is Gone. But Here's Islam." The open war against it, however, had to be delayed until a perfect excuse like the September 11 attacks.

Intellectuals like Samuel P. Huntington played a key role in making Islam an enemy of choice. He declared: "Islam is the only civilisation which has put the survival of the West in doubt." Web page of the Montclair State University in New Jersey reads: "The West today is losing irretrievably its former global hegemony and is increasingly challenged economically and culturally by East Asian and Islamic civilisations." Irving Kristol, Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in the Wall Street Journal, editorial August 2, 1996:  "With the end of the Cold War, what we really need is an obvious ideological and threatening enemy, one worthy of our mettle, one that can unite us in opposition."

Bernard Lewis In his influential essay, "The Roots of Muslim Rage," writes: "Islamic fundamentalism has given an aim and a form to the otherwise aimless and formless resentment and anger of the Muslim masses" (Atlantic, September 99). Islamic "fundamentalism," according to Amos Perlmutter (Insight in the News, February 15, 1993), is "a plague" which has infected the entire Islamic world and whose goal is to topple secularist military regimes in Egypt, Syria and Algeria and replace them with [unacceptable] Islamic states."

Daily Express, ran an article "Islam Is a Creed of Cruelty" on January 16, 1995, which concluded that the spectre of Islamic fundamentalism was haunting Europe and the world power should enter into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre. The underlying assumption has always been that Islam is primitive, underdeveloped, retrograde, at best stuck in the memory hole of a medieval splendour out of which it could not disentangle itself without a radical transformation; and this could only be based on Western, "rational", "progressive" values. The long proposed "holy alliance" is now in making.

A above mentioned examples show that during the past 11-12 years systematic efforts have been directed to relegated Islam from its holistic perspective, encompassing all facets of human conduct and behaviour to a mere set or rituals, something what the west has done to Christianity itself. According to Lt-Col Trinka of US Army, "[Muslims] must work to fashion the shariah into a modern blue print for change." In a similar vein, one of the CIA experts counselled that those Muslims who do not believe that world of God is law, should be found and supported. "The Arab rulers," he thinks, "have to create a new identity of [Muslim] seductively fusing Islam and the West."

This so-called expert added:  "Though the Saudi rulers may be guilty of ugly authoritarian behaviour and consistent stupidity in foreign affairs, they are at least fervent hypocrites, and that [in] Middle East Affairs, a fervent hypocrite is always safer than a fervent puritan." He had the audacity to make such humiliating remark because there was truth in it. These are in fact general policy guidelines that we see in operation during lifting of democracy related sanctions against Pakistan and visit of the British Prime Minister who could not bear an undemocratic government in Pakistan at any cost.

Over the last decade the western propaganda successfully divided Muslim into "Moderates," "Liberals" and "Fundamentalists" for whom there is no basis or justification in Islam. There has been no definition offered even in the Western propaganda. Salman Rushdie, however, lists in his October 2, article in Washington Post what he believes fundamentalists are against: "homosexuals, pluralism, secularism, short skirts, dancing, evolution theory, sex." He believes such "fundamentalists are tyrants, not Muslims...yes, even the short skirts and dancing -- are worth dying for." He further argues, "kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, cutting-edge fashion, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love," should matter and "these will be our weapons." The moderates among us should decide for themselves as to what kind of Islam allows kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, homosexuality, etc.

Besides mass propaganda, efforts were underway to support Hosnie Mubarak like regimes for their crackdown on Islamic opposition and remove Erbakan like elected governments for exactly the same reasons for which the US wants to support religious groups in China. With false propaganda, the Taliban have been demonised to the extent that even majority of the Muslims who have never set a foot on the Afghan soil to verify the grand lies, speak in the anti-Taliban, CNNised language. The US has established that a country can never be ruled with Islamic principles. Now the war is only left to be carried out by individual Muslim countries by collecting information on its citizens as to who is involved with the banned religious parties, who is the extremist, how to arrest and try the fundamentalism and if necessary remove them from the scene.

Apart from the above-mentioned factors, the US, UK recent moves are part of an undeclared war on Islam because:

1. Jonathan Steele, Ewen MacAskill, Richard Norton-Taylor and Ed Harriman  reported on September 22, 2001 in the Guardian that attacks on Afghanistan were planned before September 11. The US planned the attacks as soon as it considered it's demonising the Taliban project as complete.

2. Islam is the only challenge to American hegemony with its claims to be a complete code of life with panacea for ills in economic, political, moral and spiritual systems, and thus only Islam can pose a threat to the civilisation considered superior by the West.

3. The West reasons that the source of terrorism is not its terrorism but Islamic teachings and history. Naturally, the real campaign is against the teachings of Islam from the original sources at Madrassa. Mustafa Kamal destroyed Islamic teachings 85 years ago in Turkey and dried up the swamp. We however are expected to follow the suit sooner than later.

4. The US is planning to impose its brand of democracy or autocracy - whichever may be suitable -- on Muslim countries by force.  The US put forward many symbolic personalities over the years to undermine the roots of Islam. These advocates preach unconditional assimilation into, support of, sympathy toward, and whole-hearted participation in the social and political system espoused by the US.

5. Transmissions of BBC and CNN testify to the fact that it is a war on Islam. On their part they put forward unqualified individuals or groups as representatives of Islam who may be unethical, deviants, or outright heretics from the religion with no subjective measures being used to ascertain the qualifications of such people. Rushdie's recent article in the Washington Post is an excellent example. They present Islamic Shariah as antiquated, irrelevant, authoritarian, unsophisticated, and limited.

6. By making public statements like: Taliban are not the real Muslims, the American leaders, like Karl Inderfurth, have long been creating a nationalistic or ethnic view and approach to Islam, or more accurately, creating a new religion that cannot truly be called Islam but rather has some outward aspects of it. It will certainly be one that would not pose a challenge to the US domination or offer anything that will make Islam seen as a viable alternative to the US uni-polar world.

7. The evidence suggests that it is the US government that has been playing a leading role in the media crusade against Islam. As early as fall 1994, PBS aired a documentary by journalist Steve Emerson Titled "Jihad in America." Evidence within the programme suggests that Emerson has access to official government intelligence.  Some clips appear to be from home videos confiscated from Muslims in FBI sweeps. A decade of this kind of programming has set the climate for a war on Islam.

The facts do not change with the denials of Bush and Balir. The strength of Islam lies in the fact that despite having far less military and economic power, the western war-makers do not have the courage to declare it an open war on Islam. They would certainly fail as long as they want to cover their ulterior motives and undermine Islam under the guise of looking for "infinite Justice." Ending terrorism through eradicating its root causes may not take more than a few months. However, defeating Islam may cost them many generations before finally realising that it was a wrong war.

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