Monday 18 August 2008

Do You Believe Islam is the Problem?

Ok, first the result of last week's poll.

Mutley won. In fact, on the basis of that poll, there's no point in even voting on legislation. Mutley holds every seat in the House of Commons.

Now on to this week's issue.
The war on terror.

What REALLY is it all about?

Because there are a good many people out there who see it in simple terms. A simple enemy. This is the war between the secular West and Militant Islam.

But is it? Or is not more a series of co-incidences?

It's happened before. Co-incidences. It happened in Germany in the thirties. Too many things to be blamed on one group of people. And it was all too easy to accept that simple explanation. That the Jews were all in cahoots, all plotting to bring down the western world.

During the cold war, they made it simple for us too. There was no independent struggle anywhere. Every human struggle anywhere took place in a cold war setting. So it didn't much matter who was right or wrong, the question was; Which side do the Russians back?

And so we didn't ask about the rights or wrongs of Israel. Because the PLO were part of the other side.
And we didn't ask about the rights and wrongs about a divided Ireland, because the IRA were Marxists, backed by Soviet funds.
And we could prop up Apartheid on the quiet, because the ANC were suspect allies of the soviet union.
It took the fall of the Berlin wall to end Apartheid. If that wall hadn't have come down, Mandela would never have walked free. We no longer needed to back Fascists any more.
It didn't matter what a tinpot dictator did, only whether the CIA or the KGB kept him in power.

And now they miss the Soviet Union.
What can we do without that evil empire sitting over there?
How do we scare the people into unthinking submission?

We tap deep into the western subconscious.
We tap into fear.
Richard the lionheart, sword heroically raised over the battlements of Acre, surrounded by those cruel Saracens with their curved swords.

Fear the infidel and his cruel prophet.

Islam, the cruel religion. The world faces a choice once more; freedom or barbarism.
And the foot soldiers of the new dark age are amongst us. They are your dark skinned neighbours.

And some of you reading this, believe this in your heart of hearts.

Ok. First let's have a look at some actual religious texts.

'the seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.'

'And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.'

'So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.'

The Quran?
No, this is the Bible. Calmly advocating mass slaughter. Advocating the slaughter of indigenous peoples so the Jews can seize their land. And don't tell me these passages haven't been used by Christians to justify their actions; they have. And some in Israel today no doubt see these passages as being fulfilled anew today.


'We gave the Scriptures to the Israelites and bestowed on them wisdom and prophethood.
On the Day of Resurrection your Lord Himself will judge their differences.
Therefore call men to the true faith...say: I believe in all the scriptures that Allah has revealed. I am commanded to exercise justice....'

'Be courteous when you argue with the People of the Book [Bible], except with those among them who do evil. Say: We believe in that which is revealed to us and which was revealed to you. Our God and your God is one'

'The day will surely come when We shall summon every nation with its apostle. Those who are given their books in their right hands will read their recorded doings, and shall not in the least be wronged.
My Lord has forbidden all indecent acts, whether overt or disguised, sin, and wrongful oppression. . . .
Children of Adam, when apostles of your own come to proclaim to you My revelations, those that take warning and mend their ways will have nothing to fear or to regret .'

'As for those that have faith and do good works . . . We shall take away all hatred from their hearts.
If there are some among you who believe in my message and others who disbelieve it, be patient until Allah shall judge between us. He is the best of judges.¹
Moses fell down senseless, and when he came to himself said: Glory be to You! Accept my repentance. I am the first of believers.¹
He said: I have chosen you of all mankind to make known My messages and My commandments. Take therefore what I have given you, and be thankful.'

'Allah does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who have neither made war on your religion nor driven you from your homes. Allah loves the equitable.
Allah is forgiving and merciful.
To those who commit evil through ignorance and afterwards repent and mend their ways your Lord is forgiving and merciful.'

'If you punish, let your punishment be proportionate to the wrong that has been done you. But it shall be best for you to endure your wrongs with patience.
Tell the unbelievers that if they mend their ways their past shall be forgiven. . . .
If an idolater seeks asylum with you, give him protection so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and then convey him to safety. . . .
So long as they keep faith with you, keep faith with them. Allah loves the righteous.'

'Believers, Jews, Christians, and Sabaeans‹whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does what is right‹shall be rewarded by their Lord; they have nothing to fear or to regret.
Can you believe in one part of the Scriptures and deny another?'

'Mankind were once one nation. Then Allah sent forth prophets to give them good news and to warn them, and with these He sent down the Book with the truth, that it might judge the disputes of men.'

'In the Torah We decreed for them a life for a life, an eye for an eye . . . But if a man charitably forbears from retaliation, his remission shall atone for him. Transgressors are those that do not judge in accordance with Allah¹s revelations.
To those who have received the Scriptures and to the Gentiles say: Will you surrender yourselves to Allah?¹ If they become Muslims they shall be rightly guided; if they give no heed, then your only duty is to warn them.'

'To Moses We gave the Scriptures, a perfect code for the righteous, with precepts about all things, and a guide and a blessing, so that his people might believe in the ultimate meeting with their Lord. And now We have revealed this Book with Our blessings. Observe it and keep from evil, so that you may find mercy and not say: The Scriptures were revealed only to two sects before us [Jews and Christians]; we have no knowledge of what they read¹; or Had the Scriptures been revealed to us we would have been better guided than they.'

This is what the Quran ACTUALLY says.

So to say the Quran is in itself a violent book and that jihad is a natural extension of mainstream Islam is like saying the Conquistadors were sent forth by Christ; they weren't.

The argument that the problem is with the Islamic faith itself, just doesn't hold water.

It is undeniable that a canvas has been painted in which a guerrilla war is being waged against Western Democracy by Islamic fundamentalism.

How true is this?

Let's look at the elements of this terror theory, this glittering composite that scares us so much.

1. Bin Laden and Al Queda- witness, the Twin Towers.
2. Iraq. Well, it's a Muslim country. And Saddam Hussein wasn't a nice guy. Well, not a friend to the west anyway.
3. Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.
4. Iran.
5. Radical Islamism developing in the sink estates of Europe amongst second and third generation Muslims.

Look at this image fleetingly, you'll believe it.

But they're like binary stars. Look up at them, they may seem to be next to eachother. But that's only because of where you're standing. Fact is, they're hundreds of light years apart.

Let's start at the beginning. There is/was, a bloke called Bin Laden. And he had an organisation called Al Queda.
We know nothing about it really, except they lived in some caves and made the odd home video.
And they managed to destroy the Twin Towers.

Has it ever occurred to you that in fact, this vast terror network doesn't exist?
Show me any other Al Queda successes.
What they did that day was their shot. I doubt we'll ever again come across any discernible act of terrorism actually traceable to Bin Laden.

Bin laden is probably not some great terror mastermind.
They got a lucky break. And that was it. Their only break.

But I doubt Dubya wanted to stand up after the Armegeddon of September 11th and say 'It was done by a group of two hundred nutters living in some caves.'

No, a terror network looks better.
And it can be made to serve a purpose too.

Because his father left unfinished business on the Tigris. It's that little two fingered salute from the big fat mustachioed man that gives the lie to American global dominance.

And thus, Saddam Hussein, leader of the Ba'ath Arab Socialist party- a party that before Saddam Hussein turned it into his private family gathering, was committed to a united SECULAR Arab state, Saddam Hussein, hated by Islamic fundamentalists as their bitterest persecutor in the Middle East, was rebranded as the backer of Bin Laden.

Well we didn't have an Islamic fundamentalist state there then.
We'll have one in five years.

And of course, it gives yet another excuse to turn a blind eye to the modern apartheid state that is Israel and the fact that if they couldn't keep citing the holocaust as an excuse, the actions of that state would place it lower in international contempt than Zimbabwe.

And now Iran is the new representative of the Islamic terror.
Of course, that's only possible now Iraq has been cut to ribbons.

Even Dubya and Blair couldn't sell us the idea that Iran and Iraq were in cahoots. Though they tried.
And remember when Dubya tried to drag Cuba in?

Yes, Fidel Castro, that well known regular at the Finsbury Mosque...

Ah, but what about these home grown terrorists?

Being recruited on our very doorsteps?

Ok. Recruited by whom? Because it certainly ain't Al Queda.

Recruited, yes, by other poorly educated Muslims in the belief we ourselves have created that a war is raging between Democracy and Islam.

We've told them they're the enemy. Are we surprised they decide to be the enemy?

Poverty and unemployment are higher amongst Europe Muslim communities than amongst any other immigrant communities.

It is poverty that binds them together. Just as poor whites on sink estates flock to the BNP, the Front Nationale and other racist groups across Europe, their darker skinned opposites do the same.

It's not about religion; its about alienation and poverty.

What we have is a few unrelated anti-colonial reactions and some disenfranchised communities in the west.

Anti-colonial, yes. Because by historical coincidence, it is largely the Muslim world which fell last to the monolith of globalisation.

And it hasn't quite fallen yet.

So it's not Islam that the west is fighting.
It's just people objecting to McDonalds and Walmart being forced down their throat.

The War on Terror is a lie.

It isn't Islam that's the problem.

It's the failure of the infrastructure western leaders control to truly deliver that is the problem.

This isn't about religion.

It's the start of the rebellion of the global underclasses.

But don't take my word for it.

Vote on it.
Poll in the sidebar.

Have your say!


Anonymous said...

Agreed. Not Islam that's the problem. Just that the Quran isn't available in the local language, and most Muslims can't learn Arabic well enough to understand it properly. So it's like the Catholic Church of olden days; the people go to the mosque, where they get taught how to think and how to act. The religious leaders are the political leaders (they DO stand for elections and win), so Islam works for them :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this perspective and for eve's comments.

The state of Muslims in the West is not at all uniform. In the U.S. the Muslim community looks a lot different than the counterparts in the U.K., Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

The Muslim community in the U.S. is incredibly mainstream. With the exception of the convicted Imam from NYC for the first World Trade Center bombing, there haven't been any firebrands within the U.S. Muslim community.

The highjackers responsible for 9/11 weren't home-grown boys. They came to the U.S. to carry out their plans.

Despite this fact, the U.S. government still acts with a split personality when dealing with the American Muslim community and this could create an extemist fringe where none existed before.

On the one hand the government praises Muslims and Islam as peaceful, but on the other hand they spend untold amounts of money tracking law-abiding Muslims, conducting FBI interviews of people guilty of nothing more than being discernably Muslim and scoping out mosques.

Over time this strategy will alienate Muslims and then they'll have created the problem they were seeking to solve.

The gross human rights violations at Camp X-Ray and GITMO and elsewhere are, collectively, another factor that needs to be considered.

How do you expect people to feel when you round up those who look like them on that basis (the way they look) and on the basis of their religion and then subject them to torture? These messages and these gross human rights violations are just fuel for a potential fire.

Lastly - there are a lot of Muslims in the U.S. who don't espouse radical/violent ideologies. These folks are insiders (mosque leadership) and outsiders (those who don't actively participate). The insiders don't allocate the time and resources needed to develop and execute a healthy strategy of genuine community building with the non-Muslim neighbors. They're too pre-occupied by building prettier mosques and stroking their own sense of power.

The outsiders (usually the younger Muslims) not only do not espouse the radical ideologies, but they also despise (or some lesser but still potent sentiment) the current leadership for their culturally influenced, poorly managed and self-serving programs. They therefore do not associate with the Muslim establishment.

This creates a vacuum. The majority does not espouse radicalism but its not positioned to address the misperception.

Why don't the younger generations do something about the problem - start their own institutions, speak out and so on?

They do, but their scale is too small to be noticed. Furthermore, they're attention is diverted to the human rights abuses and civil liberties crisis and also the broader struggles of people outside the Muslim world.

The war on terror is not a war between the West and Islam. You've made great points in your post on this issue.

But the perceptions, as you pointed out, cannot be denied. Muslims need to confront them head on.

It sucks that Muslims who've done nothing wrong need to defend themselves, but that's life! Life isn't perfect, right? Muslims need to get out there and speak up and others, like Crushed by Ingsoc, need to help out.

Thanks for listening!
Junaid Afeef

Anonymous said...

Crushed. Firstly. If you are feeling nostalgic for the cold war then It looks like the Russians are going a little cold war retro, reminding the Poles they are at ground zero.. you like music think Ray Charles’ ‘Georgia on my mind’

I am all for doing my best to try to see the world as it is. But you maybe seem to be missing some of the reason why some westerners do tend to see Islam in the terms you are questioning.

It is for sure that there are those who espouse Islam, who also see the world in the terms you are arguing against.

They are the ones who crashed planes into the world trade centre. They are the ones who blew up the London metro/tube trains and bus. They are the ones who blew up those Spanish trains. They are the ones who exploded bombs in clubs in Bali, etc. etc.

And they don’t just exist randomly on their own. They need support, and support structures to supply them with equipment, to cover the costs, to provide training, safe houses.

So maybe not all tigers are man-eaters, but…

I do agree that without other smarter, nastier, people programming otherwise often ill educated gullible people, who have been discouraged from thinking for themselves none of that would probably have happened. Though you have to be reasonably bright to become a MD. So what about the guys who tried to blow up the London clubs or Glasgow airport?

Even smart people can refuse to look at things, think them through properly.

It is not something exclusively restricted to Islam at all though. You can find it in lots of religions and isms.

This is just the latest instance. Until people learn to think for themselves. Think about why they think the things we will not be rid of it.


Anonymous said...

bang on.

ever read Jihad v. McWorld by Benjamin Barber? or Clash of the Fundamentalisms by Tariq Ali? based on this post I think you'd enjoy those.

Anonymous said...

Interesting Post. Interesting comments too especually JunaidAfeef and Moggs Tigerpaw

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, if the US spent the billions they spent on the Iraq war on development, they are going to help solve the problem..almost.
Violence is not a problem, violence is the outcome of problems.
Also, as a Muslim, I believe that Muslims are affected by fundmentalism and terrorism more than Westerns. I mean look at Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia etcccc They were bombed several times. Terrorism killed over 200,000 in Algeria alone.
We also need to take more responsibility for terrorism in the sense that we need to realize that it's affecting us more than Americans and others. We need to take action and fighting terrorism is going to come from within, America's war on terror is a failure with a capital F.