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American Politics, Terrorism and Islam: Part 4
by Dr. Habib Siddiqui
2008-06-22 08:53:32
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Islam and Terrorism - Is there a relation? 

These days Islam is equated with terrorism. There is little doubt that this mendacious campaign against Islam has gotten a tremendous boost after 9/11. Who can also forget the images of the "suicide bombers" in the Occupied Palestine? Then there were the bombings in Bali and Madrid, and hostage crises in Moscow and Beslan, the London Underground bombings and the car bombing in front of the Danish Embassy in Islamabad - enough to sideline root cause analysis in favor of dealing with symptoms.

With the western media's uncanny appetite for violence, yellow journalism and preference to show incidents where Muslims are probable culprits, the overwhelming perception in the West is that if you are looking for a terrorist just focus on Muslims (esp. Arabs), you don't have to profile anyone else. Naturally, the obsessed western corporate media won’t spend time discussing: why a very small minority within the Muslim community has now taken up arms against the West, the Goliath that it has become; why there were the so-called Black Widows terrorizing Russia; why in Iraq today there is the presence of al-Qaeda, something that was non-existent during Saddam Hussein's time; why there is resurgent insecurity and turmoil in the Horn of Africa after a period of relative peace, rule of law and order; why the once stone-throwing Palestinian children have now turned into suicide bombers? They won't relate the fact that the Palestinians are fighting as victims of dispossession against the combined might of a much superior, sadistic and brutal Israel and her western patrons – most notably the USA; it is they that face ethnic cleansing, daily persecution and not the Israeli Jews.

So pervasive is this negative perception about Islam these days that no political leader in the West, especially in the USA, can elude giving 'expert' opinions as to how he/she would deal with this absurd notion of Islamic terrorism, the 21st century's 'greatest' challenge. In this context, who can forget what John Ashcroft, former U.S. Attorney General, said about Islam? Nor should we also forget what the Bavarian Pope Benedict said exposing Christianity's deep rooted and ubiquitous hatred of Islam.

Atheists have killed in the name of atheistic ideologies. And Christians have killed in the name of God or religion, as have Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs, Baha'is and others. And yet none of these religions (including Judaism) with its own colossal record of violence is accused of promoting terrorism. In places like Israel the terrorist activities of Jewish extremist groups are no less criminal and violent than those unleashed by some Muslim terrorists today. The Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda has killed 100,000 people. Yet, no one would dare condemn Christianity for the LRA's terrorism. None would even consider anti-choice Christian terrorists James Kopp and Eric Robert Rudolph as representatives of Christianity in spite of their horrendous crimes in the USA that were motivated by Christianity.

So, the attempt to blame Islam for the activities of Al-Qaeda only unmasks the deplorable hypocrisy of those critics, and should be construed as an utterly hostile and disingenuous one.

More importantly, no one has had the audacity to implicate the founders of these religions for crimes of their followers. However, when it comes to Islam, there is a new rule in play! Not only is Islam equated with terrorism even its noble Prophet is also implicated (see the Danish cartoons). I am not sure if these critics are aware of the fact that if they are looking for justification of violence they don't have to look outside their own scriptures. Those holy books have plenty of verses which can be exploited (and have sometimes been used) by chauvinists and zealots to justify violence against unbelievers.

It is said that Osama bin Laden (OBL) has openly called for killing Crusading Christians and Jews. But so have many Christians and Jews against Muslims over the last 14 centuries. In a letter to the Israeli defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, published on Sept. 7, 2004, a group of 14 prominent rabbis said killing enemy civilians is "normal" during time of war and that the Israeli occupation army should never hesitate to kill non-Jewish civilians in order to save Jewish lives. The rabbis quoted a Talmudic edict, from the ancient "sage," Rabbi Akiva, as stating: 'Our lives come first.'" Another Rabbi Yaacov Perrin had permitted wanton massacre of Palestinians by saying, "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."

In spite of such utterances from religious authorities, very few would dare equate Judaism with terrorism. Why a different yardstick for Islam, especially when OBL is not a religious authority?

The accusation of Muslim terrorism by critics is like turning the tables with a reprisal when one recalls that not a Muslim was left alive in Spain or Sicily or Apulia, and that not a Muslim was left alive and not a mosque left standing in Greece after the great rebellion in l821 (even to this day there is not a single mosque in Athens). In the Greek War of Independence in 1811, three hundred thousand Muslims - men and women and children - the entire Muslim population of the Morea without exception, as well as many thousands in the northern parts of Greece - were atrociously exterminated. Just in last two decades alone, we have witnessed slaughter of nearly half a million unarmed Muslims in genocidal campaigns in former Yugoslavia and the break-away Republic of Chechnya in southern Russia. Add to this list the slaughter of nearly a million Iraqi and Afghan civilians since 2001, another half a million Iraqi children (below the age of 5) during the Clinton era due to the imposition of Embargo, another two to four hundred thousand Iraqis during Bush Sr.'s campaign – "the Desert Storm" (1990-91), and another two million Afghans during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. We shouldn't also forget about the daily state terrorism faced by millions of Muslims in places like Kashmir, the Arakan, Mindanao Islands and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the hands of the Indian, Myanmar, the Philippines and Israeli governments, respectively, for more than half a century.

Interestingly, many of these acts of state terrorism, resulting in deaths of millions of Muslims, were (and continues in certain part of our world to be) perpetrated by governments with a religious soul! Some of the instigators, planners, generals and heads of these states boasted that they were doing those 'godly' acts for preservation of their "national/cultural/religious" values, protection of their territories from the 'onslaught' of Islam, and being even whispered by a Higher Power.

We shouldn't also forget that the last two great wars of western civilization that resulted in deaths of tens of millions of civilians were not started by Muslims. If the "civilized" world cannot condemn Christianity for such crimes it has no moral higher ground to condemn Islam for al-Qaeda's WTC attack and the Chechen hostage-taking in Beslan. If the "civilized" world cannot condemn Judaism for the Jewish state's rampant and indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon that continues to kill and maim civilians, it would be downright hypocritical to condemn Islam for suicide attacks by dispossessed Palestinian youths.

Moreover, as has been duly noted before, the tactics used by today's Muslim fighters or terrorists are no different than those employed by the Jewish leaders during the British Mandate of Palestine. We shouldn't also dodge the fact that the total death count brought about by these individual terrorist acts pales by comparison with those of state governments. However, the "civilized" world has learned to overlook such gruesome crimes of the state, as the playwright Arthur Miller once wrote, "The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied."

As to the western media's preferential reporting of Muslim acts of violence, while more atrocious state terrorism is under-reported, John Pilger, the renowned investigative journalist and documentary film-maker, bemoaned the fact that when on September 7, 2004, Palestinian suicide bombers killed 16 Israelis in the town of Beersheba every television news report marked the end of a five-month period of "relative peace and calm" and "a lull in the violence". They forgot to tell us that "during those five months of relative peace and calm, almost 400 Palestinians were killed, 71 of them in assassinations. During the lull in the violence, more than 73 Palestinian children were killed." Let's do the math: 16 against 400, that's - 4%. Why that 4% crime statistics becomes the headline news while the hefty 96% is hidden under the rug?

One wonders who is terrorizing whom! However, in the western vocabulary such barbarous acts by their governments against unarmed Muslim civilians are considered to be non-terrorist acts.

The ultimate question in this regard is: does Islam justify and/or promote terrorism?

Islam categorically condemns terrorism of all sorts, individual and state, maintaining that the killing of one innocent human being is like killing the entire human race. (Qur'an 5:32) Those who commit such crimes are doomed for hell. From the very beginning, the Prophet of Islam and the early Islamic Caliphs laid out definitive rules stipulating that unarmed civilians, even during a war, cannot be attacked. This clause alone is sufficient to prove that Islam has a higher moral ground than both Judaism and Christianity whose Rabbis and Priests approve not only preemptive strikes against the enemy but also condone violent acts against unarmed civilians.

An objective and unbiased analysis would also show that not a single Muslim state (outside Sudan) today can be accused of state terrorism, something that cannot be said about some non-Muslim countries like the USA, the UK, Serbia, Russia, Burma, Sri Lanka, China, India and Israel, just to name a few.

Islam condemns suicide considering it a grave sin, with its perpetrator, according to Islamic Traditions, becoming a denizen of hell.

So why the suicide bombing, which has become a trademark of many individual terrorists in the post-9/11 period? The answer is provided by Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political scientist. In a study of suicide terrorism from 1980 to 2001, he found that, of the 188 separate attacks he identified, 179 could have their roots traced to large, coherent political or military campaigns. He also noted that "there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any religion for that matter. In fact, the leading instigator of suicide attacks is the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a Marxist-Leninist group whose members are from Hindu families but who are adamantly opposed to religion (they have committed 75 of the 188 incidents)."

Terrorism is anti-thesis of Islam, the latter in general preaching love, mercy and peace as against hatred, cruelty and chaos, which are salient features of terrorism. Terrorism is hopeless and derives its strength from nihilism within the very society where it emerges, while Islam is about hope and love. The phrase - Islamic terrorism - is, thus, an oxymoron, nurtured by governments, groups and agencies to license their own atrocities and brutalities against Muslim masses.

In reviewing false charges of violence lodged against Islam and its Prophet, Karen Armstrong commented, "Far from being addicted to warfare, Islam insists on the importance of peace. The message of the Qur’an is a plural vision; it respects and values other traditions."

The conclusion drawn by veteran journalist John Pilger was no different. He said, "Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have been its victims - that is, the victims of American fundamentalism, whose power, in all its forms, military, strategic and economic, is the greatest source of terrorism on earth." (New Statesman, September 17, 2001).

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Emanuel Paparella2008-06-22 09:55:36
True to form Dr. Siddiqui who seems uninsterested in discussing any opinion that differs from his own, gives us only one side of the coin. Nowhere in this article is the root cause of Islam fallacy even hinted at: that a theocracy will almost inevitable support a war against people who are perceived as the enemies of God; that Mahommed used to go around with 600 armed bodyguards, that he spread his message by the sword, that his first military victory was achieved during a truce.

Emanuel Paparella2008-06-22 09:59:16
P.S. The above is the kind of article which begins with a question but from the very first lines one gets the distinct impression that Dr. Siddiqui already knows the answer to the question he poses. Such are the tactics of propagandists and demagogues, hardly of scholars.

Akli Hadid2008-06-22 18:54:49
"They won't relate the fact that the Palestinians are fighting as victims of dispossession against the combined might of a much superior, sadistic and brutal Israel and her western patrons – most notably the USA; it is they that face ethnic cleansing, daily persecution and not the Israeli Jews."
Well if Israelis had any attempt at ethnic cleansing in the P.A., there were 400,000 Palestinians in 1948, and 4,000,000 today. In that case, Israel failed miserably.

Ramesh Naidoo2008-06-23 22:28:20
Dear Colleague,

It is a pleasure to share with you an Unpublished Historical Exhibit - Aurangzeb, as he was according to Mughal Records - based on Historical Research and Documents provided by the Bikaner Museum Archives, Rajasthan, India.

Kindly view online exhibition at http://according-to-mughal-records.blogspot.com/

You are welcome to share this interesting exhibit with your friends and associates.

He was a true tyrant and historical records have now proven it.

Best Regards

Ramesh N.

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