4). Fear

Well before 9/11, many analysts were concerned with rising Islamophobia in the media, academia and politics. They thought promotion of the “clash of civilization” theories would lead to a war on Islam, and so they did.

The warlords in Washington themselves do their people the most damage when they allow fear to govern freedom.  Such was the case during the Vietnam War, when policymakers relied on a vague hunch that Communist oppression, if unopposed in Vietnam, would topple one Southeast Asian nation after another in an unstoppable "domino effect."  The US thus inflicted devastating expenses, in both financial and human terms, upon both itself and Southeast Asia, and yet failed to change the outcome for the better because there was no such thing to happen in the first place.

If it were not for fear, the US would never have garnered even the little support that it did for the war on Iraq and Afghanistan. It would sustain this march of folly only with the help of generating more and more fear of Islam under different rancid notions, such as political Islam, Islamism, and Islamic terrorism.

It is very easy to convince those who are still living in denial that this is a war on Islam. The Taliban had not invaded any other country on the basis of lies and outright deception. They had not occupied any country to change a people’s way of life. They didn’t want to impose a governing system on a people ten thousand miles away with the barrel of a gun.

All they were doing was to run their country accordingly to the principles of Islam. There is no denying the fact that their ways of doing so were not perfect but only those are responsible for the Taliban’s imperfection, who didn’t recognize them; didn’t help in their capacity building for governance, and didn’t support them in refining the alternative governance model only for fear of Islam.[26]

However, here we need to understand the difference between fear and self-preservation. It is not that many consider the American self-preservation as a "fearful" action. In that case a great many fearful actions could be called normal and reasonable self-preservation. Actually the most condemned Taliban were doing nothing but self-preservation.

If fear in this sense is different from cowardice and if even the bravest people and nations try to preserve themselves, why should the Muslim world not feel it is a war on Islam, when they are attacked on all fronts through many different kinds of coalitions — military, social and economic at the forefront.  If for the US, not taking appropriate actions to preserve itself against Khruschev’s threat to "bury" free nations, would have been foolish; then why should Muslims not consider it a war on Islam, when Bush and Powell use the word “crusade”;[27] name their artillery systems as crusader;[28] the Italian prime minister declares that Western is a “superior civilization”; and the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman clearly declares that “we want a war within Islam”? What else could be a war on Islam?

Almost everyone in the US agrees that the Vietnam experience did not work out as the US had hoped. So was the US experience in many other places around the world, where it claims to have been “successful in opposing Soviet and Chinese military adventures.” Even with the Communist in power in those places, and without killing millions of condemned Communists, the result on the ground would not have been too different today.

The same is true of its fear of Muslims living by Islam in an Islamic State. The media has turned Islam and the concept of an Islamic State into a specter, whereas in reality, the situation would not be much different if instead of secular leaders, Erbakan rules Turkey, and instead of dictator Hosnie Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood leads Egypt in international affairs.

Muslim writers, outspoken critics of American policies and activists working for establishing Islamic State are being terrorized, arrested, tortured and even killed in Muslim countries and abroad these days.

Likewise, the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s, invading private individuals' privacy and persecuting them for their political beliefs, was intended to root out Communist sympathizers in America; instead, its harshness and meanness sent a message that intensified the radicalism of young Americans years later.  In 1973, in the name of security and stability, American law enforcement agents aided in the assassination of Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile, for fear of his politics. So goes the story of the American Shah of Iran and the denial of power to FIS in Algeria.

Fear inspired the US excessive aggression in Vietnam, and fear has inspired excessive cowardice that resulted in unprecedented bloodbath in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fear demands more invasions.[29]  Fear is unflattering when observed on the face of the world's mightiest nation, and it is a bad guide for policy. 
 
5). The Culture of Violence
 
Although American political thinkers commonly parrot the convenient dogma that democracies are peace loving, but the persistent culture of violence forced many analysts to believe that it is one of the root causes for a war on Islam. The simple reason is that this kind of violent mindset keeps a people on the look for an enemy and Islam became a handy scapegoat. 

The US remains the most radical and violent country on earth.  America remains the world's largest exporter of weapons, including the massive sales of land mines that have now been scattered by tyrants and murderers to the four corners of the Earth.  From its early days of using deceit and slaughter against Mexicans and Indians as a tool, the mass killings in Iraqi cities show that America's military has grown to become the world's most monstrous organization — which is exactly what it wants to be.

Religious fervor as displayed by military commanders on the ground has become fuel on fire.[30] And the media intensifies this fire with showering praises[31] on Gen. Boykin for his calling US army a “Christian army” and declaring that radical Islamists hated the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian ... and the enemy is a guy named Satan."[32]

Internally, America has become a place to which Spain -- once known as the land of the Inquisition -- now hesitates to extradite suspected terrorists because Spain no longer has the stomach for the death penalty.  Externally, it has become a warrior with whom off- springs of the inquisitors hesitate to join a new crusade on Islam.

In the pre-September 11 America, gun death rate far exceeded that of any other industrialized nation; it was nearly three hundred times higher than the rate in Japan.  America was a place in which police officers could be videotaped kicking and beating  unarmed men (such as Rodney King) hitting them more than fifty times with their nightsticks, and yet the police officers could be found not guilty of assault.

It was a land in which people sharing the victim’s race can best express their outrage by launching riots that killed fifty people and destroyed whole neighborhoods.

In the post-September 11 America, the situation has gone from bad to worse, particularly for Muslims. September 11, gave the US authorities a perfect justification to open a new front in the war on Islam. Muslims have become 21st Century Jews in America in particular.

Violence and human rights abuse in the US is taken for granted, whereas the violence of others is exaggerated not only to help the American media corporations to profit from dwelling upon it, but also to pave the way for needless US interventions abroad.  The TV networks show violence, in the US and elsewhere, not because violence is the opposite of what Americans want for the world, but because they want to justify the American presence in every nook and corner of the Muslim world. 

None of the media reporters or academic researchers has enough motivation to compare the daily death and carnage in Iraq and Sudan before calling it genocide in Sudan and liberation in Iraq.

The Americans are currently not torn by the same impulses that bother Muslims around the world.  On one hand, we are told not to believe that violence ever produces good; and on the other, Americans are told that most of the times it does. Generally, the most successful movies handle this by allowing the good American guys to win, and by portraying violence as something that stimulates patriotic passion, the feeling that the US is right, and that violence leads to the desired results. A movie that merely showed random death and destruction would probably not sell as many tickets as the one ending with victory for the good Americans and killing others for justice.

Pick up any article of the New York Times chief foreign correspondent, Thomas Friedman over the last two years and all he is advocating is more troops for Iraq, which means more violence to bring about “decent outcome.”

In Munich, the West made the mistake of being lazy in its dealings with Hitler.  In fact, the West praised Hitler and Mussolini as being bulwarks against Communism and this fact is known downplayed as ‘appeasement.’

The West paid dearly for this error.  There is no substitute for a concerned, proactive attempt to understand and address the legitimate rights and needs of people, whether in the Czechoslovakia of 1938 or in the Egypt of 2001.  An America that remembers this lesson of history may find that the world will love it for relying less upon its ability to destroy, and more upon its ability to create.
 
6). Authoritarianism
 
Islamic teachings are blamed for producing authoritarian regimes, which need to be bombed out and replaced with “liberal democracies” run by Musharraf, Karzai and Alawi. The fact, however, is that authoritarianism is the first principle America uses to run the government at home and keep direct and indirect occupations alive abroad.

Imposing authoritarian regimes was one of the major concerns for those who considered the US interference in the internal affairs of Muslim countries a war on Islam. The post 9/11 installing puppets in Afghanistan and Iraq and legitimizing dictators like Islam Karimov and Musharraf have further confirmed that the issue is not democracy or dictatorship. The issue is to keep forces working for Islamic revival in check through authoritarian regimes.

The world should recognize the difference between the “authoritarianism” associated with the thought and demand of an Islamic State, which “might” oppress its own subjects and the authoritarian United States and its client regimes that might eventually prefer to oppress anyone, who does not comply with the kind of system and way of life the US wants to impose.

The rule of law, as exemplified by the US, is a tyranny that not even the large majority of Americans can understand or afford; it is a velvet glove by which the steel fist of governmental power hopes, gently at first, to crush all who do not follow their orders exactly, to the letter. 

The fact remains that authoritarianism has never been the problem as long as it serves the US and its allies’ objectives of suppressing attempts to establish an alternative model of governance.
 
 
7). Separating Muslims from Islam
 
Every war begins with the identification of an enemy, planning, preparation, propaganda and then a declaration of war. The most threatening aspect of American efforts under the banner of combating terrorism is its separating Muslims from Islam. Half way through the campaign to dislodge the Taliban, Friedman declared, what he called the “Real War” in the following words:
“If 9/11 was indeed the onset of World War-III, we have to understand what this war is about. We're not fighting to eradicate "terrorism."

Terrorism is just a tool. We're fighting to defeat an ideology: religious totalitarianism. World War-II and the Cold War were fought to defeat secular totalitarianism — Nazism and Communism — and World War-III is a battle against religious totalitarianism”[33]

Like Friedman, many US policy makers and analysts believe that the West is “not fighting to eradicate ‘terrorism.’ Terrorism is just a tool… [it is] fighting to defeat an ideology.” And this has officially been confirmed in the 2004 report of the 9/11 Commission.

Friedman’s declaration of war is not the first in the war on Islam from all possible fronts. Throughout the 1990s, western analysts focused their energies on proving the theory that Islam is not a complete code of life. Those who strictly follow it are fundamentalists and the best way to live individual lives and running state affairs is secularism. The reason that made Muslims believe that it is a war on Islam has further deepened with Paul Bremer’s declarations in Iraq that he would veto any suggestion regarding implementation of Islam.[34]

Earlier, a New York Times editorial called “not invoking Shari’ah” in Afghan constitution as “promising aspirations,” and its reference to the Qur’an as “the troubling aspect.”[35]

After September 11, 2001, this tendency of separating Muslims from Islam has become more obvious. For instance, an article in The Daily Telegraph “Protecting Muslims, while rooting out Islamists” is a blatant attempt to divide Muslims into acceptable and untouchable Muslims.[36] 

The acceptable Muslims would be Muslims by title alone, believing only in secular ideologies and promoting capitalist systems. According to Daniel Pipes, Muslims other than secularists are “not just Muslims but also Islamists. Islam (a religion) is not the problem, but Islamism (a totalitarian ideology) is, [which] politicizes the religion, turning it into a blueprint for establishing a coerced utopia.”[37]

There is no utopia about it, except that the US has declared the government style of its liking as the "end of history" and cannot see another model flourish in the name of Islam.

The US and its Allies have no problem with totalitarianism or utopias, provided they are serving American interests. Daniel Pipes and his Western colleagues believe that in many ways, “its [Islam’s] program resembles those of Fascism and Marxism/Leninism.” The Islamic government does not envisage ruling the world by force. The US, however, is demonstrating how it does want to rule the world by force. Its ideology is exposed to be ultra-secular totalitarianism.

This ultra-secularism is justified with spreading the nonsense that: “One cannot generalize over such a large canvas. But one can note two common points: Islam is, more than any other major religion, deeply political, in the sense that it pushes its adherents to hold power; and once Muslims do gain power, they feel a strong impetus to apply the laws of Islam, the Shariah. So Islam does, in fact, contain elements that can justify conquest, theocracy, and intolerance.”[38]

No one dares to point out the total absence of tolerance in whatever is being practically implemented by the US and its allies not only in the name of freedom and democracy but with claims that God has told their commander in chief, Bush, to invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, let alone comparing it with the concept of an Islamic State which has not been established in its true form in the last 1300 years.

Conclusion
Those who are still not convinced and would prefer to live in denial must read Sam Harris article in Washington Times (December 02, 2004), or at least read the crux of his message below:

“It is time we admitted that we are not at war with "terrorism." We are at war with Islam. This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims, but we are absolutely at war with the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran. The only reason Muslim fundamentalism is a threat to us is because the fundamentals of Islam are a threat to us. Every American should read the Koran and discover the relentlessness with which non-Muslims are vilified in its pages. The idea that Islam is a ‘peaceful religion hijacked by extremists’ is a dangerous fantasy — and it is now a particularly dangerous fantasy for Muslims to indulge.”

If you are still not convinced, read New York Times report "Pentagon Weighs Use of Deception in a Broad Arena," by Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt (December 13, 2004). It shows how Pentagon is planning a Psy-ops campaign to target Islam.

The report says, for example: "such a secret propaganda program, for example, could include planting news stories in the foreign press or creating false documents and Web sites translated into Arabic as an effort to discredit and undermine the influence of mosques and religious schools that preach anti-American principles. Some of those are in the Middle Eastern and South Asian countries like Pakistan, still considered a haven for operatives of Al Qaeda. But such a campaign could reach even to allied countries like Germany, for example, where some mosques have become crucibles for Islamic militancy and anti-Americanism."

When the New York Times reports to this extent, one must try to imagine the depth and scope of the effort aimed at diluting Islam.

We must also keep in mind that New York Times is the paper whose prominent reporter Nicholas D. Kristoff is these days working as an ambassador of the White House to the countries in "coalition," in NY Times' words, "to see if they have a bit more to give."

Notes:

[1] Max Boot, “The Case for American Empire,” Weekly Standard, October 15, 2001Volume 007, Issue 05.  Also see: Max Boot, “Enlightened Imperialism Could Save Liberia,” USA Today, July 28, 2003.
 
[2] Summary of the report in the words of David Brooks of the New York Times is: “We're not in the middle of a war on terror, they note. We're not facing an axis of evil. Instead, we are in the midst of an ideological conflict.” (David Brooks, “War of Ideology,” The New York Times, July 24, 2004.) How else could they now justify the war, if not telling the truth.

[3] Ibid. David Brooks, New York Times, July 24, 2004.

[4] Daniel Pipes, "The enemy is Islamism' – Montreal Gazette, July 27, 2004.

[5] For details see “The mistaken Islamism,” by the same author at http://www.world-crisis.com/analysis_comments/468_0_15_0_C37/

[6] to see how the word “Islamic” added to terrorism gives a totally different meaning and paves the way for a war on Islam visit: http://www.icssa.org/Islamic_terrorism.htm

[7] David Brooks, “War of Ideology,” The New York Times, July 24, 2004.

[8] Carin Pettersson, “Rightwing politicians want to ban Islam,” TV2.net  19.07.04

[9] For full details please see:
http://www.jerusalemsummit.org/eng/index_js1.php
And it is essential that one reads the declaration which came out of the conference as it a declaration of war against Islam. Pay close attention to the language used in the declaration:
http://www.jerusalemsummit.org/eng/declaration_full.php
Ignoring this document does not mean it will go away.
Their next summit will be held on Nov 27-30, 2004. The program will  focus on what they call "developing a Humanitarian Solution to the Middle East Conflict."

[10] Earl H. Tilford, “A Crusade we must win,” Jewish Press on the Web, 7/28/2004 http://www.jewishpress.com/news_article.asp?article=4010

[11] See: http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/3739274/detail.html

[12] See: JOHN KAMINSKI, “ 9/11 Was Staged to Defame Muslims,” Yemen Times: September 01, 2004. http://icssa.org/911forMuslims.htm
Kurt Nimo, “Bushcons war on Islam,” http://icssa.org/BusConWar.htm  
 
[13] Pfaff, William (2002) "Totalitarian Thinking", IHT, Thursday, December 5.

[14] Randall Price, Are We at War with Islam? See http://www.worldofthebible.com/newslett.htm

[15] James O. Goldsborough, "Beginning a modern religious war," San Diego Union-Tribune, March 3, 2003.

[16] "Defining the enemy," Editorial, Washington Times, July 2, 2002

[17] David Walsh, “US media applauds destruction of Fallujah,” wsws.org, 17 November 2004. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/nov2004/fall-n17.shtml 
Also see: Abid Jan, “Dissecting Associated Press Story,” MediaMonitors.Net http://world.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/11326/
 
[18] Peters, Ralph (2002) "Turn East From Mecca: Islam's Future Will Be Decided on Its Frontiers", Washington Post, Sunday, December 1, Page B01.

[19] Yossi Klein Halevi, "Islam´s Outdated Domination Theology," Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2002

[20] Thomas L. Friedman, An Islamic Reformation, New York Times, December 04, 2002.

[21] Charles Krauthammer, Violence and Islam, Washington Post, Friday, December 6, 2002; Page A45.

[22] Robert Tracinski, A War against Islam, Ayan Rand Institute, 2001, see http://www.aynrand.org/medialink/columns/rt102901.shtml

[23] Anthony T. Sulliva, American policy and Islam, Washington Times, March 18, 2002.

[24] Ignacio Ramonet, "An enemy. At last," Le Monde Diplomatique, October 2001

[25] Joseph Farah, Are we at war with Islam?, World Net Daily, June 25, 2002.

[26] Read “Issue is Islam, not the Taliban,” The Frontier Post, September 26, 2000 at http://www.icssa.org/Taliban_not_an_issue.htm
 
[27] “Powell Slips, ‘Crusade re-enters US lexicon on war,” http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0323-07.htm

[28] Editorial, Washington Post, May 08, 2002, Page A-20

[29] David Warren, “Syria and Iran should worry,” The Ottawa Citizen, November 17, 2004 Page A-16. It is in fact the fear that makes the Western mind worry and it in turns asks their victims of aggression to worry in advance.

[30] “Holy War: Evangelical Marines Prepare to Battle Barbarians,” http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/1107-02.htm

[31] Tony Blankley, “Gen. Boykin’s fighting Spirit,” Washington Times, October 22, 2003.

[32] Richard T. Cooper, “General casts war in religious terms,” http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1016-01.htm

[33] Thomas L. Friedman The New York Times, November 27, 2001.

[34] “U.S. May Veto Islamic Law in Iraq: Top U.S. Administrator in Iraq, Touting Women's Rights, Threatens Veto of Islamic Law Measure,” The Associated Press, February 16, 2003.

[35] New York Times, Editorial, November 14, 2003

[36] Protecting Muslims while Rooting out Islamists, The Daily Telegraph (London), September 14,  2001.

[37] ibid

[38] Fighting Militant Islam, Without Bias, City Journal, November 2001

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