Crusade versus Jihad

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Iraq, Saddam Hussein Views: 6235

The last fortnight or so has seen much jeering of the anti-war movement in the right-wing press in the West. As armed resistance evaporated with the disappearance of Saddam Hussein and his henchmen, a mood of crowing triumphalism took hold among western hawks.

However, the sight of the surging crowds of hundreds of thousands of Shias at Karbala chanting anti-Saddam and anti-American slogans has given even these armchair warriors a cause to reflect on what lies ahead. Slowly, the truth of what a number of us had been saying since the beginning of the invasion is sinking in: winning the peace will be far more difficult than winning the war.

The problem with ideologues of any stripe is that they are so caught up with their own narrow vision of the way the world should be run that they tend to overlook or minimize the fact that other people might resist falling in with their preconceptions.

The neo-conservative cabal surrounding Bush and doing his thinking for him was so convinced that 'liberated' Iraqis would be so grateful to their benefactors that they would be automatically pro-American and would therefore welcome Washington's proconsul as well as his plans to bring a new political and economic dispensation to the conquered nation.

But from day one of the invasion, Iraqis have refused to follow this script: instead of welcoming the coalition forces, they have made it clear that glad as they are of getting rid of their brutal dictator, they would like the Americans and Brits to leave as quickly as they had come. To be sure, the invaders have done little to endear themselves to the local population: by their callous indifference to the suffering of the Iraqi people, they have dragged their feet over restoring essential services like water and electricity after having destroyed or disabled power plants and pumping stations; they have permitted the looting and arson of key elements of the infrastructure like government buildings, hospitals and schools that will be essential in the rebuilding of Iraq; and they have been unnecessarily trigger-happy, killing and wounding many innocent Iraqi civilians.

One result of this smoldering resentment of the American presence is that many of the grandiose plans floated by the Washington neo-cons have had to be quietly shelved or publicly denied. Thus, Rumsfeld has said that he has no knowledge of any plans for a long-term American military presence in Iraq. And yet, this is precisely what people like Wolfowitz have long advocated. Then there was talk of an oil pipeline from North Iraq to Israel; that, too, seems to be a non-starter.

At nearly $700 million, the largest contract for the 'reconstruction of Iraq' has been awarded to Bechtel, a giant construction company that has a profitable tradition of inviting ex-cabinet members to sit on its board. The contract calls for repairs of essential infrastructure like roads, schools, water supply and so on. Needless to say, only American firms were invited to bid. Imagine hundreds of American civilians working unprotected across Iraq: for many Iraqis who are passionately anti-American, these would represent soft targets.

A key calculation in the neo-con plans for the Middle East was that the defeat of Iraq would strengthen Israel by demonstrating the fate of governments that opposed the American will. This may be true for Arab states in the region; however, the majority of ordinary Muslims across the world are strengthened in their belief that Israel is an American outpost in the Middle East, and its increasing repression of the Palestinian people is a continuing cause of outrage.

The appointment of retired general Jay Garner as American proconsul in Baghdad is in keeping with the neo-con vision of a pro-American, pro-Israel Iraq, and was greeted in the Jewish weekly Forward with this headline: "Pro-Israel general will oversee reconstruction of Iraq".

Few westerners have grasped the concept of a Muslim ummah, a nation of believers that stretches from Indonesia to Turkey. In a perceptive essay that appeared in a recent weekly Guardian Review, Jonathan Raban writes: "...Ummah is sometimes defined as the community, sometimes the nation, sometimes the body of Muslim believers around the globe, and it has a physical reality, without parallel in any other religion ... [it] has a corporeal substance that is in dramatic contrast to the airy, arbitrary, dissolving and reconstituting nations of Arabia. To see the invasion of Iraq as a brutal assault on the Ummah, and therefore on one's own person, is not the far-fetched thought in the Islamic world that it would be in the West ..."

Another American preconception that will be sorely tested in the coming weeks and months is the notion that democracy is the panacea for all ills. In point of fact, Iraq has never been a democracy, and can hardly be turned into one overnight. But if an election were to be organized there tomorrow, the Shias, with their 60 per cent population would win a clear majority in parliament and would thus form the government. Already, there are manifest signs of Iranian influence, and many Shia leaders have announced their intention of establishing an Islamic government. Are the Americans ready to live with this reality?

Indeed, American neo-conservatives and liberals are united in wanting 'regime change' in all the autocratic Arab states in the region and usher in democracy. However, the stark truth is that in most of these countries, given the corrupt and inefficient nature of these governments, the leaders and parties that would replace them in free and fair elections would be mostly fundamentalists. Again, are the Americans ready to live with this reality?

Since the events of 9/11, Bush and his administration have made their distrust and dislike of Muslims very clear. Apart from their increased support for Israel and their invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, they have mounted pressure on Syria and Iran. Internally, they have subjected Muslims to a virtual witch-hunt through the new INS registration requirements that have caused a wave of unrest and insecurity among Muslims from all over the world who have been living and working in the US as law-abiding citizens or aspiring citizens for years.

Across the globe, Muslims view this onslaught on the ummah as a continuation of the crusades. Even educated, liberal and well-to-do believers are beginning to feel that Osama bin Laden might be right, and that jihad is the only way to defend themselves.

 

Source: Dawn


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  22 Comments   Comment

  1. Ottoman from EROPAGNIS

    The USA is the cause. You have been fooled by their own brainwashing machine. History never end. There is a cult out there in the land of the blind.

  2. One woman in a Million from USA

    To Debbie: How WRONG YOU ARE ABOUT ISLAM!!

    you are so hateful, if only you could know the

    sweetness of faith.

    Before I became Muslim, I went by what the media said about Islam. THE MEDIA IS THE ONE THAT LIES.

    I feel sorry for your pathetic state of CONFUSION and LOSS!!

    How sad you are in your hate and bitterness!

  3. Rym from USA

    Debbie how HATEFUL YOU ARE! If you want Love you will find no greater love than Islam!

    I guess it would make you upset to know that thousands of people in America want to know about Islam, especially after September 11!

    Plus many college students in America changed their majors to Islamic Studies.

    Debbie, this is a very BEAUTIFUL way of life, it is life. I wish that you could open up your heart and not go by what people say on this website. Go to the source and don't just base your opinions on emotions and the media and what some Muslims say.

    I use to hate Islam too then I found out the truth now I would never want to go back to my old life even if you paid me a Billion dollars.

  4. ex-american from USA

    Debbie what is really amazing is that you are so

    BRAINWASHED, THAT YOU CAN NOT SEE IT IS A CRUSADE.

    All you have to do is look on Islamicity and you can see there are many people taking their Shahadah everyday.

    Most of the people in the masjids I go to are reverts from Christianity.

    Your hatred for Islam comes through your writing, how miserable you must be!!!!

    I feel sorry for you that you will never taste the

    sweetness of faith!!!!!!

    Ex-American

  5. Debbie from USA

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. The crusades were over years and years ago. To think the US Army is a crusade is more than ridiculous because there are atheists, Jews, Hindus, Christians and Muslims, and others which make up the US Army. You will never see Christians picking up guns and going off to fight again. You people just kill me with your conspiracy theories and just out-right lies you spead constantly, provoking hate around the world. If you are a true religion of God, you would be trying to spead love, not hate. God is not hate. God is love. You set such a bad example of religion, most will not even listen to anything about your religion. All we have to do is look at the people it produces to realize it is not a religion from God.

  6. SALMAN from US

    GOOD JOB KING

    you are absolutely right.

    i have read many comments by Mr. Hollifield and i believe he is a pure example of a biased man.

    as you said, he is always trying to add verbose spin on clear realities. And he knows he lies a lot.

  7. King from USA

    Tsk tsk Michael you protest just a bit too much, trying to inject verbose spin on a very simple reality : your own ignorance and hypocrisy.

    Lets deal with the "protocols" and that Egyptian TV series....one doesn't need the protocols to reach some very concise conclusions about Jewish extremism/Zionism, mainly that it is incompatible with life and liberty. The rabidly racist "ADL" raised the stink about the TV series you're so worried about...big deal. Most of us never even heard about until the free advertising. I've seen so many examples of anti-semetic anti-Arab propoganda pumped out by Hollywood, much of it from Jewish individuals, apparently it politically correct bigotry. So spare us this phony outrage. Perhaps you expect Arabs to say rosy words about land grabbing colonial thugs and gangsters using millenia-old biblical myths to occupy their land....hardly logical for an non-believer like yourself.

    The problem with you supposed liberals is that you lack the intellectual fortitude to speak truth, especially to power. Instead you simply regurjitate the same old flea bitten canard you've been weaned on. Apparently Falwell and the armageddon crew are not the only hatemongers to look out for.

  8. Michael Hollifield from US

    To King,

    If you refer to my earlier posts,I featured a list of media sources ranging across the political spectrum, that I regularly read or consult, and recommended as alternatives to the propaganda featured here. Fox news is not among them, having viewed perhaps 3 and minutes of one broadcast and read enough to know that it is about as objective and informative as Islamicity.

    In fact,I am one of the nonbelieving liberals that Falwell initially held responsible for Sept. 11, so perhaps rather than leaping to conclusions about someone, and attacking their character via your own ideologically constructed stereotype you should read a little yourself. These reactionary ministers do not set foreign policy, nor do they reflect the beliefs of most Americans and that is obviously the reason I did not mention them in the small amount of space allotted. And no one is calling for Christian "martyrs" to murder innocent people are they? And yes, Middle Easterners are extremely anti-Semitic. The word "Zionist" is simply a different word, intended to mask the pervasive prejudice towards Jews by giving it another name. Edward Said and his ilk to the contrary, the distinction is meaningless in the Middle East. Consider the popularity of the Protocols and its recent television serialization in Egypt, just for a start.

    And any competent user of the English language (which you clearly are not) knows that the word "crusade" is not used in the same sense in this country as it is by Muslim clerics seeking to inflame the passions of their followers.

    If you can construct an argument, not ad hominem remarks, venom, and awkwardly constructed sentences, then I invite you to respond to the challenge I issued on one of my earlier posts. But I teach philosophy and logic and know the difference between argument and rhetoric, and won't respond to the kind of mindlessness that you have posted thus far.

    Michael Hollifield

  9. Kraus from USA

    The hatemongers have forgotten how the Crusades ended...meaning they're condemned to repeat the errors of the past.

  10. King from UK

    Michael Hollifeld's custom canard of self-delusion is truly pathetic. Ever heard of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham or John Hagee ? If the bile coming from these bottom feeders isnt indicative of a Crusade I dont know what is. You clearly didnt mention any of these rats because it would have shattered your false premise. Typical hypocrisy. Atleast try to be a convincing liar.

    Muslims are not anti-semetic, they are anti-Zionist...and dont feed me this bull that Judaism and Zionism are the same. Nor do they give a damn what uninformed and foolish mental defectives think about them.

    Maybe what you need to do is cut back on your dosage of Fox news and grow up.

  11. Abdur Razzaq from usa

    While the term Crusade and Jihad have been used as a ploy to influence emotionally-charged Muslims, the first time I heard it used recently was by Bush. Also, while I do no think that the US wants to brutalize and humiliate Islam (we just have the fortune or misfortune of possessing the resources they crave), after the fall of communist Russia, former Pres. Nixon said that the biggest enemy of the US now is Islam. I believe that the exploits of this country now can focus on an easy target - the religion of Islam - to further the interests of the wealthy and influential class who really run this country.

  12. Michael Hollifield from US

    Crusade? Why is there never any evidence presented for this claim? Perhaps because there is none. The Pope opposed the war in Iraq. Can you name a single priest, minister, or other religious leader who has called for a "Crusade" against Islam? (But we frequently hear the word "Jihad" from Islamic clerics don't we? And praise for the so-called "martyrs" who throw their lives away murdering innocent people in the name of "Allah.") Can you provide any serious connections between the actual Crusades that took place centuries before the United States was even a colony, and contemporary political reality? Can any of you provde an actual ARGUMENT for appropriately extending the scope of this word to include the current situation, whose real purpose is to inflame the passions of your dogmatic readers? The appropriate word for this irresponsible rhetoric is demagoguery. The government of Saddam Hussein was a secular dictatorship that suppressed the religious majority and invaded the Islamic Republic of Iran. After the European governments dragged their feet the Clinton administration intervened in Bosnia to stop the genocide being conducted primarily against Muslims, but that is never noted is it? The failed effort in Somalia was on behalf of Muslims and there were no natural resources, or any material gain for the United States associated with those actions. But reality is a little inconvenient for a religious ideology, so why not ignore it and preach instead.

    It may be arrogant, but most Americans couldn't care less about Islam, and however misguided the policies of this government are, they are not motivated by any ant-Muslim sentiments. The same cannot be said for the leaders of Islamic countries whose motives are often anti-Semitism and anti-Westernism. However, as an educated nonbeliever who follows world events closely, I see Islam for what it is: one of the most dangerous anti-modern forms of fanaticism in the 21st century. Reread the last sentence of this article.

  13. Hasnue from Bangladesh

    Why the Muslim leaders and head of the states do not come forward with the help of UN and European leaders to find out more about 9/11. Why did this happen and who actually did it? Was there any special group involved to make it happen in American soil? There should be an international committe to look into this crime and to create a Worldland Security not just "Homeland Security".

    Since the events of 9/11, Bush and his administration have made their distrust and dislike of Muslims very clear. Apart from their increased support for Israel and their invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, they have mounted pressure on Syria and Iran. Internally, they have subjected Muslims to a virtual witch-hunt through the new INS registration requirements that have caused a wave of unrest and insecurity among Muslims from all over the world who have been living and working in the US as law-abiding citizens or aspiring citizens for years.

  14. Yahya Bergum from USA

    If Allah so wills, Americans are ready for free and fair elections in Iraq. I do not agree that the truth - of electing leaders who fear Allah - would be stark. I think that such truth would instead be beautiful.

    How can a website, operated in the name of Allah, continually refuse to praise Allah for bringing about what many Muslims have said would be good for Muslims to have? America does not free anyone - it never has and it never will. It is only Allah who sets people free.

    It is not America who permits those afraid of Allah to be elected to positions of leadership. It is Allah who permits it. If you won't praise and thank Allah (in advance, I would think) for leadership that fears Allah then PLEASE don't expect to enjoy such leadership for yourselves.

    Praise be to Allah, the Almighty, the Creator - praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer and Lord of the worlds. May Allah guide me, that I be truly grateful to Allah for everything I receive. May Allah shower you and those dear to you with peace and blessings - always. Ameen.

  15. Yazid from usa

    Salaam-

    Some of Mr. Husain's arguments are valid but he fails to present a solution to any of them.

    This has been the problem with muslim thinkers, writers, politicians, religious leaders, government's, etc since the british thieves left the mid-east.

    We should remove Saddam and the Taleban ourselves instead of waiting for the west to do it for us and anyone who argues that they should not be removed does not understand Islam.

    We, the UMMAH, only complain but fail to realize that there is more to this life than halal meat, beards and a particular school of thought.

    On another note: Dawn is the CNN of the east, twisted and fill of propoganda!

    The answer to Muslim problems are in Muslim hands.

  16. Yahya Bergum from USA

    If Allah so wills, Americans are ready for free and fair elections in Iraq. I do not agree that the truth - of electing leaders who fear Allah - would be stark. I think that such truth would instead be beautiful.

    How can a website, operated in the name of Allah, continually refuse to praise Allah for bringing about what many Muslims have said would be good for Muslims to have? America does not free anyone. It is only Allah who sets people free.

    It is not America who permits those afraid of Allah to be elected to positions of leadership. It is Allah who permits it. If you won't praise and thank Allah (in advance) for leadership that fears Allah then please don't expect to enjoy such leadership for yourselves.

    Praise be to Allah, the Almighty, the Creator - praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer (and the Lord) of the worlds. May Allah guide me, that I be truly grateful to Allah for everything I receive. May Allah shower you and those dear to you with peace and blessings - always. Ameen.

  17. Mike from U.S.A

    To quote the author:

    "Imagine hundreds of American civilians working unprotected across Iraq: for many Iraqis who are passionately anti-American, these would represent soft targets."

    I just love the authors passive aggressive remarks here. Why doesn't he just come out and say I hope American workers in Iraq become targets of terrorism, and are summarily killed. At least I could respect him for forthrightness. Is this a war on Islam maybe it is. But let's not forget who started this war on 9/11.

  18. Asif Ameer from USA

    Salaam Alaikum.

    1st of all, I would like to reply to Alireza Sefati about her suicide misconception. I would recommend that you read the Al Quran and understand it. It clearly talks about Jihad (not just inner struggle) And states to give your life as a loan to Allah when fighting in battles.

    Suicide is when you become hopeless and loose hope in Life, not when you are educated, have money and life a very normal life.

    Now here are some questions I would like to ask to a PRO-AMERICAN or ANTI-Muslim these questions.

    "You probably advocate everything Bush says.

    1. At NBC I heard him say that he would like to see a democracy in IRAQ something like Separation of Church and State. If he is such a big believer of the concept of "Separation of Church and State", then why is he such big support of the Racist Zionist state? Israel is racist, run by a bunch of war criminals thugs and anti arabs!

    2. Why cant Syria HAVE chemical weapons? They are not bound by the Chemical Treaty in 1993. They agreed to do so if Israel would. Ofcourse Israel didnt. So who gives the right to USA to threat "Muslim Countries" for having safeguards to protect themselves? Which treaty was that?

    Here is a message for my Muslim brothers and sisters. Remember the slavery of Jews for 400 years? Remember how God helped the oppressed? Remember how the Pharohs came down? Remember how the Romans came down? and dont forget how the Ottomans came down! Do not give up hope, HIS mercy is on those who believe in HIM.

    Jazak Allah Khair.

    (If you want to write to me, email me at [email protected])

  19. Asif Ameer from USA

    Salaam Alaikum.

    1st of all, I would like to reply to Alireza Sefati about her suicide misconception. I would recommend that you read the Al Quran and understand it. It clearly talks about Jihad (not just inner struggle) And states to give your life as a loan to Allah when fighting in battles.

    Suicide is when you become hopeless and loose hope in Life, not when you are educated, have money and life a very normal life.

    Now here are some questions I would like to ask to a PRO-AMERICAN or ANTI-Muslim these questions.

    "You probably advocate everything Bush says.

    1. At NBC I heard him say that he would like to see a democracy in IRAQ something like Separation of Church and State. If he is such a big believer of the concept of "Separation of Church and State", then why is he such big support of the Racist Zionist state? Israel is racist, run by a bunch of war criminals thugs and anti arabs!

    2. Why cant Syria HAVE chemical weapons? They are not bound by the Chemical Treaty in 1993. They agreed to do so if Israel would. Ofcourse Israel didnt. So who gives the right to USA to threat "Muslim Countries" for having safeguards to protect themselves? Which treaty was that?

    Here is a message for my Muslim brothers and sisters. Remember the slavery of Jews for 400 years? Remember how God helped the oppressed? Remember how the Pharohs came down? Remember how the Romans came down? and dont forget how the Ottomans came down! Do not give up hope, HIS mercy is on those who believe in HIM.

    Jazak Allah Khair.

    (If you want to write to me, email me at [email protected])

  20. Hasnue from Bangladesh

    Why the Muslim leaders and head of the states do not come forward with the help of UN and European leaders to find out more about 9/11. Why did this happen and who actually did it? Was there any special group involved to make it happen in American soil? There should be an international committe to look into this crime and to create a Worldland Security not just "Homeland Security".

    Since the events of 9/11, Bush and his administration have made their distrust and dislike of Muslims very clear. Apart from their increased support for Israel and their invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, they have mounted pressure on Syria and Iran. Internally, they have subjected Muslims to a virtual witch-hunt through the new INS registration requirements that have caused a wave of unrest and insecurity among Muslims from all over the world who have been living and working in the US as law-abiding citizens or aspiring citizens for years.

  21. Mohammed Hannan from USA

    After reading all that, I would say that 'INS registration' was a little bit of worry for me, but seriously, Who/what kind of muslim is ever going abide by OSAMA? The guy who teaches a muslim to commit a suicide? Any educated muslim knows that a suicide committer would end up straight in hell according to Shariah. I disagree greatly with Irfan when he said that Muslims are starting to agree with Osama's views.

  22. Alireza Sefati from United States

    Only those who are naive, think that US is really fighting to eliminate WMD or liberate Iraqi people.

    War on Islam, as the political system and social system is number one intention of US. Not Islam as the personal faith, it seems that US does not have a problem with that.

    US opposition and hostility toward most Islamic states such as Iran and Islamic state movements and the recent comments of Donald Rumsfeld about US not allowing creating an Islamic state clearly proves that United States opposes the political and social Islam and wants to limit Islam only to personal belief like Buddhism or Hinduism or other weak religions.

    It is important for all Muslims to know, secularism in the manner that west practices it has no place in Islam. You can not be a secularist and a true Muslim!

    Now I am happy that regime of Saddam is overthrown since his regime was not Islamic at all and also his regime killed more Muslim that any other modern regimes in that region (more than one million in Iran-Iraq war, many thousands in Kuwaiti war, and his political oppositions) however, it is very important to know, that US is a greater enemy to Islam and Islamic system. Unites State's support for Zionism and her oppositions to Islamic states clearly demonstrate this. Now whether this oppositions may have religion roots (e.g. Zionism, Christianity), economical roots (oil, resources) or political roots (world domination), it is very important that Muslim brothers and sisters should live with no doubt that US is a big enemy of Islam and wants to limit Islam to personal faith rather than a way of life, the way Islam should be!