The Name Game Comes Home to Roost: Islamophobe
In 1991-92, in the famed Lutheran Gustavus Adolphus College at St. Peter, Minnesota, a now retired professor, an ex-colleague, a graduate of a famous university, had a bigoted and infuriating statement to make, which may be summed up thus: We cannot give arms to the Bosnian Muslims even for self-defense. They cannot be trusted to maintain the parameters and the perimeter of the conflict. But did it occur to him that he'd leave no stone unturned to retain his right to bear arms for hunting and self-defense.
Muslims have been labeled variously from Islamo-Fascists, now, to Islamists and Wahhabis around 2004 and Shi'ites and Fundamentalists earlier in the 1980s. Once they were our Mujahideen allies against Russia in Afghanistan. So, what has been its net impact on the Muslims, on non-Muslims and on the USA as a society? Last, but not the least, how productive or fair is this characterization?
Let's take one example of unfair characterization of a people and their subsequent victimization. The Bosnians were highly secularized Muslims. Many of them did not know how Muslims pray or could not recite even the first seven verses of the Quran that every Muslim knows by heart. Yet they were shown no quarter. A failing atheist, socialist government perniciously and craftily used the Muslim label in its bid to hold together an artificial state. So, what was a nationalistic drive was given a Christian mask to justify a heinous crime. What otherwise was a liberation drive for the Bosnians, just as in the case of East Germany, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and others, was converted into something altogether different: a struggle between Islam and Christendom. As a result, the debate shifted from its real tactical nature to its so-called strategic nature and 300,000 Bosnians perished as Europe and the USA debated over three years to decide the fate of these European Muslims. The insidious Serbian concoction stumped the best US and European minds. The polarization was absolutely one-sided.
How secularized must Muslims become in order to be spared, even respected? It appears that being a Muslim is like carrying the smell of blood that refuses to leave the murderer's hands as in Macbeth no matter the washing.
Curiously, back around 1492, even Queen Isabella's church-educated counselors used the same argument to pull off the Inquisition. Treaties were abandoned and surrendering innocents, and even those reverting to Christianity, were executed. In fact, when Bosnia genocide happened, people who opposed providing relief to the Muslims dared using the argument that the murder and pillage were necessary just as the Inquisition was. Otherwise, the monstrous Muslims will be all over Europe. Today, according to some analysts, it is the same latent argument that is keeping the highly secular ally, NATO member, Turkey from entering the EU, while ex-Communist countries are being shooed in willy-nilly.
Today, the immobilizing fear that is being fanned across all of US via the various media and rightwing groups make a similarly warped argument, "No Muslim in America or anywhere else threatening 'strategic' US and Christian interests." This would appear like a fear mongering conclusion. However, when we see the position of these parties with respect to Iraq even when the President says that it is not a religious war, in regard to Israel and Palestine and how they inevitably and relentlessly berate the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed , then what else is one to surmise?
Yet few in the US have spoken out and said, "Stop this nonsense, this hateful speech!"
Why has that been possible? Can we be that gullible? Is it likely we think we can make no mistakes? Or that the other party has no redeeming grace? Or is it because we are just ignorant about the facts? It could be that we have no stake in the welfare of the Muslims, but we make no bones about having a stake in their land and the wealth it conceals. It's difficult to believe that our great Republic could have sunk so low.
Our labels about the Muslims are tentative because our knowledge and understanding about them are shallow or opportunistic. Our reading of History and the discourse in Political Science regarding Muslims predate the Colonial period. Thus, our policies toward them smack of Colonialism. With the fall of Muslim civilization, there was a benign neglect on these matters. But policies crafted in darkness are anything but benign for the Muslims.
Repeatedly attacking political opponents with a storm of accusations is a true and tested technique of the US Religious Right since the Reagan Era. Then the unreal becomes real. Muslims, who have not attacked the West in at least 300 years and who are yet to achieve Industrial Revolution, are being accosted with spurious and specious analysis. This un-religiosity finds validity in the warped mind of certain church elders. Years of unmitigated haranguing of Muslims lead to Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq, with Iran in the waiting.
"Why don't your moderates speak up?" Muslims are asked. Oh, but they do. But is the Media listening? No. While we own the Media, why are our moderates silent with our vaunted moderation in the face of fabrications in our own backyard?
Sixteen years later, whenever I think about that illiberal statement made in the most liberal of institutions by perhaps the most dapper senior professor, I am still startled by its level of raw ignorance, the rampant double standard and the willingness to countenance any excess whatsoever against Muslims as an unavoidable evil. Is it then immature or premature to say, "I have had it up to my eyeballs with Islamophobes?"
Shafi A. Khaled is a freelance writer. He teaches and does research in Business & Economics.
We need more writings in this subject area.
Please review number of comments in CNN.com after Peter Kings discussion last week and a response will be very appropriate.
Ahmed Khan, Seattle
I hope you are doing well.
I must thank you for not being one of those hate mongers who belittle Islam without having any knowledge of it. Your comments prove that. You did not say anything derogatory about Islam. You merely pointed out some injustice that have been committed in the Muslim world.
Your other comments questioning the validity of Muslim contributions have been duly clarified by Br. Aaron.
You are right about most of your comments about the deplorable conditions prevalent in Muslim communities today. Our reluctance to follow the Islamic laws, the Quran and the examples of our Prophet Muhammad(pbuh), has dragged us down the path of degradation. Believe me, most Muslims feel it everyday. And you must have noticed comments posted by many of my brothers and sisters here that echo that.
That being said, I would like to point out a few mistakes on your part. First of all, the accusation that Islamicity is silent about the rampant injustice in Muslim communities is not true. Not long ago, Islamicity published several articles in quick succession that dealt with the conditions of our communities, for example human rights violations in Saudi Arabia.
Secondly, your comments about the Palestinians I disagree with. Before you say anything about how many civilians were killed by Palestinians, you should ask how many Palestinian civilians met their ends, many of them were children, by Isreali es. That number is much higher.
A grave injustice was done to the Palestinians to begin with, they were thrown out of their homes, their orchards so that someone else could have settled in their territory. Anyone should know this is wrong.
And when a civilian actively assists the military in evicting people from their homes to take them over, he/she falls out of the definition of a civilian. Israeli immigrants are doing just that.
If anyone did the same to you would not consider them as civilians either, you will be up in arms.
If you look at the world map, see how dreadful the situation in Africa is. Many countries over there, suffering from poverty, have very small Muslim minorities, but large Christian population, where the Church already has an effective influence of missionary work.
History books have an excuse not to know that in history Muslims and Islamic civilization were the undisputed leaders of culture and science in the world for a full 700 years. For most of this time Europeans kept themselves busy fighting each other in woods, living in miserable circumstances and burning women in their famous witch-hunts. They even burnt their scientists in the name of the Lord! At the same time, red Indians were having great time in North and Latin America and in many areas they had civilizations too. At that time, the US was not born yet!
Nevertheless civilization come and go, just look at of how many past glorious civilizations have vanished, the Aztec & Maya, Incan, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Chinese and Indian, etc. None of them are permanent. Same as this current modern civilization definitely esp that with it come a lot of destructive technology and ordnances. Science and Civilization is God given, nothing to be proud of, it should instead make us humbler and submit ourselves more to God.
Slavery is something that came from people who couldn't understand the position of the human being and it was made, in the past, as a global phenomenon. Islam came while slavery was an inherited tradition, very deep-rooted in the heart of the Arab society (though not limited to Arabs) and was institutionalized long before the Qur'an was revealed. Many people had their businesses based on trading in slaves and many people were already in the bondage of slavery under their masters at that time.
Islam wanted to ban it, but through logical and practical solutions by gradually abolishing it. Let us suppose that Islam had said, overnight, "no more slavery," what would have happened? Many people would have lost their businesses and gone bankrupt, and the economic stability of the society would have been jeopardized. Worse still, many slaves would have found themselves in the street with no shelter or ability to establish a new life. There would have been as much chaos and lingering social and racial tensions as occurred when Abraham Lincoln banned slavery. We can still see the social and racial tensions that exist in America today.
Muslim scholars agree that slavery is forbidden. If there ever was still practices of slavery by by tyrants and dictator leaders they are not representative of the muslims. Caliph `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab used to say in a famous sermon of his, "When did you make the people as slaves or servants of you while Allah, the Almighty, created them free!"
Regardless of whether Saddam Hussain was in power or not America would still attack Iraq. In fact it has been preparing to wage the unjust war on Iraq long before the 9/11 event. If it was not Saddam, President Bush and his administration whould have waged other carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation and fabricated lies about the threat posed by Iraq. It is a part of the master-plan executed on Israel's behalf to eventually impose total control over the world's major oil resources that were not already controlled - hence American war on Afghanistan and Iraq, and Israeli wars on Lebanon, Gaza Strip, and eventually Syria and Iran. Please read this interesting article:
Hope you are well.
Which hands fed the Bosnians? When did Christian America helped Bosnians to defend themselves? America along with NATO allies always opposed Bosnian rights to defend themselves. By the time the civilized world showed its so called humane side, 30,000 Bosnians had already been killed. We should learn history before making comments that go against justice. 4,000 Bosnian men, women, and children were killed in one night inside an UN enclave under the very nose of the multi-national force! Hatred of some people against Islam/Muslim made them commit the most horrible acts against humanity. Unfortunately you rarely hear about them in the media. What a civilized world we live in! Then how can this very same world flare up against terroristic acts committed by some misguided Muslims? So, we are righteous only when it is convenient for us, only when it suits our fancy!
And your mention of Kosovo is totally irrelevant to this article. But since you mentioned it..the news that you pointed us to is horrible if it is true since the investigation is incomplete. Now, do you know anything about Kosovo and Serbia? Do you know oppression and repression Kosovo people had to suffer in the hands of the Serbian? Do you know the Racak Massacre? Do you expect injustice to brew anything other than hatred? The Kosovo gov. under Roghubi tried peaceful means. But the Serbian oppression was relentless. Out of this depressing situation, a tiny group called KLA was born who just wanted freedom by any means. The article you pointed can't even prove it beyond any doubt that KLA actually sold any organs of any Serbians.
If they did, then like any other Muslims, I shall condemn that also.
We should always look at the root cause of things that happens around us before we make unjust comments. And our comments should be justified by facts, not just our own prejudices or prides.
It doesn't mention that the Ottomans sided with the Germans in WW1, or and in 1915 killed 1,500,000 Armenian Christians, many were raped and tortured before being executed. Nor does it mention the war the Syrians had against Lebanese Christians and the human rights abuses (which put any human rights abuses in Israel to shame)
Regarding the remark from the man mentioned in with the bigoted statement regarding the Bosnian Muslims: I trained many new CNAs to the floor where I am a charge nurse, and they were young Bosnian refugees that has fled to the Chech republic until granted asylum here. One boy told me of finding the body of his grandfather in one the mass graves,the other young man showed me the bullet scars on his arms. WHY do these Islamiphobes fail to see the humanity of others!
A good article and well written. My heart cries for the victims of the Islamophobes!
Christian America helps Muslims against the Christians in Europe, and even annexed land for them, and things like this article and organ harvesting is the thanks they get.
That is their game, they always think the muslim as fool (come to think of it is he not?), that
sittind down and look is what the muslim is good at. They say whatever they like about muslim and islam and get away with it. They are now playing the islamophobes only Allah knows their next move! And the muslim world is just looking hypnotised until...oh it is really pathetic, Shuja had mentioned one aspect of our hypocracy there are many especially amongst the ruled. May Allah open our eyes and may He guide us aright so as to be able to protect His deen and thereby protecting ourselves.
Both ordinary Muslims and their rulers are equally complicit what is happening to the Muslim world. It was Saudi Arabia that had supervised the first attack on Iraq. Check it out. Why do we lie to each other?
We love Islam only on paper or by words. When comes to practise, oh No.
Remember that Abbasid Caliph, when one Muslim lady was captivated by Romans, he instantly issued a warning that if she is not released, our first soldier will be right in front of your court and the last one will be at my court. She was not only released, but guarded by Roman female solders safely to the Muslim lands.
Shame on those Muslim countries, shame on those Muslim journalists who are blatanly blaming and diverting the attention of the Muslim massess from the real problem, the problem is the inability of the Muslims to protect other humans and other Muslims of Europe.
Not one Muslim country has pulled the Amabassador from Holland despie that despicable anti-Islam movie? The same thing of the cartoons. The net result will be the roadside violence of the Muslim masses. This is our sorrow and horrow situation.
What is the role of Muslims in preventing Africa crumbling against the west? How long are we going to divert our attention from the real problem?