The rhetorical war of Islam: Muslims Justice and Peace
(Kurd Media) In a recent interview by Mike Wallace, a veteran CBS journalist, with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hardline conservative, the former member of Irans Revolutionary Guard discussed an eighteen-page letter he wrote to President Bush, among other charges, criticizing him for failing to adhere to Christian tenets. He argued that if President Bush were really a Christian, he would not kill so many innocent people because Jesus message was based on peace and love. While it is true that the President of Iran interpreted the Christian message right, he failed to consider what he and his neighbors do. What he did not get right was his hypocrisy as well as that of the leaders of his neighboring countries who repeatedly have perpetrated their hatred toward non-Shias and particularly toward the oppressed Kurdish people.
If Mr. Ahmadinejad represents the side of justice and peace, why does he sanction and even encourage the systematic violation of human rights against, for example, the Kurds?
Where [is justice found in his country] if a non-Muslim cannot testify against a Muslim. Where is justice if the life of a Muslim is spared even if he intentionally murders a Christian, when a non-Muslim curses a Muslim, he receives the death penalty (or must be converted to Islam).
In addition to the inconsistencies in his speech and action, although he instructs the President of the U.S on his foreign policy for a U.S-aired interview, he would never permit an Iranian journalist to interview President Bush to ask what policies Iran should implement for the purpose of airing the interview in The Islamic Republic of Iran.
His deceptive schoolboy charm masks a radical fundamentalism that speaks of eradicating states, ethnic groups, and religious sects. His admonition to the U.S to seek peace belies his own intent to wage war against non-Shias, and indeed his armys death squad has kidnapped and killed many Kurds, allowing them anything but peace. Why do Muslims such as the Iranian President see the Palestinians cause but turn a blind eye to the atrocities against the Kurds and why do they condemn the West while committing far worse crimes against their own Muslim brothers?
After the attacks on the U.S. soil on September 11, President Bush went on national television to declare the U.S. in a state of war against terrorism. However, many Muslims felt that the U.S. waged the war against Islam in spite of President Bushs assurance that Islam is a religion of peace. By using a concerted rhetoric campaign to open up new doors for the spread of Islam over the infidels land, Muslims portray Islam as a religion of peace that the West has misunderstood and thus misconstrued.
After September 11th, the number of books written about Islam has skyrocketed, Islamic countries have built hundreds of mosques, they have established numerous Islamic centers funded mostly by the infidels tax money, the U.S. military is building a mosque for eight Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and Islam is being taught at all levels of education from kindergarten to the universities as well as in churches, mosques, and community centers. Consequently, contrary to the Islamic outcry, September 11 did not hijack Islamic beliefs but rather opened up the passage for Islam to spread over the United States under the guise of explaining what the religion of Islam truly represents and of helping alleviate the victimization of Muslims.
Many Muslims and others believe that the war on terror is a myth and a creation of the CIA. They argue that American imperialists have exploited the Middle East s rich resources. However, Muslims fail to address the historical records that during the rule of Muhammad and after his death Islam conquered the Arabian Peninsula through the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Spain , and that Ottoman soldiers marched all the way to the gates of Austria . For what purposes did they conquer other than to expand their land and thus power and to spread their faith? Consequently, the remaining question needs to be asked, was this not Islams imperialistic ambitious to control trade routes and to disseminate its religion? Why then is the charge against America that it is guided by a desire for its own interests not seen as hypocritical, and why is Islam sensitively discussed only as a religion of peace?
Amazingly, many Americans have unquestioningly accepted the view that Islam is a religion of peace as voiced by academicians, journalists, and clerics from various faiths possibly because most are ignorant about the history of Islam and about the theological tenets in that Islam has been at war with Christians since the time of Muhammad.
According to the Quran, the world divides between Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) and Dar al Harb (House of War). Preeminent Middle Eastern scholar Bernard Lewis characterizes Dar al-Islam as all the lands in which Islamic law prevails and a Muslim government rules and Dar al Harb as the lands inhabited by infidels who have not embraced Islam nor submitted to Islamic rule . Long before the Crusades, Muslims viewed Christendom as the world of infidels and Christian Europe archetypically as the House of War.
Peace could be achieved only when all inhabitants submitted to the rule of Islam. Because of this current radical position that America is orchestrating a war against Islam and that the U.S. deserves the hatred of the Muslims, today many Americans debate how to implement a policy to win the hearts and minds of the Islamic world. No matter what America does, it will not win the hearts and minds of Muslims unless America accepts the Islamic way of life. Obedience to Muhammad requires submission to Allah and the subduing and controlling of unbelievers by Islamic political, social, and religious institutions and principles.
Today western societies, including America , face a greater challenge; in an attempt to win Muslims, the political leaders acquiesce, out of fear or intimidation, granting the Islamists what they think Muslims want, but Muslim leaders want to change the entire way of life of non Muslims. This pacification only perpetrates the demands to accommodate the Islamic social, political, and religious agenda especially as they grow in number and in influence. Recently, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy organization based in Washington D.C., condemned a church in Florida for a marquis that contrasted Jesus and Muhammads positions on murder by giving the Biblical and Quranic verses. Imam Zaid Malik, the spiritual leader of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, denounced the sign, bringing it to the attention of the national media.
While judges have interpreted the Constitution to forbid posting the Ten Commandments in a courtroom, but. . .the City Council in the small Michigan town of Hamtramck is debating whether to permit loudspeakers to call Muslims to prayer five times a day in a clash about noise levels and religious toleration.
The Muslim Chaplaincy program trains clerics to serve the U.S. military. Ramadan is celebrated in schools, mosques, and community centers. The CAIR prompts mosques to hold open houses for non-Muslims to visit to obtain instruction and materials on Islam. Islamic mosques and cultural centers have expanded as well as their roles in the American society. It was estimated that in 1992, 1100 mosques and 1200 Islamic centers, publishing houses, and schools existed in the U.S. Today with seven million indigenous, converted, or immigrant Muslims living in the U.S, most of whom are young, educated, prolific, and affluent, more mosques are being built each week with the purpose shifting from maintaining community values to organizing dawa or missionary activities to convert non-Muslims. According to the FACT survey, the number of mosques in the U.S. increased forty-two percent between 1990 and 2000 with the largest one in America recently being built in Dearborne, Michigan. Funded to a large degree by Saudi Arabia, more than eighty percent of the mosques have been built within the last twenty years. According to Reza F. Safa, Saudi Arabia alone has spent $87 billion since 1973 to spread Islam throughout the United States and the Western hemisphere. These 2000 or more mosques symbolize the institutionalization of Islam in America. Advocacy and educational organizations as well as political caucuses and interest groups have developed too. Indeed the Islamic prayer room in the basement of the U.S.
Capital Building signals the movement toward the seat of civic power. How many churches or synagogues are given building permits, or even funding from the Islamic government, in, for example, Saudi Arabia, Quatar, or Iran? While the Saudi government provides hate-filled literature in mosques across America as reported in a recent Freedom House monograph, it bans all churches and Christian materials in Saudi Arabia. Indeed, the Christians are often jailed and in some countries tortured.
In Afghanistan, a country wholly dependent on U.S. support, Abdul Rahman was sentenced to death for his conversion to Christianity before he fled to Italy. In addition, Pakistan does not allow a Christian to become President or to have representation in the Senate or Federal Cabinet and discriminates against this minority, so that no Christians are judges or have seats in the Federal and Provincial services. Most significantly many churches, hospitals, and schools have been bombed or burned.
Yet, in Europe, the Muslims started asking for civil liberties and assurance that their civil rights would be granted and are now demanding Islamic law, for example, in England. In defiance of the school dress code in her Lutonbeds school, Shabina Begum wore a Hijab and headscarf, but protested when she was suspended for this violation. She replied, “Rather it was a consequence of an atmosphere that has been created in Western societies post 9/11, an atmosphere in which Islam has been made a target for vilification in the name of the ‘war on terror.'” This outcry resulted in acquiescence on the UKs part. Regarding the issue, however, the Secretary-General of The Muslim Council of Britain Iqbal Sacranie explained, “This is a very important ruling on the issue of personal freedoms.” Incremental compliance with Islamic traditions and values moves the country closer to full acceptance of the Quranic political and social order.
The hypocritical double standard exists not only in the openness to Muslim institutions but also in U.S. intervention to prevent genocide and in subsidization for Muslim countries. Giving $2.2 billion a year, America has poured tens of billions of dollars into Egypt since the 1950s to develop the Egyptian economy, giving 1.12 billion dollars from Official Development Assistance alone in 2001 to Egypt with its ninety percent Muslim population. This giving continues even though Egypts human rights record received a 6 on the political rights and 5 on the civil liberties scales, and thus a not free rating (with 1 being most free and 7 least free). Indeed of the top ten recipients of the U.S.s
ODA– Iraq, Congo, Egypt, Russia, Jordan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, Israel, and Ethiopia– all but three are predominately Muslim, and Pakistan, Jordan, and Central Asian states (all with Muslim majorities) recently received increases in their assistance. Also, Europe and Muslim countries failed to stop the Serbian killing of Muslims in Bosnia, but America sent troops and financed the war to alleviate Serbian cruelty against the Muslims. Many Muslims believe that America goes only where oil is, but Bosnia did not have oil, so why did America intervene there?
America has even pledged money to rebuild Lebanon and to ensure the development of a Palestinian state by giving economic aid to the Palestinian Authority. Thus, ignoring issues of religion, resources, and even enemy status, the U.S. offers humanitarian as well as military assistance across the world, yet the Muslim world continues to propagate anti-American rhetoric.
A prime example of inconsistencies in Islamic claims appears in the concept of murder and in the turning of arguments about it to a discussion on victimization rather than violation of human rights. While many Muslims are gentle, peaceful people who offer help to those in need, the religion teaches peace only toward those in the community. Muslims indicate that Muhammad forbad killing innocent people. The Quran itself states, Whoever murders a person, it will be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoever saves a life, shall be regarded as if he saved all mankind(Chapter 5, verse 32). Why then do Muslim nations not condemn the killings in Darfur, Sudan, as well as in those countries rated as the worst of the worst (not free having a seven on both the civil liberties and political rights scale with seven on the scale as being the most oppressive) Cuba, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Libya, Syria, Burma, and the Sudan, as well as the territories of Tibet and Chechnya with all except Cuba and North Korea being predominately Muslim? Instead
Islamic nations repeatedly condemn only Israel for the Hezbollah-initiated conflict and for the loss of lives in Lebanon. Many Muslims often rhetorically label the current conflict of ideologies as a War on Islam; they see what happened in Palestine, Chechnya, the Southern Philippines, Afghanistan, and Lebanon as a War on Islam, and Islamists, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and therefore accuse President Bush, Prime Minister Blair, and Israel of being responsible for these conflicts. In fact, the Chairman of the Turkish Saadet Party, Recai Kutan, articulated this position at a local convention, saying that the Palestinian and Lebanese mujahideen were fighting not only for Palestine and Lebanon, but for the entire Islamic world. This is our struggle. This noble struggle will continue with no softening and no reduction (Milli Gazete, Turkey, 6 August 2006).
But another struggle that bears the same tragic consequences of Palestine and Lebanon, one unattended by this Islamic outcry, is the plight of more than thirty million Kurds divided over Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. Yet, all of those countries are Muslims countries. The unjust policies may be seen among Kurds in Syria who do not officially live there. In 1963 the Syrian Baath Party designed a 12-point plan to destroy the Kurds cultural identity. The regime adopted an Arabization Policy that relocated and armed Arabs loyal to the state, resettling them on Kurdish land and forcibly removing the Kurds. Since 1967, the campaign of Arabization has exchanged the Kurdish names of building, streets, and cities for Arab names; forbidden Kurdish publications; disallowed Kurdish language media; and banned the teaching of Kurdish in schools. Since 1992, parents may not register their children with Kurdish names. In Syria a Kurd who argues for cultural and political rights for Kurds, including women
and children, is persecuted or imprisoned. Today 225,000 Kurds in Syria are categorized as “foreigners” and 25,000 are labeled as “unregistered.”
The Baath party in Syria killed the inhabitants and leveled some Kurdish villages in the implementation of the policies of denying legal status to the Kurds, leading to the Kurds increasing support of the U.S. and their seeing the U.S. as their friend. Yet, Turks, Arabs, and Persians see Kurds as an infidel because they side with the U.S, the great infidels. Because the countries hate the Kurds and because the Kurds have been liberated by the West, they are willing to continue to suppress the Kurds. In addition, the long-term Kurdish enemies raised their heads when negotiations began, preventing any progress in the Kurdish region.
The injustice appears also in Turkey. In particular during the war between the Kurdish PKK and Turkey, Ankaras primary concern was the threat to the Turkish state; consequently, the discord claimed more than thirty thousands lives, most of them Kurdish civilians killed by the PKK and Turkish army. This rationale justified the Turkish militarys destroying thousands of Kurdish homes, burning thousands of villages, raping many Kurdish women, kidnapping their men and boys, slaughtering their sons and husbands, destroying their crops and cattle, displacing more than two million Kurds, and forcing them to leave their homes to look for shelter in the West, where the governments offered them asylum, jobs, and homes.
Hezbollah and Hamas, like the PKK, are considered terrorist organizations in the international arena. Why then do Turkey, Iran, Syria, and even the West have dialogues with Hezbollah and Hamas and not with the PKK? The Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has great sympathy for Hamas and Hezbollah. Earlier this year, his administration was criticized for a secretive visit of the Hamas leader Halit Meshaad to Ankara, and the Iranian government took photographs with the Hamas leader when he was in Tehran, even though the organization still denies Israels existence and keeps an formidable arsenal. Yet, the PKK does not enjoy this same rapport, but rather Turkey imposes restrictions on Kurdish political activists within its borders and undertakes vicious search missions outside in northern Iraq as part of a war on terror. Rather than let a Kurdish state emerge, Turkey curries Arabian states and Irans opposition to a Kurdish state by favoring a Palestinian one. A Justice and Development Party politician counters, Kurds have more rights, and we are making an effort to promote development plans in Kurdish areas of the state. But none of this is the main point: we will not let an independent Kurdish state come into being. To reinforce this policy, we need to tighten relations with states that might help us maintain the policy.” To support a Palestinian state, Erdogan voices vehement rhetoric against Israel in the Turkish Parliament and in interviews, for example with Haaretz, and the media almost universally takes an anti-Israeli position.
Thus, the political injunction against a Kurdish state causes neighboring Islamic states to oppose Israel fervently as a Zionist regime.
In Turkey the Kurds continue to be mistreated. For example, a new general praised the military, believing that a military solution is on the way to bringing a resolution to conflict in the region, yet with great popularity he praised the soldiers bombings, like in the bookstore in Southeastern Turkey, signaling a continued anti-Kurdish position and foretelling of future attacks on the Kurds. Will Turkish officers ever be jailed for bombing that bookshop in Southeastern Turkey? Will the Turkish policeman and soldier who kidnapped and killed children ever be brought to justice?
Will those who burned and destroyed houses of the Kurdish people by the death squad ever be tried or will their homes and villages be rebuilt? It is very worrisome to learn that the Turkish Army and the U.S. army want to fight and to get rid of the PKK guerillas in the mountains in far North Iraq because the PKK, renaming itself the Freedom and Democracy Congress, is hardly a threat to the interests of the U.S. and NATO. Yet, this new government policy will like result in thousands of Kurdish civilians being injured, jailed, tortured, and killed. Will Washington turn a blind eye, as Turkey explains that this is justified as a global war against terrorism? In Iran after the Revolution, Kurdish people disappeared as well. A common picture shows Kurdish women holding pictures of missing husbands, sons, or fathers. Is this the Muslim policy of justice and peace? Were those atrocities committed by the West or by Christians, by Tony Blair or by Israel? Were they committed by Muslims themselves? In Iraq, who committed genocide and killed more than 5000 Kurds in a 1988 chemical weapons attack on Hallabja near the end of a bloody war with Iran? Who even yet denies the social and political rights of Kurdish people? Are all lives equal? Why are so many innocent Kurdish men and women being marginalized, oppressed, and murdered, and by a Muslim nation, even though Kurds are overwhelmingly, although somewhat liberal, Muslims?
Is the Kurdish Allah some how different than Irans Allah, Turkeys Allah, Iraqs Allah, and Syrians Allah? For the sake of oil and national interests can an entire ethnic group be dehumanized like the Kurdish people? If Muhammad claimed that murder was wrong against non-infidels, then why is hatred being perpetrated against Kurds? Is it because Muhammad was an Arab or Turk not a Kurd? Islam requires that Muslims not do injustice to other Muslims but protect each other. Why then are the Kurds the most unwanted nation in the Middle East after Israel? Kurds live difficult lives because many of them have to contend with the problems that result from illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, little or no health care, ongoing war, systematic violence, forced displacements, lack of access to resources and to education, and the internal tribal struggles within Kurdish society.
Where is the Kurds help from their Muslim compatriots instead of perpetration of crimes against them by these brothers? Who knows what kind of game the Kurds will play in their alliances? The Kurds and their counterparts seemingly will do whatever it takes to ensure that the Kurds remain oppressed. This is the kind of justice and peace that the Middle East seeks to accomplish.