In any conflict, warfare happens on multiple fronts and includes military, economic, diplomatic and information actions. Too much attention is given to the military effort. Real action takes place in the Information campaign and we have to learn to recognize when we are being challenged in this area. Another shot just went across our bow when the meeting of Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) issued their report about “Islamophobia” and the growing threat against Muslims.
The OIC is comprised of 57 countries and one of their goals is improve the plight of the Muslim peoples and empower them.
One of the first things that we must realize in the West, is that we are at war with individuals, groups and countries that want to see our way of life disappear. Unfortunately, we have failed to realize the threat due to our internal political fighting, the lure of the dollar, our ignorance on the nature of the threat and the culpability of our media. Meanwhile, the terrorists gathers strength in our divide, exploits our open societies, mires our legal systems with cries of discrimination and bigotry, and offers religious “talking heads” who talk about moderation in western media outlets while publishing books and articles in their native language calling for our destruction and annihilation.
In 1997 the Runnymede Trust Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia defined islamophobia as “unfounded hostility towards Islam, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.” These words have now been exaggerated to the point where the terms used to describe jihadi activity are themselves politically incorrect.
Here are some highlights from the OIC report showing their “unbiased” perception about the world:
- Prejudice and intolerance vis-à-vis Islam is an old phobia, and has been a stubborn and distinctive trait of Western society and the European psyche since the seventh century. How many people in the West really knew of Islam before the events of 9/11?
- The historian Groeber wrote in his book “The Nature of Culture”: Islam spread in the whole world in a very short period of time like sunshine spreads in moments. Islam did not obey the same standards and criteria as other spiritual and social phenomena. For it did not have a childhood and an adulthood; rather, it emerged all at once as a perfectly integrated phenomenon. The fact that it spread without a physical “table” was one of its miracles. The fact that is was spread by the sword at times must have been a ray of sunshine to the people who were subjugated and sold into slavery.
- -Islam and Christendom were not merely competitors or rivals. They borrowed and learned from each other in all domains: scholarship, philosophy, medicine, architecture, technology, and most importantly in scientific inquiry etc. but it is an established fact that, in the Middle Ages, the civilizational traffic was mainly one way, from Muslims to Christians. Although we must remember that no one is to question Allah’s will or way, the growth of science in lands that are overwhelming Islam has always been stunted.
- -Despising Islam as a religion has become personified and directed against Muslims individually and collectively. Islamophobia has emerged as a racist movement of intolerance and discrimination and should be dealt with as such. The report uses key words such as “racist” and “discrimination” to play on the sensitivities of the West. No one wants to have those labels associated with them. Once again, the Information Campaign has launched another successful operation against the Western apologists.
- -The situation took a turn for the worse in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US. Discrimination and intolerance against Muslims and defamation of Islam, particularly in Europe and North America reached alarming proportions. The distortion of Islam and attempts to defame it as a faith supportive of extremism has been on the rise and Muslims were treated with suspicion and in many cases profiled as potential terrorists. As a result, they became victims of various forms of discrimination and stereotyping and violation of their human rights. This intolerance of Muslims commonly came to be known as Islamophobia. Again the reactionary word “discrimination” is used. Al-Qa’ida as an organization has “distorted Islam” and are to blame for using the religion to show that it supports extremism. Yet, Usama bin Laden’s own pronouncements are full of references to the Koran and the life of Mohammed. These are not the messages from the West but messages from the cancer within the Religion of Peace.
- Following atrocities such as 9/11, the London and Madrid bombings and the murder in the Netherlands of Theo van Gogh, monitors like the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) had noted a rise in Islamophobia. The question at this point, is there a good reason for Western people to fear Islam or Muslims? The perception problem is one that the West has complained about for years; when will Islam take back there religion from the extremists?
- The ten reasons that the report lists as part of the “root cause” of “Islamophobia” exonerate the extremists and/or terrorists. What they do claim is that “abuse of freedom of expression” and having “no legal recourse to sue those who slander Islam” are among the culprits. Again this is the same mindset that portrays Jews as animals, bans the bible from entering their country and tells Catholics they cannot ring a bell to call their members to church. In Qatar, the first Catholic Church has just finished construction. The “tolerance” of the Muslims in Qatar is on full display. The local newspaper declares “the cross should not be raised in the sky of Qatar, nor should bells toll in Doha”. A letter to the editor by Rashed al-Subaie opines that Christians have the right to practice their faith, but should not have permission to build places of worship. A former justice minister agrees and stresses that Qatar is a Muslim country, not a secular one, and maintains that a referendum is the only way to ensure that the church is socially acceptable. The worst of the offenders is Iran which sponsored a conference on the Holocaust being a hoax. Maybe this 2006 Pew Research poll will demonstrate the Muslim attitude toward their own religion:
Muslim Opinion on the Struggle Between Modernizers and Islamic Fundamentalists, the Mulims that feel there is no struggle – Jordan 69%; Egypt 60%; Turkey 23%; Indonesia 40%; and Pakistan* 14%. *In Pakistan a high percentage did not respond.
- Amber Haque states, “Islamophobia creates polarization in the wider society and provokes discrimination and injustice towards Muslims in all walks of life. Women and children are specially exposed to hostile treatment, making them feel unsafe. Hostility does nothing to foster self-esteem. The young generation born and raised in the West may face an identity crisis and opt to bond more closely with their parents’ backgrounds and distrust the West. Such distrust may lead some young Muslims to drop out of mainstream society and this fosters the conditions that make them readily influenced by extremist groups, which offers vulnerable youth a strong sense of identity and purpose. At the national level, such social disintegration can weaken the social fabric of a country when a party of its (educated) minority withdraws from society and fails to contribute effectively to the growth of society at large.” The repeated terms of discrimination and now the visual imagery of women and children feeling unsafe go along the lines of the victimization excuse. Of course the West is to now be blamed when the youth join the extremist groups because they had no choice. The parents, community and religious leaders of the disaffected youth have no influence over their own charges.
- The report also points to the discrimination cases that were collected by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR has been named by the US government as an unidicted terrorist co- conspirator and has recently voiced its commitment for HAMAS.
- We also find that the report provides information from various polls and research which seems to show a negative attitude gaining in the West concerning Muslims and Islam. Of course, what the report fails to show are the results of polls of positive attitudes in the Muslim world toward the West. In Kuwait, which U.S. troops liberated from Iraq in 1991, 36% say the attacks (9/11) were justifiable, the highest percentage of any country polled.
- A Pew Research Poll conducted in 2006 reveals the following: When Muslim were asked who was to blame for poor relations between the West and the Islamic countries, the respondents invariably pointed their fingers at the West. In Turkey, 79% blame the West. Other percentages include Indonesia 64%, Jordan 61%, Pakistan 60% and Egypt 56%. Another result that shows the two sides of “tolerance” by the Muslim countries include the startling result of Jordanians (28%) and Egyptians (22%) who volunteered that “Jews” are mostly to blame for bad relations, although Jews were not mentioned in the question. Results of another question continue to paint the “West is to blame for our woes” picture when we find that nearly half of those in Turkey (48%) and Indonesia (47%) say that Muslim nations are not more prosperous because of Western policies.
- The Observatory expressed its concern over the move by David Horowitz of the US based Freedom Center to organize a “Islam-Fascism Week” in two hundred university and college campuses throughout the United States of America on October 22-26, 2007. The concern of the OIC and the member states over this move was strongly voiced during the 62nd UNGA and various think tanks and academic institutions in the USA. The initiative of Mr. Harrowitz (the report misspelled his name the second time) did not receive the expected response as the majority of the universities did not provide him the expected forum. The fact is that universities did not back down from the event because of the content, but rather the undue influence that Middle Eastern money has bought. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia (SA) donated a combined $40 million to Georgetown and Harvard. Of course, we have already documented the type of influence that the Prince wields in our article – Does Globalization Spell Our Doom. Other universities that received Saudi money include Duke, Howard, Cal-Berkeley, Syracuse and Johns Hopkins. The royal family of Saudi donates an estimated $5 billion each year for schools, mosques and Islamic centers. Above all the Islamic countries must stop the flow of money to those who are doing the most damage to their own religion. According to the U. N., Al-Qa’ida received between $300 million and $500 million from SA during a ten year period that started in 1992.
- The OIC General Secretariat has been working closely with the Permanent Missions of the OIC Member States in Geneva for adoption of a resolution in the HRC on combating defamation of religions and against attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations and to address concerns of the international community over the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions, and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities. The resolution however failed to obtain a consensus with the European and Western members of the HRC either voting against or abstaining. Maybe the leaders of the West have seen a posting on YouTube which can be found by searching for woman stoning that shows the practice of killing a half-buried woman with stones. This inhumane practice still exists throughout the Muslim world today.
- Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDR) states that: ‘Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.’ The OIC uses this article to make the point that Muslims are discriminated against but recent actions, including the killing of a Chaldean Bishop in Iraq, the opposition to the Catholic Church in Qatar and the violence against the Coptics in Egypt show a different picture. Muslim discrimination is putting a portrait of their prophet on the internet (a picture of Persian origins), but there is no problem killing people of other religions.
- The OIC wants to monitor all workshops and lectures and report any “violations” that they find to the UN. What would really help is the OIC releasing a condemnation of every statement made by Al-Qa’ida, Usama bin Laden and Zawahiri while having their religious scholars refute the works of Azzam, Maqdisi, Qaradawi and Qutb as extremists and lacking any grounding in Islamic practice or teachings. This would undermine the religious authorities that the terrorist now derive legitimacy from and work to allay Western fears. The UN’s culpability includes the election of Libya to Chair the Human Rights Commission.
- To avoid using Islamophobic rhetoric used in the war against terror labeling them as Islamic fascists, Islamic extremist, etc, which has taken the western audience into getting a wrong impression on the message of Islam. What is the correct term to use against these deranged practitioners of their faith? Again, we find the report does a good job of finger pointing without offering any concrete ways to correct the root problems sparking the fear.
Muslims feel that linking terrorism to Muslims will make Muslims more radical. What? Radical Muslims attacked America on 9/11 and took 3000 innocent lives. Al Qa’ida has claimed this attack, even though a majority of Muslims (although U.S. officials say all 19 of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Arab men, only 18% of those polled in six Islamic countries say they believe Arabs carried out the attacks; 61% say Arabs were not responsible; and 21% say they don’t know) say that no Muslims were involved in 9/11. A fact is still a fact even if you ignore it. Islamophobia is not something that is being perpetrated in the West, it is a result of Islam and its religious leaders allowing the hijacking of their religion.
These are the results of an interesting poll which show that Muslims belief in news reports that Arabs carried out Sept. 11 attacks are Not True – Lebanon 58%; Turkey 43%; Kuwait 89%; Indonesia 74%; Iran 59%; and Pakistan 86%. Results of a 2002 Gallup Poll.
The work that the OIC and others do now, will not stop the fear that is being spread in the West. That fear is not one that is not founded in the fact of the many terrorist who now claim to be working to benefit Muslims and to be working on the establishment of the Caliphate, the Islamic religious rule of lands. The fear is generated by terrorists who operate freely in their countries and who are funded by their money. Those countries were only too happy to feed this message of the West as being the enemy as long as the radicals concentrated on the far enemy. Unfortunately, for the countries that supported these groups, they examined those governments and leaders and found them to be takfir (Muslims who are ex-communicated).
The OIC mimics the terrorist mind-set when they look to lay blame on others when the Muslims have have allowed the fear to be created by members of the Islamic religion. The fear comes from the people that the Muslims allowed to flourish. Where do these Muslim/Islamic deviant terrorists come from? The answer is not the West by countries like SA (bin Laden), Egypt (Zawahiri) and Jordan (Zarqawi) to name a few of their terrorists and their land of origin. The countries of the Middle East now face terrorist problems in their own countries as Al-Qa’ida find their overseas operations hindered and turn their focus back to the near enemy (local governments/rulers). The countries that belong to the OIC need to examine the root causes of this fear and find that the radicals are the real threat and not the West. This type of finger pointing will not solve the problem and clouds the issue.
If Islam treats the cause of the fear as an internal originating problem, this will finally prove to the West that the Islamic leaders are serious about getting rid of the threat. Have Iran hand over the senior Al- Qa’ida leadership that they have under house arrest to the world court. Have Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others review their school curriculum removing the inflammatory passages which vilify the West, Christians and the Jewish faith. Have the OIC pass a ban against the “hate speech” that fills their airwaves and newspapers aimed at everything connected to the western civilization. Lift the filters and censorship that happens in Muslim countries in order to facilitate a dialog among all the people and not just the politicians.
These are the steps that need to be taken to make real progress against the perception the world when it comes to Muslims. Do not lay these problems at the feet of the West, when the problem comes from within. Being a victim and blaming others for a situation is the easiest route when confronting a problem because it excuses one from responsibility. Taking a hard, long look at reality of the situation by finding the root causes.Fixing those mistakes are the path to changing not only one’s self, but the world. We must take this threat seriously, while our civilizations still stand.