With West and Iran into serious negotiations, this is high time West extended its hand to the whole Islamic world
By : Dr Javed Jamil
The Muslim World is angry. The world can see it, and if it cannot see, it must see with wide open eyes. See what happened atNairobi. See what happened in Peshawar. Egypt continues to be in turmoil. In India, there is an angry quietness. And they are angry for nothing. Their anger has stronger reasons than what are reflected in their actions in Kenya, Pakistan and Egypt. What happened in Peshawar was surely a despicable attack. Seen in isolation, most people would also not justify what happened atNairobi. And there are people who will also talk negatively of the Morsi supporters in Egypt. But the truth is — and this is what transforms anger into unjustified actions — that the pundits only discuss things in accordance with their own interests. Whenever and wherever there is an issue, experts tend to focus only on certain factors and would ignore other more important ones. When Terrorism will be discussed, people will talk of the groups that are responsible, their “violent” ideologies, and the role of Islam and Muslims contributing to the attacks. They will never discuss the violence that goes hand and glove with Political West. They will not talk about the role of international agencies in dealing with the issues. They will forget that there are other forms of violence much more massive in terms of death and destruction that need to be debated.
Unfortunately, “violence” is violence only if it affects certain people in certain areas. The debate on violence has hardly anything to do with the magnitude of the violence but is only directly proportional to the interests of certain sections or states. If a serial killer kills more than a dozen people in America, it remains international news only till the motives of the serial killer are not clear. There is coverage in the hope that some Islamic angle can be involved. As soon as that angle is ruled out, the news instantly loses all the importance. If the death toll is only one or two, but the killer is identified as a Muslim, this haunts the media for weeks. The casualties of American bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan and drone attacks in Pakistan, and attacks supported by West against Somalian “rebels” are counted only by some academic websites, even if the numbers cross millions, but the deaths caused by “terrorists” or the deaths that can be alleged on anti-West rulers are highlighted daily in the media. The reporters do not fail to capture the agony it has caused to the families of the dead. The families of the dead in American bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been visited.
The international media rises to the occasion only if the violence has international repercussions, “international” meaning nothing but West, even if such violence takes place in a remote African country. But riots in a big country like India are hardly noticed. I visit BBC website almost 10 times daily and I could hardly find Muzaffar Nagar riots ever in the news headlines. This is despite the fact that the numbers killed were several dozens, the riots continued for several days and more than one hundred thousands became homeless. But Muslims are worthy of notice only when some of them kill, not when many of them are killed. Yes, when they happen to kill each other, the news receives prominence because it helps in creating a violent image of Muslims. Even in that case, the site of violence becomes important. If scores are killed in Iraq, a country where the American forces have only recently left imposing a government there, it has less importance than if they are in Syria or Lebanon.
Muslims are angry because of external as well as internal reasons. The internal reasons are strong too but they too ultimately are related to external factors. What can be said of the countries where the governments do not even blink without the approval of their masters outside? The overwhelming majority of Muslims feel that Islam and its followers are being targeted by West because they pose danger to their expansionist designs, economic interests and political ambitions. They know that for decades America and its allies are playing sinister games, occupying their lands, invading their countries, killing their people at will and spreading hatred against their religion and values. The people cannot resort to peaceful means of protest because the states in many countries are controlled by the Western puppets and the UN cannot do anything beyond the wishes of the Big 5. And when some disgruntled elements from the community resort to terror tactics, the Westerners never miss the opportunity to launch another wave of death and destruction against Muslims.
The anger in the Muslim world reached unprecedented levels after what happened in Egypt and what looked imminent in Syria. This was perhaps even more than that at the time of American attack on Iraq. At that time, there was a post 9/11 war on terror going on, and the people were mentally prepared to see what was going to happen. Saddam was also not known for his Islamic credentials and many in the Muslim world did not like him. In fact his popularity grew only after the American army started hounding him. In case of Egypt, people thought that the Egyptian Army, which is believed to be an extension of American power in Egypt, removed a democratically elected Islamic party from power in the unsubstantiated pretext of failure. Not just the supporters of Mosi but the whole Muslim world felt betrayed. They protested but the West continued to protect the military regime in one way or the other. Then suddenly, Syrian crisis was created to divert attention from Egypt. Had it culminated into a military conflict, the anger could have taken a turn that nobody could predict. Fortunately, the wisdom has prevailed on all sides.
The fallout of Syrian crisis has in fact been positive in several ways. The world seems to have entered another phase in international politics where America and its allies will not remain the only players. Russia has come back with a bang. This time it has emerged with China on its right and Iran on left.
Syrian crisis also seems to have awakened America to a realization that a policy of sustained hostility towards Iran cannot go forever. Emboldened by its success on Syrian front, Iran is now on a peace offensive. For the first time since the Iranian Revolution, the West and Iran seem to have entered into serious negotiations. This is an ideal time for the West to extend its hand to the whole Islamic world. They need to reassure Muslims that they want friendship with them on the basis of equality and share of interests. They need to convince them that West would not in any way cross the boundaries created by Islam and Muslim lands will be allowed to be governed by the beliefs of Muslims and not by imposed ideologies of the West. They will have to make categorical declaration that Muslim countries will not be invaded or attacked.
The World of Islam is waiting and watching in the hope that some positive developments will take place and its anger will soon subside leading to a more peaceful and prosperous world.
* Dr Javed Jamil is India based thinker and writer with over a dozen books including his latest, “Muslims Most Civilised, Yet Not Enough” and “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map”. Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. He can be contacted email@example.com or 91-8130340339