The Role of American Muslims in Empire Building
(by their noticeable and uncourageous silence)
Waking up the Muslims of America
Muslim communities in the US should not fool themselves into thinking that this trend of increasing Fascism is not going to impact them if they just keep their heads low as they go about their daily routines, if they just stay inside their mosques busy in prayer, if they keep shaking hands with President Bush in the White House or have him come visit them in their mosques even taking his shoes off, and if they leave all the issues of protest to the few prominent activists from CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) or ADC (American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee). As stellar organizations as CAIR and ADC are, they alone cannot fight against this.
The Jews thought something similar not too long ago in Nazi Germany as the Nazis led them through a tarantula mating dance with an on-again off-again relationship as Fascism rose over time into the devastating crescendo that we rather not think about. To this day, the Jews ask themselves why the Jews in Germany did not fight back? Why they showed no resistance? They argue, that with each turn up of heat, the Nazis would step back and wait for a response, and had there been a very strong response right off the bat, there may not have been a Holocaust at all. The Jews lament to this day, that perhaps what emboldened the Nazis to go through their sick scheme, was the lack of interest shown in the fate of the Jews of Europe by the US and the Allies, and their own passivity at what they perceived destiny befalling them. The Daniel Pipes and Pat Robertsons of America, are spreading the same distrust that the Germans spread about the Jews in Germany, which they claimed they had in fact learnt from America's own mistreatment of the Jews in the early twentieth century. It's a deja vu. Look at their simple message that is now directed against the Muslims that they repeat ad nauseum to their congregations and on TV: the Muslims are unlike us, their Islamic civilization is unlike our Judeo-Christian civilization, their religion is unlike ours, they have come here to take over America and destroy our civilization, they are terrorists. Rings a bell? Wisen up Muslims of America!
In a talk given by an 83 year old extremely articulate lady, Evelyn Fielden, whose six family members were made victims of Nazi xenophobia in the concentration camps, and who barely managed to escape Berlin as a 17 years old young girl in 1938, recalled the parallels between how ignorant they were as citizens of Germany about what was to come just a few years down the road, as late as 1938, and the current climate of mass ignorance in America. She openly remarked that the main difference she sees between George W. Bush and Hitler, is that “Hitler never lied to us.” He had stated it all up front in his Mein Kampf years earlier, albeit no one chose to believe him. In response to my question to her about what parallels she saw between the early stages of the harassment of the Jews in Germany and what is occurring to the Muslims in America today, her chilling remark sent goose bumps down my spine. She said there were strong parallels with a few differences, one in favor and one against. The one in favor being that while there was a long history of anti-Semitism in Germany and indeed most of Europe against the Jews, there is no such history against the Muslims, this anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim bashing being of a relatively recent contrivance. The point not in favor of the Muslims being that we look different. We easily stand out by the color of our skin and our attire, and are thus easily identified. Whereas the Jews in Germany looked and dressed just like the mainstream, they could not be told apart except by a peek at their passports which had a big “J” stamped in it.
I also asked Dr. Daniel Ellsberg and David Harris, the two famous anti-war heroes of the Vietnam era, the voices of conscience of this nation, the same question in a talk they gave about “Reclaiming American Democracy through Awareness and Action” at the College of Marin near San Francisco on April 29, 2003. The former had leaked out 7000 sheets of documents that later became the Pentagon Papers risking 135 years in jail, and the latter spent 20 months in jail for refusing to serve in Vietnam, interrupting his education at Stanford for a higher cause. Both predicted that it was going to get hotter for the Muslims, that the 'white' progressive Americans must stand up and fight for them, because the circle of persecution was going to widen to net in all the groups that the government did not favor, especially the antiwar and anti-globalization activists. David Harris commented that “We are no less Americans for our dissent whenever we choose to exercising it” and “we are not better than the rest of the world – only better off”, hence it behooves upon us to fight back. He told me very emphatically to not leave the country but to stand up and fight, the message being directed at all the Muslims in America.
Already the profiling of activists as well as Muslims at the airports have started, with most brown skinned Muslims and males of Arab origin, even those carrying American passports, are separated from the main passenger queues both upon entering and leaving the country, and in many cases, their wallets are checked, their credit cards are photocopied, the cash is counted, and personal questioning that can last for hours is conducted, in the course of which many miss their flights, only to be offered sheepish apologies later! These are facts reported by several travelers that I questioned recently myself, and have also been reported on Pacifica.
There is also an ominous and very powerful alliance brewing between the Jesus seeking Evangelical Christian far right fundamentalists represented by the likes of Dr. Pat Robertson, and the Zionist ultra right-wing fundamentalists living in Israel as well as in the US who dream of Eretz Israel and taking over Muslim lands between the Nile and the Euphrates. Robertson is a family chum of George Bush Sr., and was very instrumental in getting the needed votes for electing George Bush Jr. in the Bible belt by helping defeat the presidential contender Senator John McCain in the Republican primaries in South Carolina and Virginia. Robertson's father Senator Willis Robertson had a mentoring relationship to George Bush Sr.'s father Senator Prescott Bush. Robertson's alliance to the Bush family is legendary. In the 1992 elections, Robertson was prepared to assist Bush Sr. by the distribution of 40 million voter guides. Robertson is also the founder of the 700 Club, and the multi billion dollar CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network), an earlier version of which he sold for $1.82 Billion to Rupert Murdoch in 1990. According to Greg Palast in Best Democracy Money Can Buy (237 – 250), the combination of Christianity and cash, mixing God and Republican campaigns, has made Dr. Robertson a man whose net worth is as high as a billion dollars. Robertson is cash rich and not squeamish about investing it in his ideology of hastening the arrival of Jesus Christ on Earth.
The proponents of this ideology maintain that the return of the Jews to Israel is a sign of Rapture. That it is now their duty to convert all the heathens of the world to Christianity, that when Jesus arrives, the Jews will automatically be converted to Christianity, and the rest of the recalcitrant world will bake in hell fire for rest of eternity. So they hurriedly want to bring as many as possible to Christ, even if it means dropping bombs on them to save them, or even risking a nuclear Armageddon, because all it does is bring the arrival of Jesus and the last days closer into reality.
The Zionists and even the non Zionist Jews laugh at these ridiculous notions of these fanatics, but many find them to be very convenient allies in their quest for domination of Arab lands. Hence for instance, every time Nethanyahoo, the previous Prime Minister of Israel ever came to Washington, he made it a point to pay homage to these fanatics and tour the bible belt, to make a point to the ex President Clinton who did not much seem to care for Nethanyahoo, that he has support in the crucial bible belt in America. Ariel Sharon the bulldozer, also sent his tourism minister to do the same. And Robertson gave a sermon at Passover this year in Temple Beth Shalom, a Jewish Synagogue in Framingham Massachusetts, to further cement their alliance with each other.
In the same talk, Robertson is reputed to have stated “Why not begin educating the Arabs, take down their TV as their propaganda and [substitute our message]”. The Christian Evangelist believe that “Israel is the Divine Destiny”, and they see the United States playing a key role in that Destiny. Hence note that the news and media company, Grace Digital Media, which is Evangelical Christian, has been given contract by the US government to make television programs for Iraq! The Zionists have made the statement that “Islam is disappearing”, and that in the next few years reviving the Crusade in alliance with the Christian right will be an opportune moment in history to rid the world of the Muslim menace!
So there is now a business competition to see who can do them in first, and also make a few million or billion bucks at it. Robertson is also reputed to have stated in that sermon in the Synagogue that “Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Bush understand the Spiritual significance of this”. This was reported by a Jew protester and observer who was there to protest the presence of Robertson at the Synagogue and his vile ideological links with the Zionist fundamentalist in Israel. He disclosed these statements by Robertson in an interview on DemocracyNow to Amy Goodman. Also interviewed was Elaine Hagopian, Professor Emeritus at Simmons College, who also noted with ominous foreboding this growing alliance between the two antagonists of Islam.
The Muslims the world over must wake up and take cognizance of the revitalized Crusade being hatched against Islam and the Muslims in order to perpetuate the fiction of “war on terrorism” – the lifetime of war, also affectionately known in the intelligence circles as “World War IV”. There are big bucks and big guns backing this effort for the explicit purpose of extending empire for the full spectrum dominance of the Planet. It's nothing personal against Islam or the Muslims per se, there is a confluence of interests at play here and we just happen to be convenient enablers in the current geopolitical reality. A recognition of this reality is imperative in order to even begin addressing the issue of self-defense against this barbaric onslaught.
While the stupid Arab billionaires and Muslim dictators the world over under the tutelage of their foreign masters, steal the oil wealth and other resources of their nations to buy useless properties on Bond Street and Wall Streets, the antagonists are spending their wealth and their political power for ideological warfare against Islam and the Muslims for a deliberate purpose. While the world appears powerless, the Muslims in America have a remarkable opportunity to do something about it.
We already have undeniable empirical evidence for the high regard for Muslims and the respect for their basic human rights, in the behavior of the American policy makers. Witness the uninhibited killing of Muslim civilians with long distance bombers, or starving innocent children through 12 years of strait jacketing sanctions and subsequently shock and awing them by raining democracy on their heads, or standing by watching the easily preventable crimes of looted national heritage and burnt down national libraries in Iraq. Or witness the imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay of POWs from Afghanistan to whom they even deny POW status, inventing an hitherto unheard of new category, “illegal combatants” against all international norms for treatment of war prisoners. They are housed in cages, literal cages, according to reports aired on Pacifica. According to recent Amnesty International and other legal organizations' protests lodged with the US government, among the prisoners are 13 year old boys and 80 year old men. Torture is the norm for interrogation, including prolonged painful positions, denial of food and sleep, and solitary confinement without access to lawyers, the outside world, or communication amongst each other.
Without being charged for a crime, without access to the famed due process that the civilized Western world lays claims to as having invented to save the world from barbarism, this legal limbo exposes their valuation for anyone other than their own kind: being of the same race or religion counts for more than being of the same species. Can you imagine how hearty and tough an Afghan is living in those rugged barren mountains of Afghanistan and perhaps some of them having lived a life of warfare with minimal rations? Suicide is unheard of in Afghanistan. While they have fighting in their blood due to their history of defense of their land over several centuries from all sorts of invaders, and are used to fighting, even each other, suicide is anathema in their culture. If more than 20 of them have attempted it in Guantanamo Bay prisons in a population size of 600 – 700, what kind of condition must they be in that they prefer to try suicide, even though perhaps being religious they would know that they will go to hell for doing so? They are choosing eternal damnation to their current predicament? I cannot imagine how unbearable that must have to be for an Afghani to give up!
Arundhati Roy's eloquent summary of the US behavior in Afghanistan captures it all. In an article in the U.K. Guardian (Sept. 29, 2001) on the eve of preparations to bomb Afghanistan to prehistoric times, titled the “The Algebra of Infinite Justice”, she wrote:
“Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while waiting to be killed”,
in response to the US forcing Pakistan to close its borders to fuel and food supplies that provided much of the meager daily sustenance to the starving population of Afghanistan. Dropping food packets on their heads from 10,000 feet that looked similar to cluster bombs is beyond civil description in the English language, though I am sure there are very eloquent expressions for it in Dari, Pashto, and Farsi. Or is it that this is happening to those 'bad' Muslims over there, we are Americans, we are 'good Muslims' and not like them?
It is interesting to note how this 'good' and 'bad' Muslim discourse has all of a sudden cropped up among the apologists for Islam in America. Now you hear them in Friday khutbas, in speeches and seminars by Muslim sheikhs and scholars, and even among the US policy makers who refer to the fundamentalist or those fighting for their liberty from tyranny of one sort or another as 'bad' Muslims, and those nice and docile sheep who come running at the first bark of the sheep dog as 'good' Muslims. The very first time I heard of this was right after 9/11 when a well known Muslim American scholar, who has a large following in the United States, and is frequently invited as a khatib (speaker) and scholar to various kingdoms, even by the kings themselves, and was also invited to the White House as a token symbol that this war against terrorism was not against Islam but the 'terrorist' among them, mentioned this distinction to distance himself and other Muslims from the supposed perpetuators of 9/11. Since then, it seems to have caught on as the lingua franca of both the press and the US Administration.
It is ironically funny, because when the Taliban were destroying the statues of Buddha in Afghanistan just a few months earlier, to the much consternation and uproar in the entire world, including the Muslim world, as a heinous destruction of world's heritage, the same Friday prayer khatibs were suggesting in mute tones that the west does not understand the religious sentiments and 'purity' of these 'pious' people in Afghanistan. I heard this with my own ears, and was totally disgusted that destroying the statues of Buddha, a sacred religious figure not just to Buddhist, but to all mankind, was only condemned with muted tones as “the west does not understand”. Hypocrisy is alive and well everywhere!
Once the discussion starts on the premise of “good Muslim” vs. “bad Muslim”, instead of innocent vs. criminal, the argument is already conceded because now the religion has unjustifiably been brought into the picture playing right into the hands of the antagonists. Rather than being apologetic, it might have been more productive to remind the US President that these criminal elements were the creation of the United States herself to defeat the Soviets, and that at the time they were called 'mujahideen' and “moral equivalent of our founding fathers” by the American President Ronald Reagan. Such advice would have been worthy of a true religious statesman on ascendance to Irfan (state of purification). This is also the “Furqan” (criterion) of judging someone in Islamic wisdom. If you see a sheikh sitting in the company of kings, eschew him. If you see kings sitting in the humbleness of his company, embrace him. Where has courage disappeared?
While no credible evidence linking Bin Laden to 9-11 has ever been produced and there are only assertions of his guilt by the White House, as well as only assertions that the dastardly events of 9-11 were a complete surprise attack by suicidal “Muslim terrorists” and a spectacular and spontaneous failure of US intelligence and military agencies, there is a bigger picture that has been developed throughout this book, that of the new “Pearl Harbor”. In that context, it is astonishing to see the Muslim leadership, many Muslim scholars, and various and sundry mosque leaders in America completely befuddled and on the defensive. Instead of rationally challenging the White House on their lack of producing even a shred of evidence, and demanding to know why Muslims are being so scapegoated by most of the officials who also happen to be Neocon Zionists, they have accepted the official line as a foregone conclusion that Bin Laden, and the list of 19 Muslim sounding names released by the US government, are to blame. At least, this is the basis behind their apologetic public stance and their behavior. I have heard them myself announce from mosque pulpits that “we support our President”, that “we support our troops”, that “we are Americans”, and that we must help the authorities find the “bad” apples among us! It matters not that in the privacy of their thoughts they might feel differently. What matters is their public pronouncements, for that determines the fate of the Muslims in America, as easily lead sheep to the slaughter.
It would be very funny were it not so disturbing to observe the FBI being sheepishly invited into mosques to give talks on Civil Rights, with a dumbfounded audience listening and nodding their heads. What is wrong with the leadership? Why would you want the wolf to advise the chicken how to protect itself? If you want Civil Rights education for the community, get Civil Rights attorneys to do it! I even sat through one of these talks, and was quite disturbed at the seriousness with which the participants were listening to it and asking simplistic questions from the FBI and the police. The questions almost all being about what they should do if they are harassed by someone or there is a hate crime. And what is billed as getting to know your rights, is invariably about how to find the terrorist among you!
If indeed the playing field were level, and the FBI were not out monitoring the mosques and profiling the Muslims, then cooperating with law enforcement is a civic responsibility. But if no crime has been committed, and the citizens are being monitored and profiled because of their religion and their ethnicity, and this is America we are living in, not the oppressive dictatorships of our own native lands where there are indeed few Civil Rights for the ordinary citizen, then not exercising these rights that this great country affords us, and not protesting when these Civil Liberties are getting eroded at the hands of a government that isn't even elected, and instead inviting their agents to further monitor us in our own mosques and at Eid celebrations, is at best, Kafkaesque! At worst, a grave short sightedness and potential disservice to the community.
The argument that these prayers and religious celebrations are open public services and we have nothing to hide, misses the point that this intrusion is against the US Constitution protecting religious institutions and their places of worship from the state, and the basic edict of this nation. Protection of the minority from the tyrannical rule of the majority is a fundamental right that the founding fathers of this country envisaged in their democratic ideals, despite their own short comings as landlords living with the world view of accepted slavery. Many khatibs now routinely pay their allegiance to George Bush in their Friday sermons, as the FBI and other local non Muslim residents and city officials sit through these Friday prayers, seated in specially designated areas, and attentively trying to discern what the Muslims and Islam are all about.
My advice to these non Muslim folks who want to learn about Islam, don't learn it from the Muslims, especially through the speeches of their supposed leaders! The orchestra is unable to play Beethoven's symphony in any other way except a garbled cacophony! Learn about Muslims by getting to know the rich lives of individual Muslims and their families. Make friends with them. And to know about Islam, go to the sources! What passes for Islam in most of the mosques these days is the dry ritualistic shell. The fruit of Islam, its spirit, is usually lacking. I see more Islam in the outspoken dissent of the Jew or the Christian or even the non-religious activist, than in the thousand prayers of the congregation that ends in “United We Stand”. No thanks for your obsequious leadership! We need courageous grass-roots!
Shake the cobwebs of slumber off your minds, Muslims of America. We are not better than the rest of the world, nor any safer – only better off, and only temporarily so. Each one of us has to loudly protest and do our part in taking a stand against this bigotry and the double standards that seems to have become an acceptable part of mainstream discourse in this country. One cannot rely on someone else to do it for us. To think that the untiring efforts of a few courageous individuals and activists will take care of the problem, is abdicating one's own responsibilities and dereliction of one's duties as citizens in a minority community.
Until the day when 1 – 2 million Muslims do not march in the streets of America to protest for their rights as equal citizens and residents of this country, and do not demand a stop to racial and religious harassment and slander, it will only get worse. Rosa Parks didn't just let Dr. King do all the work, she went to jail for refusing to give up a bus seat!
Freedom in this society is a continual battle for everyone, not just Muslims. It is only won through struggle, and easily lost through complacency. See the wonderful grass-roots history text “A People's History of the United States” by Howard Zinn, to understand how the fruits of freedom, and the comfortable work life that we have been enjoying this far, have been hard won on the backs of many a movements waged by ordinary citizens, just like you and me. And invariably all of these struggles have been against the institutional elite who initially demonized them, and later eulogized them. The Muslim communities in America must start fully participating in the civil society and political movements in America.
Such a participation however does not imply a headlong embrace of exploitative institutional wisdom, prejudicial government policies, and intrusive encroachment of state apparatus into constitutionally protected private affairs of the community. Ask to see the warrant before you let the cops in. Participation does not mean that you just let them walk in because you have nothing to hide. Making the distinction between participating in your own persecution through either silence or acquiescence, and participating to courageously fight back to protect your rights and dignity as a people, is the key to survival as a minority community in America. And the responsibility for participation rests with each member of the community. A dynamic, outspoken, not easily bamboozled, and not so easily intimidated community is the only one respected.
Partially because of our pusillanimous attitudes in the face of this new wave of anti-Islamic sentiments that has gripped America, at the dawn of the twenty first century, we have become the new Jews of America of the early twentieth century. Unthinkable only a few years ago! Even as late as the early 1970s, the ordinary Jews were stereotyped and treated unfairly in this country. Their history of immigration to New York and quartering them into slums, with real anti-Semitism directed against them (not the type that has now become the weapon of choice to silence any and all criticism of their actions especially in relation to Zionists of Israel), is a telling tale of how America treats its new immigrant communities. The same is true of the Chinese, the Irish, and perhaps to some extent the Italians. Each one of them has lived through stereotyping and labeling of one sort or another. They only won respect after much sacrifice, and when they fought back.
The conundrum some Muslims are facing today in America is that it is difficult for them to assess whether this is just the usual immigrant's rites of passage that can perhaps be overcome with perseverance, or something far more insidious and dangerous to our collective well being in this country. While leaving America for our home countries might be the choice for some, and many hundreds of families have already fled, for others, America is our home and we have no place else to go. We have to deal with this problem one way or another, and cannot count on someone else doing it for us.
There must no longer remain any distinction between those who stick their necks out and are called activists, and those who sit complacently at home in the hope that it will all magically blow away. While it is for each one of us to decide for ourselves what our moral imperatives are, and the price of our conscience, our collective security does lie in the collective action of our people, and our institutions! There needs to be a nation wide consistent policy adopted by all of our local and national institutions in how to communally and individually address the threats we face, and how to educate our citizens in bringing them out of their shells into active and very vocal grass-roots political participation. Squeaky wheels get the most attention, as the saying goes. Silent and passive suffrage is not what is meant by “Sabr” (patience) and neither is it called for. When our house is on fire, that is not the best time to become “good Muslims” and quietly raise our families as some suggest, but it is the time to put out the fire. And when the house is burning, that isn't the time either to bicker about our religious, sectarian, ideological, or social and cultural differences.
Step 1 in this direction is to recognize the global and domestic situation for what it is, and stop calling it the “war on terrorism”.
Just to take this step requires foresight and courage! Many of the leadership of our current institutions are likely good hearted and well meaning citizens who had stepped up to the plate to help build these institutions in the times of peace, when there was no persecution and no war on terrorism. The policies of appeasement and conciliation that worked then, as was indeed necessary in building a new community from scratch, does not necessarily work now. This is evident just by listening to their speeches, they are as confused as anyone else. Due to their lack of understanding of the complex issues, and often simplistic attitude towards life such as: “God will take care of it all, let us just go back to the basics”, and their fear that the US Justice department might shut down their mosques and institutions if they did not cooperate with every intrusion of the FBI, though well intentioned these leaders be, in the long run, they can seriously jeopardize the safety of our community. Something they have struggled so hard to develop all of their lives.
This is the time to stand up for our rights, or lose them. That requires a very different kind of people in the leadership. Those not capable of exercising such leadership must now step down and make room for fresh cadre to take over the baton. This is a relay marathon and front runners will need replenishing very often.
Step 2 is stop using the mosque pulpits to preach “we support our troops” – support them in what?
Can you mullahs with Ph.D. and masters degrees who seem to think the pulpit is your private inheritance that you make a beeline for it every Friday just because you have an Arabic accent, can you even enumerate all their acts from the pulpit? Does the sanctity of the pulpit even allow it? Have the courage to call the spade a spade – for while all your admirers are nodding their heads in the congregation, your guardians are also busy recording the evils that follow from your speech – the evils of inaction, of complacency, of silence, that is directly responsible for the deaths of innocent peoples throughout the world at the hands of the troops you support. It is bad enough that we pay taxes.
Stop filling the mosques and start filling the streets. I wish I could translate some poetry for you from my language for I am bursting to exclaim them – but it's all lost in translation.
Learn from the Jews and their misfortunes. Try to understand their reasons for their strong support of Israel now, despite Israel's blatant and systematic oppression of another innocent people. After centuries of silent sufferings and acceptance of their own persecution as divine destiny, they have said: no more. Even if it means screwing someone else. That is the ethos that makes Elie Wiesel comment: “don't ask me to criticize Israel”, and an Israeli soldier shoot Palestinian children in the eyes. Monumentally criminal yes, but what is the psychology behind it? An Israeli Air Force training Instructor was a friend of mine at work. A very rational and logical person normally, he would turn quite illogical when we debated the Israeli occupation of Palestine, until one day he set me straight by saying that if he gave into my arguments, he would be driven into the Red Sea. That was the last time we talked on the subject. The point being that centuries of oppression has made the Zionists among them, grotesque! Not that he stated it that way, but it was my point to infer after which I left him alone.
While the Jewish ethos for the “Promised Land” remains an enigma to me, especially since the vast majority of the Jews are secular, and largely cultural Jews, and the Zionist among them who have ventured to make Israel their home are primarily atheists with a yamaka head gear, and certainly the Muslims share little with them in this ethos which is peculiarly theirs, but the point here is one of victims beginning to identify with their past tormentors as a cultural memory.
For the Jews, this cultural memory is two Millennia long in antagonism with their favorite goyems – the Christians – and their Diaspora is even longer. And clearly Muslims cannot relate to this longevity of suffering because we have not experienced what the Jews have experienced and aspired for over the past 3000 years. Some Muslims might feel what is this hogwash psycho-babble. But oppression breeds oppression, and there is no denying it:
“I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do Evil in return.” (W.H. AUDEN, “September 1, 1939”)
The empirical evidence of the veracity of this poem is clearly visible in the Zionist Jews as a peoples, who are today perhaps the most cruel, inhuman and oppressive on the planet. It is silly to just dismiss them as ordinary thugs, although they will certainly appear to be no different, whimpering, when in the docks like “Eichmann in Jerusalem”. There is however far more going on with them while they have the 'upper hand' that any one can rationally figure out without first putting them on the psychiatrist's couch in a jail cell!
Are we going to suffer for a century before we wake up, and then in rebellion become grotesque like our oppressors? Longer we spend in servitude, harder will be the recourse, and stronger will be the retribution when the succeeding generations wake up and fault us for not taking a stand with far less pain and suffering, when all we had to do was stand up for our rights while we still had them!
Having lambasted the Zionist Jews above, it is important to recognize that (at least I like to think so) while they are the most visible among the Jews, and seem to have hijacked the common perceptions about Jewry and Judaism, they least represent the Jews as a peoples. Rachel Corrie was a Jew, and so is Dennis Bernstein, the proud grandson of a Rabbi who lambasts the Zionists on a daily basis on air. The only way a non-Palestinian likely even hears about Palestine in America is through his radio show. A substantial majority in the antiwar activist movement are Jews. And so is my long time ago roommate, a Ph.D. from MIT in Electrical Engineering, who didn't even know what the hell this whole fuss was all about and nor did he wish to learn – designing optimal servo-control for disk drives is infinitely more pleasurable, a sin no more significant than yours and mine who came here to America in search of the American Dream and then slogged day and night forgetting about the misery that we mercifully left behind. Indeed his ancestors came here generations ago. Whereas we are mostly first generation immigrants and yet we force ourselves to forget the plight of our brethren. Who is more guilty?
All Jews in the world are not our mortal enemies, only the murderous Zionists among them appear to be, and only on account of the “question of Palestine” which entirely colors their view of friend and foe based on who helps or hinders them in achieving Eretz Yisrael!
Indeed, many prominent Jews have also been our most vocal and outspoken supporters against the fascism of their own brethren. I am told that a majority of world's Jewry do not support this fictitious war on terrorism, do not support Bush, and do not support Israel in its persecution of the Palestinians, even though they may still support Israel in general. If this is true, and there is really no way to verify how the majority of the Jews feel – their uncourageous silence is equally deafening in sympathy with ours – but assuming it is true, then we have many more allies among them then I had imagined, at least in so far as what is common. Albeit in my way of thinking, how anyone can morally support the apartheid misconstruction of Israel, and its colonization of Palestine, even up to the 1967 borders, is beyond me. One day, before the Most Just Judge, one will surely have to account for all of this. Perhaps that is why most of them are atheists and secular? But I needlessly digress.
Nor are the Christians our enemies, only the ultra right-wing ideologues and malicious bigots among them are. Both the Zionists and Christian fanatics seem to be running the show in the White House along with the vested interests of the military-industrial complex institutional elite, whose only religion appears to be the mighty US dollar. Fortunately, none of them represent the vast majority of voices in this country. We must be able to distinguish them apart, and make alliances and associations with the rich heritage of this nation of immigrants. The Japanese have already experienced the internment camps, and have also received sheepish apologies by a US President decades later. They can be formidable allies of the Muslims in this climate of oppression. The multicultural society of America affords us a tremendous opportunity to get to know one another and perhaps break our own stereotyping of many ethnic communities, much as we ask of Americans to do for us.
As Jacques-Yves Cousteau suggested on the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday celebration, there wouldn't be any wars in the world, if every child between the ages 8 and 10 years got a chance to spend a year on the other side of their fence. That should be the very next collective priority of all humanity, right after we have clothed and fed and educated every child on the planet. I doubt very much that the bigots who make these horrible statements about Islam and our holy Prophet, and those who would annihilate us in their religious fantasies, have actually ever even met a Muslim, let alone have one as a friend! So what price silence and isolation, keeping our head low, trying to be good Muslims by quietly raising our families?
By taking a firm and courageous collective stand against the bigots now, today, this very moment, before this country becomes a complete police state, before Patriot Act 2 and its follow on get passed by an eager Congress, we not only protect our immediate survival in America, but by exposing their hypocrisy, their insane fanaticism, their unjust alliances, and their detriment to the American public interests and the American public themselves, we have an opportunity to defeat this minority cabal and their grandiose conspiracy to wage a Crusade against us and against the world.
Those 'cultural Muslims' with the 'laissez faire' attitudes busily pursuing their own “American Dreams” who might feel: leave it all to God; let the enemies plan, but God Almighty has His own better plan; or feel that this is too big for them, that they should wait for the 'promised Messiah' or 'the Awaited Savior of humanity'; etcetera, etcetera, the following guidance and promise from the Qur'an should be sufficient to awaken one (paraphrased):
“God does not change the condition of a people unless the people strive to change it for themselves first.”
The above rational and self-empowering teaching of Islam entirely negate the idea that history just happens, or that it is preordained, despite all the self-defeatism that seems to have crept into the vast majority of Muslims' understanding of this lofty religion through the passage of history that was entirely dominated by tyrannical kings and Caliphs in whose self-interest it was to diligently support such nonsense which tended to keep the flock in their proper “opiate” slumber busily pursuing their own 'Islamic Dreams' leaving the rulers to continue on with the business of the 'state'.
Even empirical evidence suggests that it is our collective wills and our collective actions that make history. Islam's key message is indeed this empowerment of the individual to do good in this life, and to act on the side of justice, to fight injustice with justice and not to exceed the prescribed bounds lest one in turn became the transgressor, and to do the best in life to the extent that one is maximally able to using all the gifts that one has been endowed with, and this is what one is held accountable for (on the day of Judgment).
This is an empowering and dynamic philosophy of Islam. It would make no sense if the outcome was indeed not controlled in the voluntary actions of people. Any philosophy, any leadership, any historical context, and any personal excuses that one might make, that detracts from this self-empowerment of a people, is antithetical to Islam's ideals. To suggest that the present course of tyranny in the world is somehow inevitable and there is nothing one can do about it, is to deliberately disempower us. Whose interests does that serve? Ever wonder about that?
The Marxist used to think that way, except that it was about the inevitable march of the proletariat and the class struggle. Look where they are now!
And today it is the alleged inevitable march of corporate globalization and the capitalist's struggle for ever more capital, supported by George Bush's new global “crusade” of “infinite justice” against the “evil doers”. They will be defeated too, eventually. Unnatural systems of existence, exploitation, hegemony and oppression can only endure so long, provided of course, people stand up and do something about it. A truism that is all too easy to forget for many in intense hardship and suffering, where sometimes, it is easiest just to barely exist!
History is made each and every day by the choices each one of us makes, as Professor Edward Said noted in a speech recently. It was made on that fatal night that the Noble Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) passed away and some Muslims quarreled on who should lead the people. It was again made at a few critical junctures in the history of Islam by only a handful of individuals, and that has changed the outcome of Islamic history entirely, so much so that the face of Islam looks entirely different today, with kingdoms, dynasties, and sectarian schisms galore. It is entirely nonsense to suggest that all this was, or is, inevitable.
If you hear Physicist Fritjof Capra explain this phenomenon, actions of human beings form a 'non linear' system. There does not have to be a majority action, only a significant minority action, and the outcome can be radically different. Even an action by one can change the course of history, for good or for bad. It is the model of the butterfly flapping its wings in Australia and effecting the weather in California. It is the premise behind the complex non linear weather prediction programs that run on super computers and sometimes lead to egg on the faces of the weather man because it could not predict the affect of the butterfly ten thousand miles away. Even this theory of non linear systems teaches us to act as individuals to affect change, consistent with the wisdom of the religion of Islam that to affect change, one must act, God ain't gonna send a magic bullet!
Allama Muhammad Iqbal's poetry, a revitalizer of Islam's cherished ideals of self-empowerment, is replete with this motif. He never suggests that a specific destiny is inevitable, but that its key is held in our own hands, in the hands of ordinary people when they rise to do extraordinary things (sure sounds like a Anthony Robbins infomercial, but perhaps he too got it from the wisdom of the East, actually it is the teaching of Islam – that is why I like listening to him sometimes because he seems to have spent effort to absorb certain wisdom and is applying them to the domain he is most familiar with, making money with his motivational seminars on self empowerment – nothing wrong with that – but shows the power of wisdom we seem to have lost while others are using it for building empires of one sort or another).
Iqbal argues in his very famous couplet for raising one's notion of “self”, through its empowerment, to such lofty heights, that destiny itself is compelled to ask what the mortal desires. A far cry from being the slave of destiny.
What is even more ironical is that despite such a demanding heritage, the Muslims have become more fatalistic and self defeatist, waiting for this savior or that savior to do it for them. While the Westerners instead are taking the lead because they do not believe in a destiny any other than the one they create for themselves. The mark of free men. While the Muslims live in slave states with a colonized mind set that leads them to cower and compromise at the first sound of their masters voice – the first generation immigrants into America being emblematic of that mentality their high tech education and Ph.D. degrees not withstanding – the Westerners, and especially the Americans, have lived in free states, their lack of awareness of the world not withstanding. Try giving an order to an American kid!
The American Muslims, born and raised in this country, carry within them the dominant genes of freedom, and of free men, that the Muslims around the world seem to have laid dormant while attempting to survive in the despotic client-states of the Western world.
It is about time that the old immigrant guard in America carrying their enormous subservient cultural baggage gave way to their own free offspring to run their institutions like courageous and unfettered free men. No FBI and no Homeland Security can dare brow beat them into being invited into mosques for overt surveillance anymore than the White American churches of George Bush and John Ashcroft would allow the FBI in because of Timothy McVeigh!
A reminder to the Muslims
It cannot be emphasized enough that the Muslims of the world should remain cognizant that the FBI, the CIA, the Mossad, and other secret and intelligence agencies as well as strategic think tanks around the world, while not understanding and not appreciating the religion of Islam, do understand and do appreciate the psycho-social aspects of Islam and Islamic history. They know its perceived strengths, its perceived short comings, and its perceived influence on the Muslim masses, with the surgical precision of an experimental science. And I must begrudgingly admit that generally they know it far better than Muslims themselves, including many of our very “learned” rulers, leaders, and “scholars” of Islam.
Witness how 'Jihad' has been hijacked for their own nefarious ends, first to defeat the Soviet empire, and now to build a new American empire. The 'evil jihadis' who hit on 911, even taking everything at face value, are indeed their creation. That is a fact. And while in this essay it has not been necessary to imply the two working in cahoots to build empire, as other empirical facts have been sufficient and plentiful, a hundred years from now, someone else may write about how jihad was strategically and deliberately misused on 9-11 to deliberately create a diabolical pretext for world conquest.
Just read the callousness with which many American historians today write about how the American Indians were strategically removed from existence to make room for the enlightened 'white-man'. The American designs and its executions have been brilliant, as the military strategists and historians of the West will surely gloat in the future. I sometimes wish these guys were on the side of the Muslims, but not with their bombs and prejudice, rather with their brains and their zeal and commitment in putting their money and efforts where their beliefs are!
There is also ample precedent in colonial history of the British misusing jihad when they owned the “empire on which the sun never set”. But in their case, it was to endear cooperation from the subjugated Muslims by attempting to subvert the meaning of Jihad through the invention of new leaders who argued for the “divinity” of British rule and hence no opposition to it.
We are up against the imperialistic, hegemonic, corporate, crusading, and Zionist confluence of strategic and diabolically well planned interests. But our response to them to date has been reactionary, tactical, and anemic, and mainly one borne of a lack of understanding of what we are up against.
One cannot fight long term well funded strong arm strategies with short term reactionary tactics of appeasement. Unless that appeasement happens to be part of some well defined strategically determined tactic to save oneself to fight another day. That day might end up being a millennium away, separated by eons of misery.
So wake up Muslims of America!
Take to the proactive safeguarding of our essential civil liberties. All the empirical evidence suggests that our actions can and will make a difference. Our timely, concerted, and loud protests, from Wall Street with our wallets, to the main streets with our voices, can play their part in defeating the Fourth Reich.
Our silence will only beget us the curse of posterity, so eloquently expressed by Elie Wiesel. His own silence today begets him the same curse he uttered for his tormenters.
So let's review where we have reached thus far.
We have conclusively reached the point where we understand in totality the reality of Empire and why it is imperative for the American nation to be perpetually kept Prisoners of the Cave. And we have also learned how to wakeup from this hellish nightmare. And we further understand that this empire is being seeded by maligning Islam – a world religion, and Muslims – its 1.5 billion followers worldwide. We now perhaps also realize that the “war on terrorism” could indeed be largely a setup against “Islamic jihadis” to frighten the American and Western public into supporting this fiction further until the “full spectrum dominance” by the American superpower is complete and a very “American peace” has been secured for the planet.
But we still don't know whether there is something inherently fearful about Islam and the Muslims. After all, Islam does espouse Jihad – and the “Islam experts” in America and various “Western Scholars of Islam” tell us that we need to fear it.
It is now time to dismantle and deconstruct this anti-Islam sentiment in the West by exposing its intellectual and academic roots and the abhorrent fraud that it has deliberately committed on the world public for the sake of “war on terrorism”.
The unraveling once again begins with the deep thinking Zionist-Neocon-hectoring hegemon nexus of evil in the hallowed halls of the American Ivy.