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    Why are they so angry...



    Why are they so angry?
    By S. A. Abidi
    http://www.dawn.com/weekly/dmag/dmag1.htm

    An Indian friend, known for his liberal ideas, asked me: "I know that all Muslims are not terrorists, but why are all terrorists Muslim?"

    This was long before the Gujarat massacre, and I did not want to go into the polemics of Ajodhya, the Tamils and the IRA. Then, to add insult to injury, the Indian Prime Minister, referring to the un-investigated train fire at Godhra, tried to explain away the Gujarat massacre by saying: "Wherever Muslims are, they do not want to live peacefully."

    A stupid comment to make about any community. So, I decided to find the right answer to this wrong question, and invited my friend to join me on a journey in quest of truth. Both of us, being library enthusiasts, borrowed our inspiration from H.G. Wells' Time Machine, in order to go back into time and space and to see for ourselves the backgrounds of the present drama. Here is what we saw:

    Station I: We are now at the eastern edge of the Far East, in the year AD1450. These are a group of unnamed Pacific islands, inhabited by people without a formal religion and without an organized government. We see Arab traders sailing into Borneo ports in the south, carrying cotton and silk from India and China, which they barter for spices and other local products. Their honest transactions, their humility and simple way of prayers appeal to people of the islands. As they leave, their call of prayers (Azan) continue to echo. Islam is embraced by the rulers of Brunei and it even spreads to the north in Mindanao and Sulu islands.

    By 1550, two Muslim states ruled by the indigenous Sultans are established as far north as Manila, in what is now known as the Philippines. As we steer our Time Machine in another direction, we leave behind an area of peace and tranquillity, with green rice fields and bustling bazaars, interspersed with minarets and domes of mosques.

    Station II: Now we are watching the beautiful valley of Kashmir, an area known as 'paradise on earth'. The time is again set at AD1450. Muslims have already ruled here for a century, although Raja Rainchan Shah embraced Islam as early as AD1150. Majority of the population is Muslim, of Kashmiri descent, and lives peacefully with Hindus, sometime even sharing their devotion to the same Rishis and Makhdooms, and their shrines.

    A benevolent Sultan Zain-ul-abdin, known for his justice and support to Hindu learning and temples, rules the area. By 1586, Kashmir attracts the attention of Emperor Akbar, the most secular of the Mughals. He conquers and improves it further, bringing it closer to its reputation of a paradise. Peace and prosperity rule as we move on.

    Station III: We beam down at the sacred land of the three great religions in the tradition of Abraham, till recently known as Palestine. This has been a land of Arabs for over 20 centuries, and they became Muslims with the advent of Islam. They share the land with Jews and Christians, whom they respect as people of the Book like themselves.

    The Ottomans conquer this area from the Memluks in AD1516. Being familiar with the Christians and the Jews from other places in the empire, they prove to be friendlier and allow incoming Jewish immigration. Pilgrims of the three faiths converge from all over the world, as they have free access and safe passage to their places of worship. As we leave, we find it a peaceful area without any sign of inter-faith conflicts.

    Having finished the journey, my friend looked at me quizzically and asked: "What went wrong after this?"

    We decide to find out in a second round of the same places.

    Philippines: Spanish missionaries are appearing on the scene in AD1550. They open the way for an invasion by heavily armed Spanish galleons. Mass conversion is carried out and the islands are named 'Philippines' after the reigning King of Spain, Phillip II, in AD1571. The Spaniards fail to subdue the Muslims in the south, whom they call Moros after their old Muslim adversaries, the Moors, who ruled Spain earlier. The independent Muslim states of Mindanao and Solo are left in peace till 1899, when the American navy appears on the scene, ostensibly to liberate the Filipinos from the Spanish occupation.

    Like any other colonial power, they refuse to go back after they have defeated the Spaniards. They try to rule over the Moros of Mindanao, with the rest of the islands, who resist and fight five wars with the American forces, between 1901 and 1913, to defend their independence. In one of the battles, in 1906, the American troops under the command of General Leonard Wood massacre 600 Moros, mostly women and children, in a large volcanic crater. He is found guilty of excesses by the Congress, but is absolved of any wrongdoing by President Theodore Roosevelt.

    When Americans grant Philippines independence in 1949, they thrust Mindanao on the national Government, with its fiercely independent Muslims, who were never part of the Philippines and had ruled their own land for 400 years. They are now reduced into a minority and cornered into fighting the rulers of Philippines. Recently, they have been identified as 'terrorists' and Americans are back in Philippines to help their extermination!

    Kashmir: The Mughal rule has since declined and disappeared. In 1845, a Sikh-British war takes place with the involvement of Rajputs known as Dogras. In a peculiar settlement between the parties, the British sell Kashmir to Gulab Singh, the Dogra warlord, as a reward, for a petty amount of Rs 7,500,000. The price works out to be Rs 2.2 per Kashmiri. If this insult is not enough, the Dogra ruler gifts them away free to India in 1947, with the connivance of the British arbiters, without ascertaining the people's will. This becomes the only Muslim majority area adjoining Pakistan, which is prevented from joining this Muslim majority country.

    True to their traditional spirit of accommodation, the Kashmiris wait patiently for more than three decades for the delivery of justice, either from the Indians or the world community. Their continued deprivations, and attempts to convert them into a minority by projected immigration from India, eventually prod them to revolt. Their fight for self-determination also earns the name of "terrorism" overnight, after September 11, 2001.

    Palestine: The Ottomans lose control to the British mandate after the World War I. The latter accept the need for a 'national home' for the Jews in Palestine, on mythical grounds as promoted by their influential world lobby. As the Arabs oppose the move, Jewish immigration is allowed and it raises the Jewish population from a mere 84,000 in 1929 to 445,000 in 1939. After World War II, the United Nations orders a partition of Palestine, establishing separate Jewish and Arab states but requiring economic unity. The Jews accept the division but the Palestinians revolt against it. The British walk away leaving behind a chaos, as usual. The Americans bolster the Jewish community by providing them with heavy arms, military equipment, training and money.

    Israel comes into being in 1948, and massacres the entire population of the protesting Arabs in Deir Yasin. This event, and many other disproportionate reprisals, terrorize one million Palestinians into leaving their homes and live as refugees in the nearby Arab states. This process continues to the delight of the Jews who establish their majority in Israel, and declare the refugees of their own tyranny as permanently expelled. They annex some and occupy the rest of the areas demarcated as the Palestine State, which has yet to come into existence. Israel becomes a regional power, boasting a nuclear arsenal with the support of the USA, whose interests it protects in the Middle East.

    The conflict we see today is not between two powers. It is between a full-blooded military juggernaut of a state and a handful of unarmed and stateless refugees throwing stones and, occasionally, themselves tied with bombs against the enemy, its tanks, artillery and gun ships. The only thing the Palestinian have gained recently, and abruptly, is the new title of "terrorists".

    Now, it was time for us to sit back and compare our notes. Admittedly, there are no simple answers to human problems because other spectators may come out with other perceptions of the same situation. We, however, found it amazing that how one tends to forget the beginning of a long story if the narrator chooses not to refresh the listener's mind. How many of us knew that the Moros are the dispossessed people and not the trouble-makers? How many of us would like to be sold or given away to others like cattle, without being asked? How will we feel if we are driven out of our country, displaced and disinherited of our land to make room for the aliens and help them establish their majority?

    We discovered a common thread of Anglo-Saxon mischief running through all the three tapestries we examined. It had the common pattern of conquering territories and selling, acceding or gifting to others, with an intent to reverse the demographic ratio of the Muslims from majority to minority. To discover why Muslims are the main targets, or the perpetrators of the trouble in the world, we had to rely on the historical perspective of the world-power game. We saw that till late, the Muslim empires dominated large parts of the known world. Now that the West has assumed this mantle, they find it expedient to dismantle what is left of the old structure. Muslims are, therefore, to be disabled economically, subdued politically and demonized morally till they can struggle no more. But this does not mean that the rest of the world is safe.

    The self-serving corporate mammoth of military-industry complex and the politicians of the West are out to crush any opposition and snuff out the spark of independence wherever it lights up. The hallowed right of a people to fight for freedom, dignity and protection of their resources has been made to stand on its head, and labelled as the crime of terrorism. They are trying out a new weapon of semantic engineering to disassociate the word 'terrorism' from the state, and to pin it down firmly and exclusively to the protesting and deprived people of the world. Perceptive minds will see through this covert shift of nuance, and freedom die-hards will ignore the monumental deception to go on fighting against the global dominance by the oppressors.

    In the sphere of human values, if there was one single answer to my friend's question or to the popular American refrain: "Why are they so angry?" it was assiduously extracted from the spirit of Islam and the Muslim ethos. It came from the unbiased scholar, Karen Armstrong, long before September 11, and it also addresses Prof. Huntington's much publicized and, somehow, suggestive hypothesis about 'Clash of civilizations'. She sums it up rather succinctly:

    "The intolerance many people condemn in Islam does not always spring from a rival vision of God, but from quite another source: Muslims are intolerant of injustice, whether it is committed by rulers of their own - like Shah of Iran - or by the powerful Western countries."

    #2
    >>"The intolerance many people condemn in Islam does not always spring from a rival vision of God, but from quite another source: Muslims are intolerant of injustice, whether it is committed by rulers of their own - like Shah of Iran - or by the powerful Western countries." <<

    Quite a Robin Hood twist, but how come every place with so-called "Islamic" rules is perceived as backward belonging to stone ages and how come Muslims who acheived any notable success in society come from Non-Muslim countries?

    Comment


      #3
      Wow. If I ever generalized "Muslims" in any particular way as this author has, I would be pinned to the wall.

      I guess that "intolerance of injustice" does not include being intolerant of the strict rules leading to imprisonment of homosexuals, strict rules against educating women or allowing them to work, potential death sentences against those who wish to teach another religion, blasphemy rules, adultery rules, etc. that prevail in so many Muslim countries that purport to rely upon Muslim law.

      The purported "intolerance of injustice" seems to start and end with perceived injustices commited by Western countries or Muslim countries with a distinct Western slant in their foreign policy.
      "I met the surgeon general - he offered me a cigarette. " --Rodney Dangerfield

      Comment


        #4
        My email to dawn (Abidi):

        A good start! Please don't stop your journey at places where Muslims are in conflict with nonmuslims, but please continue where the conflict is within a muslim country. I really would like to hear what you think is the state within Pakistan and why you think there are so many conflicts within the state! So much secterian hate, so little education, so many religious parties, etc. Why is it so easy to label someone a kafir, or a bad muslim these days? And usually non-muslims have very little to do with that. why? I have been wondering about that and really have no answer. I would like to hear if you do.

        [This message has been edited by OldLahori (edited June 24, 2002).]

        Comment


          #5

          The author has incorrect information. A Prime Minister of India may never say in public that Muslims do not want to live peacefully. For such words he might have to resign. If the author has approach to the dining table of the present PM, we cannot argue.

          The author’ knowledge of history is beyond discussion. He has mostly stopped over in the libraries if Islamic States. In the books of these libraries the historical killers like Ghazanavi, Ghoury, Aurangzeb and Ayattollah Khomeiny are given the status of saints, of Islamic saints.

          And the main issues are if all Muslims are terrorists or all terrorists are Muslims!

          It is not true and must be refuted. A majority of Muslims may have no regards for violence.
          I put up this question the other way.
          Why Islam produces more fanatics in comparison to other religions? In all 20th century one may count on fingers the number of suicide killers the other religions have produced.
          And if we compare it to the killing squads of Al Qaeda, or the students killing squads of Ayattollah Khoeiny, we may ask what is wrong with Islam.
          Why the Jihad callers are so sure of the response? Why they are sure that people are blind? What happens when two Muslims kill each other in counter Jihads? Muslims have to answer these questions. Instead we get whimsical comments or at the most we are accused of ignorance.

          I find the reason in the Madrisa setup, where Muslim children are bound to spend the most brilliant childhood years while learning quran moving their head to and fro that leaves a blind impact on the psyche.
          The result is there. I assure you people that majority of Al Qaeda terrorists have spent their childhood in Madrisa.
          Otherwise there is nothing wrong with any religion, as well as with Islam.

          (I assure you people that RSS is also a Madrisa, a Hindu Madrisa resulting nothing good.)

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by OldLahori:
            My email to dawn (Abidi):

            Why is it so easy to label someone a kafir, or a bad muslim these days? And usually non-muslims have very little to do with that. why? I have been wondering about that and really have no answer. I would like to hear if you do.

            Still on the wrong track!! The question should be "Who Are We To Declare Somebody a Non-Muslim?"

            Fact of the matter is, if some Iranian refugees are to be believved, Islam is growing only by birth rate and most of them would rather not call themseleves Muslims.

            Even if you keep that aside, billions of people in the WOrld are Non-Muslims and prefer it that way.

            So, it is not as if people are dying to convert.
            Given that reality why not be glad that some people are calling themselves Muslims at all, instead of shooting them at their mosques?

            Comment


              #7
              >>>Why Islam produces more fanatics in comparison to other religions?...
              And if we compare it to the killing squads of Al Qaeda, or the students killing squads of Ayattollah Khoeiny, we may ask what is wrong with Islam.<<<


              Come on Anand, while your persistence must be admired, you have been through this so many times in discussions in the Religion Forum. Not at all to sound arrogant here but while inquiring what is "wrong with Islam", we might also ask what is in Islam that attracts increasing numbers of people to revert to it.

              Maniac great article, thanks for posting.

              Comment


                #8
                I often see where people refer to Islam as the fastest growing religion.

                Where can I very that this is a true statement?

                Is this attributed to Islam being practiced pre-dominantly in 3rd world countries with higher birth rates?

                -Stu

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Stu:
                  I often see where people refer to Islam as the fastest growing religion.

                  Where can I very that this is a true statement?

                  Is this attributed to Islam being practiced pre-dominantly in 3rd world countries with higher birth rates?

                  -Stu
                  Here is URL to UN population data for memberstates. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and Nigeria account for most of the projected population growth in the world. You can dig out the rest from the data. Although Saudi Arabia has a very high growth rate compared to India and China, because its base is so much smaller that its increase hardly matters globally.
                  http://www.un.org/esa/population/pub.../wpp2000at.pdf

                  Comment


                    #10
                    >>>Where can I very that this is a true statement?<<<
                    Stu,
                    Albeit a very old CNN article but will have to suffice for now: Fast-growing Islam winning converts in Western world, CNN

                    >>>Is this attributed to Islam being practiced pre-dominantly in 3rd world countries with higher birth rates?<<<
                    ...although Islam is being predominantly practiced in developing countries, the reverts are not predominantly based in those very countries that have the high birth rates. The title of the above CNN article is a case in point. The well-known non-Muslim author and editor, John Esposito, has written books regarding Islam, most of which mention the fastest-growing religion fact. His Oxford History of Islam is one such book out of his many.

                    Karen Armstrong is another nonMuslim author - a very well-respected one who presented diverse interviews and programmes over dozens of American TV & radio airwaves including CNN subsequent to 9-11 - who has also made this point in her articles and books. To be honest i have never come across this particular aspect of the high birth rate factor previously until i read this thread; i'm certain many nonMuslim authors would have discussed this were it accurate.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You are absolutely right dear Nadia! I am not tired questioning why Islam produces more fanatics in comparison to other religions.

                      Islamic library has created history books of its own style. I do not talk of Islamic history of 19th or 18th century, I just take the last four decades a contemporary history, every ten years some or other Islamic State has created troubles in world peace.
                      These troubles are mostly of political nature but always Islamic slogans are raised. What shall I question politics or Islam? Choice is yours, I request you, pls be a little honest!


                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by anand:
                        ...every ten years some or other Islamic State has created troubles in world peace.
                        Muslim state, not Islamic.
                        These troubles are mostly of political nature but always Islamic slogans are raised.
                        Muslim slogans, not Islamic.
                        What shall I question politics or Islam?
                        Please, by all means, question both and study both politics and Islam; once you find passages in the Quran that condone slaughter of civilians and massacre of nonMuslims, then i will acknowledge you have been right. Once you provide me with proof that Islam tolerates, even ordains, the taking of an innocent life, then i will acknowledge all my wrongs. There are ample English translations of the Quran online; please be my guest and study and question Islam as much as you want. Islam doesn't force one to be closed-minded.
                        Choice is yours, I request you, pls be a little honest!
                        Anand, do you truly want honesty or are you seeking for a Muslim to validate your fears regarding a religion that is so obviously misunderstood in your beliefs? Look beyond the bin Ladens just as i have looked beyond the Timothy McVeighs... there just might be something about Islam that has captured the hearts of so many, making it the fastest-growing religion.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by anand:
                          I am not tired questioning why Islam produces more fanatics in comparison to other religions.

                          Islamic library has created history books of its own style. I do not talk of Islamic history of 19th or 18th century, I just take the last four decades a contemporary history, every ten years some or other Islamic State has created troubles in world peace.
                          These troubles are mostly of political nature but always Islamic slogans are raised. What shall I question politics or Islam? Choice is yours, I request you, pls be a little honest!


                          Hmm, Christian Crusades were a bit fanatic no? Unfortantly it's not that easy to pinpoint where most fanatics come from as they tend to rear their heads from different places and groups as they have throughout time.


                          [This message has been edited by underthedome (edited June 25, 2002).]

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Nadia writes:
                            "once you find passages in the Quran that condone slaughter of civilians and massacre of nonMuslims, then i will acknowledge you have been right. Once you provide me with proof that Islam tolerates, even ordains, the taking of an innocent life, then i will acknowledge all my wrongs."

                            Unfortunately, Nadia, all you need to do is look at passages quoted in GupShup to justify and condone the suicide bombers in Israel and see fatwas issued which seem to condone and provoke terrorist attacks to understand that some INTERPRET the Quranic passages as saying just what you deny it says.

                            As is the case with most sacred religious books, passages are left to be interpreted by MEN and their interpretations too often take on the perception of being God's words by those who listen. In my mind, it is up to the practitioners of any given religion to reign in their nutcases who provide such intolerable interpretations. Speak out against them. Excommunicate them if necessary. If people outside your religion do not see people inside your religion doing so, then the perception is that the religion does in fact lend itself to these violent tendencies and interpretations.

                            If, in fact, Allah is a benevolent god (as I am sure he is), he is, no doubt, weeping when he hears the interpretation some give to his words.
                            "I met the surgeon general - he offered me a cigarette. " --Rodney Dangerfield

                            Comment


                              #15
                              ---snip---

                              Never Mind!

                              [This message has been edited by Adbulmalick (edited June 25, 2002).]

                              Comment

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