UI – Politics of Islamism (1 of 2)
Islamism is the fundamentalist label. Muslim Countries for the most part are not comprised of a majority of Islamists. Many are secular in structure, desiring a separation of Mosque and State. This includes Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and Indonesia. The majority of Muslims are moderates, but they are not outspoken. What are they afraid of?
In the discussion on Community (Series of Blogs: Parts 79-83) it was mentioned that in European areas where there are large Muslim populations micro-communities have formed. This is true also in Great Britain. Evidence of similar insular communities is showing signs in the USA, in places such as Dearborn, MI and parts of Philadelphia (PA). At one time identity for those living outside their countries were as ex-patriots of their locales. Turks from Turkey, Paki’s from Pakistan, Iraqi from Iraq, Iranian from Iran. Identified more with their culture than their religion, the Umma was not a macro community.
The Islamists are taking steps to bring attention to themselves, their jihad, and politically, using the media and the cowardice of politicians, to take a stance, engender fear and place themselves in the spotlight. They do not represent all Muslims, but you would certainly think they do. They seek to collectively place all who claim Islam as their religion into a mega-Umma and call themselves Muslims, distinct from their cultural heritage or the new country to which they immigrated. They reach out to moderates and cajole them to be part of a larger militant faction; they reach out to students on university campuses, those easily influenced, and attempt to organize them in protest groups supporting claims they find opportune to progress their program. They avoid integration into areas where they have moved and now feel safe, using the freedoms established to plot their schemes and create centers, micro-communities, under the banner of cultural independence. They use the media, newspapers, TV, YouTube, and others to garner attention. Their claim is they represent all Muslims and the politicians listen to those most outspoken, those most deliberate in their verbal attacks and threats of violence. Then there are those who hear the words and irresponsibly act, take on the task of destroying property, killing innocents, in the name of the flag raised over the arena of militant Islam – the Islamists war zone.
Islamists do not represent the majority of Muslims.
Politics has changed that and now we, especially in the West, see all those who believe in Islam, regardless of Country of origin, tribal affiliation or stance on the ideology of Islam (from moderate to extreme or fundamental) as Muslim. This is not because all Muslims now see themselves unified under the banner of the quarter moon and star of any color, but due to the opportunistic nature of Islamist leaders taking advantage of events, books, cartoons, comments, films, opinions and openly adverse groups that speak out against Islam, using them to gain recognition and notoriety. The attack Islamists are making on the freedom of speech, a freedom they inherently oppose (even hate), seems to be working. They hate freedom; this in itself is hate-speech against the most important human right. Control and fear is what they know, and have proven they do best. The politicians do not get it.
Historically, Kenan Malik’s book, From Fatwa to Jihad – The Rushdie Affair and its Aftermath[i], focuses on Salman Rushdie’s book, The Satanic Verses. The book was published in the U.K. in 1988 and received much acclaim (received the Whitbread Award for novel of the year). Malik discusses the book as the first successful effort (universally successful) in producing a sizable reaction to purportedly negative comments against Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and the religion/ideology of Islam. The reaction was caused by a minority group within the Muslim world, even within micro-communities. “The novel was tied to a stake before being set alight in front of the police station. (1989) It was an act calculated to shock and offend. It…became an icon of the rage of Islam.” (This quote is from an eBook edition of Malik’s book). Most protestors never read the author’s words. Media however sent pictures of the protest event around the world. It was a major step in establishing lines of battle for a ‘clash of civilizations’ – the West vs. the Islamic East. The problem and fuel for the Islamists was a fatwa called by the Ayatollah Khomeini after the Iranian Revolution for the death to the author – Salman Rusdie.
I doubt Khomeini ever read the book. It was like a billboard on a major highway, many major highways worldwide, the media fervently reporting on this call to kill (a fatwa), asking any Muslim to take up the call; hear the words and act irresponsibly (responsibly for Allah though). But it proved to the Islamists that finding a subject to attack, to heighten interest in their insensitive nature towards anything they claim as blasphemous towards Islam, can be effective. They sought to create a parallel between ‘racism’ and negative expressions towards ‘cultural differences’, ‘ideological’ differences, that were Islamic.
This is important to the Understanding not so much of Islam, but of the Islamists, Jihadists, terrorists that strive to represent the macro-Umma, the community of all Muslims. They wish to be the suzerain of all Muslim-dom. Exercize control, as it is only control that works. Free thinking leads to a call for separation of mosque and state. Where there are uprisings within Muslim controlled totalitarian countries, it is against the leadership and the oppressive tactic to suppress human rights. It is a desire for freedom. What happens, the uprisings are suppressed, the dissidents sought out, imprisoned, never heard from again, eliminated, beheaded, or who knows, but the goal is control. Dominate the people and call it the religion of Islam. Use god, Allah, as a mask, a means to provide hope for the poor and oppressed; as useful as raising wages of the military and civil servant forces to maintain order, privilege and high office, to avoid revolution and maintain the largess for the hierarchy of the totalitarian, authoritarian, regimes; as useful as providing tribal leaders money to keep them in line, to entice their support, so that the regime can maintain power. It is political.
We pray, on bended knee, dear God that you, in your infinite wisdom, will open the eyes of the oppressed to the life they are ordered to live and give them the strength, as those in Tunisia, to speak out, be heard, and seek freedom, the right of every human to freely choose, to be who they want to be, and to do so with the glory and honor of God in mind. There does not appear to be one democracy espousing freedom in the Muslim world; within micro-communities of Muslims in democratic nations the Islamists are attempting to establish a foothold. Lord, if it is your will, equipment those opposed to the Islamists tactics with the helmet of salvation so they know the truth. Do not allow the demonic forces of the Islamists to harden their hearts towards the God that willingly sacrificed his most precious for the opportunity for mankind, each and every human, to have the gates of the eternal kingdom opened upon their arrival. May our political leaders take the rightful stand for freedom of speech and allow for critical review of all that is wrong. Let opposition find light and be heard and judged, not held down and exposed for publicity purposes or to sell media content, or to be couched in fear. Protect those who are willing to speak out.
Grace and Peace
[i] From Fatwa to Jihad – The Rushdie Affair and its Aftermath, Kenan Malik, Melville House Publishing, Brooklyn, New York, 2010 – 1st published in the UK by Atlantic Books, 2009, eBook.