Dr.Sheikh Safar AlHawali »Literature »WHAT WE’RE DEFENDING...
- WHAT WE’RE DEFENDING
- A Response to the Open Letter from Sixty American Intellectuals
- Dr.Safar Alhawali
WHAT WE’RE DEFENDING
A Response to the Open Letter from Sixty American Intellectuals
There is nothing worse than violating moral values such as freedom and peace, except that the elite group which has chosen itself as defenders of these values are willing instruments of despotism and violence; and nobody is worse than politicians who hurl themselves and their peoples into the flames of hostilities and wars, except for educators and academics who justify what they do. If this is the case in the land of freedom and democracy, then it is a case of inversion in the world of values, worse than the disaster of destroying a building or the killing of a few thousand people in the material world.
If sixty Soviet intellectuals in the days of Stalin gathered in support of his dictatorial methods it would have been considered a naked blemish, but in any case it would still be less evil than the gathering of sixty intellectuals from the free world to support something of that sort.
The American president’s announcement of the beginning of second phase of the so-called “war on terrorism,” coincided with the publication of the letter from sixty American academics justifying this war. Similarly, his announcement of the “axis of evil” coincided with the announcement of sixty in which they identified the evil faction which –according to them- is a threat to the entire world, and in which they claimed that the events of September 11 were an attack on freedom, which corresponded to the opening of the President’s address concerning the crisis. The address was in the language of revolutionary declarations:
“In the name of universal human morality, and fully conscious of the restrictions and requirements of just war, we support our government’s, and our society’s decision to use force of arms… with one voice we say that the victory of our nation and its allies in this war will be decisive. We fight to defend ourselves, but we also believe that we fight to defend these universal principles of human rights and human dignity, which form the best hope for humankind.”
If the World believed their claim to represent the American nation, then it would dash the greatest hopes for a nation which is considered to be a leader of the free world. However, something which provides a small glimmer of hope and gives glad tidings that human nature is still good, is that these sixty do not represent the nation on whose behalf they speak. Rather, most of them are members of the well-known movement rejected by most intellectuals and the people, and even perhaps, by some members of the American administration. Nevertheless, the sixty do not merely speak in the name of their nation, but have delegated themselves to speak in the name of followers of the World Religions (Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Hindus), claiming that a particular group is the only danger to them all, without their “free” thought allowing to warn about the extremism and violence in every culture and religion instead of singling out the first and greatest humanistic civilization in the history of the world, a civilization that spanned from the (South) China Sea in the East to the Atlantic in the West, that achieved a level of human dignity and religious freedom which shined its light on the dark West at that time which then moved toward the violence of revolution to in order to adhere to slogans which in Islamic civilization were universal rights like water and air –for all sons of man.
We assure that this letter of ours ought to be understood as a clarification of that of which these intellectuals are ignorant, or which they chose to ignore, and a reminder of that which they forgot. It is not aimed to be a critique of American values, nor is it a demonstration of the distinguishing characteristics of Islamic values –that would require a long and detailed presentation- and all without neglecting the positive and encouraging aspects of their letter which requires us, according to our ethics, to presuppose some good intention on the part of its authors or a group among them.
In actuality, the tendency to nationalism of these sixty (which is most unfortunate) goes beyond denying the status of Islamic values to dispute the values of the West itself:
“No other nation has forged its core identity –its constitution and other founding documents, as well as its basic self-understanding- so directly and explicitly on the basis of universal human values.”
When John Smith founded the Colony of Virginia in 167 he said, “Heaven and Earth have not conspired to produce a spot for human habitation better than this spot.” Thus, have four centuries passed without changing this idea of superiority.
As if the people of the West –at least- did not know that this nation was produced by a revolution against the most stable of Western democracies, arrogating to itself the slogans of those French intellectuals whose thought provided the foundation for the later French revolution, so as to found the most bloody and racist society in human history.
The modern American empire is not necessarily what was intended by its founding fathers, just as it is not fair to claim that the American people are fully satisfied with and supportful of the imperial military establishment in Washington. Rather, it is they who are the victims of a tremendous deception. Nevertheless, they are responsible (as is any free people) for what they believe and do. For this reason, it is their duty to judge the actions of this establishment according to ethics and morals, not to believe those who would disguise it in false garments of morality and ethics, provoking their tendency toward discrimination and superiority to silence their conscience.
Otherwise, they will be tricked into distancing themselves from universal values, by [the claim that] they are their first discoverers and their truest representatives, when the general feeling of the peoples from whom the Americans learned their values, tends toward the complete opposite. Thus, the danger, which currently concerns the protectors of freedom in Britain and other nations, is that their countries will abandon some of their firm, democratic values in imitation of the American example of restricting freedoms. This reversal shows that American arrogance, which is acknowledged by the sixty intellectuals, has also cast its shadow on the world of logic, and when it is the logic of the mighty which asserts itself and there is no choice for others but to submit, that is the tragedy!
Nearly two hundred years ago Hegel claimed that the end of the dialectic of history had been achieved under the shadow of the mighty Prussian emperor. Marx stole this idea and announced that the end would only come with the establishment of the Proletarian state. When Lenin established this state he made that belief the cornerstone of revolutionary thought which overran half of this planet, and at the end of the century, Professor Fukuyama (whose fingerprints are clearly seen on this open letter) seized upon the fall of the empire of the Proletariat and made the last state to be not Prussia or Russia, but America. At this point, amazingly, he agrees with the “born-again” types one of whom was Reagan (creator of the slogan “Evil Empire” which today has become the “Axis of Evil”), who believe in the coming Millennial Kingdom which they believe will begin around the year 2. It is as if this were a surprising proof for Hegel’s critics among the German and other philosophers who claim that he took his idea of the “end of history” from Christianity!
This intellectual detour to fabricate philosophical foundations for superiority over others demonstrates a skewed central attitude, which does not allow any consideration for others or their values, but it conceals this by summoning the other to belief in values of which they suppose themselves to be the creators or discoverers.
_____There is another question about the role of Professor Samuel Huntington, author of the theory of the “clash of civilizations” whose fingerprints are also clear in this letter, and who represents the other face of the crisis of American intellectuals who rejoice in the fulfillment of their prophecies, even if it comes about through the destruction of several nations of the world.
The answer in short, is that the Millennial Kingdom which the fundamentalist right in America believe in, will only be achieved through blood that will rise up for 12 miles during the slaughter of Armageddon, which the fundamentalists believe will be the decisive victory of the good, Christian West over the evil, Muslim East!
From this we may understand how both Huntington ,Fukuyama and others came to meet on the soil of the current all-out war against Islam with a group of other well-known members of the American right.
From this we may also understand the lack of signatures from Americans such as Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, Paul Findley other who represent another, more just face of America to a world frightened by the somber countenance of American arrogance. Since the meeting at the “lake of blood” necessarily excludes them (and necessarily excludes most Americans whom be believe are among the greatest lovers of truth and justice in the world, which has been proven by their great care to learn about Islam after the incidents of 11 September instead of drifting along with the media uproar created by the political administration through the means of the media deception unit exposed by __________, as indeed these sixty intellectuals have, unfortunately, drifted.
Not surprisingly, the events of 11 September are the last in a list of “terrorist attacks” which the sixty intellectuals cite as evidence that the just and free America (in their view) is under attack by the enemies of justice and freedom. But the strange thing (in our view and the view of every seeker of truth and justice) is the absence of the other list, or what may be called the elimination from existence of the other pan in the scales of justice, and this was not done by the leaders of the Pentagon, but by the hands of intellectuals who want to monopolize the discussion of values, or rather, to dictate values for the world which are –in their opinion- the loftiest values and fairest scales.
The Creator of the world has revealed that He has perfected its creation in justice, and that it is the duty of man to establish human life on justice also. According to this, people who do not measure with a just measure are in collision with the laws of universe, not just with the human preachers of justice. –Qur’an, chapter 55.
The truth is that the other list is too heavy for any scales no matter how large, since Hiroshima alone would fill it to overflowing, so where will we place the other examples of America’s pure and just war, such as Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War…
Speaking of the Gulf, my conscience forces me to interrupt here in order to whisper to the consciences of the sympathetic mothers among the group such as Ms. Aird. While signing along with these three men and the others, how did you forget the noblest of feminine emotions by forgetting the two million Iraqi children devoured by diseases of the vicious biological war against Iraq? Is that not enough to make you think seriously before signing the justification for American bombing of the children and women of Afghanistan, which used weapons of mass destruction previously unknown to the world, putting thousands of them to death while they lie sick and starving, so isolated in their steep mountains that they never heard of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or Al-Qaeda?
Perhaps questions such as this are called for:
Why did the atomic bomb target the general hospital of Hiroshima, from there obliterating tens of thousands of people, and deforming tens of thousands of others? Why was the ‘Amariya bomb shelter in Baghdad targeted for a bombing in which 1,5 women and children were obliterated in a hell-on-earth never before seen? Why did the bombing of Kabul target the Red Cross relief warehouse, turning their food and medicine into ash before the eyes of millions of the miserable poor? If that was an accident, then what does the repetition of the same mistake show to the world of values? And if it was done on purpose, then does it have any place in the world of values?
Next, you ask, “what are we fighting for?”
We accept this question as a starting point for awakening the mind and conscience, and taking account of one’s soul, but as a prelude intended to defend immoral behavior in opposition to the conscienceof the world, the nation, and Muslims, there is no point for theoretical discussion.
The case here is not a philosophical problem, or a theological issue, these are moral and ethical values which we are able to test by going down to the real world and seeing how these values take form in Kabul and Mazar Sharif after the guns go silent, then we will know what values you were actually fighting for.
In the Gospel, Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” The American constitution, which is embodiment of American values, remained preserved like a holy relic of the middle ages until the following two amendments were enacted: the first prohibiting alcoholic drinks, and the second abrogating the prohibition. Although the second is a clear example of the defeat of values before the power of destructive lusts, that is not the point. The point is that American values in Afghanistan have been completely reversed. The conquering Crusaders have given the Afghani people the good news that alcohol and its accompanying vices are permitted. Despite the fact that it is human nature to deviate, those who responded to this type of values were a minority among the Afghani people. At the same time American values expressed themselves in tangible proof when they did everything to oppose democracy by giving power to armed gangs from among the ethnic and religious minorities with a bloody history frequently mentioned by the Americans themselves. They immediately set about destroying morals and behavior standards through the temptations of freedom, until it became clear that the government of the Taliban were of more advanced values then those who removed prohibition from the American constitution, and that the people of Afghanistan in welcoming prohibition were of a higher standard of morality and ethics than American people who rejoiced at the cancellation of prohibition, and have never since reconsidered it.
Three months were enough to end these vaporous [new] values, when the Minister of Justice of the temporary government in Kabul announced under the pressure of popular demand, that the application of the Islamic Law that the Taliban applied is unavoidable, including the punishment for drinking alcohol. Opium growers’ and dealers’ sense of the smell of American values was truer than that of many of those who fervently support those values, since they quickly proceeded to return to Afghanistan following the American occupation, anticipating a new future for their humanitarian work, and an opening of the American market which is the largest market for this plague.
Bernard Shaw made the sarcastic comment on the duplicity of Western values, “I forgive Nobel for inventing dynamite, but I don’t forgive him for the prize.” Similarly, the Afghani people may forgive the Americans for bombing the warehouses of food supplies, targeting orphanages, and their other actions in the name of the so-called “just war,” even the prisoners in the Ganjee? Fortress and in Cuba, but they will never forgive the insult to the values in which they believe and their preference of arbitrary, man-made values which are neither stable or just, and their attempt to drag them down to the lowest American values, both in war and peace.
Furthermore, the Islamic World may reluctantly come to understand the arrogance of the American administration, and its blundering and abuse, by considering it to be in the pharaonic tendency of all historic empires, but it absolutely will not accept American intellectuals teaching us Islamic values, and setting themselves up as preachers of these values simply because a very small number of Muslims did –or are accused of doing- an action that is considered only a very small part of what the American governing institutions have done in all the inhabited continents for nearly a full century, with the very important distinction that no Muslim, whether moderate or extremist, ever thought of harming America before America’s bias toward the Zionist entity and offering it every support for its terrorism and violence, and before America attacked more than one Islamic country and proceeded to classify the states as “supporters of terrorism”, and the “axis of evil” on the basis that the Muslims are at the head of the list and its target, which is what the open letter from the intellectuals came to consecrate with a philosophical consecration.
We do not claim that what the sixty wrote was a “self-exclusion?” Perhaps there is a manifestation of a twinge of conscience when values are seen to be evoked, not in the inhumanity of war, but in the military tribunals and treatment of prisoners, and the restrictions against the media and concealing of factual information from the people, such as when the CNN news network has two separate broadcasts, one for domestic consumption, and one for overseas, reminiscent of the media in Eastern Europe during the Communist era.
However, we cannot ignore the fact that we are in a situation similar to the situation of the Popes, bishops and kings of Europe during the Middle Ages who sent crusade after crusade against the Islamic East. The current Pope has apologized to the Islamic World for those wars, but we believe these intellectuals ought to be ahead of their time and present a similar apology for what the American administration is doing to the Muslims, and therefore open the door to dialogue and understanding between the two religions and two civilization. Unfortunately, they chose another path, and it may take centuries for us to hear this apology, if such values, which call for one even, exist.
The open letter contains historical and philosophical generalizations in need of a thorough examination, but we are not prepared to enter into a debate about philosophy or theology, not only because of the lack of space, but also because of our absolute conviction that we must believe in and accept as fact, all that is true and just, no matter what its source, and that we must reject all that is false and unjust, no matter where it is from. Except that the problem, which we shall consider forthwith, is that they ascribe absolute truth to the temporary historical situation of a particular nation, in a particular stage in history, calling it “universal moral principles,” which is a claim any nation can make. The result will only be to transfer wars from the battlefield to the world of values, which contradicts the apparent intention of this letter as stated in its conclusion. Unless we believe the Zionist journalist, Thomas Friedman, who clearly states that it is the cultural war which is more important to America, and that changing the social system, regime, and school curriculum is the most important part of the battle with the Islamic world. In that case, “universal values” become a means, not a goal. The reader has a right dispute this, so we will leave off this possibility and discuss the subject based on historical facts and logic.
The logical basis of this great claim is lost for a simple reason: the principle on which these universal truths are based is the principle of “natural law” and “divine law” cited in the letter. The citation of divine law here is an unprecedented interpolation. Although the maculated text of the Torah contains reference that would seem to be anthropomorphic, and despite that fact of Christian and Greek residue which hold that certain human beings have a divine nature, yet human reason must progress to the absolute rejection of such primitive, idolatrous doctrines, and believe that the Holy and Transcendent God is greater and more perfect than that, and that He has no equal or partner in His essence or attributes. We Muslims are more concerned about God’s transcendence and de-antropomorphication than with all our issues with the West or with anybody else, and we thank God that none of our feeling or lack of feeling contains any of this idolatrous residue.
It is unacceptable to rely on invoking an obscure principle like natural law whose existence is hard to prove, let alone accepting in the most complicated problem to face mankind.
Rather, historical reality bears witness that the theories which have done the worst injustice to human rights were able, and are able, to base themselves on this principle.
Ricardo, in his justification of capitalist greed which was the primary motive for the colonial conquests in human history, depended on it, as did Malthus and Bentham in forbidding charity and kind treatment of the poor in a violation of the greatest human values, more shocking than Darwin’s decision that natural law is established on the principle that life is a struggle and survival is for the fittest, which became the philosophical basis for the destructive wars and totalitarian systems of Modern Europe. As for the founding fathers of America, they only cited it due to their belief that it was the most modern theory, just as if someone today believed in the “end of history” for example. It is well known to researchers that Thomas Jefferson and those who worked with him borrowed the terminology of the Declaration of Independence from the ideas of English philosophy, especially John Locke. At that time, the idea of natural law and natural rights was in vogue. The origin of the problem for them and other social philosophers was the lack of a doctrine and law on which Western thought, which aspired to freedom from “ecclesiastical theocracy,” might build, and to which it might refer for judgment. This lack caused them to invent philosophical bases on which to build. A comparison is in order at this point, between the Islamic World possessed (beyond practical experience) a great legacy of revealed texts and explanatory legal codes which carefully define universal moral truths and provide detailed laws governing human interactions six centuries before the promulgation of what the English call “the Magna Carta. Europe did not seriously attempt to emulate Islamic Law or even borrow from it, until the Napoleonic Code of 184, that is, a generation after the Declaration of Independence of 1776.
To clarify this we will take as an example from the values that you mention, which can be summed up in two words: “freedom and equality,” two old slogans, your discussion of which, contains nothing new. Which, moreover, was not the invention of the Founders. More importantly, these two values cannot possibly be derived from the vague principle of natural law in pure logic, let alone in the real world. Similarly, a little deep thought shows that they are contradictory –not complimentary- values. Here lurks the danger, as the events which transpired after the French Revolution (the revolution which clearly exalted these two slogans in the West) clearly confirm. For this reason the world historian Toynbee says:
“Human history may be summed up as a struggle between these two opposing principles: the principle of freedom and principle of equality.”
Since man is unable to define the limits between these two opposing principles, or rather, between the freedom of each party of the branches in human relationships (governor and governed, husband and wife, one state and another, minority and majority, etc.), and since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been able only to provoke a new debate of the problem (from its proclamation until now its interpretation has been disputed, and most totalitarian and violent systems unabashedly describe themselves as democratic, quotes such as Martin Luther King’s about the “arc of justice” is most like describing water as “water.” Similarly, the letter’s quotation of Augustine is exceeded in eloquence by the quote in Gospel of one who is better and older than Augustine, Christ –peace be upon him. But it is only an ideal for ethical guidance. For this reason, there is no alternative but for all of humanity to return to an absolute detailed, universal source, or to borrow the phrase of _______(?) p12 the leading French legist:
“It is not possible for man to legislate for man. Rather, that is possible only for an unseen absolute power beyond the power of all mankind.”
This source is found in divine revelation preserved from alteration, and this is found only in Islam, and only in Islam because it is the Faith of all the prophets, and all the divine messages to humanity. In the shade of its law, freedom, justice and equality are achieved according to all their criteria and definitions, and in its most advanced forms and practices. This is does imply the agreement between the current state of Muslims and the reality of Islam, we affirm the contrast between them. Not, by way of the open letter which differentiates between “Muslims” and “Islamicists,” but on the basis that the human soul is bound to the earth until faith raises it to heaven. We are not speaking of nationalism here, as the sixty do, but of an international religion which is more widely spread throughout the world than any other Faith. They claim that it is possible for anyone to become an American, however, the reality [of that claim] does not escape anyone. In fact, however, anyone can become a Muslim, and that is the true tie that can bind all of humankind. Islamic values are the common denominator of the positive facets of all civilizations. Not only because of the Islamic influence on most known world cultures, but because no matter how large the circle of Islam grows, it does not claim to encompass within itself all truth and justice, as many in the West may suppose (perhaps due to the errors of some Muslims in their understanding or presentation of Islam). Rather, it understands out of certitude that as one of the principles of Islamic Law states, “Wherever justice lies, there is God’s Law,” and, “Wisdom is the lost property of the Believer, wherever it may be found, he may claim it.” The greatest truth of Islam is the exclusive devotion of worship and service to God alone, without any making any partners beside Him. Yet Islamic doctrine clearly and unequivocally states that it is the religion of all prophets, and specifically the religion of Abraham, and that Muhammad –blessing and peace be upon him- is only the reformer and interpreter of the Faith of Abraham.
For this reason, Islamic jurists, and even the Orthodox Caliphs, never ceased to utilize any source no matter what its origin. Moreover, the Prophet himself –blessing and peace be upon him- accepted laws that conflicted with Arab custom derived from the practices of the Romans and Persians, as did the voluminous and detailed books of the Muslim jurists concerning war and its laws based on verses of the Qur’an, hadiths of the Prophet –blessing and peace be upon him, and practical examples from the Prophetic biography and the history of the Orthodox Caliphs whose rule was the most just ever seen in history after the rule of the prophets. The great openness of Islamic civilization went beyond the barriers in whose fetters modern civilization still stumbles. There was no racial discrimination or immigration and travel restrictions to prevent a delegation of pagan Turks from Central Asia from presenting their claim to the Caliph in Damascus against the general of the Muslim army which conquered their land. Even earlier, a Coptic Christian came to Medina to complain to the second Orthodox Caliph about his son. In both cases the judgment was in favor of the plaintiff!
It is not surprising that these and many similar cases occurred, the amazing thing is that people of that era were not surprised by them since the what they saw and heard of Islamic justice caused them to be ordinary events. In contrast, we find the that the American administration has given a stern warning to the American media not to publish the views of Mulla Muhammad ‘Umar concerning the situation. Justice demands that those who claim to uphold it allow opportunities to hear the other side. Justice is the stronger even if it is weak, and weak is the oppressor even if he is strong, even if it means holding back the huge American media arsenal for half an hour on Voice of America Radio for sake of fairness. It is a decisive proof of the weakness of the killer with which Allah strikes down tyrants no matter how mighty they may be, otherwise, why does an enormous media fear the effect on an informed public from the statement of frequently discredited person by the same media as stupid and simple-minded.
When Islamic belief opened the gate to independent inquiry and research concerning the rules of justice in any situation within the unified framework of values disciplined by the religious texts and universal principles derived from them, it set down the firm rule upon which justice between men is established, and on which the claimant bases his claim. Therefore, the law requires hearing the claim just as it grants opportunity to respond to it. Thus, humanity opened for the first time, the gate of complementarity and mutual responsibility to protect the dignity of each human being, by granting the right anyone –whoever he may be- to bring suit against anyone –whomever he may be. Not on an abstract, literary basis as is the case of international human rights organizations, but on a compulsory, enforced basis that could not be violated even by the supreme leader of all the Muslims.
Thus, Islam made the entire Islamic society something closer to a universal organization for human rights. Because of this, Islamic society avoided –despite its vast territory- the type of factional quarreling represented by the formation of pressure groups such as unions, parties and organizations for each faction, trade, or class, let alone the war between the sexes!
It also avoided much tension in international relations which constantly produce war that deplete both sides. The nation which has this for its law must be as far removed as possible from the “theocracy” which drowned Europe during the Middle Ages. Insomuch as theocracy, as a license to kill from God –as happened to ___________(14) as well as to the Muslims in the name of the Crusades, is considered apostasy in Islam in the case of those who believe in it, and an attack on the exclusive attributes of divinity for those who make such a claim. The Prophet –blessing and peace be upon him- himself is only conveys a message from God, and clearly and unequivocally stated that he judges according to his opinion in a case, and that his judgment may coincide with what is actually just in the case, or it may not. He did not know the unseen, and therefore, he is not responsible: “You come to me with your disputes…”
Thus, the discussion of the advantages of American secularism over theocracy comes to be meaningless if it is connected with Islam, since identical or superior advantages are found in and encouraged by Islam in its universal summons to search for truth wherever it may be found, to fight superstition, blind traditionalism, and bias for one’s own opinion, and to discard tyranny and despotism in every form, while preserving the greatest of divine blessings upon mankind and the greatest human achievement: faith in God and obedience to his perfect and just world law.
Secularism may be the better of the two evils in the case of the West, but none of its causes exist in Islam.
Thus, Islamic civilization was the vessel for many different examples of civilization, not only during its golden age, but even in recent eras. In all due humility, somebody from this civilization claimed that it represents the end of history, or that it exemplifies universal values. Rather, these values flow within the universal entity of the Islamic community as blood flows within the body.
Let us take India and Spain as examples, since original Islamic principles were preserved in both places, despite the severe decline from the peak of justice at the time of the Orthodox Caliphate. Muslims ruled India for eight centuries in which all people were equal there before the Islamic Law, free in practicing their beliefs. Neither Hindu nor anybody else was forced to change his beliefs. Rather, there was a degree of social harmony which both the British Raj and the secular Congress party government after it were unable to achieve -a failure which led to the arrival of Hindu extremists to government, and the committing of horrible crimes against mosques and churches alike. As for Spain, which was another mode of civilization, it suffices to mention, without detail, the religious and academic freedom that flowered there in contrast to the severe fanaticism of nearby Europe. It is enough for us to merely indicate the Catholic inquisition that followed the fall of Islamic civilization there, and the total annihilation of its cultured people at the hands of those who learned the basics of civilization from them. Perhaps it would be appropriate to mention the example that many Muslims and non-Muslims hold to be the worst in Islamic history: the example of the Turks. It was the example that Martin Luther used to cite as the ideal of freedom of belief in contrast to the blind papist tyranny. He was amazed that a Turk could be a Jew or Christian, not only a Muslim, and that every Muslim could read the Qur’an at the time when the Pope alone reserved the right to interpret the Gospel and prohibited its translation.
This inspired his 95 theses which he nailed to the door of the church at Wittenburg, which came to embody the Protestant doctrine upon which the United States was founded. Istanbul was an international center of culture in which all religions and philosophies coexisted, not only in its architectural advancement which dazzled ambassadors and travelers then (and continues to do so), but also its moral and cultural advancement. It is enough to point out what was written by the Italian ambassador Camponella, author of “City of the Sun.” It is enough to know that the worst period of violence and violation of human rights in Turkey is connected with the removal of Islamic law, its imitation of Western nationalism, and man-made laws, and the implementation of secularism from the end of the nineteenth century until now. Yet secular Turkey is the second-place strategic ally of America after Israel.
In general, we say that Islamic justice and values are not founded on a philosophical opinion, or political theory, but that they are established on the imitation of the prophets, especially Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad –blessing and peace be upon them all. That is sufficient in itself to be the true universal values, and therefore, it is the duty of every person to be a morally a Muslim, regardless of whether he is a Muslim, Christian, Jew, or follower of any other religion.
The difference between Islamic values, and those found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is very great. Islam does not make dignity, freedom, justice, and legal equality to be rights which must be sought , but duties whose execution is incumbent on both plaintiff and defendant. Moreover, it is incumbent on others to strive to enforce them on both parties, and to advise each individual of his rights should he be unaware of them, and to protest against the other party if he should reject those rights.
In contrast, the undefined terms and vague indications of values in the statements of the American founding fathers, and the authors of the International Declaration of Human Rights, and other social philosophers since the European Enlightenment until today, and in contrast to the absence of discussion of international relations and foreign policy in the American constitution since it is no more than the document of a local alliance at a particular stage of an isolated people whose features had yet to be completed, such as these can never be universal, in contrast to all of that we say that in the divine book, the Qur’an we find hundreds of clear and explicated verses defining accurately and in detail, the values which all humanity must apply in service to God -not eyeservice since He will judge them by these on the Day of Judgment.
Perhaps it is appropriate to move on to another issue in order to discover the truth about the disciplined freedom of Islam, a lighter topic which is still a sensitive issue: the issue of sex and sexuality. American values and laws restricted even the mention of unambiguous sexual terms and referral to the sexual organs until the beginning of the twentieth century. Some European novels that contained such terms were restricted from publication until the sixties. From this the famous Kinsley report and other medical and sociological studies until today make clear that many Americans suffer from great ignorance about sexual subjects!
On the other hand, the Prophet –blessing and peace be upon him- who was most chaste in speech and impeccable in manners, spoke about it in clear detail. Moreover, the Qur’an itself speaks about this subject in words that are at the same time both clear and respectful, and many Muslim authors, both ancient and modern, devoted whole books, or chapters of their books to this discussion which are available to everyone. Modern medical specialists are amazed to discover how these works combined scientific biological, physiological and anatomical knowledge, as well as sound psychological and behavioral guidance in descriptive ____terms which are neither prudish nor trivial. Western experience is divided between a total suppression with its source in monastic celibacy, and an unrestricted arousal taken from the Freudians and others, while Islamic society is generally free from both.
In general, Islamic civilization did not know of censorship of thought and writing in any subject, of which the rare instances of book burning serve as evidence. If Giordano Bruno, Galileo, or others like them were able to immigrate to the nearest Muslim country, they would not have been subjected to any persecution. As for Spinoza, he can be compared to his Jewish coreligionist Moses Maimonides. Despite the fact that Israel is taken as an example of democracy by many Americans, let us ask the Jewish Falasha immigrants there from whom they receive the best treatment, from the Muslims of their homeland and within Israel, or from the members of their own religion?
In order to shed more light on the matter, there is no harm in pointing out the events that have happened in the past, and continue to happen in the states of the African lake region [Burundi and Rwanda]. Islam has become a safe asylum for both sides in the repulsive racial wars there, and Western missionaries are bewildered at the nearly four million from both tribes [Hutus and Tutsis] who have embraced Islam. In his address on a national occasion in 2, the Rwandan president expressed his great admiration for Islam, and his surprise at its greatness, and the speed with which it extinguished the fuse of hostility and hatred between people. The Islamic Mufti of Rwanda (who translated the address for this writer) said to me, “The President was about to publicly announce his embracing of Islam, and I expect that daily.”
If we go back to the history of the founding fathers of the United States we discover that it was a very different matter:
The United States was founded on a clear conflict between puritan ethics (of the Calvinists) and their tendency to ethical cleansing for which millions of human beings among the native peoples were sacrificed, something which (along with other evidence ) provides confirmation that the founders were inspired to this barbaric holocaust by the law of the maculated text of the Torah, by following the same principles which it is claimed that God commanded Joshua to follow in his wars against the Philistines.
When the groups of colonists were able to become a national force, the violence was quickly directed toward the original peoples from whom the colonists came, especially the English. The American War of Independence was a revolution of white Protestants against a white, Protestant government. This proves that it had no ethical meaning other than continuation of the principle of expansion and conquest, the principle shared by both the [British] government and the colonists. If the matter had been one of values such as freedom and democracy, it would have been most appropriate out of all the governments of the West, to obey the English government, which was indisputably, the most democratic and open to debate of all the colonial powers. Without praising British colonialism, we can say that the people of other colonies rejoiced at the news of the British defeat of the Portuguese and Spanish for this reason. Then why did the branch revolt against the root? What lit the fuse of revolution was none other than the Sugar Law of 1764 and the Tea Tax of ____. Both parties fought over a land that did not belong to either, and human rights had neither mention nor effect!
The third feature besides exterminating millions of the native people, and fighting a democratic government in a civil war, is the most repulsive of features which formed the American national existence: hunting down and enslaving human beings simply because God created them a different color!
I do not know why the sixty intellectuals failed to praise the morality of America’s freeing the slaves, although this claim is similar to their claiming universal values and just war in that each is a late justification for a long and painful situation which cannot be justified any more than you can shield yourself from the sun with the palm of your hand. The phrase, “All men are created equal,” with which Jefferson begins the Declaration of Independence was not used in the context of inventing or discovering universal values, but was only an expedient argument for the equality of the white man of the American colonies with the white man in the motherland. It never included people of color or women. The Americans took nearly two centuries to pass civil rights legislation and end racial discrimination during the Johnson administration.
At the time that civil rights advocates were seeking to achieve the end of racial discrimination with through this legislation (which is only theoretical, as evidenced by subsequent and continual incidents) they sought to void the racist laws which were then fully in effect and enforced with the great popular support. As a quick example we recall the constitution of the State of Mississippi, section eight concerning education, paragraph 27:
“Care shall be taken in this area to separate white children from Negro children so that each race shall have its own schools.”
Section ten concerning reformatories and prisons, paragraph 225:
“The legislature shall take appropriate measures to separate white prisoners from black prisoners as much possible.’
Section fourteen, general laws, paragraph 263:
‘Marriage between a white person and a Negro, Mulatto, or a person of one-eighth Negro blood is unlawful and void.”
Perhaps more surprising than the laws of the State of Mississippi is the following text:
“Whoever prints, publishes, or distributes printed, typewritten, or handwritten materials inciting the population to consent to social integration and marriage between white and black, or presenting arguments or proposals of this kind, his activity is considered an offense punishable by law by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars, or imprisonment for a term not to exceed six months, or both.”
In a document presented to the United Nations in February, 1948 titled: “An Appeal to the World,” the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People stated that similar laws to those of the State of Mississippi were applied in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, and that similar but less severe laws were applied in Delaware, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, and that there were eight northern states that forbade intermarriage between whites and blacks: California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah.
The appeal then continues to detail the wrongs borne by people of color in the United States:
“In twenty of the country’s states there is mandatory segregation of white and black pupils, while the laws of the State of Florida require school books reserved for black pupils to be stored separately from school books reserved for white pupils.”
“And in fourteen of the country’s states, the law requires segregation of white train passengers from black train passengers, while the laws of eight states require the establishment of separate compartments for whites and blacks. As for buses, segregation is required in eleven states…
“Furthermore, there laws requiring the segregation of white and black patients in hospitals, and in eleven states, mental patients are also segregated according to color and race…
“Segregation is required between whites and blacks in prisons and reformatory institutions in eleven of the states of the Union.
“Furthermore, there are laws mandating the segregation of whites from blacks in many aspects for which there is not enough space to mention here. However, narrating some examples is sufficient to clarify the extent of the oppression which pursues the colored races with the force of law. In Oklahoma, the law mandates separate telephone booths for Negroes. In Texas, it is illegal for white wrestlers to fight black wrestlers, and in North Carolina, it is not permitted for Negro and White workers to stand on the same floor (?) in textile plants, nor is it permitted for Negroes to enter and exit from the same doors from which Whites enter and exit.”
Before September 11, 21, America had another September of historical events in the year 1957, when President Eisenhower order the unfortunate 11st division to invade the state of Arkansas and remove 1, –strong local army (National Guard). He announced to the public that he was taking these measures to remove the disgrace which was exposed to the entire world, especially the Communist world, that human rights in America were useless when the governor of the state insisted that he would not permit black children to enter white schools, rejecting the ruling of the Federal Court with the excuse that integration would cause chaos and bloodshed in the state, and that the state would need a five-year transition period beginning the integration of kindergartens in the year 1963.
Rodney King Riots during the first Bush presidency…
What about the Jews?
Violence against and extermination of the adversary has been a necessary token of many people since Cain killed Abel, but in all of history there has never been a less violent civilization than Islam, which, because of the Qur’an, believes that justice is an absolute value, unaffected by difference of faith, color, race, or any of the other bases which man uses to discriminate, and that God has granted every human being a safe refuge which none can deny him in this world.
The Muslim is protected by his faith, the non-Muslim is protected by his covenant with the Muslims, those under truce are protected by treaty, and those at war are protected by the conditions of legitimate war including the conditions of just cause and mercy, which caused those lands which were conquered by the Muslims to consider the Islamic conquest to be a delivery from darkness into light, and from servitude to freedom, and willingly and eagerly embraced the faith of the conquerors, learned their language, and merged with them as much as they could because of what they had learned of the merits of Islam.
Because of this, the Islamic countries remained a refuge for persecuted peoples throughout the world, if the scholars and thinkers, and millions who were burned at the stake by European civilization (represented both by the Church and politically motivated violence) been able to flee to the nearest Muslim country, they would have found safety.
Let us take the clearest example of this: the Jews who are the greatest in hostility towards Muslims as divine revelation tells us, and as history and reality bear witness. Let us briefly examine the treatment of the Jews in Islam, and their treatment in Europe and America:
In Islam they were given such care as they never experienced in any country, by reason of their being “People of the Book.” The Prophet –God bless him and grant him peace- who was the most just and merciful of men, responded to their ignorant behavior with kindness, and to their intrigues with justice, and as much as possible, he forgave and accepted the apologies of those who did wrong to him, despite the fact that he endured a great deal of persecution and betrayal at their hands, such as their murder plots against him in which they poisoned his food, and conspired with his enemies on several occasions. It suffices that they rejected him as they rejected Christ –peace be upon him- before, despite the clear signs and proofs concerning the truth of his message, and his overcoming the many difficult tests and trials from their Rabbis, and despite the witness of some of their scholars who embraced his faith.
Despite all of that, he never departed from fair treatment of them, and the dispute never took the form of racial discrimination. The Qur’an itself resolved this by demonstrating that good and evil are found in every nation, and that it is never right to say that one people is pure and holy and the other is unclean, as the Jews claim, which was commonly held during the pre-Islamic age of ignorance, and was prevalent in modern Europe. Rather, mankind (or the nation) purifies or pollutes itself. Each individual is accountable before God at the resurrection. There are many clear and unambiguous verses about this:
Thus, every Muslim must believe that those Jews who believed in Moses –peace be upon him- were the best people of their time. Later, those who believed in Jesus –peace be upon him- were the best people of their time. Later, those who believe in Muhammad –God’s blessing and peace be upon him- are among his companions, and they are the best people until the end of the world. Any Muslim who rejects the three messages, or any one of them are not all of the same level of morality. Some of them are sinners and others are virtuous. Some are disloyal, and some are loyal. Some are dishonest, and some are honest. Some are just, and some are unjust.
The Prophet sent some of his companions to Ethiopia during the time before the establishment of the Islamic state, because its Christian king at that time allowed no one to be treated unjustly.
Islam severed the subject of racism at its root when it forbade boasting of ones ancestors and descendants even if it were the truth. It forbade rivalry based on legitimate and praiseworthy titles such as whether one were from the Muhajirun (the first Muslims from Makkah who later emigrated to Madinah) or the Ansar (those who later became Muslims in Madinah who welcomed and assisted the Makkan immigrants), let alone such aspects as race or color.
In the Prophetic biography a well-known event occurred between the Muslims and the Jews in the Madinah marketplace. A Jewish man wanted to cause chaos by igniting a rivalry with the Muslims. He loudly swore by “Him who favored Moses over all mankind.” One of the Muslims answered him, “By Him who favored Muhammad over all mankind.” Trouble was ready to break out when the Prophet –God’s blessing and peace be on him- put an end to the problem by saying to the Muslims, “Do not make me better than Moses.”
With Islam, human beings are able to give justice its due while defending themselves from the unavoidable hostilities of those who oppose them and deny them their rights:
“La yajrimanakum shana’an…”
The Prophet –blessings and peace be upon him- sent one of his companions to the Jews of Khaybar to receive the money that they had agreed to pay according to their treaty with the Muslims. They attempted to bribe the companion, but he refused saying, “By God, God’s Messenger is the most beloved person to me, and by God, you are the most detested people to me, but I cannot love him and wrong you in any way!”
The long history of Islam bears witness that the Jews were not persecuted, but just the opposite, except on rare occasions. The Caliphs and Sultans usually had good relationships with the Jews and gave them preferential status above the Muslims for worldly reasons, to the extent that many Muslims complained and the scholars of Islamic Law criticized the rulers for it.
As for European history –without excusing the Jews- it is a chain of persecution of the Jews so long that it is difficult to measure. Rather, it is difficult to understand or believe some of the persecution. Besides the deep-rooted hostility and continued campaigns against them initiated by the Pope, we find Luther, whose teaching was influenced by Judaism, advised his followers at the end of his life to burn the Jewish ghettos of Germany. For this reason, some researchers consider the Nazi holocaust to be an extension of the Protestant-inspired persecution, let alone the Catholic! (Story of Civilization v26)
The ecclesiastical councils, the Popes, and bishops of every sect sought to prove their faith and piety by issuing laws to punish and exclude them, and to exclude Christians who dealt with them. In every land and church groups were formed whose sole act of worship was to burn the Jews unless they converted to Christianity. This occurred in France, Spain, Germany and elsewhere, and when the Black Plague struck, all of Europe was overrun by violent waves of Jewish extermination, to the extent that 51 Jewish communities were destroyed in the mid-15th century. Some historians estimate that not even one in five Jews escaped the destruction. (Story of Civilization v26)
All of that because of the accusation that the plague was caused by the Jew’s “poisoning Christian wells,” despite the fact that it was a worldwide epidemic.
The atrocities committed against them (as well as against the Muslims) by the Inquisition are so well known it is not necessary to mention them. In reality, hatred of Jews was so firmly planted within the deepest recesses of the Christian soul as to be beyond the limits of logic, and totally stripped of any cause. Similarly, ______(27) Among the evidence of this, is that European dictionaries used the word “Jew” not as a name for a sect of people with their own religion, but as a description for evil, malice, treachery, greed, and filthiness. That is quite apparent in literature when the greatest English playwright, Shakespeare, wanted to choose a character to represent these attributes, he chose the Jewish “merchant of Venice,” and when their great novelist, Charles Dickens wanted to show the worst type of demoralizing education he also chose a Jewish character in “Oliver Twist.” The level of hatred rose so high that Jews began to hate themselves. This happened to many intellectuals such as Marx and Freud, and before them, to Spinoza.
This is an appropriate point at which to mention the distinction of Arabic literature in this regard. Offensive attributes are not personified by race or religion in Arabic literature, they are simply used by themselves to describe whomever they describe, whether Caliphs, ministers, judges, teachers, or commoners, no matter what their religion, such as in “Kitab al-Bukhula’” (Book of Misers), “Al-Humuqa’wal-Mughafilin ” (Fools and Idiots), “Al-Majanin” (The Insane), or “As-hab al-Hafuwat” (Committers of Gaffes).
As for America, whoever claims that it was founded on equality and freedom, its founders tried to be too clever to resort to holocausts, and too fair to kill every child like Pharoah. They were satisfied to try to cut off the problem at its roots by suggesting outlawing the immigration of Jews to American.
(Benj. Franklin p28)
Tamerlane may have been the worst ruler in the history of Islamic civilization, but he never reached that level of racism. The Jews lived in his capital of Samarqand just as they live today in Washington. (Story of Civilization v26)
Without doubt, whoever reads modern European history must acknowledge the level of religious freedom achieved in the United States with fewer losses of life than that in Europe, except that there is a terrible type of religious coercion practiced by and supported by millions of Americans under the eyes and ears of the government, intellectuals, and rights organizations, and which is moreover, supported by most charities in American society: evangelization in which a morsel of food or a dose of medicine is placed before the mouths of those suffering from hunger or pain, and they are told, “if you express your faith in Christ and accept [original] sin, the crucifixion, and the atonement, then take this morsel or this dose, or else…”
To prove that this sort of coercion is not the exception, let us read the following statictics:
There is a further example difficult to interpret in light of so-called religious freedom: Did John Walker, American youth who accepted Islam and went to Afghanistan, err in his understanding of American freedom, or does this freedom have obscure and flexible limits which can be expanded to include the Israelis who plotted terrorist activities inside America, and narrowed so as not to understand what the actions of this innocent young man?
If it is his duty (according to American values) for a person to fight alongside his coreligionists and fellow citizens, then what if the problem with the Muslim volunteers who fought along with the Taliban? And why were these atrocities committed against them in Mazar Sharif and Cuba?
But if what is illegal is for a person to fight people of his own nationality and religion, then what are the actions of John Walker, who may never fired a weapon, in comparison to the butchery of the Northern Alliance who killed thousands or tens of thousands of their own people?
If only American justice has stopped at this indecent double standard, but it went beyond that to that which is not in the power of any human: seeking to change Muslim’s beliefs within their own country in their school curriculum, and by forbidding the third pillar of their faith: charity, in the name of rooting out terrorism.
We ask you, does this request have even the smallest connection with justice and religious freedom? Or anything else mentioned in your letter?
What about the Events of September 11th?
Readers of your letter were surprised to read that “the killers of September 11 issued no particular demands; in this sense, at least, the killing was done for its own sake.” This is without doubt, an insult to the intelligence of millions of people from all over the world who heard and saw the leader of the accused group speaking about the tragedy of the Palestinian people and the crimes of America in Iraq and other places, connecting American security to the security of the Palestinians. This connection appears in a great number of testimonies: in the statements of world leaders, in those of the leadership of the United Nations, in reports of the international media, in a American opinion polls in which 68% of the American public opinion wanted a solution for the Palestinian problem, even in the statements of the President Bush, Secretary Powell, and Secretary Ramsfeld speaking about solving the problem and establishing a Palestinian state, and about concern to improve the political and economic situation of the Islamic world whose troubles can be attributed to American policy. Bush’s repeated refusal to connect the two problems is only a response to the clear demand heard by the world, and understood by most of its leaders, the European Union being only one example of that.
So why then the recourse to this fallacy, and the attempt to (iltiqat al-dawaf’) collecting motives –p31 –as they term it-and rejecting the demand?
The following paragraph gives us the answer? The whole purpose of the smoke screen around their demands is only a means to say that the attackers targeted America because it is free and democratic, just as the American president stated at the first alarm and repeated many times since. This (ya’sa) p31 causes the reader to feel sorry for the position these intellectuals are in, and reminds one of Soviet biologists who (arghamu) were altered the results of their research so that they might serve the Marxist ideology. But they were forced to do so, while these sixties have voluntarily presented this fallacy to support the statements of their president.
So as not to be unfair, we will ask them only one question:
Why was the Palestinian problem absent from the open letter when it is the fundamental current problem that preoccupies the entire world, America in particular?
Let us listen to the other side of America, the side which recognizes and faces the truth, proposing solutions that achieve America’s interests –not Muslim or Palestinian interests. As long as Americans don’t understand the cause of the disaster they will never arrive at a correct solution. This side was expressed by David Duke in a long article from which we have provided the following excerpt dealing with the issue at hand (knowing that this man cannot be accused of loving Arabs, we do not agree with his well-known opinions on other topics.)
P32-34 Why was America attacked?
Not only do we cite his evidence, but we will cite other evidence reported in the American and Israeli press, as well as the International press:
1) The case of five Israelis who filmed the attack while it happened, as was reported in American, Israeli, and other sources.
2) The case of the arrest of six Israelis in two cars who had in their possession pictures and maps of nuclear reactors in Florida and the Alaskan pipeline, as well as “suspicious devices.”
3) The suspicious trading in airline and insurance stocks at the New York Stock Exchange just prior to the events. This is a well-known occurrence which is under investigation, and it is only one piece of evidence that the Israelis at least, had prior knowledge of the events.
This and other evidence has been totally ignored while the media empires have rushed to accuse Muslims, and to spread anything that would cause them alone to be charged, despite the existence of wide gaps and glaring inconsistencies. We can’t blame the press for its ignorance since its bias (intima’ p35) is well-known, but we can’t believe that non of our sixty intellectuals have heard any such as the following:
1) The passenger list published by the airlines contained no Arabic names, in contrast to the list published by the government.
2) Some persons whose names (of the accused) were announced have been definitively proven to be either previously deceased, or living in their home countries.
3) The dependence on evidence such as copies of the Qur’an found in their cars or homes, or the chance discovery of a letter sprinkled with Christian terms not known to or used by most Muslims.
4) The steel pillars were melted in the fire at the World Trade Center, but the passport of one of the accused was not destroyed. Why don’t the Americans benefit from this discovery and create a vest for the President or a covering for the Pentagon from the same paper as the passport? And why would a suicide bomber carry his passport when he is going to his death in a few minutes?
5) The accused were young men who entered America a few months earlier, coming from the poorest country in the world, and received limited training in aviation. But the plot that was carried out was of a very high level of sophistication and required advanced technology, consideration of weather predictions, and skill in making amazingly professional maneuvers of the aircraft, in addition to the possession of detailed intelligence that caused the Secret Service to believe that the President’s plane was targeted while in the air, so that reporters onboard were ordered not to use their cell phones and to completely turn them off for fear of signaling the position of the plane.
This and other evidence cast a doubt –and I only say a doubt- and causes to avoid the rush to judgment, while justice demands that the weakness in the evidence against one party strengthens the case against the other party. (36)
It was expected that our American intellectuals would avoid entangling themselves in same blunders and contradictions as the American administration which were ridiculed by many commentators throughout the world, when millions asked: “Has another suicide bomber turned up alive today like yesterday?”
“Did the President give another speech today which Powell or Ramsfeld will have to contradict tomorrow?”
If the attackers goal was to attack freedom, why didn’t they attack one of the nations which is more free than America? Why did they choose the Pentagon and World Trade Center instead of the institutions of democracy and human rights in America?
They expected intellectuals to correct the President’s information; first by informing him that the Taleban are not a group of musicians, and finally, by advising him to delay pulverizing an exhausted, weak people before complete evidence is provided.
We know that the American government was previously preparing to attack Afghanistan, and we suppose that the sixty intellectuals will not dispute that, but in any case there is no disputing that justice dictates proving the accusation, and punishing in proportion to the crime, even if doing so takes some time. Even if we assume that the need for vengeance caused the Americans to hurry the decision to fight a war, what is wrong with reconsidering it now?
Justice demands granting pardon and atonement for wrongdoing. If America had done so it would have been able to point to it as a witness to the world that it is brave, free, and just.
If only America had the characteristics of the Prophet of mercy and justice, Muhammad –blessing and peace be upon him- who publicly renounced the actions of his great general, Khalid ibn al-Walid who fought a hostile tribe of idolaters, but the tribe claimed that there was a confusion of words during the battle. The Prophet gave the benefit of the doubt because of their presumed innocence and therefore, denounced the actins of Khalid and paid compensation for those of the tribe killed during the battle.
As for mercy and preferring pardon, we know of no place for these in American politics or values, since these belong to the prophets and their followers alone. The idolaters killed seventy Muslim men and the Prophet promised to kill a like number of them, but when God granted him victory and he returned to Makkah and some of the Muslims said, “Now the Prophet –blessings and peace be upon him- will revenge those Muslims who were killed.” But the Prophet –blessings and peace be upon him- recited to them the verse, “p38” and said, “No, we will be patient and have mercy,” and pardoned all of them except for a very small number who committed particular crimes.
Who is Your Problem With?
It is a most unfortunate matter: that the view of sixty intellectuals in the age of easily accessible communications when a researcher can access the newest publications in a matter of seconds, is nearly identical to the view of Islam of the European clergy of the Dark Ages!
Whatever the level of intolerance of the ancients, it is worse for modern people to continue the same pattern. Persisting in a sin is worse than committing it, especially when the means of ceasing are readily available.
When McVeigh blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the investigators possessed detailed information about his physical description as well as his [political] affiliation. Yet hundreds, or perhaps thousands of reporters, thousands of miles from the site, spoke about “middle-eastern features,” and an Islamic connection without any official or unofficial source. Even the Pentagon announced the need for Arabic translators to work in interrogation. Finally when Clinton spoke of the total innocence of Arabs and Muslims in the matter, most of them ceased their disparagement of Islam, and harassment of Muslims. But, when Goldstein massacred people at prayer in the Mosque of Abraham [in Hebron], did they Americans speak about “Zionist terrorism”? Or did they simply talk of a crime committed by a Jewish individual? And that is only one of many examples.
On the other hand, if we supposed that all terrorist incidents in America for a century had been the work of an extremist Islamic organization, would that excuse accusing all Muslims in general or Islam itself?
America has more organizations than any other country espousing racism, extremist religions, and terrorism. What it then be correct to attribute whatever actions any one of them commits to the American people, or to the religion of America itself?
Or for example, why did the Japanese media not accuse the Chinese or the Communists of carrying out the terrorist incident in the Tokyo Metro? And that they did that because Japan is free and advanced? Was it stupidity on their part, or was it because of God bestowed a different level of justice on all them? Or is it that the American media, along with the American administration, has its own definition of justice?
Why is it that the British media do not attack Catholicism every time there is an incident in Northern Ireland? Aren’t the Catholics the traditional enemies of the Protestants? Isn’t the war there clearly a religious war? Hasn’t the competition between them for converts in Africa led sometimes to burning missionary centers and even bloodshed?
The “Al-Qaeda” organization –if there actually is an organization- never claimed to be a part of the Islamic movement. Nor has anyone of the Islamic movement said, before or after September 11th, that that organization was part of them. In fact, some of them have gone to excess in condemning them, especially in America and its allies. They have even denied that it has any connection to Islam at all!
Yet, the sixty state that this organization is but one arm of Islamic movements! Exactly as if a Muslim writer claimed that a group such as the skinheads or the Irish Republican Army were only one arm of the International Christian movement which includes the Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Quakers, Mormons, Baptists, etc.
This exposes their real problem, which is in reality their problem with Islam, not with the Islamic movement. Even if we supposed that all Muslims in the world became Americans in every aspect, every incident will still be attributed to them from the first moment! What do you suppose is the cause of this? Is it reason and academic research? Or is it the residue within the unconscious that rushes out, completely bypassing the conduits of reason, which some scholars believe to be deeply rooted violence and made-up enemies within the European psyche mentioning this unforgettable advice:
In order to make the problem clearer let us take the example of the devil. People, without excusing criminals or relieving them of any of their responsibility for their actions, attribute such actions to the devil since the origin of all sin is his temptation and enticement. Thus, he has come to be the incarnation of absolute evil. As you see, the great amount of misinformation and misconceptions about Islam has caused the people of the West (with a few exceptions) to see Islam as the incarnation of all evil in their deepest feelings, even if they know intellectually that there are good and evil in every religion. Because of this the Western mind has no problem in attributing any evil deed to Islam, despite the knowledge of its actual innocence. For example, the James Jones [suicide] incident had no relation to Islam whatsoever, but if a book came out today or tomorrow saying that it was an Islamic act since Islam is the embodiment of evil and excuses such deeds, many people would accept it without discussion.
When [the boxer] Muhammad Ali visited the ruins of the World Trade Center a heckler said to him, “Aren’t you ashamed to belong to the same religion as BinLadin?” He replied, “Aren’t you ashamed to belong to the religion that produced Adolph Hitler?” His answer was logically correct, but if the questioner believes that Hitler is exchanged Christian ethics for the ethics of the devil –which he unconsciously equates with Islam- than Muhammad Ali’s answer would not be unconvincing. This shows us the depth of the problem and the size of the tragedy.
Thus the open letter is contradictory. It uses the voice of reason when it distinguishes between Islam and that which was done by some Muslims, and between Jihad and terrorism; and it uses the cumulative voice of its hereditary culture within the unconscious whose errors are simply compounded by deception of the official media when it describes all Islamic movements as terrorists, or even more, when it the term “international terrorism” is applied only to Muslims.
Do we believe that Islamic Civilization is absolutely perfect, or that the Islamic movements are infallible? No Muslim says that. Absolute perfection belongs only to the essence of Islam –in its doctrines, values and laws. Infallibility belongs only to the Prophet himself–God’s blessing and peace be upon him- in the message which he delivered from God, and then to the Muslim community as a whole an ideal person following the Prophet. They are only infallible in that they cannot all agree on an error, despite the small number of them who are true and upright.
All Muslims know, whether they are common people, governments, movements, or nations, that the gap between the reality of the Islamic community and true Islam is the driving reason and only purpose for the existence of the Islamic reform movements. For this reason, all the Islamic movements strive -each according to its own distinct understanding and program- to bring the community back to the Islamic values that are in reality, as we have seen, the universal values, not to the destroy those values as the signatories to this open letter claim.
Acknowledging this is the key to a great opportunity for dialogue between these movements and the West. That is, based on Western recognition of the positive role they have, and their true representation of the Islamic peoples. Will the signatories to this letter or others do so? I do not believe it would be very difficult for those who love the truth and desire the welfare of humanity, as long as they are sincere.
The hostile stance towards Islam was firmly established in American policy before September 11 and afterwards. The American war against terrorism has only confirmed that fact more firmly for Muslims. The rest is yet to be seen( 42).
If this inequity, or better yet, antagonism was limited to the Palestinian problem it could be said to be the result of the Zionist lobby in America, or if it was limited to Afghanistan it could be said to be the result of the presence there of Al-Qaeda. But when it is directed towards all Muslim countries and minorities, then how can we interpret it? To clarify this point, let us take the principle of the right to national self-determination. We will bring six examples divided into two categories, those that conform to principle and those which do not, from which we will deduce our results.
Those which conform to the principle are two countries: The (former) Soviet Union, and China. Both are former enemies of America, and each contains minorities who demand this right. In the first category are the Baltic countries on one side and in the Islamic nations of the Caucasus on the other. The second category are the Buddhist of Tibet on one side, and the Muslim [regions of China] on the other.
The opposite examples are India and the Philippines on one hand, and Indonesia and Sudan on the other. The first two have Muslim peoples who demand separation, while the last two have non-Muslim minorities who demand the very same thing.
The firm American position is:
1) Strong support of independence for the Baltic states, and ignoring the Islamic republics, even sometimes rejecting them and saying nothing about the racist extermination which the Russians carry out there.
2) Strong support of the Tibetan Buddhists, while ignoring the situation of the Muslims of China, despite the fact that there are ten times as many of them.
3) Treating the separatist movements of Kashmir and the Southern Philippines as terrorists and declaring war on them.
4) Strong support for the separatist movements in Indonesia and Sudan.
If the signatories can offer any interpretation for this other than bias against Islam then please do so!
If they suppose that modification of terms such as “Islamic” and “Islamicist” is sufficient to avoid the problem, than that is an even bigger problem.
If they believe there is no reason to even mention the extremist fundamentalist and racist organizations in America, extremist racist organizations in Europe, Hindu fundamentalist organization in India, and religious fundamentalist groups of Japan -in their vast number and infinite variety- then there is no benefit in dialogue with them.
If they felt that it was appropriate to mention them but simply overlooked it, than the dialogue with the Islamic movements can begin with their public apology because of it, and they can interpret any apparent harshness in my response to that reason. Their understanding of this point will help to open the gates to dialogue, and will (yatih) 44 the correct answer for the question: “what are we fighting for?”
It is not important to us as Muslims whether the American government has the authority to commit violations against us, as the signatories claim, or whether they are unauthorized as the Vice-President has said. What is important to us for you sixty to know -if your government is committed to fighting us with every type of warfare, everywhere in the world- is: what are we defending?
Texts dealing with fundamentalist theory of Armageddon.