POSTCARD USA: Blackening Islam —Khalid Hasan
Millions in this country believe that the Muslims of the world are on the warpath against the West in an attempt to destroy the Judaeo-Christian way of life. The tabloids, certain cable TV networks and a number of Christian evangelist groups have played a major role in spreading this myth
There is no shortage of people in America who believe that the United Nations is a vast, and sinister organisation set up with the express purpose of taking over their country. If someone were to tell them that the United States played the leading role in the establishment of the world body that they now believe is about to destroy America’s independence and sovereignty, they will refuse to believe it. They will see the person who tells them that as “one of them.” Them, of course, are the conspirators out to get America and take control of its government.
Since I began to get bombarded with such far out theories, I have stopped calling Pakistanis the world’s leading conspiracy theorists. We are still in the minor league of that game. Timothy McVeigh who was executed for the April 1995 Oklahoma city bombing that killed 168 people believed that there was a conspiracy against the United States hatched by those who wanted to establish a world government. He went to his death convinced that he was right. His partner Terry Nichols, who was found guilty on more charges last week by an Oklahoma court, heard the verdict without showing any emotion. No doubt, he is still convinced that what the two of them did was right.
However, since 9/11, it is Islam that has been the favourite whipping boy. While there have been a number of commendable attempts by respected scholars to understand Islam and to show that it is wrong to hold its teachings responsible for the actions of a few, on a more popular level, Islam and Muslims have become interchangeable with terrorism. Millions in this country believe that the Muslims of the world are on the warpath against the West in an attempt to destroy the Judaeo-Christian way of life. The tabloids, certain cable TV networks and a number of Christian evangelist groups have played a major role in spreading this myth.
Every other day, there is something new on the “great Islamic conspiracy.” This week’s winner is a gentleman by the name of Robert Spencer who is making a special reduced price Memorial Day offering of his book ‘Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West’. He advises his would-be readers that after winning “victories” in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is no time to rest on our laurels. His publishers claim that “this shocking new book reveals why jihad terrorism is still a potent threat to our nation and the world.” Included among the “startling revelations” are “details about the numerous footholds that jihad warriors have already established right here in the US,” “radical Muslims’ open contempt for our free society and their plans to destroy it” and the bad news that the “the clash of civilisations — which many would rather ignore — is already upon us.”
Mr Spencer is also said to reveal “the motivations, goals and actions of radical Muslims in the United States and around the world, and details.” The author takes the view — which is not correct by a long shot — that Muslims living in the US have failed to “disavow terrorism and condemn the 9/11 attacks with a clear voice.” He claims to have established that “the traditional Islamic concept of jihad does sanction — even require — violence against non-Muslims. While many Muslims today ignore these exhortations to violence.”
The author is identified as “an adjunct fellow with the Free Congress Foundation,” who is credited with uncovering “materials full of naked hatred and intolerance.” He warns that these “poisonous texts, freely available for purchase by Western Muslims, are ignored or explained away by Muslim spokesmen and the establishment media.” While calling on the Muslims of the world to “forthrightly acknowledge these elements of their religion and set to work to reform it,” Mr Spencer calls for the monitoring of America’s mosques (that every American Muslim believes it is already being done), dismissing the objection that it would be “a violation of anyone’s civil rights.” He also comes up with the observation — perhaps the first person to do so in defiance of established history — that “the ‘tolerant’ Muslim Spain celebrated today by academics and Muslim apologists is more fiction than fact.” In addition, he makes the startling claim that the Left has formed an “unholy alliance” with radical Islam.
How one can fight such ignorance, I am unable to say. So over to you, Khaled Ahmed.
Khalid Hasan is Daily Times’ US-based correspondent. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org