Every time the media reports a terrorist attack, the world's one billion Muslims hold their breath and pray, "Oh God, please, let it not be a Muslim."
In the last few years, the word "terrorist" and "Muslim" have, unfortunately, become synonymous. Killing innocent people in the name of religion has become a trademark of certain segments of our community. This is not because Muslims are intrinsically violent people, or our religion commands us to kill. It is because, Islam and its narrative have been hijacked by a small minority of fascist death worshippers, who arose from groups nurtured for decades by western governments, eager to contain the spread of communism...
I was a teenager when I first encountered the violence and fascist tactics of Islamic extremists. It was in 1969, at the University of Karachi campus that I first saw Islamic vigilantes enforcing gender segregation among the young men and women.
No man or woman was permitted to be closer than three feet apart and those violating this rule were threatened and often broken up. In defiance, I and my friends, young men and women, walked arm in arm. We were surrounded by a group of goons who attacked us brutally and specially targeted me because not only was I violating the 3-feet rule, I was rumoured to be a Marxist in the tradition of the 60s, and thus an apostate deserving death.
The beating I received at the hands of about a dozen Islamic extremists still resonates. That violent confrontation was not to be the last, and death threats have followed me wherever I have gone.
The violent streak among the right-wing Muslim extremists in the 50s up to the early 90s, was not directed against the so-called West or its decadence. In fact, throughout these five decades, the Islamists were shock troops of the West as it fought the Cold war with the USSR.
Today, as the various subsidiaries of Al-Qaida murder innocent people in the name of fighting the 'decadent west,' and George Bush returns the favour by labelling them as 'evil', some of us who are old enough to remember, cannot help but shake our heads in bewilderment. Someday, historians will have to write the sordid chapter of how, a monster created to destroy the adversary, turned on its own creator.
If the United States wanted to, it could have eliminated the terror threat to human civilization in the days and months following September eleventh. It did not. The Al-Qaida terrorists were restricted to a mere 100 square miles in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Today, after four years and hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of dead Americans, tens of thousands of dead Afghanis and Iraqis, these hundred square miles have expanded to one hundred thousand square miles. A motley crew of terrorists, trained by the CIA, the Al-Qaida was encircled. But one blunder after another by the US has turned them into a worldwide amorphous body with no physical entity, with the ability to attack at will wherever it chooses to.
In my humble opinion, if invading Iraq was the worst thing the US could do to promote bin Ladenism, ending the occupation in Palestine would be the best it could do to deprive Al-Qaida of its political oxygen.
...Could I dare suggest that the war on terror has failed? It took us less than four years to defeat the mighty armies of Nazi Germany, but in the last four years of the war on terrorism, barely a handful of people have been convicted, while millions of Muslims have suffered the humiliation of racial profiling. In the meantime, the germs of violence continue to spread.
Before I started to put my thoughts to paper, I witnessed an incident at a mosque in downtown Toronto after Friday prayers. A television crew, trying to get the reaction of Muslims to the London bombings, was confronted and jostled. It was ugly. The young woman reporter seemed shaken up. I had to intervene. The irony was that the reporter was a Muslim. As I argued with the men asking the woman reporter to leave, I could see Al-Qaida written all over the faces of these young zealots.
To my Muslim brothers and sisters, I say, the number one enemy of Islam today is the Al-Qaida and those who invoke Islam to hold on to power; be it in Saudi Arabia, Iran or your local mosque. They are not your friends. The world stares at a bleak future and we Muslims in Canada and the west need to lead the fight against the ideology of Al-Qaida. We need to succeed where George Bush has failed. My friends, it is a battle of ideas, and insh'allah, reason will triumph over hate and dogma.
Tarek Fatah is host of The Muslim Chronicle that airs on Bridges TV in US and CTS-TV in Canada
Thanks to weelisa for posting this.