The West and Islam: From Hate to War

The West and Islam: From Hate to War

By M SHAHEEN

The word ‘Islam’ means ‘peace.’ The word ‘Muslim’ means ‘one who surrenders to God.’ But they make us seem like haters
—Muhammad Ali

Donald Trump, the US Republican presidential frontrunner, last week on CNN said that Islam hated ‘us’, referring to the western world. He earlier sought a ban on Muslims entering America. His comments have drawn sharp criticism from his rival presidential hopefuls who maintained that the US needed to preserve good relations with the Middle East countries to carry on the West’s fight against the Islamic State; a policy matter, patently meant to stave off danger to their own interests. To them, what matters is to craft allies in order to help push their global agenda. Trump further said that there was tremendous hatred at the ‘bottom of Islam’. He is noted for his hateful remarks against Islam and Muslims. Republicans are also known for instigating hatred against Islam and Muslims, obviously to push the Zionist agenda.
The cold war has been replaced by open conflicts. The enemy has changed; from the communist world to Muslim militia. Unfortunately the West, through history, never ceased to tread the path of hate in confronting Islam, which addresses them as the people of the book. When the rational process of mutual understanding between communities is made to fail, only narratives of hate prevail, and so societies start preying on each other. Hate is a morbidity, the aftermath of which culminates in destruction. Be it through diabolical onslaughts or cold wars. Hate can suppress the truth but the truth comes to life at the end like a phoenix. The monster of war is constantly being fed with the politics of hate against Islam in order to protract it.
The hate politics against Islam has a genesis, more appropriately a metamorphosis, starting from the West’s invention of “Islamic fundamentalism” in the mid-eighties to “Islamic extremism” in the mid-nineties and then the propagandist scare of an “Islamic bomb” to the unfounded allegations of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq; and of late “Islamic terrorism”, immediately followed by the “war on terrorism”. The unprecedented war on so-called terrorism compels them to brazenly attack Islam and draw parallels between the two. This has led to the coining of new nomenclature: “Radicalism”. A radical Muslim is a potential threat to them. There is a compelling perception of the democratically, liberally and economically more vibrant West, slowly becoming fascist. Racism in the West is as old as the West itself. They have always been racist in ideology and fascist in practice. But their fascist outlook in today’s free and liberal world is assuming rather more dangerous dimensions.
Muslim rulers, monarchs and dictators, deeply divided from within, are entrapped, falling prey to Western machinations only to make vast Muslim populations pawns of sectarianism. Forget about resisting the mammoth military might harnessed by the West. In truth, the war on terrorism narrates the West’s fight to safeguard the Arab regimes historically installed by it, to take proprietary control of the world’s largest oil reserves. These nations and their Arab friends are happy allowing Muslims to build mosques and throng them for prayers and perform the Haj pilgrimage and other religious obligations, but to have an Islamic form of democratic system is to a hornets’ nest. These machinations tend to consume Muslims in insurrections and sectarian instability and make them prey to long authoritarian rule.
Honoring and felicitating blasphemies against the holy Prophet (SAW) of Islam, has become a hallmark of democratic liberalism in the West; a notorious contempt that reminds us of the history of Crusaders of medieval Europe. And what consumes the insides of ISIS, Al-Qaida and groups like Boko Haram are gruesome innocent killings, reflecting sheer frustration, turning them into savages. These groups desecrate Islam themselves. Islam, simply, does not propound innocent killings, come what may.
Arguably, it still isn’t well known that Islam forbids and condemns the killing of innocent people of any race or religion. It denounces such heinous acts. The Paris or Brussels attackers are neither eulogised nor sympathized with by Muslims. Such incidents are a byproduct of their own game plans from Iraq and Syria in the Middle East through Libya, Egypt, Somalia and Sudan in Africa. Turning vast areas of civilian populations into massive graveyards in the name of combating terrorism is a policy fault of their own. Former US President George Bush almost proclaimed that the war on terrorism was a clash of civilizations; a unilateral declaration, politically motivated, of course. Muslims are not at war with them, they seem to be. According to their own think tanks in the United States, America is falling from the grace of being a world leader to a mere war- monger, which only knows aerial strikes, talking with bombs and executing with economic sanctions. Would Muslims in any part of the world welcome them in order to receive cluster bombs and drone attacks?
Had it been true that Islam hated the West, millions of war-afflicted Syrian and Iraqi Muslims would not have opted to migrate to Western countries, despite extremely harsh journeys and hostilities. Islam does not hate the West because it is eastern in origin; for, it has no eastern or western colour. Islam is a divine message that addresses humanity irrespective of creed and culture. It is a message of peace. The Quranic injunction bears testimony to the fact that the Prophet of Islam (SAW) was sent as mercy unto the entire world (Al-Anbiya – 21:107). One of Allah’s 99 names as mentioned in the holy script is Al-Waddud, “the Loving. HE loves all mankind, irrespective of people born in Arabia or America. History bears witness that the Prophet of Islam (SAW ) was the first person to have extended a hand of friendship to the Bishop of Bethlehem (through a letter) and sent his selected companions to seek shelter in the neighbouring Christian state. Denying the fact that the Prophet and his companions lived amicably with the Jewish minority in Medina till they turned belligerent to the neo-Islamic state means a blatant denial of known history.
Figures say that many westerners embraced Islam during the past decade. According to some reports, 1.5 million people have embraced Islam in America alone. Needless to mention, the contribution of Muslims in the development of America and Europe right from medieval times, when they ruled the roost from Arabia to Africa and Asia to Europe, is irrefutable.
The more some people try to tarnish and demonise Islam, the more people will turn to it. Islam gets “burnished” when it is “tarnished”.

—The writer is an academic