Perception Is Reality

War on Terror or War on Islam?

Posted on: November 22, 2007

For quite a while I had been thinking that the United States had generalized its war on terror where every muslim, mainly of Middle Eastern descent and the Sub Continent were considered “terrorists.” The term terrorist and fundamentalist are now widely negatively associated with the Muslim Ummah. The Global Village needs a gentle reminder that with the advent of technologies, we are now closely linked together, and hence we are a Global Village. We need to learn to live together since we are technically sharing the same physical spaces. Also, being a fundamentalist says nothing about anything. A mathematician is a fundamentalist due to his firm belief and acceptance in math being the fundamental governing force of all physics in the universe. A doctor is a fundamentalist as the root cause of all physical problems lie in chemical and biological disbalance and this is the starting point for the doctor from where he initiates a diagnosis.

This isn’t the first time, however, where there have been negative connotations to words. The best and most important example is the African-American community – or Blacks. As sensitive a topic this is, it is important to remember the early years. Our African brothers have been discriminated, hated and have had other heinous crimes commited against. Even now, a major portion of our society still associates the African-American community to drug addicts, alcoholics, and thieves. The Black Is Beautiful movement did try to change the dominant ideology in West about this, and to an extent has succeeded.

Coming back to the point, is the war on terrorism and those exclusive, selective individuals and organizations that commit acts of terror? Or has the Western media generalized the term?

On 21st November, 2007, reported Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim of Dubai as saying that “the US was responsible for strengthening the Al-Qaeda organization by inciting a “war of civilizations” with Arabs after the attacks of September 11.”

By launching a “war on civilizations” as opposed to a war on terror, the U.S. had strengthened Al-Qaeda. The fuel to the fire, so to say. The article says, “He said the US had “created the Satan” by ostracizing the Arab world and, more directly, by teaching Al-Qaeda “how to make and explode bombs” during their involvement with the organization when Afghanistan was battling Soviet insurgents during the 1980s.”

“Brian Jenkins, a Rand Corporation think tank expert on terrorism and former advisor to the US administration, refuted the general’s charges against the general population’s perception of Arab people in the US, saying that most people there do not believe that the war on terror ‘is a religious war, is a conflict against Islam or is a conflict of civilizations.’ ” 

“I must agree with General Tamim that a number of decisions taken in the name of the ‘war on terror’ are contrary to American values” adding that certain decisions made by the Bush administration had been “strategically stupid.”

While it is not diplomatic or polite to say that a government had messed up in their decision, the position is politically correct. Not just from a standpoint of one individual, but from the entire Muslim Ummah.

It is time to ask ourselves, remind ourselves, and foresee the repercussions of this “war” since September 11, and the further repercussions, say, within the next 10 years. Do we want another Martin Luther King Jr. ? Better than rogue armies which retaliate with equal or greater force of Al-Qaeda. The dominant ideology of muslims as terrorists has been built into us since alot of us have not had direct encounters with the muslim world, and if we have had such, those encounters have been with people who have become really sensitive to any relating issues and immediately go on the guard. As for Muslims, we are ambassadors of Islam – not just the religion, but what it stands for: Peace.


1 Response to "War on Terror or War on Islam?"

The problem with religious wars (which I believe this pretty much is – at least on one side of the fence and increasingly on the other) is that it blinds people to rational decision making. Wars that are about nuclear bombs or economic sanctions can be dealt with at least to some point of rationalisation, but when religion is involved everyone has their dead-set opinions and it’s something that is almost impossible to change.

I think it’s sad that the focus has somewhat turned to Muslims in general rather than the terrorists. I think the problem here is that politicians need to “dumb down” their speeches to the public, and as a result we are told they are fighting “evil” people, rather than explaining why these terrorists are vying for blood in the first place!

I think I’m running the risk of writing an article entirely in the comments section lol

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About the Author…

Born in Karachi, Pakistan in an Adventist hospital, I grew up in a city where on one side I experienced poverty and oppression, while on the other I had the good fortune of Tabish Bhimani being a member of an upper middle-class business family...more...

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