Muslim Apology, or Apologia?

An apology is saying you’re sorry, “apologia” or “apologist” denotes vindication of your position.

Both words come from the same Greek root. The clear-thinking Greeks were apparently astute enough to remember to defend their own merits, and not wallow in remorse. [i]

Amid the condolences, it is gratifying to hear our media proclaim that “Islam is a religion of peace”. I only hope this new-found reverence is not a prop to influence Muslims into supine acceptance of a fresh American onslaught?

The Koran warns Muslims that the Jews, Christians, and unbelievers will never rest until you accept their ways. Granted that there is a great commonality of ideals in the three faiths of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic continuum. But billions of people around the world – pious Muslims and Christians in the Middle East, Asia’s Buddhists and Confucians, Eurocentrists with sophisticated palates, and even the odd American – are sick of the vulgar, post-Christian “cultural” offensive America has imposed world-wide.

The world well knows that America has been on the offensive for over a century. It is not particularly convenient to voice this fact. America can be generous to her protégés, and make life miserable and short for the independent-minded. Her hegemony often does seem to be the lesser of two evils, and explanations are lost on her anyway. Yet there is a time for tactful silence, and a time for straightforwardness.

The pious declarations on every side that “This is not a war between the ‘West’ and Islam” bespeak fear, not clear ecumenical vision. In truth, that great struggle never really stopped since the time of Mohamed, as we can see on a simple historical time-line:

The expansion of Islam, followed by: the Crusades – Christendom supporting the genocidal Mongols against the Islamic world – The Spanish Inquisition – Russia’s march southwards – colonialism – Arab support for the Allies in both World Wars, against their Turkish Muslim brothers, ‘rewarded’ by the partition of Palestine – Suez – Israel’s 1967 attack and ongoing encroachments since – Iran crisis – Egypt bought out at Camp David – the swindle at Oslo – mass destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan – non-stop media junk-food jihad.

After 1,000 years of getting stomped on as the West’s doormat, a band of extreme Muslims strike back, and moderate Muslims go on the defensive, too shaken up even to point out that they are permanently on the receiving end of a world war.

The attacks were retaliations against this endless abuse, and the cardinal blame lies at the doors they struck. [ii] If the attackers were really as inhuman as America’s foreign policy clique, they would not have hit targets like embassies, the WTC and the Pentagon. These are all strategic imperial symbols.

Instead, they would have tried, say, what America did in Iraq: poisoning our water supply, or in the Sudan: demolishing our pharmaceutical industry, or to Palestine: shelling our ambulances, or to the Axis: fire-storming neighborhoods.

Muslim governments should not shrink from telling the superpower why attacks against it are becoming more popular, that it is time to resolve these issues, that we only add fuel to the flames trying to combat them by demonizing and bombarding militants and their supporters, by espousing a new law of the jungle, extraterritorial extra-judicial assassinations.

Muslims have to communicate, politely but clearly. Speak up for yourself, Americans expect it and respect it. Excessive humility looks suspicious to them, not least from supposedly sly and devious Easterners.

In the branch of the social sciences called strategic studies, lesson one is that warfare is an extreme mode of communication that kicks in when other channels fail. Beasts bite when baring the teeth doesn’t help. Those who never show their teeth at all may be the first to get eaten. Those who have at least the wit to squeak or speak up have a chance to be spared.

In the Near Eastern Social Sciences Department, after all, the US of A is not a quick study, gifted with the sensitive ears of a Horton Hears the Who.

Muslims owe the insular inhabitants of hapless America a clear, insistently repetitive exposition of the grievances that foster resentment and militancy in the Islamic world. They should not shrink from reminding anyone, either, by the way, that terrorist, guerrilla, freedom fighter and patriot are all the same species in scientific nomenclature, differing only in the colloquial between defenders and attackers of the status quo.

If Muslims don’t air their myriad grievances now, when they have finally got some airtime, the Islamic world is set to sustain further deep, inflamed wounds. If moderate Muslims fail to unleash their renowned Arab facility for words, the extremists will be sending their own missives. With the causes hidden iceberg-like, we are all “cruising for a bruising.”

Indeed, Muslims have a duty in the Koran and to the world to set the record straight. Praying for peace alone is not enough.


[i] As a British commentator confided in the Guardian (,4273,4259187,00.html), “One can feel pity for the victims, and at the same time see that the US also “might benefit from an insight into what it feels like to be knocked to your knees by a faceless power, deaf to everything but the logic of its own crazed agenda.” (Charlotte Raven in “A bully with a bloody nose is still a bully”)

[ii] See also John Pilger in “Islamic peoples are already victims of US power”. “Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have been its victims – principally the victims of US fundamentalism.”

Mr. John-Paul Leonard is a free-lance writer and a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN)