Many would fume at the title and would argue that it is the liberal West that rightly fears militant Islam. Iraq as an example can perhaps shed some light on this issue of who is really the militant one and then we can proceed to examine the subject of fear. It is a fact that Saddam Hussein was contained and disarmed since 1991. Indeed, nobody can deny that no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) existed in Iraq other than the ones that were used against her! Iraq’s neighbours opposed the war as they did not consider Saddam to be a threat but the mighty US across the ocean felt threatened with its huge arsenal of the most lethal weapons ever known to mankind!
A threat has two component, intent and capability. Iraq did not issue any verbal or physical threats and was not in a position to do so. Hence, the ‘threat’ was construed only by assessing and exaggerating Iraq’s military capabilities. The West even resorted to making absurd claims of Iraq’s ability to hit UK interests (bases in Cyprus) within 45 minutes using those mythical WMDs. The propaganda also ignored the huge deterrence of the military firepower of the West, which Iraq faced. Clearly the West was eager for war, demonstrating their militant nature and accordingly they went on to mass murder 100,000 or more innocent Iraqi civilians.
This militancy of the West seems to be reserved only for the much weaker opponents, so predictably the resolute North Korean’s were avoided, even after they openly admitted possessing Nuclear weapons! Historically, we witnessed this Western militancy in the genocide of the defenceless people of North and South America’s, Australia and Africa. In recent times, the barbaric massacre of the retreating civilians and soldiers on the road to Basra (inside Iraq, 1991 Gulf War) is another example of this militancy built on sheer cowardice. It eventually led Colin Powell to describe the act as not chivalrous and his military pride must have forced him to call off the gruesome cowardly attack. The carnage reminded me of a modern Roman army hacking their way through a village using bombs and bullets instead of swords and knives.
One of the most distasteful aspects that will linger in people’s memory is the UN actually aided the aggressors by removing the few antiquated missiles that Iraq possessed while the US and UK prepared for war. Apart from cowardice, this sounds like a bunch of criminal gangsters stripping and tying their lone victim then slicing and beheading them with their high-tech weaponry. Such criminal actions are sure to generate the fear of some form of backlash. That brings us to the issue of, who fears who. In order to understand this point, let us examine the capabilities of the two opponents.
The military capabilities, technological know-how and economic powers of the West are immense in comparison to the impoverished and divided Islamic world. Despite the historical feuds and the differences in language, culture and religion the nation states within the Western block are constantly converging towards greater unity; the US and Europe has managed to secure peaceful co-existence for the last 60 years. Also, the ideological threat of Communism has also vanished from Russia.
In contrast, the leadership in the Islamic world has been constantly moving in the direction of disunity, driven by historical feuds, tribalism and nationalism, and no doubt helped along by the former colonial powers wishing to maintain these divisions and weaknesses. Corruption, nepotism and depletion of the natural resources through mismanagement have prevented significant economic growth. One of the precious natural resources is oil, found in abundance, but it is simply being exchanged for the imported manufactured goods and building of shopping malls and hotels. This is no different to the British Raj ‘importing’ the raw materials from India, using it to manufacture the goods that are eventually sold in the Indian market. Even the price of oil is dictated by the US to the OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) to the extent that a barrel of oil has become cheaper than a barrel of wine. Most certainly, without a strong economy and without a competent political leadership the military capabilities of the Islamic world will remain poor.
Given the two contrasting factors it seems ludicrous to even contemplate the idea of the powerful West, fearing the weaker Islamic world. Human instincts dictate that we fear the strong not the weak. It is the citizens of Baghdad, not London or New York that live in fear of the state terrorism delivered daily by the occupying forces. But what is the source for the fear of Islam, is it entirely propaganda or entirely true or a mixture of the two? The points below elaborate upon the constituents of the ‘fear of Islam’:
1). Anticipation of a backlash (Revenge)
Gangsters and criminals always live in fear in anticipation of vengeance from their victims. Therefore, the guilt accumulated due to the crimes committed by the militant Western regimes in the Islamic world, they constantly fear and anticipate some form of backlash. For sure, the children of those who have perished in Iraq will seek vengeance and justice. As expected, this fear of future reprisal heightened after the retaliatory strikes of 9/11 assuming that Muslims were behind the action.
At home, new measures have been introduced to persecute the Muslims. Measures include draconian laws, internment, torture and even executions. Those who are supposed to be celibate politically like the Priests, Bishops and Popes are finding a voice to encourage the suppression of Islam and Muslims. In line with this fad, Denmark’s Queen, Margrethe, recently stated that Islam poses a serious threat at global and local level. In the language of some neo-Nazi party, she stated that: “we should display no tolerance.” Yet, the West expects tolerance from the Muslims, even from places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine where the blood of the Muslims are split en masse.
While many would anticipate some kind of backlash, Western leaders are aware of the limitation of such reprisals from the Muslims, if and when that materialises. The few retaliatory bombings or attacks are hardly going to dent the Western military firepower although it may dampen their resolve to fight. Realising the limitations of the Muslims, the West pursues a policy of exaggerating the ‘fear of Islam’. The heightened fear gives the necessary justification to their own masses to continue the belligerent foreign policies towards the Islamic world.
As part of this process, the media in general, newspaper editors, politicians, advisers and think-tanks are constantly inventing pejorative terms and generating spin to amplify the Islamic threat. In some instances, they are the victims of disinformation themselves; think again of the brazen “45 minutes” statement from the British government. From across the pond, this climate of fear is stoked by the Americans regularly sending out news “Terror threat warnings” and increasing the “Threat Level”. Perhaps the best illustration is; – fear manipulation of Iraq’s WMD’s, it was entirely concocted and spin generated to justify the cowardly aggression.
Just to digress a little, some have used the fear of Islam to conceal their innate racist agenda. Columnist like Richard LittleJohn, Kilroy Silk, Daniel Pipes and the likes clearly illustrate their rabid anti-Islamic feeling to conceal their ugly xenophobic racism.
3). Inability to contain Islam
The fear of Islam is partly genuine and partly exaggerated, but there is another important reason for this, the resilience of Islam as an ideology. This is seen as challenging the West by providing an alternative and simultaneously exposing the weaknesses in the Western values and thoughts. Islam is proving to be a far stronger challenge than communism posed with its mighty armies. Listed below are some of the points which illustrate this.
Resilience and Strength – The strength of Islam has been its unquestionable resilience. It has extraordinary ability to cope with the passage of time, place and transcend all barriers, thus attracting people of all races. Despite the huge anti-Islamic propaganda and with very little organised activities, Islam continues to attract people from all walks of life in the very heart of the West. The Western propaganda of claiming that Islam attracts the poor and the uneducated is failing to fool its own population. It attracts the rich, middle class, the poor, the educated and the uneducated. The Islamic movements are in fact filled with educated professionals from all different backgrounds. Everyone knows Usamah Bin Laden a millionaire and his assistant Ayman Al-Zawahiri a medical surgeon.
After decades of denial, even the most hostile of critics are beginning to come to terms with the fact that despite painting Islam as being anti-woman, it ironically attracts more women than men. Again the mass media in desperation constantly amplifies the isolated cases of a nominal Muslim woman rebelling against Islamic values, but deafening silence when so many liberated Western women enter Islam. Despite the slogans of woman’s rights, gender equality and emancipation, men and women in the West are finding increasingly difficult to maintain stable relationships and attain tranquillity. Divorce, mental breakdown, depression and other related social problems are constantly increasing. In fact recent research in the UK shows that despite being economically poor, the Muslim women suffer the least in terms of mental depression and were found to be the most content group.
Similarly, the Russian bear for the last 80 years also could not ensure the demise or the extinction of Islam. On the contrary there has been a revival since the 1980s across the entire region of the central Asian republics. If and when the Muslims organise themselves in the region, the Russian women are also likely to enter the fold of Islam as many of them lose their husbands to vodka (BBC Documentary).
Demography –” The Muslims in general are continuing to grow demographically due to the stable family life and gaining converts. In contrast many Western nations are facing a decline in population. With the young the culture of freedom has led to a decline in family life producing less children; consequently the proportion of the younger generation are declining, giving rise to the nascent problem of an aging population. The old are eventually quarantined to old people’s homes as they pose a burden on the freedom of the younger members in society. The projected growth of the Muslim population in some countries suggests that within the next hundred years they would outnumber the native population. This has led to calls for assimilation or forceful repatriation and of course the Islamic threat provides the perfect cover.
Spiritual Deficiency –” Islam provides a comprehensive meaning behind the life in this world. This life is test and a step towards eternal life in the hereafter. Success and failure depends on how we perform here. Hence there is meaning and accountability for the actions, which are moulded to attain success in the afterlife. This provides contentment and creates stability in society.
Otherwise, disbelief in the hereafter means life began as an accident and it simply ends here, so there is no higher purpose in life and we are no different to the animals around us in this respect. Consequently, humans and animals have the sole objective of satisfying their needs and instincts. When those are satisfied one gets bored and ask what’s next or get depressed until the next fix is received. The youth in particular release their boredom and depression by other means e.g. drugs, juvenile delinquency. The severity of the problem has led to further legislation against anti-social behaviour in societies that had reached the apex of material and technological success.
Humans have to attain material prosperity to full-fill their needs and instincts. However, material success does not bring about happiness. Despite the disparity in wealth, material comfort and technological know-how with the West, the Muslims are relatively far happier. A research led by a Professor from the London School of Economics showed that Bangladesh is the happiest society in the world with other poorer countries also exceeding the richer nations of the world. Further evidence of the spiritual discontentment in the West is the increasing mental illness, depression and suicides are constantly on the rise.
Political Islam – Islam continues to thrive without an Islamic State, and despite the disunity of Muslims with very little organised activities of Islamic propagation. Thus, the impact from an organised Islamic State would be far greater posing a challenge to the Western hegemony in the Islamic world but eventually in the international arena as a whole. The rise of the Islamic State would eventually propel the unification of the Muslims, overthrowing the criminal regimes that govern them. The fear is that such an Islamic state would offer the real alternative to the cracks showing in the west, which could potentially propel the dissatisfied youths and masses of the West to eventually embrace Islam or join the Islamic State. This is why the militant West really fears Islam.
Therefore, all efforts are diverted towards the prevention of the rise in Political Islam (Islamic State). As the West is finding it difficult to face Islam ideologically with their huge propaganda machine and it would struggle against a genuine Islamic State which would expose their injustice while providing an alternative. This is why the West is spending millions trying to contain the rise of Islam by attempting to reform it, to water it down, to manage it so that a secular compatible Islam will be produced.
Indeed, the US is foolish to pursue some of the superficial policies like funding and promoting some illiterate moderates, sell-outs and even lewd women with Muslim heritage hoping that they could initiate some kind of reform in Islam. Islam is too well narrated and the call for reform is always coming from those who oppose it and not from within. Those within are usually calling for the revival of Islam not reformation. Because they know very well that Islam does not need to be reformed rather it has come to reform humanity. It is humanity that needs to be reformed given that the century of enlightened science has given us the bloodiest century in human history and Islam played no part in that.
Although the West do fear the potential Islamic backlash and the rise of political Islam, but the ‘fear of Islam’ is manipulated. It is represented by selectively highlighting the retaliatory acts of the Muslims as unprovoked acts of violence, thereby turning the victims into mindless aggressors and the genuine aggressors into the victims. For a clear example look at the plight of the Palestinians in the face of overwhelming Zionist aggression, who is daily portrayed as the victim? This ‘fear of Islam’ is used to justify the continuing oppressive foreign policies in the Islamic world, directly or indirectly through its oppressive puppet regimes.
Furthermore, the aforementioned Western militancy built upon xenophobic nationalism and greedy capitalism naturally leads prey upon the weaker Islamic nations for its natural resources. Accordingly the West has been waging wars on the Islamic nations; the US has now established military bases throughout the region with the puppet regimes ensuring obedience to the US interests. While preaching democracy vicious military dictators, cruel despots to illiterate Bedouins disguised as kings are imposed on the Muslims ensuring that the region remains divided. These regimes get the publicity, depending on which side of US foreign policy they sit on. So a murderous tyrant in Uzbekistan or Saudi is tolerable but not the dictator in Iraq!
Now a new front has been opened, millions are being spent to wage an ideological battle by disseminating sophisticated and subtle anti-Islamic propaganda to the crude and vulgar attacks against Islam and in particular Prophet (SAW) Muhammad. Using vulgar language to personally attack the Prophet (SAW) in fact shows that they are getting desperate and perhaps such measures are also suitable for people who have a vulgar mindset derived from a crude culture. However, such activities will only generate further interest in Islam and continue to attract more converts, like the increase in conversion to Islam post 9/11. It is only a matter of time for the rebirth of the Islamic Political entity, the Khilafah.