the West Fears Islam:
one examines the West's fear of Islam, and tries to relate it to
the reasons usually given -- Muslim fundamentalism, militancy, radicalism,
terrorism, totalitarianism -- it is difficult, if not impossible,
to justify this fear on the basis of reasons given. One has to believe,
however, given all the facts and expertise available to the West,
that the fear has to be rational. What is this fear that causes
enemies of the Muslim world to play subtly on the theme of the Crusades
in order to demonize Islam and Muslims? Let us first examine what
it is not, before we draw our conclusion as to the real reason why
the West fears Islam.
fear of Muslim fundamentalism, militancy, radicalism, terrorism,
totalitarianism, and the West's discovery of the "rogue states,"
appeared quite conveniently with the fall of the Berlin Wall, and
the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Former Defense Secretary
McNamara, in his 1989 testimony before the Senate Budget Committee,
said US defense spending could safely be cut in half. It became
clear that the US had to either undergo massive shifts in spending,
a painful and unwelcome prospect for the defense establishment,
or find new justification for continuing high levels of military
expenditures. To provide this justification the Pentagon manufactured
the threat of "rogue states and nuclear outlaws." The
Gulf War was a contrived opportunity to sell this justification
to the American people, to protect oil company profits, and to control
the flow of oil to Europe and Japan who need it much more than does
International Institute for Strategic Studies calculates that the
$262 billion US defense budget accounts for about 37 percent of
global military expenditures. Russia, Japan, and China each will
spend about $80 billion, $42 billion, and $7 billion. The six "rogue
states" -- Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, North Korea -- have
a combined annual military budget of $15 billion. The US budgets
for covert operations (US terrorism?) alone is double this amount.
Given the paltry defense expenditures of all the "rogue states"
combined, even after correcting for differences in costs, one has
to believe that the "rogue states" are no match, militarily,
for the West.
leaving aside the morality of US covert operations that invite retaliation,
Muslim terrorists should not be a major fear. Far more acts of terrorism
and violent crime in the US, according to government statistics,
are committed by non-Muslims than Muslims. And if Muslims do pose
a terrorist threat to the US, one hears little discussion of what
it is that the terrorists really want. Perhaps, all they want is
for the West to stop interfering in their countries, in ways that
we would never tolerate in the US.
totalitarianism, an oxymoron to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge
of Islam, should not be a Western concern. A Muslim ruler may be
totalitarian, but then his rule would not be Islamic. Furthermore,
the Western record on supporting totalitarian Muslim regimes --
Iran under the Shah, Iraq before the Gulf War -- and doing business
with non-democratic regimes -- China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia -- speaks
for Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic law is based upon the Quran,
examples and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, analogical deduction,
consensus among the learned and individual reasoning. Strict interpretation
of the Prophet's words leads to the conclusion that all who believe
in one God are Muslim, and their faith is Islam; be they Muslim,
Christian, Jew, or anyone else. Fundamentalism is defined in terms
of Christian thinking. There is no parallel in Islam that stresses
the use of reason and logic. Absent a definition, the label Islamic
fundamentalism serves only to obscure issues, rather than to resolve
them. Meanwhile, the Christian Coalition, and the Zionists and their
biblical claim to Palestine appear fundamentalist to many; yet both
are courted by US politicians, and not viewed as a threat.
can go on eliminating Western arguments against Islam and Muslims.
Eventually, one has to ask, what then is the source of the West's
fear of Islam and Muslims?
late Marshall G. S. Hodgson, in "Rethinking World History",
states: "[Islam's] conscious hopes for a godly world order
represent one of the most remarkable undertakings in world history
and because its less self-conscious general cultural heritage is
laden with human values."
see the West beset with broken families, violent crime, and drugs.
They see a society divided by race, religion, and huge disparities
in income. They long for a peaceful life in which they may provide
for the basic needs of their families, and enjoy the respect due
to all mankind regardless of their race, religion, position, or
Muslims see their goals for a more just and compassionate society
thwarted by a corrupt Muslim elite whose primary purpose in life
appears to be the accumulation of wealth and power, regardless of
the cost to their fellow human beings. They see these elite, who
govern not by consensus as Islam prescribes, permitting outside
powers to exploit their country while they derive few benefits,
and find themselves subordinated by Western influences driving them
down the troubled road taken by the West. They see few opportunities
to earn a living because most opportunities are withheld for the
elite and their sycophants. And they see these elite remaining silent
when their faith, which is about all they have left, is denigrated
in the propaganda which serves to maintain these elite.
Muslim elite' allies are the defense establishment and the neo-imperialists.
Islam's mandate for justice and compassion opposes the primary objective
of these neo-imperialists who seek to follow policies outlined in
1948 by "the leading dove and peace prize winner" Mr.
George Kennan, for the US Department of State. In his top secret
"Policy Planning Study 23", Mr. Kennan stated in part:
. . we have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its
population . . . Our real task in the coming period is to devise
a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this
position of disparity . . . To do so, we will have to dispense with
all sentimentality . . . We should cease to talk about vague and
. . . unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living
standards, and democratization."
avoid exposure these neo-imperialists and their allies in the defense
establishment, spurred by the enemy within, divert attention by
demonizing Islam and Muslims, thereby fanning the fires of bigotry
and raising unrealistic fears among the people of the West.
Date: January 26, 1996 -- Rev 2
Wisdom Fund, P. O. Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202
http://www.twf.org -- Press
Contact: Enver Masud