Honour Killings: Exploring the Narrative

14 Jul

On the 27th May 2014, Farzana Parveen, a 25 year old woman, was attacked by several members of her family outside a court in Lahore and killed in broad daylight. The attackers included her father and her brothers and the murdered woman was accompanied by Mohammed Iqbal, the man she had married against her family’s wishes. They were to arrive at the court for a hearing regarding a case registered by her family.

The are several instances of such ‘Honour Killings’ in Pakistan. However, this case drew a great degree of attention and comment from media here in the West, speaking against the backward nature of the practice and the lack of women’s rights in Pakistan, specifically, and the Muslim world, generally.

A few weeks later, a related topic caused much furore on social media and the blogosphere. There is an annual speaking event at the Sydney Opera House entitled ‘The Festival of Dangerous Ideas’. As the name suggests, the event intends to host controversial topics and provide a ‘safe place’ for the airing of ideas which are anathema to general societal discourse. Previous topics have sought to justify the use torture and the events in which murder would be legitimate. For the 2014 event, an Islamic speaker, Uthman Badar, was scheduled to deliver a talk under the title ‘Honour Killings are Morally Justified’. As soon as the announcement was made (the event isn’t to be held until August 2014), the internet went wild at the suggestion and the burden of complaint forced the organisers to crumble and cancel the talk. This article intends to outline the surrounding discourse in this arena and the apportioning of societal blame for such ills.

Firstly, to the specific case at hand. Mr Iqbal, the husband of the deceased, admitted that he had murdered his first wife to marry the victim in this episode. Further, as has been discussed in Pakistani media at length (for example Mubasher Luqman’s ‘Khara Such’), Mrs Parveen was already married to her maternal cousin. In the existence of such marriage, her liaisons would amount to adultery and not a valid marriage. Regardless of this, there are issues surrounding this arena of discourse in an Islamic society which are absent from the emotion driven discussions which follow such tragic events.

The Islamic standard of marriage requires, amongst other things, the approval of a Wali, a guardian for the bride. Pakistan, which claims to have a Constitution in line with Islam, fails to uphold this standard if it doesn’t establish this requirement. In fact, it allows people to marry without this stipulation where cases of this nature arise. Why is this so? Why is Pakistan concerned with conforming to illicit standard of modernity in contravention of the Islamic requirement? This is a common theme across all such cases in the country. This means that, from an Islamic perspective, these marriages are null and void. So what does this imply about the nature of a physical relationship between a man and a woman, without a valid nikah? It is haram and against Islam. What does the Pakistani legal system or the various governments do about this? Nothing.

Further, what is Islam’s idea of relations between men and women outside of marriage? I think the answer is too self evident to require a response. Once again, something which is considered strictly haram. What options does a family have at the discovery of such relations between men and women? They often trump up fallacious charges of kidnap or rape, to bend the law to address this serious shortcoming in Pakistani law. Who’s failing is this? When you, as a society, fail to provide a system which is in line with the ideological stances of the people, such system must take a huge portion of the blame for the resultant travesties and crimes. In the vacuum created by this failure to uphold Islam’s laws, ethos or injunctions, it is sad but not surprising that people will often take the law into their own hands. Consider the case of Mumtaz Hussain Qadri shooting the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer. If Pakistan had a robust system, which upheld the laws about the sanctity of the Prophet SAW, in a fair and just manner, people would be less likely to take the matters into their own grasp. Move beyond the intelligentsia and wannabe liberal elites and ask a majority of the population of Pakistan: do you think what Qadri did was correct? The answer, from my empirical observation, will be a resounding yes.

It is important for me to clarify some aspects, for the avoidance of confusion. I do not intend to exonerate or excuse the behaviour of those who see it as their right to take someone’s life in such situations. It is a criminal act and societies cannot thrive with chaos. ‘Honour Killing’ or the murder of Taseer are exactly what the label suggests: Murder. They deserve condemnation. However, harmony can only be established in a society when the laws protect the ideological dispositions of it’s populace. Understanding the motives behind a crime are more vitally important than the statistic of the crime itself. The levers which push people to act in such irrational manners must be nullified by accurate and detailed regulation, which allow people to attain inner harmony. In a country such as Pakistan, with a 97 percent Muslim populace, the system must be that of Islam: both in governance and in legislation. This is the first step to eradicating some of these ills which affect the Pakistani psyche and, with it, the population’s behaviour. No sane individual will argue that any rational or ‘normal’ human being would be willing to so much as see a scratch on their very own child. There must be extenuating circumstances which push people to this sort of extreme behaviour. Islam further stipulates that a marriage cannot be contracted without the clear consent of both parties. This isn’t a case of forced marriage but an upholding of Islam.

Finally, a short look at the idea of honour killings (notice the lack of capital letters) being picked up by the western media. This outrage is selective and should allow for a rational critique. The hypocrisy is inherent within the statistics: a third of women killed in the USA, the world’s leader in preaching morals and ethics, are victims of a past or current male partner. However, no outrage is reserved for addressing these ‘Honour Killings’. Why? Because such narratives are used to make the other, the foreigners and them Muslims, look like medieval age dwellers with a backward mindset. It is prudent to be aware of the dangers of such propositions and the reasoning for why such positions are advanced by the West and their stooges within Pakistan. A bit of collar gazing would be imminently advised.

Killing for honour is an absolutely normal part of human life and touted as a position of pride. Do the army of Pakistan, USA, Britain or any other nation not fight and kill for honour? Is it not considered one of the highest attainments of respect within such societies? Do the armies not take an oath to protect and serve their nation, no matter what this may end up entailing? Here, in the UK, the army are regularly hailed as heroes, despite the horrible collective war crime of the Iraq War. The explanation forwarded is that the armies are merely carrying out the orders as directed by the government. They risk their lives for such orders yet are deemed worthy of the highest praise and honours. Does Pakistan not consider it an honour that the Pakistani soldiers fight for their country? Whether the wars maybe right or wrong? Do we criticise individual soldiers for being a mercenary group for an American war in Pakistan and Afghanistan? Despite the army’s reputation taking a battering in Pakistan, individual soldiers still retain the utmost respect from the general public. These missions and wars are not their fault. It is often an insincere political and military leadership which makes these ludicrous decisions.

It is simple to deduce that there are only selective forms of honour killing which attract such outrage. An individual, acting out of helplessness and the failure of law to uphold their societal beliefs, is a criminal. An organised assault, by a representative group of the same society, on a much larger scale with much more dreadful consequences (look at the plight of IDPs), is hailed as heroic. The hypocrisy is eye watering.

Until the establishment of an Islamic system within Pakistan, and other Muslim societies, such tragedies are a reflection of the juxtaposition between belief and legislation. It doesn’t excuse the crime but it does show how both the criminal and the victim are, in fact, victims of the disease at the heart of the society.

The Death Penalty for AQ Molla: A Travesty

10 Dec

Abdul Quader Molla, the leader of the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) in Bangladesh is reportedly going to be hung for war crimes attributed to him during the shambolic ‘War of Independence’ of 1971, in which Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan and became a separate nation. This, if it comes to be executed, will be a heinous crime against humanity and against the Muslim Ummah. One would expect nothing less from the despicable Sheikha Hasina government, an open enemy of Islam and Muslims. This article shall assess the inherent flaws and hypocrisy within the conduct of the trial, the motivations behind such abhorrence and the inherent hypocrisy of those in power.

Bangladesh, a large and vibrant Muslim populace, played a foundational role in the formation of Pakistan, carving out the Muslim nation from British India. In fact, the All India Muslim League, the chief driving force behind this partition, was formed in Dhaka in 1906. In a typical exemplification of the disease of nationalism, the Bengalis developed many legitimate grievances against the Western Pakistanis. These annoyances spanned the economic, political, military and linguistic arenas, to name a few. Conversely, all of these resentments are held by Balochistan, KPK and Sindh against Punjab to this very day. The weakening of the Islamic bond allowed these artificial standards to become the arbitrary criterion of decision making and a hysteria of nationalism was whipped up against the ‘occupying’ Pakistani army. The Mukti Bahni, with the direct support and intervention of the Indian army, declared independence after defeating the Pakistani army. Whilst the topic is beyond the remit of the discourse here, the fact that the two sides were led by odious characters such as Bhutto, Mujib, Yahya and General Niazi should shed some light upon the reality of this pathetic struggle for ‘independence’.

The JI, which had correctly opposed the creation of Pakistan and surrendering of the whole of India, opposed this proposed split of the largest and strongest Muslim nation on earth. They felt it an affront to Islam and it’s values of brotherhood between the Ummah. They campaigned actively to stop this great atrocity from taking place, a moment considered by many as a major disaster for the Ummah in the 20th century, along with the destruction of the Khilafah and the occupation of Masjid Al-Aqsa. This forms the backdrop to the alleged crimes committed by the JI and Abdul Qader Molla has been convicted of assisting the occupiers in this unholy war of separation.

The case displays some of the most glaring examples of breaches of human rights, political opportunism and the tyrannical cowardice of the leaders of the Muslim nations worldwide. AQ Molla was brought to trial over 40 years after this shameful episode of independence. Why did it so long for him to be brought to trial, if the alleged crimes were so evidently abhorrent and the evidence so compelling as to merit the death penalty? Why must one view this as anything other than political opportunism? Where was this clarity of thought and conviction for the past 4 decades? It is telling that this trial took place amidst the most disturbing clashes between those calling for Islam and the secularists within Bangladesh. This has been the most politically turbulent and violent phase of Bangladeshi history since independence. Many scores of those calling for Islam and protesting against the charade of a trial were killed at the hands of the Bengali police and security forces. One could not but adduce the basis of this pathetic attempt at divisive politics; the ensuring of a chasm between opposing ideological spheres to exploit in the now imminent elections.

If these trials are to be conducted, why is JI the only one facing this barrage of nationalist manipulation? Why are the Pakistani army generals and political leaders, responsible for the butcher of their fellow Muslims and Pakistanis, responsible for the waves of rape and looting, still walking this earth without accountability? When was the last serious attempt by Bangladesh to bring these people to justice? Let us have requests for these individuals to be indicted and made to face trial. Let us see some members of the Mukti Bahni, the murderous traitors who conspired with India to kill Urdu speakers and attack Pakistani military targets, hang for their behaviour. Let us discuss the track record of Sheikha Hasina’s father, Mujib-ur-Rehman, a known agent of the non-Muslim powers, be discussed in the public arena. The hypocrisy inherent within the conduct of the Awami League could not be more glaring.

As a result of the trial, AQ Molla was sentenced to life imprisonment. This brought out many thousands of secularists onto the streets, protesting against the alleged leniency shown towards him. Can a mob be allowed to affect the process of law? Can sentences be passed to appease and please the masses? What of the rule of law and equitable execution of such, without regard for populist sentiment? However, it would only be a blindly foolish individual who would expect such upstanding behaviour from a government of no morals and ethics.

In response to these protests, the government amended the law retrospectively, allowing for the Supreme Court to transform Mr Molla’s sentence to a death penalty. Any student of law, international or otherwise, can see the absurdity of such a situation. For laws to be amended at the whim and desire of governments, to target individuals or groups, leads to nothing other than tyranny. It allows governments to stifle dissent, corrupt legal processes and a feeling of societal degradation and mistrust to prevail. Khalida and Hasina can play dirty tricks to ensure that those they feel enmity towards or those they fear politically can be silenced, permanently if needed, to strengthen their grasp on power.

The trial, and the proposed sentencing of the JI leader, is nothing but further evidence of enmity towards Islam that the political and military establishment within Bangladesh harbour. The examples of this are copious in Bangladesh’s short history. May Allah SWT protect AQ Molla and may he be lifted amongst the shuhada of this Ummah, if this despicable act is carried out. These injustices reaffirm the need for Muslim unity and brotherhood. Only Islam can give sanctity to the blood of Muslims, every drop of which is holier than the Ka’ba itself. The Muslims of Bangladesh, and the Ummah generally, should recognise the war that is being waged against Islam on every level by these puppets of the West. It is nigh on time that we wake up and realise this truth for ultimately the victory is for those who are true to their covenant with the Creator of the heavens and the earth. “And [remember, O Muhammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.” (The Holy Quran, 8:30)

AK

The Tackling Extremism Report: An Analysis

10 Dec

On the 3rd December 2013, Jeremy Paxman began the BBC news affairs programme, Newsnight, by questioning whether society was beginning to display signs of a new strand of ‘McCarthyism’. He was, of course, referring to the saga involving Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing and the subsequent calls for him to be tried for treason. The irony of that sentence would strike anyone reading the ‘Tackling Extremism in the UK’ report presented for mass-consumption, in the last few days.

The report demonstrates the hypocrisy and scaremongering agenda of the British government towards the Muslim community, something that both past and present governments have consistently done. The stated aim of the report is tackle the problem of extremist ideologies, leading people on to the path of violence, and suggests measures to counter such ideologies. The extreme right wing neo-nazi world view does get an honourable mention in the initial paragraphs of the report. However, the entirety of the report is focused upon identifying and tackling the problem of ‘Islamist’ ideologies.

The first problem that stands out to any neutral observer is the criminalisation of any behaviour which does not fit into the remit of ‘British Values’, the most ambiguous and vaguely defined term one is likely to counter being spouted by otherwise educated and intellectual individuals, in pursuit of a heinous agenda. The report argues that anybody speaking up against the inherent problems of democracy, individual freedoms or freedom of expression is to be categorised within such manner. In essence, if you agree with the current political paradigm, you’re safe; otherwise you run the risk of political heresy. So do not challenge the power of the established political elite whether you’re a Muslim, the right wing extremists, the puritan Socialists or the Anarchists. One and all must obey their terms of serfdom and limit the expression to the various policies of the governments of the time, staying within the political spectrum defined for yourselves.

However, let us call this report what it truly is; an attempt to secularise and create a politically impotent, hollow, ritualistic worship system to replace the deen of Islam. It’s central thesis is that there is too much ‘radicalisation’ within the British society, with people arguing that the Sharia is the only way for man to solve his societal ills and hoping for a united Islamic Caliphate. This must be stopped and countered at every possible level from schools and universities to prisons and mosques. This is a tacit admission of defeat. Despite millions spent to ‘integrate’ the Muslims of this country, to hamper the political awakening of the Islamic community and to de-politicise the very religion, the campaign seems to be facing strong resistance. Why do these Muslims still keep speaking out for the Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Chechens? Why can they not just be patriotic and support ‘our troops’, regardless of the murderous atrocities they commit across the globe? Why must they aspire to a unified Islamic model of governance, not content with their British identity? This report is nothing more than a primitive attack on the very basis of Islamic ideology and jurisprudence. The message is that you can pray as often as you want or fast all year if you must but keep your mouth tightly sealed when it comes to analysing society through the Islamic prism. Do not criticise the idea of democracy being the apex of human political endeavour. Do not question British foreign policy, particularly wars prosecuted under the euphemism ‘War on terror’ in Muslim lands. Be proud that you are British, before all else. Your primary allegiance should lie with the Queen and country. Any failure in these duties placed upon one are to be met with ostracising, ASBOs and prison, if need be. Dissent will be silenced in a manner reminiscent of the worst of the tyrants across the globe.

All of the above is presented whilst attempting to stress that this is not a curtailment of freedom of expression. Plainly put, yes it is. It is the very essence of curtailment of speech. It argues that one is free to express their thoughts and feelings, as long as they do not challenge the norms of society, reminiscent of the crude Ford tagline of ‘any colour, as long as it’s Black’. So one can criticise the legality of the niqab, claim the Islamic sharia is outdated or talk of reforming Islam to bring it in line with ‘modern values’. But, should you talk of the comprehensive application of Islam in society, attempt to help your brethren in Syria by actively partaking in their struggle, argue that there are alternative political models other than democracy or tell Muslims that their identity stems from Islam only, you will face repercussions. Remember this is independent of whether someone undertakes acts of violence, the mere expression of alternative ideological and political paradigms is being criminalised here.

The government will soon realise this is a counter productive measure as it attempts to silence the voices of millions of Muslims and prevent them from believing and expressing key aspects of Islam.

“They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it. It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although those who associate others with Allah dislike it.” (As-Saff, 8:9)

AK

Find the article published here at http://www.newcivilisation.com/home/3476/uk-europe/the-british-government-extremism-agenda/

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Pakistan: Article in Tribute International

5 Dec

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Mostar Bridge: Siege of Bosnia

27 Nov

“20 years since the destruction of the Mostar Bridge – The Siege of Bosnia”

As the world remembers, in hush hush tones, the 20th yearly rememberance of the atrocities that unveiled themselves in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the topic continues to retain fresh connotations. In May 2013, six former army and political Croat leaders were sentenced to lengthy prison terms by the International Criminal Court at The Hague, for “a plan together by the JCE (Joint Criminal Enterprise) members to remove the Muslim Population”. The charges related to a variety of heinous assaults but one perpetrator, Slobodan Proljak, received a 20 year sentence for his command of the destruction of the Mostar Bridge and the subsequent siege of the Eastern Quarter of the city. This piece will focus upon a short history of the Mostar Bridge, the development of the aforementioned siege and the lessons for Muslims, specially those living in the West.

The Mostar Bridge was originally built upon the Neretva River and linked the Eastern and Western quarters of the city of Mostar, named after the guardians of the bridge Mostari (Bridge Keepers). This bridge was a wooden structure allowing travel for the soldiers, traders and other travellers. The Ottoman Caliphate took over Mostar in 1468 and the city’s two distinct districts, on opposing banks of the Neretva River were unified into one administrative polity. The town acquired the name Köpruhisär (fortress at the bridge) and the vast majority of the population reverted to Islam. Interesting narrations about this process detail that the Christian inhabitants of this town had previously belonged to the Unitarian belief system, denouncing the idea of Trinity as a erroneous innovation. They had faced persecution at the hands of the surrounding Eastern Orthodox Christendom and saw, in Islam, a perfect embodiment of their belief, namely the unity of the creator and the status of Jesus Christ as messenger rather than The Divine. Their reversion to Islam, therefore, came relatively smoothly.

Suleman the Magnificent (known as Suleman Al-Qanooni within the Islamic world) commissioned for a stone arch to be built linking the two quarters of the city together more cohesively. Mamar Hayruddin completed the architecture and design and the bridge was completed in 1566. It came to represent the splendour and magnificence of Islamic architecture and advancement, being named a World Heritage Site in the 20th century. It’s position, in modern day Europe cut off from the traditional Islamic world, continued to illuminate upon the imprint Muslim civilisations had left upon territories far and wide away from its Arabian birthplace.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the city had a vibrant and dynamic mix of Muslims and Christians and consisted, primarily, of Bosniaks and Croat ethnicities. There was also a claim to the land from the Serbs allied to the neighbouring Yugoslavia. The Yugoslavians launched an offensive against the newly independent Bosnia, as recognised by the European Community, following a vote for independence, in 1992. Following the Yugoslav invasion, the aggression continued with varying degrees of fluidity until 1995, three years of disastrous war crimes, genocide, bombing of civilians and ethnic cleansing.

In the midst of this development, the city of Mostar came under The Serb bombing campaign in April 1992. The Croat forces (HOV) and the Bosnian resistance forces (ARBiH) were allied in their resistance at this juncture and attempted, rather unsuccessfully, to hold their positions as, over the course of the following weeks, the Serbian forces (JNA) attained control of large swathes of the city. By June 1992, the Bosnians and Croats had managed to force the Serbians back out of the city and the struggle for the city moved to an aerial bombing campaign and along with shelling again. Within this campaign, many monumental structures were destroyed including thirteen mosques.

The complexity of the strife did not just pit the above parties against one another in the traditional sense. Eventually, the city of Mostar was divided by the Croats and Bosnians on opposing sides, having been allied in their repulsion of the Serb aggression. The Croats drove out the Bosnian Muslim population of the city out of the Western quarter, dividing the city into the Eastern and Western encampments, upon the banks of Neretva River. Having forced Muslims into the traditional Ottoman Quarter, or Mahalla, the Croats proceeded to shell and siege this area over the next 18 months. During this bloody siege, the Mostar Bridge, the primary display of Muslim architecture in the Balkans, was destroyed by the Croats’ targeted bombing, starting on the 8th November 1993. The bridge was hit by 60 mortar shells directly before it finally collapsed. The Croats, after much evasion, accepted that the bridge had been deliberately targeted as it held “strategic importance”. These claims have been rubbished as it held no strategic relevance and the aim was to make a statement. In actuality, this was a major symbolic moment, being described as an act of “cultural barbarism” by the judiciary at The Hague. The bridge was rebuilt, initially by the Royal British Engineers, replacing the stone arches with a iron structure and opened in 2005.

However, the bridge represents a symbolic point within an unmitigated disaster which unleashed itself upon the Muslims of Bosnia. The world witnessed the horrors of the racial supremacy and the inherent Islamophobia, deeply entrenched long before the horrors of 9/11. The Bosnian war dragged on for three years and claimed the lives of many thousands of innocent civilians (estimates range from 40,000 to 325,000). As Bosnians in Mostar dealt with the repercussions of a lengthy siege, many perished from the shelling, hunger and disease. The UN and the world powers watched on, having taken the step of enforcing a no-fly zone, as the Croats and the Serbs continued with their Nazi-esque plans for the development of super states, representing their respective ethnicities. The Croat leader, Franjo Tudjman, dreamed of an ethnically pure Croat land carved out of Bosnia and Herzegovina and met with the Serb leader, Slobodan Milosevic, at a hunting lodge as they finalised plans for Greater Yugoslavia and Greater Croatia. The targeted expulsion and extermination of Muslims, “the most secularised Muslims in the world”, highlighted the enmity of the western world towards those seen to represent the remnants of Muslim and Ottoman heritage. These thought processes were highlighted vividly at the deliberate massacres, such as Srebrenica, slaughtering, raping and pillaging helpless ‘European’ Muslims.

The lessons from such episodes must not be forgotten, specially by the Muslim world. Sacrificing one’s identity as a religious entity is not a sufficient token of appeasement to those who see Islam as an alien ideology belonging in the Dark Ages. The inaction of Muslims, and more notably their inability to act, in the face of the tragedies at Mostar (and Bosnia in general) continue to be displayed with the political and tangible apathy towards the hideous situation in Syria. This Ummah must retain it’s heritage, both cultural and ideological, and ensure unity to avert travesties of such nature unfolding upon any Muslim anywhere. As the Prophet Mohammed Sallalhu Aleyhay Wasallam said, whilst performing tawaf around the Ka’ba, saying to it “how pure and good you are! how pure and good your fragrance is! how great and exalted you are! and how great and exalted your sanctity is! But by Him in Whose hand is Muhammad’s soul, the sanctity of a believer’s blood and property in the sight of Allah is greater than your sanctity”. (Targhib wa’ l-Tarhib).

AK

Syria: The Western Hypocrisy

15 Sep

We have all recently read and watched with astonishment all the incoherent conjecture being spouted across the western media, discussing the option of possible military intervention in Syria by the Western armies. Apparently, a so-called red line was crossed on the 21st August 2013, when the Syrian regime forces utilised chemical weaponry, in an attack that led to close to 1500 deaths of innocent civilians. Subsequent tests revealed there were significant traces of Serin amongst the corpses, confirming the use of the deadly weapons in the outskirts of Damascus.

This article will discuss issues which are self-evidently blatant yet so conspicuously missing from Western discourse that it borders on the tragic. There are a plethora of issues questioning the morality and policy of the forces conspiring to intervene in Syria. It would be unrealistic to cover each such issue comprehensively. However, the discourse will grapple with some relatively basic issues at play, to highlight the hypocrisy of the Western political thought.

The Syrian uprising began as a popular movement demanding constitutional reform, back in March 2011. The situation escalated into a direct armed confrontation between the government forces and the rebellious factions, with varying loyalties. The following 2 and a half years have led to a horrific development of tragedy, death and destruction. According to official figures, which are always excessively conservative, there have been 110,000 deaths, 2 Million cross border refugees and close to 5 Million displaced within the country itself. It is a human tragedy upon a scale unknown, at least within my memory. The heart bleeds at the situation that has developed and the inability of true justice to be established within the nation, by the termination of such a heinously hostile situation.

In this context, the claims, discussions and arguments of the Western powers seem laughable. Use of chemical weapons, as a red line, is a ridiculous notion. The death of many scores of thousands is not a red line. The suppression of the people’s desire is not cause for action. The loss of livelihood and homes for millions doesn’t stir our souls into action. However, as soon as one makes use of a ‘type’ of weaponry that the West disproves of, that is the point at which we feel a moral obligation to save and protect fellow human beings. Kill all the people you wish, destroy their lives, ruin the country but make sure your arsenal consists of ‘normal’ mortar shells, bombs, tanks and machine guns. What an absurd notion.

This leads me on to explore the very notion of a red line. Assad is deemed to be in breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention, through use of banned weaponry. This, in the considered opinion of the USA and its allies, represents an affront to internationally agreed standards on warfare and combat, the sanctity of which must be upheld. The killing aside, no one should be able to flaunt international laws with impunity. This situation thereby merits intervention from the international community, to uphold the observance of laws agreed between the nations of the world, surely? If a nation breaches these standards, it should be immediately punished in the severest manner, of course? Let us examine the reality of this development thus.

The first traces and evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria stem back to 2011, there being evidence of 12-14 attacks since then, in various places across Syria, according to British intelligence. There was no so much as a condemnation of any of these attacks and the world kept a sturdy silence over these breaches. This evidence is more starkly considered when assessing the conduct of the very upholders of these absurd international laws. One would imagine that those pontificating the abhorrence of such attacks would not be guilty of the same crimes. Quite the contrary.

The USA took the lead and continues to hold the unique place as the only nation to ever unleash nuclear weapons upon the innocent civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What punishment does the world’s leader of democracy and civilisation deserve? This does not cover the basis of the story. Having played a major role in the development of The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, the USA made use of chemical weapons as far back as the First World War. Mustard Gas and Phosgene were used to devastating effects in culling enemies and causing mass destruction. The Americans also displayed the depths of their moral leanings by using the infamous ‘Agent Orange’ in copious quantities in Vietnam, where they were ultimately humiliated. The Korean War and the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan provide further damning evidence of the USA making use of chemical and biological weapons, including bunker busters, clusters bombs and napalm. Who is going to hold the USA to account over these attacks? The morally corrupt and flawed structure of the UN? Or should there be an international force to ‘intervene’ and destroy American military capabilities? What a preposterous situation.

In addition to this, the illegitimate friend, protege and protectorate of the USA, Israel has made use of chemicals weapons, including White Phosphorus, in Gaza as recently as 2009 and 2012. What occurred to an attack on the illegal occupying entity, to bring it in line with international law? It is still not too late. How is this sordid rhetoric sold so easily to the residents of the Western world? How do the politicians not flinch when weighing up their hypocrisy?

This leads me on to the focal point of this discourse. The USA, UK, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Hezbollah have all been involved in this conflict, from the early stages. They have all played the old rules of a proxy war, attempting to gain leverage and affect the outcome to their own ends and desires. This situation continues. The USA is not interested in the welfare of the people of Syria, that is not a misunderstanding anyone amongst the Muslims holds. The West would like to ensure that Assad, having outlived his utility and become too close for comfort with Russia and China, will be replaced by a government of their choosing an design. The talk of regime change is not even hidden. The intentions of the western world should not be confused. The West seeks to ensure its own financial and imperial interests and hold in the Middle East, as do the Russians and the Chinese.

There is no guarantee that Western intervention, if the token gesture of chemical weapons control should fail, will ensure a swift end to the conflict. Rather, it risks causing more death and destruction on an already battered populace. Muslims should wake up and find a solution to this problem, without Western guidance. The wolf never guards the sheep. If there must be military intervention or diplomacy, it is the onus of this once great Ummah to regain control of this disturbing scenario.

AK

Egypt: The True Face of Democracy

13 Jul

In the land of Egypt, events have unravelled at breakneck speed over the last few days, catching most external observers off-guard. Anti-government protestors’ gathering in Cairo had led to a stand-off between the Muslim Brotherhood Presidency and some select masses (despite the dichotomy, this seems factual upon first review). The Egyptian Army, funded by yearly US aid, stepped in and pronounced a warning that, failing resolution of the issues raised by the protestors (in effect dictating to the government that they must accede to public pressure) within 48 hours they would be left with no choice but to remove the President from his post. Lo and behold, that process was exacted upon termination of this deadline and Mohammed Morsi was removed from the Presidential Office, the Chief Justice Adli Mansour being installed as the transitional Interim President.

This dynamic and fluid situation can be assessed from such a vast array of angles that it requires strict literary discipline to limit the discourse to a selection from that range. Thereby, this article will focus upon the few facets of the discourse which are the most conspicuously self-evident.

The most glaringly obvious is the bearing of this event as an indictment upon the mutually juxtaposed axioms of liberal democracy. The idealist adherents and proponents of democracy would be well served to remember that the theoretical aesthetics rarely match the practical realities. The so-called ‘Islamist’ government of Egypt compromised on many of the Islamic ideals it was set up to espouse, participating in and strengthening the facade of democracy, ensuring the continued protection of the illegitimate entity of Israel, seeking the pleasure of the USA and its western allies and approving many anti-Islamic stances within legislation (nightclubs, nude beaches etc). As expected, however, this did not prove a sufficiently deviant gesture to the godfathers of democracy in the West and their secular agents within Egypt. They continued to see the ‘Islamist’ government as an inconvenience, which did not represent the true liberal values that democracy is geared to serve and advance. Liberal, secular, capitalist thought is of paramount importance and democracy is merely a protective tool. This is evident in the attitude of the USA, UK and other bastions of this corrupt ideology upon the news of the fall of the Egyptian government. The fact that a democratic government was deposed by the military is of little relevance to those pontificating the virtues of the system. It is imperative that democracy select a ruling class which preserve and protect the interests of the West within the country. Muslims have certainly not forgotten the democratic experience in Palestine over the past few years. Hamas’ election by the masses meant very little whilst they continued to present an anti-Israel stance. Democracy is nothing but a sham unless it serves the geopolitical purposes, as the West’s continued support for many despotic, dictatorial regimes across the Muslim world continues to evidence. The Egyptian people would be well served to remember that as a harsh lesson from this sorry episode.

The protesting forces have included some interesting entities, quite baffling for a neutral observer. Firstly, the Salafi Al-Nour party have displayed despicable opportunism amidst the unfolding troubles. They were the second largest party during the election last year and formed an important component of the Ikhwan led government. They have swayed from referring to the former President as “our brother Mohammed” to joining the opposing forces in calling for Morsi’s ouster, within a year. The epitome of this scenario culminated in the presence of the Al-Nour party representative on the stage directly behind the Military Chief during his announcement of the replacement of Mohammed Morsi with an interim government. The political manoeuvring, stemming from a thought of protecting vested interests rater than pursuit of and adherence to principled truth, is clear evidence of the corrupting influence of democratic politics which ails even those entering the arena as promoters of sincere virtue and strict Shar’a.

The second saddening protagonists within this scenario have been the guardians of the Al-Azhar University in Egypt. An institution, which used to take rightful pride of place amongst the bastions of knowledge, advancement and academic prestige for many centuries, a hub of intellectual thought and a foundational centre of Islamic discourse has sided with those calling for the removal of the ‘Islamist’ government. The seculars, Coptic Christians and a few sincere Muslims duped into this opposition represent a toxic ideology based upon economic and secular liberties. Al-Azhar has chosen the wrong side in this battle, in opposition to its traditional values. Yet this does not come as a surprise. Al-Azhar has been a tool and mouth-piece for the army establishment for many decades and have once again towed the line it was instructed to follow. A sad occasion!

The above discourse leads one to investigate, very briefly, the factors and influences of Western powers, and their puppets, within Egypt. It is interesting to note some of the major trends of discord across major Muslim nations. The Western idea, as outlined above, is the establishment of friendly, secular governments which continue to take their inspirations and orders from the West, perpetuating the intellectual and economic imperial hegemony of the West over them. Three nations stand true to this analysis more acutely than most. Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt, not blessed with oil wealth to tamper the economic woes of people as easily, have seen the smacking hypocrisy of international democrats over the past few decades repeatedly. Nearly half of Pakistan’s post-creation history has been spent under military dictatorship rule. These dictatorships operated with the total blessing of the USA and its allies, serving their interests in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), Afghanistan (twice), Kashmir and Kargil amongst others. They were never pushed to install democracy whilst the West continued to groom potential democratic leaders for transition such as Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto. Turkey presents a startlingly similar example. After a lengthy period of dictatorship, democracy was reluctantly enforced upon the people. The AK party of Erdogan now faces the exact scenario that has transpired in Egypt. Thousands have recently protested, allegedly angered by the plans for developments over a park, behaving in a vile manner attempting to dethrone the democratic government. The West has issued statements in favour of the “people’s wishes”, despite Turkey being an important member of the NATO alliance. The Egyptian story has been detailed above. The major comparison between these three vibrant nations is the large armies they all have, all funded by the USA considerably. These forces continue to exist as loyal allies of their funding masters and democracy is a negotiable insignificance so long as Western influence can be exerted through any method over these large Muslim powers. The anti-government protests in Iran in 2008 present further evidence of the same.

Finally, the major cause of sleepless nights in the West is ‘political Islam’, the ideology that the deen of Islam provides all solutions including the political and governments should be moulded in this format when governing Muslim nations. The downfall of Ikhwan and Hamas is presented to advance the notion that Islam’s influence over the political sphere is a recipe for disaster. However, let us not be ambiguous in our discourse here. These were not Islamic governments. They were democratic governments and the dichotomy between the pragmatic democratic and principled Islamic values they held led to their downfall. Let us not be duped into an erroneous belief. Islamic governance can, and only will, be established on the footsteps of the Prophethood of Mohammed (Peace and Blessing Upon Him) and in the model of the Khilafah Rashidah that followed thereafter. Let us direct our energies into the correct channels. The Muslim people hold great power, as the brave Islamic revolutionaries of Syria continue to display, which should be directed at shaking the thrones of the unIslamic leaders across the Muslim world. This article will conclude by relaying an anecdote that one may take heart from in the current unfolding of events.

Yasser Arafat recounts that he was on a tour of the UAE and there was a large demonstration in Gaza as part of the ‘Intifada’ against Israel. He watched the state television which made no mention of the event. In his lunch with the Emirati head of state the following day, Arafat described his irritation at this and questioned the omission of this from the news stories. In response, the Sultan smirked sheepishly and asked “would you like us to teach our people how to protest and throw rocks when they are unhappy with those governing them, so they may take us down one day?”. It is high time Muslims awoke to the reality of their true power and installed Islam in the lands held by them on trust, from the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

AK

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