By G. Asgar MITHA (Canada)
When the white missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “close your eyes and let us pray”. We did and when we opened our eyes we had the Bible and they had the land.Desmond TutuArchbishop Tutu was one of those blacks that struggled for S. Africans to get them back their land, keep their Bible and free them from a slavery called apartheid. But the best part is he left them a legacy not to pray with their eyes closed. That is how S. Africans began to enjoy prosperity.
Dr. Samuel Huntington died in December 2008 leaving the world a legacy to debate the clash of civilizations following the US post-cold war victory over the USSR. His most famous book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order” was published in 1993 and read by millions all over the world. What will be the agenda of one of the most powerful Empire? According to Huntington, the world would be shaped under seven distinctly civilizations namely the Hindu, Western, Islamic, African, Chinese, Japanese, Orthodox Christian and Latin American. Thus far the clash is being played out only between the Western, Orthodox, Islamic (Middle East) and Chinese (East) civilizations that are shaping the global economics and politics. All the other civilizations are spectators on the sidelines.
Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy
I’ve revived the issue about the clash of civilizations after I watched a rather interesting 10 minute video (bellow) titled “THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS?” prepared by the eminent Pakistani educationist, scholar and scientist Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy in which he questions the validity of the West and Islam at war with each other. Is it really true that the West is not at war with Islam? Or is it that the West is at war with Muslims? Towards the end I’ll explain what is the Islamic ideology but for now let us examine which is true – the West at war with Islam or with Muslims? There is a historical element, both old and new, missing in Dr. Hoodbhoy’s arguments which needs to be examined before concluding who is at war with who. True, Muslims are more biased against each other today principally Sunnis against Shias. Historically these two sects of Islam have lived in harmony for several centuries and only once have Shias (beleivers in divine imamate or leadership from Muhammad’s family) ruled the Muslim world on political but not religious frameworks. That was under the Abbasid (from Abbas ibn Abd-ul- Mutallib from the Banu Hashim clan of the Meccan Quraysh) Caliphate supported by the Persians in 750 AD some 125 years after the demise of Muhammad. After the overthrow of the corrupt Ummayads (Arabs from the Banu Ummaya clan of the Meccan Quraysh) in Damascus, the Abbasids consolidated their power and moved their political seat from Damascus to Kufa (north of Baghdad) with the intention of being closer to Persia. This rule also ushered in the golden age of Islam in Baghdad through the miracle of learning and sharing of knowledge between Arabs and Persians and was devoid of ethnic issues.
What is rather very interesting, and probably what happened in hindsight, is that the US by ousting the Sunni Baathists under Saddam, repeated history by empowering Shia majority in Iraq and drawing them closer to Iran. One must remember that Iran and Iraq were once sworn foes and fought a war from 1980 – 1988 along geo-political boundaries. Saddam was supported financially by the Sunni monarchies and by the armaments of the western powers. The 2003 Iraq invasion was a strategic blunder by the west. As a result a very powerful Shia crescent has formed that has arisen not to threaten the Sunni Arabs but for the purpose of their very survival against an aggressive expansion of the US empire assisted by NATO partnership. Iran is a country rich in cultural civilization and learning. It’s agenda is not to allow the West to culturally, politically and economically rape it in a manner that it has done with Iraq and other Arab and Muslim countries. Iran aims to usher in a period of Islamic revival but for now the west is blocking that path. History is once again playing out after 12 centuries.
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Where is the fault line (meaning the primary dividing line between civilizations) in Dr. Huntington’s clash of the civilizations? It comprises of the Muslim countries from the western North African continent, stretching across the Asian Arab Middle East then into Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the four Muslim SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) “stan” countries. These Muslim countries are collectively the 57 member Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). The OIC charter was formulated in 1969 “to preserve and promote the lofty Islamic values of peace, compassion, tolerance, equality, justice and human dignity”. The four important measurable distinguishable features of the OIC are population (2 billion inhabitants or 30% of the world), global energy (75-80% in terms of reserves), poverty level (ranging from 35-50%) and illiteracy (50-55%). Then there are some common immeasurable features such as corruption, injustice, human rights violations, fear and inequality. Of this there is no doubt that all these are prevalent among OIC nations. I’m originally from Pakistan and I know the deep extent of all these existing in Pakistan and yet as a Muslim in Canada I enjoy these without being in fear. What, however, perplexes Muslims is why are many of the leaders of the OIC being propped up by the Western countries.
Over 1400 years ago the cousin and son-in-law of prophet Mohammed, Ali ibn (son of) Abu Talib a man of extraordinary vision and knowledge, had said “if poverty were a man, I’d have killed it”.
So was the clash of civilizations an invention by the Americans after Dr. Huntington published his famous book? Changes just don’t evolve by the publication of a book which is just a medium to open a discussion. What really began to happen by design was that the brilliant Dr. Henry Kissinger had successfully maneuvered the disengagement of the US in Indo-China (Vietnam) in 1975 towards an engagement with the Arabs in the Middle East for the benefit of protecting the State of Israel. At the same time Soviet influence among the leftist Arab regimes had to be removed before a pre-determined policy implementation against Muslims. The US bribed Egypt’s Anwar Sadat with billions of military and economic aid to enter into peace accord with Israel and expel thousands of Soviet personnel by 1977. The gods further favored the West when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The US supported by the Europeans and Muslims (predominantly Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) drove the proverbial nail in the Soviet coffin in 1989. Thereafter the Soviet collapse is history that needs no repetition.
True, like many others from all over the world, Muslims too have enjoyed the charters of democracy and freedom in the US. Like myself and many others, talented Muslims have contributed to the Western, and specifically the American, success story in the field of academics, science, technology, medicine, space, etc. I’ve lived in the West for more than half of my life and I can never be thankful for the opportunities and freedom provided to me but the US has changed from a nation to an empire. As an empire it behaves arrogantly. America needed a foe for its survival but the new enemy would have to be weak, not strong as the Indo-Chinese and not very far from home and it needed a strong proxy among the Muslim of the Middle East who could stir up trouble when warranted. Israel was that proxy. By the mid-1970s the neo-cons had penetrated the US administration and legislative ranks for the purposes of formulating political, defense and economic policies that would favor their proxy in the Middle East. In order to accomplish that task, Muslims had to be demonized by employing the instrument of terrorism...cont on page 2......
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