Muslims specific war on terror
Asif Haroon Raja
Terrorism is the foremost problem of the world but ironically it is yet to be defined. What is the yardstick for defining a terrorist since ‘one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter’ and vice versa? Difference between terrorism and freedom struggle has also not been defined. No explanation has been rendered as to how come religious extremism and terrorism have been exclusively confined to Muslim world and non-Muslim world exempted. On what grounds Hindu and Jewish religious extremism and terrorism been ignored? Aren’t Palestinians and Kashmiris the biggest victims of state terrorism of India and Israel respectively since 1947/48?
How come USA which many see as the biggest terrorist state been excused? How come terrorism suddenly became such a dreaded monster when America was struck and not before? Why the liberal writers never tire writing about the horrors of 9/11 and scourge of terrorism after 9/11 and not before? Was the world safe from the bane of extremism and violence before 9/11? Muslims ask whether 9/11 was more gruesome than nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Why the axe has fallen only on Muslims? These pointed questions agitate the minds of the Muslims since the one who had vowed to eliminate terrorism from the face of the world has a tainted past and believes in dual standards.
Going by the theory of Newton Law which says ‘to every action there is equal and opposite reaction’, what is so odd if the attacked people resist and fight back? What is the rationale for condoning the attack and condemning the defender? Even this principle is selectively applied. When a group attacked the twin towers in New York and Pentagon building in Washington on 9/11, the Americans became an aggrieved party and the Muslims all over the world were put in the category of suspects. Al-Qaeda was branded as a terrorist group and Taliban regime in Kabul as their guardian. When the US and its western allies attacked Afghanistan, the roles changed. The attackers were declared as saviors and liberators, and defenders as terrorists simply because they refused to submit and dared to stand up to the challenge. Northern Alliance which collaborated with the invaders were befriended and rewarded.
In case of Iraq, Saddam neither had nukes nor had taken any offensive act against the west, yet Iraq was destroyed by US-NATO forces on a trumped up charge of WMDs. The defenders of their homeland were declared as undemocratic and fascists, while the invaders projected themselves as liberators and democracy lovers. Iraqi Shias and Kurds supporting the invaders were eulogized and Al-Qaeda supporting resistance forces were censured and declared as terrorists. Saddam was hounded in his homeland, arrested and hanged. His invasion of Kuwait was too horrendous and unforgivable and invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were civilized acts.
Less than 3000 people died in the two US cities on 9/11 about which many in USA are convinced that it was an in-house neo-cons-Jewish conspiracy. In retaliation, the US-NATO forces destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq, killed over two million Iraqis, caused critical injuries to millions, rendered millions homeless. Likewise, unknown number of Afghans lost their lives and millions got displaced. Wanton slaughter of innocents who had nothing to do with 9/11 is not regretted by invaders. WMD fakery which got exposed didn’t shame them. Terrorism became the buzzword which justified Muslim bashing, gave a freehand to the counter terrorism forces to kill without making any distinction between terrorists and innocent onlookers. Drones were added in the arsenal to slaughter Muslims without incurring any harm to the killers. Drone war has been extended to Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Fiji.
To undermine Islam, western think tanks and intellectuals presented it as a religion espousing militancy. Perpetrators of crimes against humanity declared Islam and its followers as the real problem. Working on the successfully tried out strategy of divide and rule, cleavage between the seculars and Islamists was widened by describing the former as moderates, progressive and enlightened, and the latter as fundamentalists, extremists, bigoted and intolerant. The Taliban were also bracketed as good and bad Taliban.
For nearly 12 years the Muslims have been hounded, persecuted, tortured and killed by US-NATO forces. Yet the tormentors waging an unjust war are named as counter insurgents and not terrorists. Ignoring the horrendous death and destruction inflicted upon the Muslims, the US and the west never tire saying that Muslims are terrorists. Any act of terror taking place in any part of the world is promptly put in the basket of radical Muslims. Boston incident is the recent example. This stance remains unchanged despite the fact that no terrorist attack took place in USA after 9/11. 3-4 unsuccessful attempts by Muslim Americans were in reaction to unjust and biased US policies against the Muslims and US support to Israel. Those fiascos gave ammunition to the Islam bashers to further intensify their vilification campaign against Islam.
The root causes of growth of religious extremism in Muslim countries are insensitivity and apathy of their rulers who remain more occupied in fulfilling their selfish interests and in keeping Washington appeased; growing poverty and widening gap between rich and poor; sectarianism and ethnicity; lack of justice, cruel police station culture; rising obscenity, vulgarity and immorality promoted by liberals; West’s defamation of Holy Prophet through caricatures and movies; unjust and discriminatory US policies against Muslims; US outright leaning towards Israel and defending Israeli aggressive policies against Palestinians; US siding with India on issue of Kashmir.
So the real problem is US and its discriminatory policies and faulty policies of our ruling elite and not Islam. If the US revenge has not been sated after slaughtering 2-3 million Muslims, one wonders how much time will be required for the heirs of those who lost their near and dear ones in this unjust Muslim specific war, to get over this trauma?
The issue is not whether it is our or someone else’s war. The real issue is that it is a bloody war in which none is a victor; the initiator has got exhausted and is going back home; the futile war must end at the earliest.
—The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist and author of several books.