IS ISLAM A TERRORIST RELIGION?
By Fahim A. Knight-EL
The United States Government and the American media after the 9/11 crisis brought the religion of Islam front and center and subsequent to this incident, Islam as a religion would never be the same again. Islam prior to 9/11 had almost lingered in obscurity, in particular in the United States of America. Although, the religion of Islam claims about two billion adherents and is perhaps the fastest growing religion in the world, it’s projected in the very near future to surpassed Christianity as the number one faith tradition in the world.
Thus, Islam, Arabs and Muslims appeared front and center, as the number one topic of discussion within a nation that had become so ethnocentric and so culturally arrogant—no one outside our sovereign boarders mattered. 9/11 created a hostile, insensitive and intolerable environment mainly aimed at Arabs, in particular but all Muslims in general, they were being viewed with suspicion and Muslim discrimination was going unabated. The American people perhaps already had some preconceived prejudices against foreign Muslims; perhaps for no other reason than they were not Christians and some had followed the lopsided reporting of the Middle East conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians—and had accepted the propaganda that the Arab Muslims were bad people because they practiced a “strange” culture and prayed to a God other than Jesus Christ.
But let me clarify that statement; Islam, perhaps had arrived to the Americas when the first slave ship docked on the eastern seaboard in 1555. Some historians maintained that the Moors during the 8th Century had voyages to the Americas long before Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Ponce De Leon, Vaso Da Gama, Hernando de Soto, Ferdinand Magellan, etc., and had established diplomatic treaties with the Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere before the coming of the European explorers.
Most Americans were oblivious to Islam prior to 9/11 because of cultural ignorance and Eurocentrism. Although, Islam had formalized it-self in America in the 1800s and started to make inroads into African American community by 1913 under Noble Drew Ali and the establishment of the Moorish Science Temple of America. It later would make greater inroads into the black community under the leadership of Wallace Fard Muhammad (founder of the Nation of Islam) and Elijah Muhammad in the early 1930s. (Reference: Adib Rashad; “Elijah Muhammad and the Ideological Foundation of the Nation of Islam” article submitted by Sulayman S. Nyang; titled: “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Black Quest for Identity in the U.S.”).
The Nation of Islam in the 1940s attracted an ex-convict named Malcolm X and he helped Elijah Muhammad build many Islamic Temples and somewhat brought Islam to mainstream America. Islam for over sixty years in the United States was ignored and seen as an insignificant religious cult and was deemed unworthy of scholarly attention. Thus, as the black Muslims (Nation of Islam) splintered after 1975, many Sunni, Shia, Sufi, etc., Islamic groups and Muslim associations began to rise, which led to the building of eastern traditional Mosque and Masjids, in which the Islamic teachings was strictly based on the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad of 1400 years ago. Some would argue that this religious thrust brought a more authentic version of Islam and would relegate the Nation of Islam teachings as being heretic and un-Islamic. (Reference: Clifton Marsh; “From Black Muslims to Muslims: The Transition from Separatism to Islam, 1930-1980).
Islam in the United States has been able to attract people of all races, ethnicity, nationality, class, etc., they can be found at the highest levels of white collar professionals and businessmen to janitors and street cleaners. There is no longer this idea that only “Black Muslims” in America are faces of Islam. But with the influx of Muslim immigrants from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, Yemen, Palestine, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, etc., the demographics of how Islam in America use to look, thirty-years ago has changed.
The majority of Muslims are not terrorist and do not condone terrorism. But Islam’s theology has a covert duplicity in which no one has to openly advocate or even suggest Jihad (holy war) for some Muslims to be drawn to this ideological position—two Muslims sitting in Jummah prayer service could hear the same message being delivered by the Imam and both upon exiting the Masjid may have received two different and distinct interpretations of the message. One walk out of the Masjid and finds personal and spiritual content in Allah’s words, while the other thought he heard a more radical and militant espousing of the Qur’an and walkout with the objective of becoming a martyr.
Tariq Ali in his book titled: “The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads, and Modernity” Stated: “The necessity to explain these reactions does not mean justifying the atrocity of 11 September. It is an attempt to move beyond the simplistic argument that 'they hate us, because they're jealous of our freedoms and our wealth'. This is simply not the case.”
“We have to understand the despair, but also the lethal exaltation, that drives people to sacrifice their own lives. If Western politicians remain ignorant of the causes and carry on as before, there will be repetitions. Moral outrage has some therapeutic value, but as a political strategy it is useless. Lightly disguised wars of revenge waged in the heat of the moment are not much better. To fight tyranny and oppression by using tyrannical and oppressive means, to combat a single-minded and ruthless fanaticism by becoming equally fanatical and ruthless, will not further the cause of justice or bring about a meaningful democracy. It can only prolong the cycle of violence.” (Reference: Tariq Ali; “The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads, and Modernity”; pg. 3).
This is what the west does not understand about Islam; it does not take the teachings of a militant and radical cleric to inspire Muslims to become a “terrorist” or “Jihadist” these are mere relative terms; they only have to subconsciously visualize the enemies of Islam and this sentiment alone is enough to create a “Jihadist” or “terrorist”. Perhaps to ease the social and political tension inside of America, the United States propaganda machines often try to relegate Muslim rage to insanity, militancy and radicalism that without reason or cause are bent on destroying America.
Then they demonize the likes of a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and portray to the public that he is a Muslim madman bent on destroying Israel and America, and if he is allowed to pursue nuclear armament; he would be irresponsible with possessing weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. and the west are in denial when it comes to the Islamic problem and are too arrogant to admit that there is a problem. The genie is out the bottle and Islam is too entrenched and it’s to far reaching be isolated.
Congressman Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania in his book titled, “Countdown to Terror” stated: “Civilization is at a disadvantage in the war on terrorism, as it is always harder to build than to destroy. Sixteen centuries ago the Roman Empire fell to barbarian invasions. Rome, with its cities, aqueducts, roads, and far-flung commercial empire, became a victim of its greater economic and social sophistication. The barbarians could sack cities and pull down aqueducts more easily than the Romans could rebuild them.”
“Terrorists are the new barbarians. These new barbarians are far less numerous than the barbarians of old, but hold the possibility of far greater power in their hands because of the existence of WDM. America’s highest priority must be to defeat the new barbarians. If we want to avoid the same fate of the Romans, we must stop the next, possibly catastrophic terrorist attack against the United States”. (Reference: Curt Weldon; “Countdown to Terror”; pg. 157).
President Barack Obama is contemplating sending additional United States troops to Afghanistan, thus this is neither the long term and/or short term solution to resolving radical Islam. If you do not know this by now, the war in Afghanistan isn’t about the Taliban or Al-Qaeda insurgents nor is it about slowing down radical and militant Islam from making inroads into Pakistan and/or controlling Kabul.
This war is being motivated by dope—heroin (Opium poppy plant) and who will control the future heroin (Opium) trade and to ensure this Central Asian nation oil pipelines remain open to western exploitation. The Elite-superrich uses poor and middle class U.S. servicemen to fight and die on foreign battlefields in order that they might continue to steal other people’s wealth and natural resources. (Reference: Lyndon LaRouche; “Dope, Inc: The Book that Drove Henry Kissinger Crazy”).
Those who orchestrated the 9/11 hoax had a number of agendas, perhaps none more important and sinister than demonizing Islam and to further bring into question, a marginalized people; in particular in this instance this writer is referring to the Arabs. Although the largest segments of the Muslim population are not Arabs and do not reside in the Middle East. Asia, Africa and even in the former Soviet Union there are more Muslims in these non-Arabic speaking lands than perhaps the entire Arabic speaking Islamic nations combined.
Former President Richard Nixon perhaps authored a monumental book titled, “Seize The Moment: America’s Challenge In A One-Superpower World” which he dedicated a chapter to assessing and analyzing Islam; President Nixon stated: “Many mistakenly assume that the Muslim world is equivalent to the Middle East. But more than 850 million people-one-sixth of humanity-live in the thirty-seven countries of the Muslim world. These nations have 190 ethnic groups who speak hundreds of distinct languages and dialects and who belong to three main religious sects-the Sunnis, the Shias, and the Sufis-and dozens of minor ones. They cover a 10,000-mile-long swath of territory extending from Morocco to Yugoslavia, from Turkey to Pakistan, from the Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union to the tropics of Indonesia. More Muslims live China than on the Arabian peninsula, and more live in Indonesia than in the entire Middle East. The former Soviet Union, with over 50 million Muslims, has more than any Middle Eastern country except Turkey. At current birth rates, there will be more Muslims than Russians in the former Soviet Union in the next century. (Reference: Richard Nixon; “Seize The Moment: America’s Challenge In A One-Superpower World”; pg. 195-196).
This ethnic, cultural, and racial diversity that exist in Islam is also a reflection of the mosaic of ideological differences in which all the Muslims subscribe to one holy book and that is the Qur’an. But it is there, from which the radical and militant Islamic worldviews are formulated and it’s also from there, you will find human beings who possess a deep sense of love and a relentless concern for all of humanity. The religion of Islam represents submission and calls for the highest expression of peace whereby the faithful submit their will in order to do the will of Allah (God).
Islam is an Arabic word which means peace, purity, acceptance and commitment. As a religion, Islam calls for complete acceptance of the teachings and guidance of God. A Muslim is one who freely and willingly accepts the supreme power of God and strives to organize his life in total accord with the teachings of God. He also works for building social institutions which reflect the guidance of God.
However, Allah’s will can be interpreted in many different ways by the Muslim clerics and the adherents of Islam and this is what has brought us to a crossroads in time and history. The United States in many ways has instigated this conflict between Islam and the west in which the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with some long term planning had masterminded (let me stated it this way, they as well as others played a role in the hoax) the so-called bombing of the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001.
Noam Chomsky in his book titled, “Hegemony or Survival; America’s Quest for Global Dominance” stated: “Important questions should have risen at once: what constitute terrorism? How does it differs from aggression or resistance? The operative answers are revealing, but the questions never entered the arena of public discussion. A convenient definition was adopted: terrorism is what our leaders declare it to be. Period. The practice continues as war is redeclared”. (Reference: Noam Chomsky; “Hegemony or Survival; America’s Quest for Global Dominance”; pg. 109-110).
They strategically needed a new make believed enemy after the 1989 collapse of the former Soviet Union in which Islam became the choice. This decision would allow the United States Government to justify its aggressive Middle East foreign policy and eventual military decision to invade Iraq under the guise of toppling a military dictator in Saddam Hussein who was allegedly involved in state sponsored terrorism. The ignorant applauded the United States military assault while very few saw the real Bush objective, which was stealing Iraqi oil.
The U.S. Government rolled the dice by feeding the people a heavy dose of propaganda and decoys—demonizing Iraq and Saddam Hussein, but simultaneously blaming Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden as the masterminds behind 9/11 hoax. Osama bin Laden who was in hiding in the rugged mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, but he was being made public enemy number one and become the poster boy for terrorism. General Colin Powell and President George W. Bush used the most powerful bully pulpit, the United Nations to make their case in 2003 against the innocent nation of Iraq. Now, reason with me; sixteen of the allege hijackers were from the Kingdom, Saudi Arabia which is a puppet Islamic regime and a staunch ally of the United States and yet it was the United States ally Saudi nationals who were active participants in one of the most horrific crimes to ever take place on the shores of America.
The United States Government following 9/11 found it easy to rationalize this type of Saudi Islamic militant fundamentalism and continued diplomatic international relations with the perceived 9/11 culprits (this writer is quite aware that all the external 9/11 players were only pasties); moreover U.S. Foreign Policy towards Saudi Arabia never blinked an eye, before or after 9/11. The Saudis represented a vital and strategic interest to the United States national security, which is our government dependency on Middle Eastern oil. The oil dependency has allowed the CIA and the United States State Department to overlook the Saudis spreading and funding a radical and militant Wahhabist Islamic philosophy throughout the Islamic world. It would be acts of terrorism that would heighten these types of political contradictions. (Reference: Richard A. Clarke; “Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror”).
Michael T. Klare in his book titled, “Blood and Oil” stated: “The most significant of these is our unseemly alliance with Saudi Arabia, which, from the very beginning, has rested on the understanding that the United States would defend the House of Saud against both foreign and domestic enemies in return for privileged access to Saudi Oil. This arrangement must now be terminated. We can not and should not bear the ultimate responsibility for the royal family’s survival”. (Reference: Michael T. Klare; (Reference: Michael T. Klare; “Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Dependency on Imported Petroleum”; pg. 189-190).
Thus, in many ways, the United States Foreign Policy instigated this antagonistic relationship between themselves and Islam. If Al- Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden had so-called spearheaded the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States according to the 9/11 commission report, then logically speaking, it never made military sense to attack Iraq and Saddam Hussein, if Iraq had no political affiliations with Al-Qaeda and possessed no Weapons of Mass Destruction. (Reference: George Tenet; “At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA).
President Bush was obsessed about launching a military attack against the innocent people of Iraq—let me get this right for you because even in 2009 many still have not gotten it, if sixteen of the nineteen the so-called 9/11 terrorist hijackers originated out of Saudi Arabia, why wasn’t there military strikes against the nation who committed this horrid crime of blowing up the World Trade Center? (Reference: Scott McClellan; “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception”).
Surely, you would have thought that the United States must have learned something from the former Soviet Union who had fought and lost an over ten year war in Afghanistan against the Taliban (remember in this conflict the Taliban and Al-Qaeda were the good guys, which was financed by the CIA) and left as a shamelessly and defeated military superpower.
Islam and Muslims became expendable because the United States Government had its eyes on the prize, which was gaining control over the Ramallah Oil fields and stealing the nation of Iraq’s oil and the consequences to do so, will continue to reverberate throughout western society in what is deemed terrorist attacks. The American people seemed shocked every time an incident like the one that took place recently at Fort Hood Texas, in which a United States Major Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly turned on his fellow soldiers—killing thirteen innocent soldiers and wounding dozens of others. The Holy Qur’an forbad the innocent killing of fellow Muslims and many Muslims throughout the western world and the Islamic world view the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as wrong and unjustifiable. (Reference: Andy Stern: “Oil: From Rockefeller to Iraq and Beyond”).
The United States Arm Forces will continue to have incidents of mutiny and what amounts to treason, if they do not reassess their position relative to Islam and Muslims. Islam is different than Christianity in many ways—many Muslims will not publically say this, but Muslims have a greater patriotism and loyalty to Islam than to any national or sovereign government. Muslims recognizes Allah (God) as their protector and redeemer and he Allah (God) is one and there is none like him. (Reference: Qadi ‘Iyad Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi’; “Muhammad Messenger of Allah”).
The Qur’an stated, "Say: We believe in Allah and that which was revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to the Prophets from their Lord; we make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit". Qur'an 3:83
Islam is a religion of peace and is not a religion of violence, but the Qur’an admonishes that Muslims have the right to fight with those who fight with them. President Bush declared war against Islam and Muslims after 9/11 and he tried to disguise the war under the guise of being a war against terrorism. Noam Chomsky further stated: “After eight years, more reactionary sectors of the Reagan-Bush 1 administrations regained political power in the contested 2000 election. They recognized that the 9-11 atrocities provided them with an opportunity to pursue long-standing goals with even greater intensity, closely following the script of their earlier tenure in office”. (Reference: Noam Chomsky; “Hegemony or Survival; America’s Quest for Global Dominance”; pg. 109). Here is clip of Bill O’ Reilly and a guest this is the type of ignorance that will keep the conflict between Muslims and the west hot: http://newsone.com/nation/oreilly-we-cant-kill-all-the-muslims/
Thus, United States isn't in a moral position to determine who should be labeled a terrorist nation. And have we picked a fight that we can not win and ultimately incidents of so-called domestic terrorism will continue to haunt us as a nation. Islam’s theology similar to the other two major world religions—Judaism and Christianity teaches the principles of brotherhood, love, charity, morality, and it circumscribes what is deemed ethical under Qur’an and the Sunna relative to govern the Muslim as an individual and as a community and it stands as the foundation of Islam.
Muslims believe that the Qur'an is the last revealed word of God and the basic source of Islamic teachings and laws. It deals with a variety of subjects including the basic beliefs of Islam, morality, worship, knowledge, wisdom, God and-man relationship, and relations among human beings. Comprehensive teachings on which sound systems of social justice, politics, economics, legislation, jurisprudence, law and international relations can be built from an important part of the Holy Qur' an.
But since Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon him) received his first so-called divine revelation from Allah (God) in 610 A.D. via the angel Gabriel (Jabril). Islam has had a controversial existence—most western scholars would argue that Islam spread by the sword and Muslims conquered many foreign nations based on violence and even in 2009 media continues to perpetuate that Islam is a violent religion and portray Muslims as being bent on Jihad (advocating holy war) against the west and the enemies of Islam.
Islam enjoins faith in the oneness and sovereignty of God, which creates an awareness of the unity and meaningfulness of the universe and of man's place in it. This belief frees him from all fears and superstitions by making him conscious of the presence of the Almighty God and of man's obligations to Him. But this realization must be expressed and tested in action. Faith alone is not enough. Belief in one God requires that we look upon all humanity as one family under the universal omnipotence of God—the Creator and Nourisher of all. Islam rejects the idea that there is a "chosen people" making pure intention, faith in God, and good deeds the only way to heaven. Thus a direct relationship is established with God, open to all alike, without any discrimination or intercession.
The Old Testament teachings of the Torah liken to the Qur’an does not condone certain behavior and there were penalties applied to those who violated or broke the law. But you rarely hear someone referring to the teaching of the Torah as having a propensity to advocate violence. Islam, based on western propaganda has in many ways been stigmatized and people view Muslims with much more suspicion and since 9/11 Islam and Muslims have been unjustly discriminated against, which has had a political backlash in what the United States Government calls increasing incidents in homegrown terrorism.
Muslims and Mosques throughout America since 9/11 have been placed under Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance and are being constantly monitored by various levels of Homeland Security agencies, which to counter any subversive plots that might lead to so-called acts of domestic terrorism. Islam as a religion and subculture has taken a firm root within American society in which immigrant Muslims and native born Black American Muslims share a religious allegiance and often this complex racial and cultural differences are interwoven into brotherhood that is built around the principles of Islam.
The homegrown so-called terrorist concern is centered on the U.S. Government failure to admit that Islam has developed and evolved as a major ideological religious school of thought in Christian America and has taking root throughout the United States, which is being disseminated pursuant to an enculturation process taking place amongst native born African American Muslims and their relationship with Middle Eastern Muslims. The religious bond they share transcends race and class (Islam as a religion seems to be the glue that holds these two distinct cultures together).
Black Americans represent one of the largest non-Middle Eastern Islamic blocs in the United States and many of them each year are making Hajj to Mecca, Saudi Arabia and starting to visit other Islamic nations and societies. In some instance, there has been a forged alliance between Middle Eastern Muslims and African American Muslims. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency after 9/11 started all types of covert and overt surveillance aimed at monitoring Islam and Masjids across America, in particular in cities like Newark, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Detroit, Michigan, New York City, San Francisco, California, Washington, D.C., etc., where there were large Middle Eastern and African American Muslims attending the same Masjids.
But it is the specific acts of worship termed the Five Pillars of Islam which provide the framework of Muslim spiritual life. These are given below:
1. The declaration of faith. "I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except God (Allah), and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger." The Prophet-hood of Muhammad obliges Muslims to follow his exemplary life in every respect.
2. Prayers are prescribed five times a day as a duty towards God. Prayer strengthens and enlivens belief in God and inspires man to higher morality. It purifies the heart and controls temptation, wrong-doing, and evil.
3. Fasting during the month of Ramadan. This means abstention from food, beverages, and sex from dawn to sunset, and curbing evil intentions and desires. It teaches love, sincerity, and devotion. It develops patience, unselfishness, social conscience, and willpower to bear hardship.
4. Zakah is a proportionately fixed contribution collected from the wealth and earnings of the well to do and rich. It is spent on the poor and needy in particular and the welfare of the society in general. The payment of Zakah purifies ones income and wealth and helps to establish economic balance and social justice in society.
5. Hajj, or pilgrimage to the Ka'bah in Makkah, once in a lifetime, provided one has the means to undertake the journey. (Reference: The Islamic Affairs Department the Embassy of Saudi Arabia; pamphlet titled, “Understanding Islam and the Muslim”).
The United States Patriot Act had made it easy for the law enforcement community to violate the United States Constitution—illegally wiretapping, conducting seizure forfeiture proceedings, imprisoning and jailing Muslim defendants without the benefit of due process of the law, etc., all the government has to say is that you’re a potential threat to United States national security and they suspect that you’re conspiring against the United States Government—thus, this alone is enough to bring you before the U.S. Justice system and no tangible evidence is needed to apprehend and detain you indefinitely.
Muslims are frustrated and tension has steadily risen and the United States Government is somewhat in denial of the Muslim paradigm and in all reality, the U.S. Government does not know how to rectify the problem. Yes, the two wars—Iraq and Afganistan is a point of contentious political discord between the United States and Muslims in America and Muslims outside of America. This will continue to be fuel to the fire along with the United States reactionary foreign policy; if we continue to allow it to go unchallenged by the citizens of this great nation.
Fahim A. Knight-EL Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in Durham, NC; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of good will of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolisms and reinterpret the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlighten world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight can be reached at email@example.com.
STAY AWAKE UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN,
Fahim A. Knight-EL