Wednesday, 12 August 2015

 From some years ago but unfortunately always topical-

The Myth of Unique Muslim Victimhood
All the great religions of the world have been deeply emeshed in the political and economic system of their day. In this sense, it is not possible to say that any one of them is a “religion of peace.” Modern values of democracy, tolerance, pluralism and human rights will always be at variance with believers who can pick a verse from a work of any scripture to justify their interpretation and actions. A sense of community solidarity is not unhealthy. The Muslim Ummah can be compared (with care) to the Christian community of believers, the ecclesia (translated as church, but better as a community of believers). A sense of responsibility for Muslims worldwide is very strong and is seen in concrete political action, not merely prayer and charity. What motivated the London suicide bombers (and the Tel Aviv bombers before them)? The evidence regarding Jermaine Lindsey and Siddique Khan is that they had a deep sense of Muslim victimhood.

In his 'martyrdom video' statement edited by Al Qaeda and broadcast by Al Jazeera, Siddique Khan stated, “Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters.” Siddique Khan had reached a position, despite being a teaching assistant, of complete disconnection from anyone who he judged not to be a good Muslim so that he was prepared to go out and blow himself up among ordinary people, fellow British citizens who had never done him any harm. Clearly he had cut himself off from them. One can surmise that the radical preachers’ message that proper Muslims should shun anything against (their interpretation of) the Sharia got through to him. We do know that both these men had been watching videos of Muslims as the victims of atrocities and oppression around the world. Jermaine Lindsey is reported as being in tears. These men cared about their Muslim brothers and sisters worldwide, but only for them. They were in the grip of a powerful delusion; that only Muslims are victims and Muslims can only be victims.

Most people are moved by suffering round the world without bothering about the religious or ethnic background of the victim. The days of British people only supporting kith and kin are long gone. Those who identify only with one set of victims are being sectarian. This should be as unacceptable in modern Britain as racial discrimination is. The London bombers were part of the culture inhabited by Sheikh Taher at the Leeds Grand Mosque and Qaradawi; a worldwide community which is always beleaguered and under attack, but should be in a position of world leadership because it represents the best people believing in a perfected religion. This sectarian message was also absorbed by the Tel Aviv suicide bombers. Asif Hanif said on tape, “Muslims are being killed every day, day in day out.” But in the real world, no one community has a monopoly on being victim or oppressor.

There are many examples from around the world where Muslims are killing Muslims; Pakistan has had thousands of dead from drive-by shootings and attacks on mosques both in the Sunni-Shia conflict and that between the native Sindhis and post-partition immigrants. The Arab world has seen the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Kuwait, the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from Saudi Arabia (and the building of a security fence) and the indiscriminate manner in which Syria crushed the Hama revolt. Morocco has illegally sent thousands of settlers into the Western Sahara. There has been conflict between Egypt and Libya and hundreds of thousands of African Muslims massacred by the Muslim government of the Sudan. Very little comment or condemnation is made in the Muslim World, especially in the Middle East of these Muslim on Muslim actions.  

There is too little public acknowledgement of Western help for Muslims, especially American arms shipments to the Bosnian Government, its arming of the KLA, and the NATO bombing of the (Christian) Serbs-or of the Western Aid Agencies who help everyone regardless of religion or ethnic origin. Asghar Bukhari and co. should be continually challenged regarding this. There are countries such as China, Belarus and the Central Asian nations where believers of any kind are targeted. Again, it suits Hizb Ut Tahrir to claim that it is uniquely suppressed in the latter. We should stress the common experience of all believers subject to persecution.

Unfortunately it is simply not possible to ignore the widespread mistreatment and active persecution of non-Muslims in Muslim countries. The clearest example is the Sudan, where an attempt to Islamicise the Christian and Animist South led to a civil war in which two million people died. Ironically, given the criticism of Coalition bombing in Afghanistan and Iraq, no mention is made of the Khartoum Government’s deliberately indiscriminate bombing of Juba and other Southern towns. In Indonesia 10,000 Christians have been killed and 100,000 driven from their homes while the security forces stood by. The situation in Indonesia does hold grounds for hope, however, since there have been mass demonstrations by Muslims against this violence, with offers to defend Christian places of worship, and new security force commanders have taken their duties seriously. As usual, the BBC reported this as communal violence (with no cause-Muslims and Christians just seem to do this) and in the wake of the beheading of three Christian schoolgirls-almost unreported in this country. A recent bombing of a largely Christian market because it sold pork was put down to “religious tensions” by ITV. These “tensions” are actually caused by the Islamist terrorist group Laskhar Jihad, Jimaa Islamia & other jihadist groups. In Indonesia Christians are still victimised by anti-conversion laws (as indeed they are in non-Muslim India where Gujerat was the scene of an RSS/BJP inspired massacre; remembering that there was a massacre of Sikhs too in the aftermath of Mrs Ghandi’s assassination). It is also revealing that one of the reasons Osama Bin Laden gave for the Bali bombing was Australia’s support for Catholic East Timor, taking it out of Muslim Indonesia’s control. The Palestinian Authority’s blind eye to Muslim mistreatment of Arab Christians has led many to flee to Israel and other countries.

The attempt by Northern Nigerian states to impose Sharia on non-Muslims led to bloodshed [and now an independent Christian/Animist South Sudan-itself wracked by civil war]. In Egypt the government undoubtedly treats the Copts as second-class citizens. There are even allegations of kidnap and forced conversions. In Pakistan the blasphemy law is used against non-Muslims, often to pay off a grudge. In Saudi Arabia all religions except Islam are prohibited. Religious books are banned, crucifixes destroyed, and believers humiliated.  The religious police arrest and have maltreated foreign preachers, tearing up and burning Bibles, Hindu scriptures, indeed destroying any signs of non-Muslim religion. Another undoubted negative feature in the Muslim World is the widespread belief that apostasy deserves death. This does not only happen abroad. There are serious allegations of violence and intimidation against Christian converts from Islam in this country, especially Bradford. 

The myth of unique Muslim victimhood is powerful and harmful since not only the suicide bombers, but many representative bodies and ordinary Muslims believe it. Tackling it will be controversial, but playing down crimes committed by people who happen to be Muslims, or deliberately in the name of Islam, is counter-productive in the end. Media coverage must be unafraid to cover these issues. We should work to make the idea that no-one has a monopoly on victimhood or oppression one that is widely accepted. This should become an anti-racist orthodoxy supported by public consensus.

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