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Terrorism is double-edged

Islam-West confrontation

Why Muslims hate the US?

Why Muslims hate the US?

By Zafarul-Islam Khan

This pre-11 September article attempts, in general, to trace the roots of Muslim anger at the US and West long before the illegal and unjust current imperialist crusade in Afghanistan under the guise of fighting terrorism. If the US really wanted to fight terrorism it should have bombed Florida, which is the haven of many criminals who once served US interests, or London which houses nerve centres of most of the terrorist outfits in the world, or Israel which is the terrorist state number one in this world and is right now headed by a known terrorist who is facing a genocide trial in a Belgian court and has been indicted by an inquiry commission in his own country for his role in Sabra and Shatila massacres for which the US was equally responsible because, through his special envoy Philip Habib, President Reagan had given solemn pledges in writing that Palestinian civilians will be safe after the withdrawal of the PLO forces from Lebanon and that the Israelis will not enter Beirut. A similar assurance was given most recently that the US’ notorious allies will not enter Kabul. The new western crusade has only opened many an old wound.

During recent months we have heard and read a lot about ‘Islamic terrorism’ which, if western media is to be believed, has spread its tentacles to all parts of the world targeting western (read ‘American’) interests. Despite all this focus on the supposed conversion of a whole religious community to active ‘terrorism’ or condoning it, no one seems to have bothered to probe the issues that have led some people in the Muslim community in some parts of the world to take arms against the most powerful nation in the world today. Even if an individual commits a crime, the society, media, police and judiciary try to find out its reasons. Crimes by ordinary and normal people are seldom committed without a strong reason.

Unlike the impression created by the western media, the current Muslim anger is directed only against two countries: US and Israel. In the case of Israel it does not take much to understand the reason: it has occupied a Muslim country (Palestine), expelled most of its population, has changed the demography of Jerusalem and refuses to honour a solemn treaty (Oslo) that allows Palestinians to regain sovereignty in only 23 percent of their original homeland..

The Muslim animosity to the US is closely linked to the American blind support to the zionists. The US had very cordial relationship with the Muslim and Arab World until early 1950s. Indeed in the wake of the First World War people of Syria and Palestine had expressed their preference for an American mandate if that was necessary to regain their independence. This is recorded in the report of the King-Crane Commission of Inquiry sent by the US Administration to the Middle East to find out the popular mood in the wake of the conflicting British agreements and declarations during the war.

The immense Arab and Muslim goodwill for the US stemmed from the fact that the US was raising slogans dear to these oppressed peoples and, more importantly, the US had no colonial past and hence there was no animosity towards it. All other western players, especially Britain and France, had a bitter colonial past and present and therefore were held in utter contempt and animosity. The US went back into its shell after the First World War and hence, apart from some mutually beneficial economic interests, there was no direct American contact with the Arab and Muslim peoples.

It was only after the Second World War that these peoples came into direct contact with the US. As the US was endeavouring to inherit the old colonial order at the expense of the old European players, it was mostly in conflict with British and French attempts to retain whatever control was possible in the Middle East and North Africa. The US naturally benefitted from siding with local rulers and movements which had goodwill for the US. This is how many countries in the Muslim World, from Egypt during early years of the July 1952 ‘Revolution,’ to Pakistan and Turkey etc allied with the US.

In the meantime a subtle change had started to take root in the US internal politics which soon became a permanent feature of its foreign policy: blind support for the zionist efforts to turn Palestine into a Jewish State. It all started with President Truman who took a clear pro-zionist line. In return for Jewish donations and votes, Presidential, Senate and Congress candidates started outbidding each other in supporting the zionist cause -- an established tradition now in the US elections. Thus support for the zionist cause has been turned into an internal American electoral issue. Every US candidate, presidential, congressional or Senate, has made it his solemn duty specifically not only to support the zionist cause but to outbid others in order to win Jewish votes and financial support.

Here are some broad features of the US policy vis-à-vis the Muslim World:

» Support to dictatorships violating human rights and robbing their peoples (Indonesia / Pakistan / Egypt / Jordan / Morocco; induced coups attempts in many places
» Support to reactionary regimes in many parts of the Muslim world which do not believe in the slogans of democracy, human rights and popular government as propounded by the US.
» Support to Israel and protecting it within and without the UN by using its veto and military power in addition to financial and military aid year after year. UN resolutions against Israel are ignored if not vetoed in the first place while similar UN resolutions are used to wage war against Iraq and subject it to genocidal blockade. Unproven allegations have been used to place Libya under inhuman conditions.
» US is perceived as the main supporter for the normalisation of relations with Israel, to which Arab regimes have been forced after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
»  US role in condoning Serbian aggression in Bosnia and now Kosovo
» US role in the genocidal blockade of Iraq and sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Libya
» Economic attrition of the Muslim world resources, e.g. cheap oil, ploughing back oil revenues through unnecessary grandiose projects, sapping of the Saudi and Kuwaiti monetary reserves during the Gulf War against Iraq, sucking Muslim wealth through sale of weapons which in turn are sold after manufacturing wars in the region and use of Israel as a constant threat.
» Constant media onslaught against Islam and Muslims without trying to understand their points of view or trying to assuage their hurt feelings.
» Double standards: supporting a military regime in Algeria when ‘democracy’ led to the election of an Islamic party; supporting dictatorships against popular and freely-elected governments (Egypt and Indonesia are clear examples).
» Military rule unacceptable in the west but very much desired in the east to prop up subservient regimes.

Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan is Director of The Institute of Islamic & Arab Studies, New Delhi and is editor of The Milli Gazette (Fortnightly Newspaper),  Muslim India (Monthly Journal) & Muslim & Arab Perspectives journal. He may be contacted at zik@VSNL.COM

The Institute of Islamic & Arab Studies
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