Ibrahim Nafi, editor of the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, sounds like Noam Chomsky: everything that happened is the West’s fault. But his arguments ring hollow when he suggests it’s all about Israel; Israel didn’t even exist when the first modern Islamic terrorist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, was founded in the 1920s. And of course, all his rage about the blackening of the reputation of Islam is not directed toward Osama, Omar Bakri, Abu Bakar Bashir, and the like, but against non-Muslims who report about the words and deeds of such men. (In that he reminds me of Mustafa Akyol, who warned that non-Muslims must not talk about Islam’s violent elements, or else Muslims would turn violent!) Note also his vehement opposition to the idea that Islamic textbooks and curricula should be reformed to mitigate the violence they inspire. Here are some of Nafi’s statements in his new book, from MEMRI:
“Barely a day goes by without news of the anti-Muslim hate campaign in the West. Opinion pundits have gone so far as to exhort the extermination of Muslims and the dropping of nuclear bombs on Mecca. Newspapers, radios, televisions, textbooks, and even some houses of worship are awash with proclamations equating Islam with terrorism and insinuations that Islam sanctions invasion, murder, and the perpetuation of untold other evils and that it is, therefore, a religion that cannot be tolerated”¦
“This latter-day crusade, a violent and coercive drive to compel Islamic nations to bow to values and systems that are inimical to their needs and history, constitutes the true terrorism of today. It is terrorism practiced by states and, as such, is qualitatively different to the terrorism practiced by individuals beneath the guise of Islam. The West, and specifically those that are at the helm of their empire of evil, are the real terrorists. It is they who have unleashed Jihad, or holy war, in its most horrific and lethal manifestations”¦…
–¦ Meanwhile, many intellectuals in Islamic nations, including non-Islamists, maintain that the West is currently engaged in a war of annihilation against Muslims or, at the very least, in a drive to ‘forcefully remove the Arabs from history.’ This drive is perceived as the culmination of previous such attempts, beginning with the Crusades and Mongol invasions”¦ However, these intellectuals predict that the campaign that is currently in progress to expel Muslims from history and, hence, from geography, will fail as dismally as its predecessors”¦
“One of Western colonialism’s strategies for extending and consolidating its control over the Islamic world is the deliberate distortion of the image of Islam. It is a two-pronged strategy aimed, on the one hand, at blackening the reputation of Muslims and Islamic countries in the eyes of the Western public in order to garner support for aggressive policies against Islamic peoples and nations and, on the other, seeks to undermine the faith and creed of Muslims, instilling in them a sense of inferiority. The desired effect is to render Muslim populations more docile and acquiescent to the changes forced upon them by the ostensibly more civilized and enlightened West”¦”
U.S.-Backed Reform is Not Welcome
“… Against this background, increasingly strained relations between Muslims and the West were inevitable, made all the more so when the West overstepped the red line with appeals to change religious education curricula in Saudi Arabia and Egypt on the grounds that religious academies in these countries bred terrorists. Perhaps the most glaring example of this transgression is the so-called Powell initiative.
–¦ Powell pointed out that the perpetrators of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the U.S., which claimed thousands of American lives, had been nurtured on extremism in the Arab world. This situation, he argued, demanded that the U.S. approach the Arab world with recommendations for reforms to prevent the emergence of extremists”¦
“The initiative comprised many points covering issues from improving the life of women and children in the Arab world to economic and financial reform”¦ Although I do not take issue with its general principles, the initiative nevertheless includes elements that caused many to question its true intent and the reasons why it was launched at this specific time”¦ …
‘Muslim Peoples have Come to the Conclusion that an Empire of Evil [the West] Threatens Them’
–¦ Nevertheless, in a deft slight of hand to draw attention away from the real sources of terrorism, the West has worked to obfuscate the boundary between terrorism and national resistance movements. Most notably, it has branded the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements struggling to liberate their territory from Israeli occupation as terrorist. Nor is it willing to allow any attempts to suggest the contrary, as is evident in the refusal to hold an international conference to discuss the distinction between terrorism and the internationally sanctioned right to resist occupation and in Western leaders’ refusal to discuss the subject in international conferences”¦
“Diverse internal and external factors have interwoven to give rise to terrorist groups in Islamic countries. Foremost among these is the failure of political, economic, and cultural systems to meet the growing needs and aspirations of their citizens, a crisis that has been aggravated by the economic vice the new global economic order has clamped on these nations’ economies. In addition, the models for socio-political organization taken from the West have proved inimical to the customs and spiritual needs of the peoples of these countries, whether based on capitalist or socialist principles. Simultaneously, the full spectrum of Arab nationalist ideologies has also failed to produce an alternative. As for the external factors, perhaps the most incendiary has been Israel’s aggressive territorial expansionism and its genocide of the Palestinian people. The emergence of terrorism is also a response to the more general Western drive to re-subjugate independent Islamic nations, whether through the encroachment of rampant capitalism or by more straightforward acts of violence. In the face of the tyranny being unleashed by the West, and by the U.S. in particular, against the Islamic world, it is little wonder that Muslim peoples have come to the conclusion that an empire of evil threatens them and their countries with annihilation, marginalization and, ultimately, expulsion from history.
–¦ There is no doubt that the U.S. is deeply disturbed by the Islamist challenge to America’s perception of the new world order and its hegemony over predominantly Muslim regions”¦”
‘Hatred is a Western Export that has been Marked Return-to-Sender’
“The events of 11 September stirred up latent phobias in the West with regard to Muslims and Islam. The upsurge in anti-Muslim hate campaigns and the violence that has been unleashed against Islamic nations was bound to generate a commensurate counter reaction”¦
–¦ Muslims do not hate the U.S. and the West without reason. They hate the West because of its attempts to marginalize, oppress, and exploit them and to give Israel power over them. Hatred is manufactured in the West. It sprouted during the Crusades, matured during the colonialist invasion, and flourished with the drive to Americanize the world. Hatred is the engine driving domination and hegemony and it is the tool used to denigrate Muslims in order to facilitate this quest.