The employment of “filthy bacteria” by Iran’s Ahmadinejad can be compared not only to the imagery, with murderous consequences, of the Nazis, but to the standard Arab metaphor for Israel. It is a “cancer.” Now one does not merely shrink the size of a cancer,but allow it to remain. One excises it, removes it, altogether –sometimes by first shrinking it, and then removing what fails to disappear entirely, sometimes by simply cutting the whole thing out.
By their metaphors shall ye know them. And that “cancer” metaphor for Israel (like Ahmadinejad’s Der-Stuermer-like “filthy bacteria”) is telling. An Infidel nation-state interrupts the smooth flow of the Dar al-Islam. If Arab Muslims actually had the slightest bit of real “tolerance” in the Western sense, they would first come to understand that in the vast areas of the Middle East and North Africa, there are others besides themselves — both non-Muslims such as the Jews now in-gathered into their historic homeland which they managed to rebuild with no natural resources and, until the last few decades, almost no aid save what co-religionists sent, but also Christians (the Copts who are the descendants of the original inhabitants of Egypt who managed to reject islamization), the Maronites in the Lebanon, the Chaldo-Assyrians, and smaller groups), and non-Arab Muslims (the Kurds, the Berbers). They have a chance to redeem themselves from the charge that Islam treats non-Muslims only as inferiors, allowed to avoid the other alternatives (death or conversion) only by submitting to the status of dhimmi, by accepting the Infidel nation-state of Israel. But in order to win this redemption they must do so not with treacherous intent, not trying merely to win its trust so as to inveigle it and its Western supporters to get it to be diminished even further in size, with no control over invasion routes, or aquifers, and then to renew the pressure until daily life in Israel becomes so intolerable, so perilous, that there will be an out-migration and a weakening within, and the Arabs can go in for the kill.
And the same could be said for full-throated Arab Muslim acceptance of the Maronites and their claims in Lebanon, and of the Copts in Egypt. This could lead to an end to the intolerable treatment of the Copts (many of whom, while in Egypt, find themselves forced to internalize and promote the Arab Muslim view of the world, but once safely outside, permit themselves the mental freedom to see things differently). In Iraq, the Christians who remain deserve an autonomous enclave in the north, possibly guaranteed by a larger Kurdish state, itself dependent on the United States for diplomatic and possibly military support.
And until the Arabs recognize the existence and legitimacy of these peoples, by ceasing to threaten the Kurds and the Berbers, by ceasing to treat non-Arab Muslims as inferiors to be deprived of autonomy and subject to Arab linguistic and cultural imperialism, they will also remain open to the charge — a truthful one — that Islam is, and always has been, a vehicle of Arab imperialism. For everything about Islam encourages arabization. One must read the Qur’an in Arabic. Tens of millions of madrasa students all over the world are having their young brains used up in memorizing verses in classical Arabic, of which they can hardly understand ten words. Muslims face Arabia five times a day. They take Arabic names, effacing their own ethnic and national identities. What does Pakistan have, what do those descendants of Hindus have, except Islam? And in having only Islam, they wish to become little Arabs, and so pseudo-Arab identities are assumed, with every third Pakistani being a “Sayeed,” indicating descent — a false and comical descent, both touching and depressing — from the family or tribe of Muhammad.
If Islam consists of Qur’an and Sunnah, then the Sunnah, derived essentially from what is written down in the accepted (and most authoritative) Hadith, and the Sira (the biography of Muhammad), is merely the record of the ways of behavior, the customs and manners, of seventh-century Arabs. No wonder that Islam is naturally the vehicle for Arab supremacism.
If the Arabs wish to deny that it is any longer that way, they will have to prove it not by words but by deeds. And the deed that counts is for them to recognize, and not to oppose, Berber autonomy (or more) in North Africa, and Kurdish independence in Iraq. And an end to the insistence that, within Islam, it is Arab commentators, Arab institutions, Arab desires, that will take precedence, that must be followed by non-Arab Muslims everywhere. It is that Arabia-first attitude that Ataturk recognized when he commissioned a Turkish Qur’an and a Turkish tafsir, and when he ended the use of the Arabic script in which Ottoman Turkish had been written. The Persians and the Turks, the most successful of the non-Arab Muslims to resist arabization, or at least the educated Persians and Turks, are quick to assure visitors that “we are not Arabs” and even “we can’t stand the Arabs.” The los-de-abajo Ahmadinejad and other supporters and epigones of Khomeini in Iran, to the extent that for them there exists Islam and only Islam, become less interested in, less sympathetic to, the history, pre-Islamic and non-Islamic, of Iranian identity. And the same is true of Erdogan and those who are attempting, slyly, step by step, to undo — and they are trying to undo — all of what Kemal Ataturk wrought, when he systematically tied Islam, as a political and social force, up in knots.
Islam as a vehicle of Arab supremacism.
It is true. It needs to be said, again and again, all over the Muslim-ruled lands, with the details spelled out. It can be done.
But not if all the Infidels can think of doing is “winning in Iraq” through “the surge” and suchlike.
Who will start to use his brains, to divide and demoralize and weaken the Camp of Islamic Jihad? Is there anyone in power, or anyone likely to come to power as an advisor, who will be capable of this?
Or are “we the ones we have been waiting for?” And if so, how do “we” obtain the ear of those who are likely to be the next ones strolling down those same, slippery, strewn-with-banana-peels, corridors of power?