That smooth man Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, is working hard to persuade the Americans to give still more billions — is it five billion? ten billion? — to Pakistan. He is working hard to do this at a time of great American economic turmoil. Haqqani wants the United States to give these billions to a mendacious “ally” that has, since 2001, received $30 billion in direct and indirect aid (see the calculations of Selig Harrison).
Pakistan should get nothing further from the American government. There is no connection between “prosperity” in Muslim lands and a lessening of hostility to Infidels. The texts and tenets and attitudes and atmospherics of Islam remain the same. What changes is that when Muslims are too poor to behave as the Saudis do, then those Muslims can do less harm than if they are given more Infidel aid. The Saudis spend billions spreading Islam through the funding of mosques and madrasas and campaigns of Da’wa and buying up armies of Western hirelings. But when Muslims are too poor to buy armaments or to pay for projects to build nuclear weapons, both due to their own lack of initiative and inshallah-fatalism as well as due to a lack of Infidel aid, they lack the smoothness to propagandize, and lack the time, being so busy staying alive, to promote the Jihad. It was American and other Infidel aid that allowed A. Q. Khan to successfully bring his nuclear project to completion. Yet more Infidel aid is what Ambassador Husain Haqqani so ardently wishes his untrustworthy and essentially hostile country to receive from what he regards as those endlessly gullible, or persuadable Americans.
Official Washington must prove him wrong. And send him, and the rest of the Pakistanis, hat in hand to the rich Arabs, to see if they will share with fellow members of the umma some of the 1.8 trillion dollars in surplus funds they presently possess. Yes, ask Husain Haqqani to get on the first plane to Riyadh, or Abu Dhabi, or Kuwait City, or Doha, and see what he can come back with from his fellow Muslims. That should be enough. That should be more than enough. And if it isn’t? Then let the Pakistanis know which members of the Umma, that one big Community of Believers, has decided to let them down.
But of course this will not happen. Husain Haqqani knows exactly how to operate in the American context. He is emphasizing now his credentials as “brave,” “outspoken,” etc. But if one listens closely to him, one finds the same core, underneath, of defensiveness about Islam, and misleading statements about Islam. Once I heard him on a radio program enthusiastically agreeing that the mistreatment of the Pakistani woman who had been raped and had been kept by the Musharraf government from travelling abroad had “nothing to do” with Islam. He simply jumped in with the usual cliches. That will not do. It did not do for Shirin Ebadi, whose performance at her Nobel Prize ceremony was disgraceful — with an acceptance speech that was hardly that of a “moderate” or at least was not that which met the minimum requirements nowadays for being considered a “moderate.”
Yet the anecdotal evidence that those such as Haqqani supply them is what all of our rulers and those “taking a leadership role” (there are so many of them, and so few leaders), rely on. They listen carefully to what so-and-so told them when they visited this or that Middle Eastern or other country, or what some smiling representative of some Muslim country so deeply, truly, sincerely explains to them. And here is Husain Haqqani, so well-mannered, so thoughtful, so eager to pry another ten billion dollars from the apparently bottomless American pockets, instead of being asked to get the money from his fabulously-rich fellow members of the Umma.
Husain Haqqani has been at Boston University that appetizing thing, a Professor of International Relations. One doubts that his faculty colleagues understood the higher taqiyya — that is, the more advanced type, so politely and softspokenly delivered, and with so much quasi-truth that seems blunt-spoken. Yet this apparent bluntness and truth is mixed in with the pathological need, in the end, to protect Islam, and to prevent others from seeing mainstream Islam, its texts, its mental attitudes and habits of mind, as the problem that underlies the economic disarray (inshallah-fatalism) and the despotism of the Islamic world. Legitimacy comes from Allah, not from the people, and the despot — like Muhammad himself, who did not run things like a New England Town Meeting — is to be obeyed as long as he is a Muslim. As for the social backwardness, the status of women within Islam is clear from the texts and from the treatment that we can see in Muslim states, and the more firmly Muslim the state, the more believers really believe, the more difficult or painful the situation for women. And there is finally the intellectual stultification that comes with Islam, where memorization often constitutes education, where free and skeptical inquiry are discouraged or even punished. Islam stunts mental growth. Some Muslims in the West — possibly Haqqani himself — dimly perceive this, but say nothing. They may silently hope that somehow their own children will, though raised as Muslims, magically be able to not have their mental habits influenced by Islam. It is curious — this twisted and confused attitude, of both knowing what it is all about, and despising much of it, and yet not wanting to admit it to Infidels, out of embarrassment, or filial piety. Intelligent Muslims in the West, who have had the leisure to think, must — some of them at least — be in a quandary. Do I tell the full truth about Islam? Do I admit it to myself? Do I allow myself to investigate, on my own, using Western scholarship, the truth about Muslim conquest and mistreatment of non-Muslims, or shall I stay well away from the subject, for fear of what I might find, and have to reject, have to deny?
Fiendish thoughts and doubts and worries. Mental and emotional desarroi, all way round.