Kaleem Kawaja


Al Qaeda approach goes against the core principles of Islam and the 1400 year old ethos of the Muslim Ummah.  The article analyzes how do five million ordinary Muslims of America react to it and how much harm can Al Qaeda inflict on Muslims.


As we step into the second decade of the 21st century we see that some twisted Muslims are continuing to stage bizarre terrorist plots.  Back home in the third world countries they are quite successful in frequently detonating huge bombs and suicide bombers causing massive loss of life. Life is cheap in the over-populated third world and public security is lax. However staging terrorist acts in the first world has become a challenge for the terrorists, since in the first world the security measures are stringent, very few think of violent protests against instances of injustice, and public’s sense of responsibility is quite high. 


Although many of America’s 5 million Muslims are disgruntled with the uneven and at times unjust policies of their government towards ordinary American Muslims and towards the global Muslim community, and do register their protests, they also know that violence and terrorism is a cancer in society, and as a form of protest directly contradicts the core principles of Islam and the 1400 year old ethos of the Muslim Ummah.


In the nascent years of Islam in Mecca, before prophet Mohammad migrated to Medina, the Muslims faced utmost oppression, deprivation and brutality from the infidel Quraish regime there.  But they did not resort to any violent acts to register their oppression.  After the Muslims’ migration to Medina, they had a weak and impoverished government there that was constantly attacked and harassed by the powerful infidels of Mecca.  At that time Muslims formed a small army and defended themselves from these attacks.  But they did not send anyone to the well established, powerful and affluent city of Mecca to create mayhem and terrorism in public.  Muslims did fight their enemies and attackers but did not try to commit violence that may impact civilians.


Yes, in the long history of Muslims, as that of other communities, some have committed acts of terrorism misrepresenting it as based on the Islamic guidance for Jihad – the holy war.  But such misrepresentation of the concept of Jihad is a perfidy, because the sources of Islam have made it very clear that Jihad is strictly a war against an oppressor who unjustly brutalizes a weak Muslim community.  


It is worth noting that in the Mogul century long period from Jahangir to Aurangzeb, Mogul India was the wealthiest country in the whole world.   In the last 200 years the Muslim civilization worldwide was eclipsed and degraded by the European colonists. By bringing down India’s Mogul empire and Turkey’s Ottoman empire the colonists succeeded in lowering the Muslims below themselves.  In the last sixty years the Chinese and the Indians who were also colonized by the Europeans have struggled to rise and are experiencing a degree of success at this time.  But the Muslims are still lagging behind.


Towards the end of the 20th century Muslims started to work around the West’s negative and manipulative efforts and their own inertia and complexes that were holding down the community. Several oil rich countries in the middle east and southeast Asia are rapidly building modern infrastructure, higher education institutions and modern and high technology industries.  In  the last about 30 years over a dozen Muslims have won Nobel prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Literature, Peace etc. 


In US, Muslims started climbing into the middle ranks of management in a variety of fields.   Then came the insane Al Qaeda terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and the world of the global Muslim community went topsy-turvy.  More than anything it created a terrible distrust for the global 1.6 billion Muslims, only very few of whom actually hate the West. Even though the top leaders of Al Qaeda (Bin Laden, Al Zawahiri et. al.) are now pretty much incapacitated, some other lunatic and twisted Muslims are trying to emulate them.  Thus recent insane and random acts of terrorism like the shooting at the US Army Base in Fort Hood, Texas, the attempt to bomb an airliner on the way to Detroit, Michigan, and various acts of terrorism perpetrated in Europe are reigniting the distrust of Muslims in the minds of Americans and Europeans.


Such insane terrorist acts are sensational but have little chance of causing any significant harm to the Western countries.  On the contrary they are bound to spread a wave of anti-Muslim revulsion in the Western countries. That will directly harm the ability of Muslim countries and Muslims living in Western countries to acquire science & technology know-how from the West that they badly need to join the mainstream in the modern world.


There is no question that some people in various Western countries are adversaries of Muslims and want to subjugate them.  For instance President Bush’s illegal war on Iraq, continued blind US support to Israel’s regimes oppressing the Palestinians, and the unfair treatment of many American Muslims by the US government.  These very regrettable US policies do indirectly help the Muslim terrorists. But at the same time vast numbers of people in the West want to live in peace with Muslims.


Recently I was surprised to find that in 2004 when the George W Bush Administration falsely implicated some American Muslims in Albany, NY,  on a trumped up terrorism charge, a large number of White Americans of Albany including many professionals and Albany newspapers supported the Muslim defendants vociferously and formed a Muslim Solidarity Community to help them.


However, the insane acts of the deranged followers of the Al Qaeda mindset are bound to undo this goodwill of ordinary Americans and Europeans and help the enemies of Muslims, e.g. the neo-cons, to force their extremist anti-Muslim attitudes on their respective governments.  Thus it almost appears that though the Al Qaeda people think that they are standing up for the downgraded Muslims, in fact they appear to be in a conspiracy to hold down the progress of the global Muslim community while other communities march ahead.   

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