Much has been written about the role the West and Russia have played in creating turmoil and imposing war on Muslim majority nations from North Africa to Afghanistan. Rarely has attention focused on the role played by the “Ummah”-the much hyped global community of Muslims united by the ties of creed that we hear about so often. What have the leaders and defenders of this supposed spiritual family of 1.8 billion people done while innocents are led to slaughter and nations fail?
Let’s start with the house of Al Saud-a key financier of the “Mujahideen” throughout the Afghan-Soviet War. Who till last year were widely reported to still be bankrolling the Taliban. Who have, as hundreds of Wikileaks documents show, engaged in a diplomatic assault on Iran and Shias for decades. Who have brought seven million people in Yemen to the brink of famine and caused the deaths of thousands of children from bombs, starvation and disease. Yes, let’s talk about these latter-day Pharaohs who continue to lobby the West to go to war against Iran.
Let us contemplate the policies of the Pakistani military which, long after the Soviets left, continued to use Pakistani madrassas as incubators for the Taliban. Which has cultivated thousands of nihilists in the name of the Kashmiri independence struggle who it cannot control anymore. Would-be Jihadists who have contributed nothing other than bringing more futile death and rape at the hands of Indian forces using them as an excuse for atrocities against Kashmiris. The establishment which has consistently provided the Afghan Taliban with safe havens, intelligence and training. Which has shamelessly patronized various Afghan warlords and recently allowed the Haqqani group to regroup on its soil.
Or the Iranian regime perhaps, which armed and funded the Northern Alliance during Afghanistan’s bloody civil war. Which continues to collaborate with Russia to gain influence in the country. Which has teamed up with Assad, Putin and Hezbollah in Syria to rain death down on Syrians.
Or should we talk about Zia-ul-Haq, Shah Fahad and other western puppets and about how much they have facilitated the hegemony of foreign powers?
Or perhaps the atrocities the entire Arab nationalist enterprise, the Saudi thief-Kings and various other monarchs and dictators have perpetuated against their own people? The many massacres, the political assassinations, the horror houses of torture run by Bashar al Assad, General Sisi and other Arab tyrants?
During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War the United States government facilitated the transfer of several billion dollars of military equipment to Iran through Israel. Iran was in fact, Israel’s prime client for the sale of arms throughout the 1980s. Furthermore, by 1982 the CIA was providing highly classified intelligence to Iraq and by 1983 Iraq had started receiving American weapons. You would think at some point someone on either side would have questioned why some were so eager to make sure both nations had sufficient killing power.
In the late nineteen seventies the CIA found Al Saud and the Pakistani Military establishment chomping at the bit to execute the bidding of the master’s voice in Afghanistan. For eleven years the ISI and Saudi emissaries distributed elementary school textbooks published with USAID money at the University of Nebraska-Omaha to Afghan school children. Dari and Pashtu primers that contained anti-Soviet propaganda and alphabets with weapons corresponding to each letter.
In the First Gulf War, Al-Saud and the Mubarak regime actively lobbied America and England to intervene militarily. No one has ever questioned that nations who themselves had powerful armies were calling upon the West to come and save them from Saddam.
Examine the hideous abdication of responsibility and the active encouragement of Western intervention in Muslim majority nations, the price of which the world is paying to this day.
Last but not least is the active participation of Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran in forcing a sectarian aspect to the Syrian Civil War. They have also, by encouraging and giving false hope to Syrian rebels, set city after city in Syria up for wholesale slaughter at the hands of Assad and Putin. And there is nothing of substance any of these nations have done to fight Daesh, nothing at all.
The geopolitical games of imperialist adventurers are responsible for much of the political turmoil and wars in Muslim majority nations. But the fact is that what has allowed them to be manipulated by foreign powers and become so easy to fragment is decades of corruption and misrule. Decades of brutal oppression and stifling of free speech by tyrants. Decades of clergy actively encouraging sectarianism and demonization of minorities. The leaders that the Ummah has lionized and laid down their lives for have themselves flung the door wide open to the robber-baron imperialists of today.
Till the day that we stand up for our minorities and end their persecution, let us know that our protestations about Islamophobia are hypocritical.
Till the day we hold our leaders accountable, let us know that our blaming “the enemies of Islam” for our woes is a self-defeating joke.
Till the day we take our faith back from the clergy that has reduced it to dogma, patriarchy and sectarianism we will be neither united nor righteous.