Alienating the Hearts and Minds of Muslims by Hassan
Ever since 9/11 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, one phrase keeps popping up in different forums. Not only this phrase is uttered by people opposed to the wars, but also interestingly by people who are cheering the deployment of cluster bombs in Muslim lands (even if it gets one or two wedding parties). The phrase of course is “Winning the Hearts and Minds of Muslims”.
The irony seems obvious and I do not want to belabor the obvious, except to point out that either American politicians (and their media bedfellows) are terribly retarded or genuinely insincere. So, where have they gone wrong?
Firstly, their emphasis on promoting progressives among Muslims is completely dumbfounding. One may wonder what is the benefit of it, since proggressives/liberals account for less than 0.1% of Muslims. Furthermore, proggressive views are radically (not slightly) different from the vast majority of Muslims who sincerely love their religion and their Prophet Muhammad (S). So, perhaps the politicians/media not just interested in winning hearts and minds, but changing the deen in these hearts and mind!
Secondly, and equally important, is the constant bashing of the hearts and soul (mind) of Islamic world. I am particularly referring to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan here. I sincerely believe these two countries to be of utmost importance to Islamic world. And perhaps the West realizes it as well. They may not have perfect Islamic systems or even remotely close to it, but these countries are powerful symbols for Muslim nations.
Pakistan has always been the first target, considering its strategic importance in the Islamic world (strengthened by nuclear status). I am not saying this because I am a Pakistani; rather the great, late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia called Pakistan the “castle” of the Islamic world. On an unrelated note, I do find it quite shameful and disheartening when some of our “indigenous” Muslim brothers and sisters in the West question the very existence and independence of Pakistan, instead preferring that it would have been part of India. For a Muslim to wish or prefer for a majority Muslim populace to live under non-Muslim governance, is a betrayal of sort to all Muslims, REGARDLESS of how well or how poorly the country has fared.
There are also historical factors for Pakistan’s importance.
1. Pakistan’s strategic location, neighboring vital nations such as India and China, and the closeness to the minerally and oil-rich central Asian countries. I believe that Pakistan would likely have been next country to be attacked by Russians, had the Russians not been defeated by Afghanis (of course with help of Allah first, then Pakistan and America).
2. Pakistan is home to around 160 million people, almost all Muslims. Manpower is very important in terms of labor and military.
3. And the most important factor is Pakistanis’ extreme love and protective jealousy of Islam and symbols associated with it. No offense, but if Saudi Arabia would ever be attacked God forbid, Pakistanis may reach out to defend the holy lands, before Saudis would!
The reason I am discussing these issues is to set the stage and context for recent statements made by politicians and media personalities. With regards to Saudi Arabia, Presidential candidate John Edwards and most of the Democratic Congress is condemning proposed arm sales to Saudi Arabia worth 20 billion dollars. Of course, no one dare raise a voice against the proposed DONATION of 30 billion dollars worth of arms to Israel! The claim is that Saudi is not serious about fighting terrorism and our efforts in Iraq (I do not know why they expect other countries to be serious about the mess that they themselves helped create). Of course, Israel is serious about terrorism… as a state-terrorist. Nevertheless, the relationship with Saudi Arabia has always been complex, and no one is seriously discussing attacking Saudi Arabia (except the few loons of course, like Tancredo).
As for Pakistan, on the other hand, there has been constant rhetoric from Bush administration officials about crossing into Pakistan territory from Afghanistan in order to “fight terrorists harbored in Pakistan land”. Welcome to another potential quagmire! Neo-con Bill Kristol (Fox Noise) has advocated it openly on TV. Soon Murdoch’s newly acquired Wall Street Journal will be running front-page articles advocating the same!
But don’t blink now… Fox Noise has reached Senator Barak Obama’s ears, who in his desperation to catch up to Hillary, and displaying full-well why he still has a long way to go before acquiring political common sense, is ALSO calling for a ground invasion into Pakistani territory. He criticized the war in Iraq (it’s the popular thing to do of course), yet he is advocating another war with a nuclear-powered, more disciplined Pakistani army. Has he gone nuts? This of course could be mere political theatre to get votes. As I said, bashing Saudi Arabia and Pakistan cannot hurt. Rather, it is appreciated by most Americans, who see the world as a superman comic book—a clear enemy is always easy to focus on, even if it gets you into more trouble.
In conclusion, I doubt that any Democrats may actually do something as stupid as this, following elections. But anything emanating from neo-cons should be taking seriously. But here’s my two-cents to sensible Americans anyway, Pakistan is no Afghanistan or Iraq (or both combined). It will not only NOT be a cake-walk, but it could well potentially turn into one a nightmare worse than Iraq. Furthermore, it will alienate Muslims around the globe like we haven’t seen before. While a majority of Pakistani Muslims are the “moderate” kind (that is why no Islamic party has ever won a huge mandate), a “common cause” like an invasion of “our homeland” could make bed-fellows out of moderations and extremists, and that my friends, will be alienating the hearts and minds of Muslims, like never before!