The fourteenth of August was technically the Pakistani day of independence, but Pakistanis found little to celebrate this year; many citizens expressed their fear that their independence is gradually but surely being eroded away by American interventionism in the region.
Just a few days ago, the Americans announced that there was a high probability that the CIA had killed Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban. Certainly not many Pakistanis will shed tears over the Taliban’s slain leader: recent polls indicate that support for the Taliban in Pakistan has dropped to less than five percent.. In fact, the majority of Pakistanis (80%) view the Taliban as a crucial threat to their country, and a similar number (78%) support their own government’s military campaign against the Pakistani Taliban. One would think then that Pakistanis would be grateful to the Americans for eliminating the top Taliban official in their country.
But such is not the case. In fact, the Pakistani populace stews in anger over what–according to international law–was an American attack against Pakistan. The United States ignored Pakistan’s sovereignty and initiated drone attacks on independent Pakistani soil, something which constitutes an act of war. This is of course the latest in a series of drone attacks on sovereign Pakistani territory; there have been over “60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14th, 2006 and April 8, 2009.” Even more damning is the fact that “only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda leaders,” whereas on the other hand the drones have killed “687 innocent Pakistani civilians,” giving the US predator strikes a success rate of “not more than six percent.” (link)
Unfortunately, few Americans are introspective enough to ask: “how would we Americans feel if some Muslim government did the same to us?” For example, what would be the American reaction if the Iraqi government initiated drone attacks against Blackwater facilities in North Carolina? If the Americans are justified in striking against Baitullah Mehsud, who has never killed a single American, then would not Iraqis be justified in striking against Erik Prince, the Blackwater CEO responsible for massacres against Iraqi citizenry? But when the shoe is on the other foot, many Americans reject any “moral equivalency;” no American would tolerate another country launching missiles into sovereign U.S. territory, even if it be directed against criminals and murderers. We are quite capable of prosecuting our own, would be the prevalent American response. Yet, why is it then that the Americans cannot seem to understand that the Pakistanis want their own government to deal with militants in their country, not foreigners with a long history of what is viewed by some as neo-colonialism?
Can one imagine the American reaction if some foreign Muslim sounding country launched missiles into America that killed 687 American civilians, including women and children? There would be rage in the American eyes, and cries to “bomb them back into the stone age.” There would be a savage and absurdly disproportionate retaliation from the Americans. But suddenly when Americans kill 687 Pakistani civilians, then so what? Are brown lives really equal to those of Americans?
To add to the absurdity, some American neoconservatives had the gall to criticize the Pakistani “ingratitude:” after all, these hawks argued, shouldn’t Pakistan be thankful to America for getting rid of the Taliban’s top official in the country? If anyone were to attack American soil, these neoconservatives would be outraged–and they would call to bomb some country (any country!) back to the stone age–whereas Pakistanis should not only be silent about the same transgression, but send a thank you card.
Some Americans have tried to justify the drone attacks by arguing that the Pakistani government gave them the wink and nod, unofficially giving the Americans permission to launch these strikes. Yet the reality is that the Pakistani government has repeatedly issued official and unofficial statements categorically rejecting such fanciful claims.
The Pakistani foreign office issued the following statement: “It has been Pakistan’s consistent position that drone attacks are in violation of its sovereignty and must be stopped.” (link) A spokesman for the Pakistani military, Major Murad Khan, even went so far as to vow retaliation should America strike within Pakistani borders. Khan warned: “Border violations by US-led forces in Afghanistan, which have killed scores of Pakistani civilians, would no longer be tolerated, and we have informed them that we reserve the right to self defense and that we will retaliate if the US continues cross-border attacks.” (link)
The Pakistani government’s stance did not change after the strike against Baitullah Mehsud, as evidenced by a statement released after the attack:
No Drone Accord with US: FO
Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said…drone attacks had caused more damage than benefit to Pakistan…No accord existed between Pakistan and the US with regard to drone attacks, he said.
Former president of Pakistan, Parvez Musharraf, rejected claims that he had an agreement with the United States, saying: “There was no such agreement. There was no permission for outside forces to operate inside Pakistan.” (link)
In 2007, the Foreign Office spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam, reiterated:
“We have stated in the clearest terms that any attack inside our territory would be unacceptable…We are committed [to fighting terrorism] and we will take firm action on the basis of information gathered by us through our own means or concrete and actionable intelligence shared with us…We are therefore, combating terrorism in our own interest. We do not want our efforts to be undermined by any ill-conceived action from any quarter that is inconsistent with the principles of international law.”
Amazingly, some of the Americans will continue to insist that the Pakistani government is just placating its own constituents, and that in reality they have given the green light to the Americans. Once again, these same Americans would categorically reject this logic if it were used by anyone else. Can one imagine Russia justifying an assault on Georgia by claiming that despite the Georgian denials, the Georgians had secretly sanctioned the Russian intervention in order to quell rebels and terrorists? Or perhaps Israel could invade Lebanon, claiming that the Lebanese government secretly requested its help against Hezbollah. Such sort of justification would completely destroy any semblance of international law.
Americans claim that they wish to spread democracy. Do they think it wise then to launch such strikes in Pakistan, even though an overwhelming majority (81%) of Pakistanis oppose U.S. missile strikes within their country? Is this how American democracy works? As Malcolm X said: “You and I have never seen democracy; all we’ve seen is hypocrisy.”
The American strikes within Pakistan destroy Pakistan’s credibility as a nation-state, call to question its sovereignty and hegemony, and bring it one step closer to becoming a failed state. It has stirred up feelings of resentment against America and the West in general, which do nothing but fuel the rise of fundamentalism and extremism. The death of hundreds of Pakistanis as a result of U.S. drone attacks serves to boost Taliban recruitment. The Pakistanis feel a great deal of shame and humiliation over the blatant U.S. encroachment on their country’s sovereignty; one cannot help but recall a similar sense of shame and humiliation that overcame Germans after the Allied Powers placed severe restrictions on their country’s sovereignty. It was this same sense of helplessness that allowed Adolf Hitler to throw aside the inept and incompetent Weimar Republic, promising the people to restore the country’s hegemony and honor. If a government cannot safeguard a country’s sovereignty, then what right does it have to rule the people? Similar questions will be asked by fundamentalists and extremists, who will use it as a recruiting tool to agitate against the government.
The Pakistani fear of American influence in the region is further exacerbated by the news that the U.S. is planning on massively expanding its embassy in Islamabad. It is estimated that the embassy will cost a whopping $736 million, rivaling that of the gargantuan U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which cost $740 million. Such massive compounds serve not simply as embassies but as military bases, and remind Pakistanis of the British trading posts established by the East Indian Company that preceded British colonial rule. Indeed, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was the control center for U.S. rule over Iraq; Pakistanis fear a similar fate with the creation of such a compound on Pakistani territory. The nonchalance with which Americans flout Pakistani sovereignty gives Pakistanis little reason not to fear growing American interference.
The embassy cum military base will house U.S. marines. The exact number of marines is unknown, and Washington insists that it won’t be more than a “couple of dozens.” Yet, the American government has allocated a staggering $112.5 million for the residential complex for Marines inside the embassy. Unless the “couple of dozens” of Marines plan on living in a palace, it is safe to say that the building would easily accommodate hundreds–if not thousands–of marines. The Pakistani Foreign Office Spokesman, Abdul Basit Khan, mentioned that some one thousand U.S. marines will be stationed there.
One recalls a similar situation in Saudi Arabia. Thousands of U.S. troops were stationed in the Arabian Peninsula, despite the local population’s opposition. It was in fact the issue that caused Usama bin Ladin to choose the “interesting” career path that he did. Islamic militants and extremists used the foreign deployment of troops in the birthplace of Islam as a recruitment tool. Is it not then foreseeable–nay, inevitable–that militants and extremists in Pakistan will use the heightened American presence in the country as a means to recruit fighters and agitate against the lackey Pakistani government?
Pakistanis know all too well that if they give an inch to the U.S., the Americans will take a mile. If in the first year, a few dozen soldiers station themselves in Pakistan, in subsequent years that number will double and triple and multiply many-fold. After all, it took decades for U.S. troops to leave Saudi Arabia, who stayed behind long after Saudis needed protection against Saddam. Pakistanis do not want a monstrous U.S. embassy cum base in their lands, for they know it will be the command center from which the Americans will micromanage the country. The Americans themselves have echoed a similar tone; an American diplomat “reassured” Pakistanis: “When you have got non-military and economic assistance going up to $1.5 billion every year and the security aid almost trebling, then you need people [Americans] to develop, implement and run the programmes and, more importantly, keep an oversight to ensure that money is appropriately spent.” (link)
The celebrity turned politician Imran Khan asked:
“The [Pakistani] government keeps begging the US for more dollars stating that the war is costing the country more than the money it is receiving from the US. If it is our war, then fighting it should not be dependent on funds and material flowing from the US. If it is our war, why do we have no control over it? If it is our war, then why is the US government asking us to do more?”
Pakistanis feel that America is forcing Pakistan to go against its own national interest by fighting a war at the behest of America (which is why Imran Khan famously said “this is America’s war, not Pakistan’s.”) Admittedly, unlike Mr. Khan, most Pakistanis want their government to take a forceful stance against the Pakistani Taliban, but they don’t want Pakistan to be puppeteered by America. The United States has become the school bully, declaring that it can bomb Pakistani land at will, whilst still demanding that Pakistanis eagerly respond to the American jihad against the Taliban; hundreds of Pakistani soldiers die fighting a war that oftentimes serves the American self-interest, not the Pakistani national interest. The American puppeteers have decided that the remote control they had from Washington was not good enough; now they want to move into Islamabad in order to exert even more influence.
On the sixty-second annual celebration of Pakistan’s independence, Pakistanis question how much independence they still have. The collectively wonder: how far off is the country from simply becoming a sock-puppet?
Malaysians Ask China To Free Uyghurs, Close The Camps
By Gulnaz Uighur
Muslims are standing up for Uyghurs, protests held in Malaysia.
5th of July could be just like another day for people but for Uyghurs, it brings back dark memories of a bloody past. This day, in 2009, thousands of Uyghur students were massacred by Chinese police in Urumqi. These young students were demanding an investigation into the rising number of homicides in a toy factory. These people only wanted justice. They were also upset by the ongoing discrimination in the employment sector. Graduates were denied jobs because of their Uyghur ethnicity. After the protests, China started abducting the Uyghur youth and no one knows where the missing went. Its been 10 years since that horrifying incident and the condition of Muslims have devolved in a genocidal nightmare.
Communist Government in China Has over 2 Million Uyghurs in Concentration Camps
Beijing has now locked over 2 million Uyghurs in concentration camps. People in these places are forced to denounce Islam, forget the teachings of Quran, prohibited from praying, asked to learn Xi Jinping’s speech and tortured for not obeying these orders. Sadly, Islam is being treated as a disease in China and most of the Islamic nations are turning a blind eye to it.
So Malaysia came as a breath of fresh air when Muslim NGOs organized an anti-China protest against Uyghur persecution.
On 5th July 2019, a coalition of 34 Malaysian NGOs gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to protest the persecution of Uyghurs. The organizations prepared a memo of protest to be submitted to Chinese officials. In the memo, they demanded Beijing to ‘Respect the human rights of the Uyghur people, in particular, their right to life and freedom of religion and belief.’ , ‘immediately stop the persecution and extreme repression of the Uyghur people.’ and close the camps. They also called upon the International community to increase the voices of protest and disfavour upon the Chinese government and to work together to improve the situation for the Uyghur people through concrete actions.
The protesters shouted slogans like ‘Me Too Uyghur’ and ‘Save Uyghur’. In a media interview, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), Mohamad Raimi Abdul Rahim asked immediate freedom for all those who have been detained in concentration camps.
Malaysians Stand With Uyghurs
Abim secretary Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz accused the Chinese government of concealing the plight of the Uyghurs by offering NGOs and government agencies free trips and painting a rosy picture of the camps. Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, chairman of the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Islamic Organizations (Mapim), said the atrocities committed against the Uyghurs could not be denied or disguised. The Group of NGOs also included Ikram Association and the Malaysian Youth Council among others.
Though no Chinese official came out to accept the memo, the message was clear that now people won’t keep quiet about the Uyghur persecution. There is a dire need for Muslim countries to break their silence on this issue. There is enough evidence to prove that something unholy and inhumane is happening with Uyghurs. If these countries consider China their friend then ask it to stop being a Shaitan. The leaders must realize that their first duty is towards the Ummah and not towards China.
Now is the time to stand for Uyghurs before nothing is left to be saved.
This protest in Malaysia has proved that people in Muslim countries do support Uyghurs even if their governments are silent and are upset with Beijing’s policies. This event proved that governments may fail to fight but people won’t.
The Environmental Cost Of War With Iran
Report after report shows how planet Earth may reach a point of no return. An analysis written by Ian Dunlop claims the planet cannot be saved by the mid-century if we continue on this path. And yet here we are marching towards a war with Iran.
When we think of climate change, we rarely think of war. On June 12th, 2019, Brown University released a report declaring the Department of Defence to be “the world’s largest institution to use petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world.” Burning jet fuel for transportation of troops and weapons make up 70 percent of the Pentagon’s emissions. Ironically, earlier this year the Pentagon released a 22-page report to Congress stating the ⅔ of their mission-essential installation in the US are vulnerable to flooding, and ½ are susceptible to wildfires. To no surprise, Trump rejected those findings at the time. The Pentagon is now concerned with the impact climate change has on their “foreign missions.”
With tensions high with Iran, and several thousand troops are expected to be deployed, if war with Iran is to happen, it may lead us to a more damaged planet that may not recover. This makes the Pentagon guilty of killing people and the earth. The Department of Defense has consistently used between 77-80% of the entire US energy consumption. We see spikes during times of massive war (since America is in a constant state of war), like in 1991, 2001, and so on.
Here is a list of the seven significant sources of greenhouse emissions done by the Department of Defense:
- Overall military emissions for installations and non-war operations.
- War-related emissions by the US military in overseas contingency operations.
- Emissions caused by US military industry — for instance, for production of weapons and ammunition.
- Emissions caused by the direct targeting of petroleum, namely the deliberate burning of oil wells and refineries by all parties.
- Sources of emissions by other belligerents.
- Energy consumed by reconstruction of damaged and destroyed infrastructure.
- Emissions from other sources, such as fire suppression and extinguishing chemicals, including Halon, a greenhouse gas, and from explosions and fires due to the destruction of non-petroleum targets in warzones.
This impact on the climate is just the portion from America, in the Iraq war, 37 countries fought alongside America, and 60 are allied against ISIS. There is a way to calculate those emissions as well.
The Rules of War
Before engaging in battle, the Prophet Muhammad instructed his soldiers:
- Do not kill any child, any woman, or any elder or sick person. (Sunan Abu Dawud)
- Do not practice treachery or mutilation. (Al-Muwatta)
- Do not uproot or burn palms or cut down fruitful trees. (Al-Muwatta)
- Do not slaughter a sheep or a cow or a camel, except for food. (Al-Muwatta)
- If one fights his brother, [he must] avoid striking the face, for God created him in the image of Adam. (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
- Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal)
- Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle. (Sahih Bukhari; Sunan Abu Dawud)
- Do not wish for an encounter with the enemy; pray to God to grant you security; but when you [are forced to] encounter them, exercise patience. (Sahih Muslim)
- No one may punish with fire except the Lord of Fire. (Sunan Abu Dawud).
- Accustom yourselves to do good if people do good, and not to do wrong even if they commit evil. (Al-Tirmidhi)
A verse in the Holy Qur’an
4:75 (Y. Ali) And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!”
How does this potential war against Iran play into all this?
Our first call to action is to organize an anti-war rally. This type of work is weak in America, and virtually non-existent within the Muslim community.
فَقَالَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ أَمَّا هَذَا فَقَدْ قَضَى مَا عَلَيْهِ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ “ مَنْ رَأَى مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُنْكِرْهُ بِيَدِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الإِيمَانِ ” . قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ .
Abu Sa’eed said: ‘As for this, he has fulfilled what is upon him. I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘Whoever among you sees an evil, then let him stop it with his hand. Whoever is not able, then with his tongue, and whoever is not able, then with his heart. That is the weakest of faith.”‘
War with Iran will be a Greater Mistake than War with Iraq
Historically, anti-war sentiment in America has grown over the years. When the Iraq war first started only 23% thought it was a mistake, today it is close to 60% that believe the war is a mistake. Yes, this is in hindsight, but that it is also growth. The reason the anti-war movement is feeble in America is that there is no platform for the campaign to grow. Both parties are guilty of starting wars or taking over the wars from the past administration. Whether we do it alone as an individual or as a group, we should do everything we can as privileged members of this planet to save and protect those that can’t defend themselves.
There is a famous quote of the famed boxer Muhammad Ali when explaining why he wasn’t fighting in the war. He said, “…I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.”
With that said, there is a significant interest in the region for more than just fuel and resources. It is truly a problem, our operations in the Gulf is to address our dependency on Persian oil, and the fuel that is used to address our dependence is to protect those resources and access to them. One estimate is that America spends $81 billion annually defending the global oil supply. They do this because the DOD feels its dependency will make it vulnerable on a larger scale.
In 1975 America decided to take away the fear of losing the resources and developed the “Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” and in 1978, they created the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF). Their only purpose was to defend US interest in the Middle East. This, in turn, leads to extractivism of resources and supplies. (Which will be explained in a future article).
This war can be the end of all wars as it can accelerate us to the point of no return in regards to climate change.
A war with Iran is a war with Earth and all who live on it.
Seyran Ates, A Sixty-Eighter In Islamic Camouflage
By Dr Mohammad Usman Rana
In their orientalist enthusiasm to reform Islam, in the sense of reconciling Islam with the always changing ideas and goals of liberal values, Western European liberals and neo-atheists are searching high and low for persons who may serve as Muslim alibies for their project. For many years Ayaan Hirsi Ali was given this role but now the relay baton has been handed over to the German-Turkish activist Seyran Ates.
Does not believe in religion
Ates is of current interest in Norway because her book by the Norwegian title Islam trenger en seksuell revolusjon (Islam needs a sexual revolution, originally published in German in 2011)* was just released in Norwegian translation. Ates is well-known primarily because Western media have hailed her as a freedom fighter among Muslims since she opened a so-called liberal mosque in Berlin in 2017 and titled herself a female imam.
Obviously, Ates is part and parcel of an essential debate about the future of Muslims in Europe as it is a fact that a lot of traditional mosques in Western Europe have a big job to do in order to become more relevant to young Muslims, that is, more inclusive and adapted to a European context. Not least the issue of women’s rights is rightfully important to many people in the Muslim world, whether they are liberals or conservatives. In the midst of all the praise, Ates receives in Western media one essential question is however forgotten: What Islamic credibility does Ates have? In line with postmodern nihilism where concepts, ideas, and identities are emptied of meaning and content, the fact is ignored that Ates in her book points out that she believes in God but not in religions. She has no Islamic theological education and explains that she has recently started taking courses in Islamic studies and Arabic in order to be more credible among Muslims.
This is not only the case with Ates. It is a general weakness of so-called progressive and liberal Islam (reformers) that the movement lacks a foundation of religious and theological structure; it is rather founded on personalities with a political mission.
More journalists than worshippers
In her book about Islam needing a sexual revolution, Ates applauds European Christians’ dissociation from the church after 1968. Paradoxically, she later opened a mosque for Muslims. Further, she praises secularly thinking individuals as the most honourable people.
This is why the question should be raised whether the mosque, the imam title, and other religious references are just an Islamic camouflage for what can be understood as a political secularisation, assimilation and liberalisation project by Ates and her supporters. Due to the missing religious credibility and seriousness of this commitment, it should come as no surprise that it has little appeal to European and German Muslims.
When the New York Times visited the mosque, its journalists reported that there were more journalists than worshippers present. She has, on the other hand, a strong appeal among extreme right-wing anti-Muslim thinkers and movements in Europe. It is noteworthy that Ates received a solidarity claim from the extreme anti-Islam German AfD party, and has been praised by the infamous anti-Muslim blog of “Human Rights Service” in Norway.
The positive development aspect is missing
Why should German and European Muslims listen to an activist who attacks the fundamental principles of Islam and in her book paints a stereotypical image of the world’s Muslims?
There is no denying that Ates addresses a number of important challenges for Muslim women. Still, her arguments become oversimplified when she confuses female-hostile habits in the East with Islam and completely forgets the positive development today’s Muslim women in Europe experience where they, as opposed to their mothers’ generation, receive a university education, have a career, and choose whom they want to marry.
Seyran Ates’ project is not about a necessary contextualisation of Islam’s holy texts in a European reality, maintaining the characterisations of the region. The project is rather about a total change of Islam. In her book, Ates justifies such a change by creating strawmen with sweeping generalisations about Muslims. She, for instance, writes that ‘it is a fact that Muslim men have a considerable problem with our free world’, and that ‘Islamic politicians do not distinguish between religion and politics’ – without mentioning the widespread authoritarian secular tradition in Muslim countries in modern times such as in Turkey and Baathism in Syria and Iraq.
Less sexual restraint
Ates’ main argument in Islam needs a sexual revolution is that Muslim men and women are sexually oppressed because sexuality is defined as a blessing and source of love only within – and not outside of – the frames of marriage. The rule of intimate relationships being reserved for marriage meets with unison agreement from Muslims from different schools of thought; Ates, however, absurdly calls it an expression of “fundamentalist” Islam. In this view, Seyran Ates disagrees with the well-known American feminist Naomi Wolf who, after having travelled in Muslim countries, believes that this marital channelling of intimacy, in fact, strengthens sexuality and family ties at the same time.
The German-Turkish author wants less sexual restraint, more promiscuity and a liberal attitude to nakedness, in line with the ideals of the sixty-eighters. Seyran Ates praises the sixty-eighters’ revolution as an ideal for Muslims. Although the #metoo campaign, which can be said to have brought to light the negative consequences of the sexual revolution, was released after Ates’ book was published, it makes her attitudes to this revolution seem somewhat doubtful. The heritage of the sixty-eighters is not only freedom and equality but also the breaking up of the family as well as selfishness and decadence. It is also ironical that someone like Ates, who claims religious credibility, calls attention to Alfred Kinsey, the atheist sexologist who believed in open relationships, as a model for Muslims.
Ates’ book is mainly about freedom, a personal freedom in the name of value liberalism and sixtyeighters. A well-known American intellectual, Patrick Deenen from the University of Notre Dame, however, criticises such a perception of the concept of freedom believing we should ask ourselves if freedom can really be defined as human beings pursuing their instincts more or less uncritically. Deenen maintains that human beings are then in effect unfree and slaves of their instincts, while real freedom is achieved if we manage to free ourselves from being governed by human appetites.
Seyran Ates and her non-Muslim supporters seem to have no understanding at all of such a definition of the concept of freedom. Even more problematic is that they want to make their sixty-eighters’ liberal values absolute, believing Muslims must adhere to them if they wish to belong to modern society. Harvard professor Adrian Vermeule calls this form of liberalism aggressive because it only tolerates itself and no differences of opinion. It maintains its rituals in the form of checkpoints of ‘correct’ opinions in particular about sexuality, gender, and identity. Disagreeing with this can result in reprisals in the form of public pillory or even legal steps.
Obsessed with removing the hijab
When Muslims are met with such absolute-making of liberal values it is like an extension of colonial cultural imperialism when French and British colonial masters wanted to westernise Muslim populations, believing it was the only way of making them civilised. Some of them were obsessed with removing Muslim women’s hijabs, just as Seyran Ates is. The British consul general in Egypt, Lord Cromer, was a representative of this view. He wanted to free Muslim women from the hijab while at home in the UK he was ardently against feminism and women’s suffrage (source: Ahmed, Leila (1992). Women and Gender in Islam. New Haven: Yale University Press).
Worth noting is also that extensive surveys by Gallup Coexist Index among West-European Muslims show that they are far more religious than the majority population. Similar findings in relation to Norwegian Muslims were made by Bushra Ishaq in her book Hvem snakker for oss? (Who speaks for us?) from 2017. Considering these figures, it would be utopian as well as illiberal to expect Muslims to opt for a liberal values morality. On the contrary, it should be expected that religious European Muslims understand their religious practice as belonging to a Western context, that they value equality and that they support the liberal state governed by rule of law that actually allows people to live according to liberal as well as conservative norms of value.
*The original German-language version of the book, Der Islam braucht eine sexuelle Revolution: Eine Streitschrift, was published in 2011
Dr Mohammad Usman Rana is a Norwegian columnist, author and a commentator on Islam
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