As the needle bends

A world view thru my hobbit hole door

Flaming Arrows and “The Elephant in the Middle East Living Room”

The news this past week has been abuzz with terms like “Islamophobia” and knee-jerk reaction to the news of DPW “buying” control of ports here in the USA.  While sitting here watching flaming arrows shooting back and forth over this event, I sought to understand whether or not this truly is “Islamophobia” or whether there are rational reasons for objecting to what is perceived as an event which may lead to unwise, unprecidented access and insight to US security, Homeland Defense plans/policies and/or infrastructure. My search lead me to “The Elephant in the Middle East Living Room” which I believe gave me a better understanding of the root of this issue.

  Within Sunni Islam, along with several more moderate schools, there are two varieties of theocratic totalitarianism. Both of these are Salafists, believing that only a literal version of the model of rule implemented in the seventh century in Islam has ultimate legitimacy. Both have the objective of rule by a unified mosque and state; for some this theocracy is personified by the caliph. Different individuals in these movements emphasize different aspects, but generally the common objective is to unify first the Arab world under theocratic rule, then the Muslim world, then those regions that were once Muslim (e.g. Spain), then the rest of the world. 

Call me naive, but my brain embraces this picture much as it would a picture of “all Christians are Right-Wing Whackos,” with the sins of the few painting the picture of the many.

Such totalitarian visions seem crazy to most of us; we thus tend to underestimate their potency. Yet the Salafists’ theocratic totalitarian dream has some features in common with the secular totalitarian dreams of the twentieth century, e.g., the Nazis’ Thousand Year Reich, or the Communists’ World Communism.

Oh, wonderful – Nazis and Commies. Not exactly in line with the picture in my mind of a church split erupting at the Sunday picnic over whose wife’s recipe for Chess pie is best.

Salafists of both jihadist and loyalist stripe, e.g. both al Qaeda and the Wahhabis, share basic views on all points but one. Both exhibit fanatical hatred of Shiite Muslims, Sufi Muslims, Jews, Christians, and democracy, and both brutally suppress women. They differ only on whether it is appropriate to carry out jihadist attacks against any enemy near or far now — i.e. to murder Iraqi Shiite children getting candy, people working in the World Trade Center, etc. — or whether to subordinate such efforts for the time being to the political needs of a particular state, i.e. Saudi Arabia.

Now the confused picture that I think I’m getting from the blogosphere from Muslims in America starts making sense. They want me to know that they are Muslim and they abhor violence. So how can I reconcile that with what I see on the news, the events of 9/11/2001, and the continued violent upheaval in the Middle East? “These people,” from whom we expect violence and terrorism, are the enemies of not only American capitalist pigs but also of the Muslim equivalent of ‘southern baptist’ muslims, ‘fundamental baptist’ muslims, and ‘hard-shell baptist’ muslims. (No offense intended to any Baptists or Muslims – just my mind putting this into terms my Texas born and bred mind can understand!)

This underlying Salafist ideology being spread by the Wahhabis is fanatical and murderous, indeed explicitly genocidal. (The president’s “Islamofascist” term is thus perhaps understated — the Italian fascists were horrible, but not genocidal. “IslamoNazi” would be more accurate.)

The picture begins to emerge as I read on about the difference in jihad and fatwa.  And then I read the following:

The direct consequences of such murderous teachings extend to the war in Iraq. In November of 2004, 26 Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia published a call for jihad against the U.S. in Iraq. Because of the high religious status of the clerics within Saudi Arabia, the exhortation was widely interpreted as a fatwa, a religious ruling. Several Saudi suicide bombers and other terrorists captured in Iraq have indicated that it was this fatwa that had turned them to terrorism. Said one: “I hadn’t thought of coming to Iraq, but I had fatwas . . . I read the communiqué of the 26 clerics … .” During the battle for Fallujah in 2004 Saudi Sheikh Abd Al-Muhsin Al-Abikan said to the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, “What is happening in Falluja is the result of such fatwas … [The resistance] is bringing about tragedy and destruction for Iraq, Falluja, and their residents.” Nasser Sulayman al-Amer, one of the 26 signers of the call for jihad, admitted recently at a press conference in Kuwait that he had met with Iraqis on this matter. On November 13 of this year the Iraqi national-security adviser, Mowaffak Rubaie said: “Most of those who blow themselves up in Iraq are Saudi nationals.”

Then the straw that broke the camel’s back (no offense intended to camels)…

Following the controversy over the 26 clerics’ edict the Saudi government retracted it, in a sense. But the only two Saudi officials who released the retraction publicly were two Saudi ambassadors, those to the U.S. and the U.K. And the retractions were issued only in English.

Me thinks they do protesteth too much – and out of both sides of their mouths, no less. So, I will sit back and watch the flaming arrows fly past, and continue to be a little bit paranoid of many of the Muslim faith. But I will do so with the distinct impression that many others of the Muslim faith are (should be) equally paranoid of others professing to be adherents to the “religion of peace.”


February 25, 2006 - Posted by | Life and Ramblings

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