Leaving Islam





Has Islam been hijacked? The roots and spread of radical Islam


A talk delivered by  Jamal Hasan at Rutgers University on March 5, 2004



It is good to hear from you. I am glad to know you were one of the participants at the Rutgers University conference.

Like you, many of us, expatriate Bangladeshis whowere growing up in the seventies were left-leaning progressives who saw US imperialism as the only evil on earth. Bangladeshi left in the post indepence period of 1972-1975 were mainly pro-Moscow and pro-Peking. Many pro-Moscow lefties were grateful and proud of the Soviet Union for her supporting a just cause of Bangladesh indepence. The pro-Moscow left got a strong point to crtique US imperialism because USA (the Nixon-Kissinger group) supported the genocidal brutal junta of General Yahya Khan and its cohort, the killer Islamic fundamentalists- Jamat-i-Islami and al-Badr. I mentioned a few times the term "good cholesterol" which I meant "good fundamentalists". I clarified in the conference there was no such thing as good fundamentalists. To thwart Soviet style communism, USA befriended Jamaatis of Pakistan occupied Bangladesh in 1971, and later on patronized the predecessors of Talibans of Afghanistan in the early eighties. My position regarding this unethical polcy was crystal clear in the conference, I suppose.

Now, going back to pro-Mosow left in Bangladesh. Most of them were blind supporters of Kremlin policy. Leonid Brezhnev was their legal guardian and mentor. They were very enthusiastic to bring Soviet hegemony on Bangladesh soil. They befriended the founding father of Bangladesh, the pro-West secular democratic leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had extraordinary popularity and even during the time of crisis he could win any election. The Moscow lobby successfully cultivated relationship with Sheikh's party Awami League. It is widely believed that main force behind Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's dismantling of all political parties, banning free press and establishment of a single party called Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BKSAL) was the same Moscow lobby. USA at the time  was very close with al-Qaeda and Taliban's roots, that is Saudi-Pakistani axis. In 1975 when a group of army officers with close ties to this axis killed Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members, USA was not unhappy probably. Interestingly none of the pro-Moscow leadership died during the coup. In a sense the Soviet lobby sank along with its ally secular nationalist force. After 1975, the Islamization in Bangladesh got the biggest boost. Saudi money was pouring in, so came Western aid. Today, Bangladesh in enough Islamized. But there is hope. The tragedy of September 11 changed the whole dynamics. Yesterday's friends became today's enemy. The United States realized the hard way that the Islamists can never be friends of freedom and secularism.

USA made many mistakes while this superpower was combating the evil of communism. I do not disagree with that notion. But in order to prove that point, we should not undermine or gloss over the danger of Soviet hegemony and the constant human rights violation that was going on behind the iron curtain for more than half a century. Left forces in the Western world, unfortunately, fail to see the devastating impact comes to individual liberty when a totalitarian communist regime comes into power. Today, Islamism has taken the place of communism. And people coming from Islamic autocracy can only say how bitter they feel about Islamism. Western left-leaning people who may have high idea about global human rights can hardly understand that like communism of yesteryear, Islamism comes to power only to continue to subjugate masses forever.

No country on earth has perfect human rights record. The degree of human rights violation may vary. In a sense no body is perfect and the earth is not simply black and white. The people who fled the tyranny of Islamism bear bitter feelings toward Islam. Ali Sina, a Iranian born native has tremendous bitterness towards Islamic rule of governance. His site Faith Freedom International covers many aspect of Islamic tyranny not only to educate the readers who are Muslims, it is also meant to educate Western audience as well.

My final conclusion is USA, although a late comer, made a notable start to combat the evil of global Islamism. Coming from a society where Islamic fascism has made a good headway, I can confiently say that radical Islam is the greatest threat to mankind.

Thank you for listening.

Sincerely yours,

Jamal Hasan


From: A Participant

Subject: Rutgers University follow up

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2004 17:37:53 EST

Dear Mr. Hasan,

There are many things of which I would like to clarify about the March 5th talk you gave at Rutgers University.

The first refers back to the question I asked about Western imperialism ands its role of fueling the fire of fanatical Islam. We seemed to both agree that it did.  The point where we differ is supporting the Iraq war.  If you remember a fellow student asked a very good question regarding not only the baselines of the Iraq war, but the affect it will have on spreading radical Islam.  His direct question of "will it help or hinder the spread of radical Islam" was not answered by either of you.  I think this was so because you know the answer, and it is contrary to your stated beliefs of fighting radical Islam.  Unless of course you believe that radical Islam can in fact be defeated militarily, this of course, I hope both of us can agree, is obscene.  It would result is massive collective punishment, racism, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost (and of course a force without ulterior motives to wage this barbaric war).

I hope we can come to agreement that what we have now is a force attempting to defeat radical Islam militarily with very specific and well documented ulterior motives. As someone with a human rights background such as yourself I am sure you are well aware of the background of gross human rights violations and terrorism on the international scale of this force. They did not just "turn their back" on progressive democratic forces but actively participated in the murder, torture, and terrorism directed at progressive civil society from the Middle East to Latin America and throughout the Global South.  This force of course being the West, extensively the US.

This is why scholars and critics of Western imperialism like myself say it is impossible to have a "war on terror" as it is being led today.

The question which I would like to pose to you: What is a greater threat to humanity, US hegemony or radical Islam?

Both I hope we can agree have the goals of an unjust society and are therefore negative.  However, if we are to agree that Western imperialism is the true fuel to the fire of radical Islam (and has directly supported it in the past) than our efforts should be directed towards global human rights, economic justice, and international law.  Do you agree? We should be working to end the occupation of Palestine, ending wars like the one in Iraq, the us arms trade to human rights violators such as Turkey and to make a truly global struggle against imperialism and economic injustice.

Then and only then can we rationally stop radical Islam. There is nothing wrong with criticizing Islam and there is plenty of need for that, but when you do this disproportionately or in the total absence of criticizing imperialism, you are only doing imperialism a favor and are also dumping fuel on the fire of radical Islam.

Allowing yourself to be used by the racist right wing(faithfreedom.org) is not the way to fight your battle, even if it is just against Islam. The other speaker is being used a fellow at the "foundation for defense of democracies" on which several terrorists involved in the slaughters in central america (Jean Kirkpatrick) are on the executive board of directors and serve as advisors.

I know you agree that a person who lost their life to Islamic terrorism is not worth more than a person who lost their lives to terrorism serving the interests of US hegemony such as in Latin America.

Thank you for your interest and time and I look forward to your response.

-A participant







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