The Contradictions of Victim-Hood
August 21, 2005
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, when trying to
explain world-wide Islamic anger, Muslim commentators often claim that western,
in particular American, foreign policy is imperialistic and anti-Islam.
The periodic video tapes released by Al-Qaeda leaders bemoan the
occupation of Muslim lands by infidels. Before
September 11, Osama Bin-Laden himself talked of "80 years of
humiliation". He is of course
referring to the fall of the Turkish Ottoman Empire after World War I-- an
empire which at its height conquered a large chunk south-eastern Europe and even
. No doubt Islamists like Bin-Laden
fantasize about Islam's fortunes had
Is the Islamic accusation of western imperialism made in
good faith or is it disingenuous? It
is true that Europe and
have greatly interfered in Muslim countries–we can disagree over the reasons
and effects. It is also true that
has supported repressive, authoritarian governments in places such as
. Without trying to justify American foreign policy, there are however, some
glaring contradictions in Muslim claims that the west is imperialistic and
anti-Islam. Islamists seem to be
historically selective and at times show outright historical amnesia, when they
talk of Islam being the victim of western imperialism.
Islamists conveniently forget Islam's own imperial past and present
Just before his death in 632, Islam's founder, Mohammad,
had engaged in what today would be ethnic -cleansing when he ended Jewish and
Christian existence in the
. After Mohammad's death, his fellow Arab Muslims continued his war against
non-Muslims. The Arabs, fueled by Islam and a lust for power and land, launched
a stunningly successful but completely unprovoked war of aggression against the
Persian and the Byzantine empires. These
early victims of Islamic conquest simply had no idea what hit them or why.
were quickly overrun. Eastern Asia,
, and then
were also attacked. Within 30 years
after Mohammad's death in 632 AD, the Arab Muslims had violently carved out a
huge empire stretching from North Africa to the
A few decades later, most of
was swallowed up.
barely survived due to Charles Martel's critical victory over the invading
in the 730s.
Politically correct historians always talk of this
"spread of Islam" as if it was a peaceful, gradual process.
This is a gross distortion since the facts are clear.
The Arab Muslim Empire was like any other imperial empire—it was
created by mass killing, rape, pillage, national humiliation for the conquered
peoples and the bloody replacement of existing ruling classes by an Arab Muslim
elite. In short, Islam was largely
established by war and Arab imperialism. To
this day, Muslims nostalgically rue the collapse of the caliphate, when a single
ruler, acting as God's Regent, ruled over an Islamic super-state, powerful
enough to confront any infidel nation. For
centuries, the Islamic Caliphate run from
did exactly that.
When Bin Laden laments the fall of the
, he longs for the return of Islamic imperialism and military power–a power
that can be used to further spread Islam and establish Islamic law.
When mullahs in
give their Friday sermons, along with the standard speeches claiming
victim-hood, there is a sub-text, which glorifies the idea that Islam will
gradually establish politically itself in the host countries.
Hard line fundamentalist Islamic groups, especially in
, make full use of western free-speech and are being very honest when they say
they seek the creation of Islamic law in the west.
Western governments should be taking note and not complacently dismissing
these groups as a few extremists. Lastly,
and perhaps most sinister of all, is the Saudi government's financing of
extremist Wahhabi Islam all over the
world, by disseminating literature and constructing mosques.
All of these Islamic activities, aimed at making Islam a political power
in the west, seem to fall under the news radar.
Islamists believe it is Islam's right to advance in non-Muslim countries
but wail loudly at any real or perceived outside interference in Muslim affairs.
Therefore, when Islamists and politically correct western
historians discuss western interference in Muslim countries, a balance is needed
and Islam's own imperial character and ambitions must be openly and honestly
discussed. Just as we should condemn
unjustified aggression by the west, we need to examine Islam's past and present
political ambitions. Islam must be
held to the same standard and not a culturally relative lower standard.