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Things Non-Offensive to Islam

Paolo Bassi
2006/03/13

March 2006From late 2005 through early 2006, there were deadly worldwide riots over cartoons of Islam's founder, Mohammad, published by a Danish Paper, the Jyllands-Posten (later reprinted by other European papers to show their support for free speech). Once the protests became global, helped along by some skillful incitement by Danish Imams who traveled to the Middle East , their sheer scale, anger and violence threatened to become uncontrollable. This apparent anger was either genuine, manipulated or both. Assuming that the protests were based largely on genuinely felt religious anger, it is then necessary and reasonable to ask what acts, done in the name of Islam or by Muslims, do not offend Muslims or at least not enough to trigger protests.

On September 11, 2001, young radical Islamists some even educated in the West acting in the name of Islam, murdered 3,000 people in New York and Washington DC . Many more than this number have been killed by terrorism around the world before and since 9-11, but it was the spectacularly evil tactic of using captured planes full of humans as bombs to kill even more people that made 9-11 so harrowing. No terrorist group had ever done such a callous act. There was immediate, unconditional condemnation of the attacks by America 's allies, even by young Iranians. The Muslim world in general was more equivocal. Surely Muslims, in whose religion's name, 9-11 was committed, should have been the most outraged. Far from mass protests and unequivocal condemnation of 9-11, many in the Arab press insinuated that the attacks were an immoral American-Israeli plot to justify global war on Islam. The claims of Islam's universal humanism were found wanting after 9-11.

The arrogant and unjustified Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003, has not only killed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, but has also unleashed an imported Islamist jihad led by men like the Jordanian, Al Zarqawi. Since the American military cannot be beaten in the filed, these Islamists have regularly taken both Iraqi and foreign hostages. Some of these hostages have been beheaded in the most grotesque fashion with their captors chanting "God is great" while filming the executions. Some of those beheaded were peace activists or working with NGOs with no connection to the British or American Governments. Even for Margaret Hassan, a women married to an Iraqi and who had devoted her life to Iraq 's children, there was no mercy from her Islamist executioners. Equally, if not more, disturbing is that there were no mass protests at these beheadings, no effigies of Al Zarqawi burnt by outraged Muslims or protests outside Jordanian embassies. Al-Jazeerah, while coming under intense criticism from the US , at least had the decency to report these executions and was a lone voice in bringing them to the attention of Arab populations. There have been many other such outrages. In early 2006, Christian schoolgirls on their way to school were beheaded by Islamists in Indonesia , for no other reason but their faith. Again, there was not even a murmur of disgust.

 

In 2004 Muslim Arab (or at least regarding themselves as such) militias, known as the "Janjaweed", began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against impoverished black Muslims in the Darfur region of western Sudan . Even though the victims were mostly Muslim, the critical fact is that they were black and did not accept the veneer of arabism as the northern "arabized" Sudanese had. The unofficial war against Darfur's blacks was carried out with the full knowledge and blessing of Sudan 's Islamist Government in fact the Arab militias received military aid from Khartoum . The Sudanese Government however, cleverly kept enough of a distance from the militias to enable a sort of deniability of responsibility. The ethnic cleansing of the black Sudanese in Darfur is a culmination of years of officially sanctioned racial oppression and land grabbing by the dominant northern Arabs. Black Sudanese, even if Muslim, are simply regarded as inferior by the northern Arabs, who control the economy, government and army.

In southern Sudan , the situation is more complex since the blacks there are largely Christian or animists and so face both racial and religious discrimination by the north. In 1983, after a rebellion in the south, the Sudanese Islamist government declared a jihad against these southern black Christians. The civil war that ensued has resulted in the death or displacement of about 2 million black non-Muslims. Unable to militarily defeat the Christian south and wishing to access the oil there, the Sudanese Government, under American diplomatic pressure, has recently reached a tentative peace agreement. As part of their racial and religious war against the southern black Christians, the northern Arabs also forced blacks into slavery. This modern slave trade has proved quite profitable for the slave traders since they often receive ransom money from western aid organizations for each slave freed. For those who doubt Islam's role in supporting slavery, one need only open the Koran or the Hadith (the words and deeds of Mohammad), which recognize the master-slave relationship and expressly allow the enslavement of non-Muslims. This extends to sexual relationships also, for although the Koran allows a maximum of four wives, the number of concubines permitted to Muslim men is unlimited. The Koran does encourage the humane treatment of slaves, but when have been fetters of kindness been better then those of iron?

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