Islamic perspective
Dawoodi Bohras - Islamic perspective

American aggression against Iraq - who is the terrorist?

The aggression against Iraq by President Bush of America and Prime Minister Blair of the U.K. has attracted worldwide condemnation and rightly so. The forces of these two countries are ruthlessly bombarding Iraq.

Even market places and civilian buildings have not been spared - probably deliberately targeted. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in last two weeks. More they (USA and U.K.) get frustrated more ruthlessly they bomb particularly Baghdad. And ironically now it is Bush and Blair who are villains and President Saddam Hussain who is a hero.

This raises one question - who is greater terrorist - Osama bin Laden or Bush and Blair? When the New York twin towers were attacked on 9/11 the world media raised hell and condemned not only bin Laden (which would have been justified) but Islam itself and equated Islam with terrorism. There were host of articles in leading news papers and magazines round the world condemning Islam as responsible for terrorism and that Islam is a violent religion which urges upon its followers to wage jihad.

Now that President Bush is committing all these crimes against humanity in the name of 'liberating Iraq' who shall we blame for it? Osama bin Laden was of course an individual, a head of al-Qaida, an organisation floated by Osama himself, and not elected by any people or Muslims of the world or any country, for that matter. Even then American media wrote as if all Muslims were responsible for the crime committed by Osama.

Can the crimes against humanity being committed by Bush - an elected representative of USA - on the people of Iraq be blamed on Christianity since he invokes Christianity, like Osama who invoked Islam for the crime he committed against three thousand or so people working in those towers. Bush is also invoking Christianity but organising Christian prayers in White House or conducting the Bible study circles and invoking God time and again?

No, clear no. Christianity or Christians are in no way responsible for what Bush is doing. Like Osama, Bush himself alone is responsible for his crimes. His greed for oil makes him shed pints of human blood. And, let us make no mistake, it is not oil alone. He is being backed in his crimes by scores of American multi-nationals, apart from Israel, are also backing this aggression against the innocent people of Iraq. The military-industrial complex is well known for its greed for money and this formidable combination in the USA keeps war machinery going in one part of the third world or the other so that it can make tonnes of money. The Zionists of Israel also are powerful block urging American ruling establishment to destroy the Arab countries around them so that it can fulfill its expansionist dreams.

It is well known that whenever vested interests want to grab power or someone elses wealth or property they invoke God on their side and create religious sanctions to legitimise their misdeeds. Laden and Bush-Blair are no different in this respect. If one examines the terminology being used by Bush-Blair it makes things abundantly clear.

Bush makes it out as if he is doing all this to 'liberate' Iraq from a dictator. Mr. Blair also recently said when confronted by some for killing innocent civilians said that one had to pay this price for ridding this world of dictators. If such wars are not fought, the world, according to Bush and Blair will be full of dictators. What an excuse for war. As if America has not supported dictators in Asia, Africa and Latin America all these years.

These dictators have committed worst crimes against their people with full support of American ruling establishment for years during cold war. Mr. Blair is also fully aware of all this. And yet today America wants to project itself as champion of Iraq's liberation by getting it rid of Saddam Husain.

America has been demanding for years now that Iraq be disarmed and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) be destroyed. Now this war of aggression has clearly shown who possesses weapons of mass destruction Iraq or America? America is the only nation in possession of huge piles of WMD, no one else. It can destroy the world several times over. It has used these weapons in several countries in killing innocent people. In Hiroshima-Nagasaki it killed hundreds of thousands of people, in Vietnam it killed unarmed peasants working in their fields. For what? To destroy communism.

What kind of liberty it wants - liberty for people or liberty for American ruling establishment to loot and exploit poorer nations? However, though American ruling establishments have been using rhetoric of freedom only to establish their hegemony all over the world. To retain this hegemony it can destroy all those who come in its way. As far as America is concerned the words like freedom, liberty, human rights and so on are nothing but empty rhetoric. Any person of common sense knows this.

As for WMD America has been insisting on this for last 13 years. Who does not know that America had supplied technology to Iraq to manufacture poisonous gases so that these weapons could be used against Iran to destroy Khomeini's revolution. It was American ruling establishment, which wanted to use Iraq to destroy Islamic revolution in Iran. It is for this reason that Bush is so sure that Iraq posses WMD. USA itself had supplied this technology for its own selfish ends.

Iraq did try to develop nuclear capability for manufacturing weapons. But much before it could do so Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear plant through air raid. It was also an act of great aggression but USA allowed it and it allowed it with impunity. Unfortunately no other country condemned it, not even the Arab countries.

In the Arab countries all monarchs and Sheikhs who suppress democracy in these countries have been friends of American rulers as they serve American interests in a most servile way. America has launched its war of aggression from Kuwait and without support from Kuwait and without use of Kuwait territory it could not have launched this aggression against Iraq. Who is ruling over Iraq? Is the Sheikh of Kuwait not a dictator? Why then America so keen to support the ruling Sheikh in Kuwait? It is greatly handicapped since Turkey's Parliament did not allow USA to land its army in Turkey and launch invasion against Iraq from Turkey. Now Powel is on the visit to Turkey to persuade its rulers to allow American army to invade Northern Iraq.

Thus most of the Islamic countries do not have democracy today thanks to US support for dictators in Islamic countries. And in Iraq they want to establish 'democracy' and want to 'liberate' people of Iraq. US did not have time to study the social and political history of Iraq. People of Iraq may or may not like Saddam but they do love their country, their nation. They will not allow outside aggressors to 'liberate' them.

It is heartening to note that unlike the cold war era people cannot be easily deceived now by deceptive rhetoric. The US and U.K. ruling establishments can no longer deceive people of their own countries by this deceptive rhetoric of 'democratic values' and 'liberating' people of 'corrupt and ruthless dictatorship'. People today can easily understand the real intent of aggressors and their naked interests. In fact the American aggression against Iraq is any time worse than 19th century colonial invasions of European countries.

Earlier the Christian church used to remain silent as USA often used anti-Communist rhetoric to invade other countries. This time in the absence of any communist power USA cannot deceive Christian Church to justify its aggression against Iraq. The Churches, both Catholic and Protestant, did not buy American position and have protested, in most cases, vehemently, against war against Iraq. The Pope appealed to his followers throughout world to fast on a particular day to protest aggression against Iraq. The World Council of Churches has also issued a strongly worded statement against the USA for its war against Iraq. Many Catholics in Latin America are also strongly condemning the US for launching aggression against Iraq. Some activists of these churches even tried to appeal for forming human shield in Iraq against American bombing.

Such an act of solidarity by the Christian Churches is a matter of great significance and must be enthusiastically welcome by all concerned. Bush's Christian rhetoric thus cannot deceive anyone. God is being invoked by Bush (the American soldiers have been asked to pray every day and even send their prayers to White House as if they are fighting a 'just' war and God is on their side. God cannot be on the side of those who kill innocent civilians who have nothing to do with either Bush' vested interests or Saddam's political designs. These innocent people want to live in peace.

Christ is considered the prince of peace and he cannot be on the side of aggressors who kill innocent people ruthlessly even though they may take his name thousand times. Christ always talked of peace and was always on the side of the oppressed. According to the Bible the meek shall inherit the earth. The Qur'am also says the same thing in 28:5. Thus the Church is on the side of the poor and weak and so is the Qur'an. It is only the vested interests and the powerful are on the side of Bush and Blair, none else.

We also have to reflect deeply about the way our democracies are functioning. Democracy tends to become pocket borough of the rich and the powerful. They can maneuver it quite successfully. The people of America, at least a large number of them, are against the war in Iraq. There have been huge demonstrations against war in New York, Washington and Los Angeles and so many other cities of America. Similarly there were massive protests against war in London and other cities of U.K. and yet the rulers in USA and UK went ahead with war dismissing these protests with contempt. Not only this these powerful individuals manipulate media and propagate lies and half -truths to legitimise their aggression against another country.

It is ironical that these very people criticise those countries, which lack democracy. America has declared war ostensibly to eliminate the dictator Saddam and gift people of Iraq 'democracy' so that they can enjoy 'freedom'. And Bush is even prepared to kill hundreds of innocent citizens of Iraq so that the people of Iraq can enjoy 'freedom and democracy'. It is also a matter to be reflected upon that due to such aggressive invasion against other countries the quality of democracy in USA is being eroded.

Dissent is no more tolerated by the Bush administration. While Bush is keen to gift freedom to the people of Iraq, he is unhesitatingly suppressing freedom at home. The police is pouncing upon the demonstrators against war and those journalists who do not agree with the analysis of war situation in Iraq are loosing their employment. The case of Mr. Peter Arnett, a veteran war reporter with the NBC T.V. has received enough attention worldwide. Since Mr. Arnett appeared on Baghdad T.V. and gave opinion that the war is not going as planned by the USA and its allies, lost his job.

It clearly indicates that democratic freedoms are under attack in USA. It has never happened before. After the terrorist attack on twin towers in New York democratic values have come under serious challenge. Of course it is for the people of America to struggle against such violations of democracy in their own country. They should not, under any circumstances allow McCarthian era to return.

It is difficult to predict the outcome of war in Iraq at this stage. America has terrible superiority of arms over Iraq. Iraq has been virtually disarmed over last one decade. A few weeks before war it was compelled to destroy its Samoud missiles having more than 150 kms range. It is virtually fighting against most powerful allies armed to teeth without arms. It now possesses only some outdated small arms.

It is irony of the situation that the country which possess most dreadful arms of mass destruction is considered 'champion of world freedom' and Iraq which hardly possessed any arms was being pressurised by the whole world to disarm and disclose all its weapons of mass destruction. In the region if any country possesses WMD it is Israel. Israel possesses all sorts of weapons including nuclear weapons. But since it is faithful ally of USA and guards its interests in the region, it is no threat to world security. According to American rule, those who threaten American interests are 'threat' to world security.

Everyone knows the world has totally skewed structure and everyone bows before power and minds his interests. Principles and values are only to be invoked by the weak. The powerful has to dismiss such a discourse. America also uses human rights rhetoric when it comes to third world countries. But there too, if the regime is US friendly ths discourse can be dispensed with.


We would now like to turn our attention to the role of Islamic countries in this whole affair. There too Islamic rhetoric is used by vested interests to protect themselves. This Islamic rhetoric is, of course, meant for Muslim masses. The most obvious rhetoric used is of 'ummah'. Muslim ummah is supposed to be united like rock and stand up to all crises. However, such unity of ummah is never to be seen from earliest part of Islamic history. Muslim ummah split into various interest or sectarian groups with few years of Holy Prophet's death.

Such unity is no where to be seen since that early period. Today the ummah is as much divided with no signs of ever taking a united stand on any issue. On aggression against Iraq too Muslim countries are deeply divided. Unfortunately Kuwaiti rulers are more than eager to provide all facilities to the US and its allies to launch aggression from its territory. The Allied troops were first massed in Kuwait and all the provisions for the troops are also being supplied from there. Thus Kuwait is the lifeline for the Allied forces for their war against Iraq.

Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt also are amongst the supporters of the USA in the region. Though they are not actively helping the US they are all silent spectators. They are not even protesting, as it will harm their interests. Pakistan has also been cowed down and its military rulers are cooperating with the US. They are afraid of earning wrath of US masters. Syria is of course protesting and will invite wrath of America.

Of course the Muslim masses in these countries are seething with rage and are eager to help Iraq. In some countries like Pakistan Muslims are staging massive demonstrations under the leadership of Ulama. However, it is possible to demonstrate in Pakistan but people in other countries are not that lucky. In Saudi Arabia for example, though there is no less anger against America but they cannot even demonstrate and vent their spleen. The accumulated anger can have disastrous consequences.

It is also important to note that such acts of imperialist aggression that lead to terrorism in the Muslim world. There are two things, which are mainly responsible for promoting terrorism: acts of aggression against Muslim countries and suppression of democratic freedoms with the help of authoritarian rulers ready to align with the US.

Unfortunately Osama bin Laden's acts of terrorism thus find justification in the eyes of Muslims due to such acts of aggression on the part of US. Many people including Hasni Mubarak, President of Egypt are now suggesting that there will be many more Osamas now in the Islamic world. This will in turn be blamed on Islam and 'clash of civilisation' theory will find even more acceptability in the western world.

The technological progress has enabled nations like the USA, which want to dominate the world, to develop weapons of mass destruction and kill hundreds of thousands of people across the world. There is nothing to be proud of to be in 21st century. Even Chengez Khans of the medieval world could not have killed as many people as countries like USA are killing in wars today. In the two world wars in 20th century millions of people were killed because of this killer technology. We should feel ashamed that despite so much progress of science we have not been able to suppress our desire to rule or dominate over others at any cost. We have hardly succeeded in refining our aggressive instinct.

It is here that we need value based approach to our problems. Science without human values can be an unmitigated desire. From Hitler's Germany to Hiroshima to Vietnam to Iraq it has been long history of this unmitigated disaster. Unfortunately most of these people were killed in the name of saving democracy and freedom.

All religions of the world can be great boon for humanity if their leaders do not ally with vested interest as they have done in the past and stand by spiritual values like compassion and mitigating suffering. Like Buddhism and Christianity, Islam too, lays great emphasis on compassion and justice. The religious leaders across the world should come together to fight against mass killings by powerful nations of the world by invoking hollow words like freedom and democracy.

It is highly gratifying that religious leaders have given a call to protest against American designs in Iraq. Some of them even proposed human shield against ruthless American bombing. Unfortunately many Muslim religious leaders - though not all - are not showing, enough courage to give a call to resist American aggression in Iraq. Islam is a great religion, which inspires people to fight against injustice, though not necessarily violently. We must use the concept of non-violent struggle to fight against injustices all over the world. It is the only way to fight terrorism too.

If Muslim religious leaders take initiative to promote non-violent resistance against such acts of aggression by USA and its allies, it will be a great service to humanity. It will save hundreds of innocent lives in future. If there is no such non-violent resistance which needs tremendous courage, likes of Osama will the bill again causing tremendous suffering to the people. We must impress on Muslims that taking innocent lives is an un-Islamic act (5:32). Also, a Muslim has to act with wisdom (Allah is Hakim) and has to suppress his/her anger (3:134). Suppressing anger, however, does not mean compromising with injustice but to elevate it to higher form and combining it with wisdom and using on-violent means so as to save human lives and minimise human suffering while fighting against injustices.

Let us hope our religious leaders would not issue fatwas resulting even in more human suffering and would give creative lead to struggle against injustices being inflicted on Muslim world by America in its arrogance of power. In the Qur'anic language America is resorting to istikbar and Allah brings downfall of all mustakbirin (arrogant rulers drunk with power) and this downfall can be hastened by human agents acting with wisdom.