By Rachel Eliasi Kohan, New York (January 13, 2015)
Abstract: Global resurgence of violent Islamic fundamentalism can only be circumvented with full comprehension and acknowledgment of what has historically gone wrong, and the educational achievements, socio-economic empowerment, indigenous political progress, and blind justice leading to equality in the Muslim countries.
cartoon by Payam Borumand, Shargh daily
The most recent despicable slaying of seventeen individuals in Paris, committed by the hideous assassins-those few disenfranchised [Sunni Muslim] culprits-has once again propelled the resurgence of Islamic radical fundamentalism, i.e., the ultra-orthodox Islamic puritanism as followed by the Boko Haram, ISIS, al Qaeda, or the Taliban, to the front of the global discourse. In response, humanity as a whole and with one voice must strongly deplore such heinous terroristic acts, and help bring such criminals to expedited justice. It is also inextricably inevitable that the international community must proactively coordinate efforts to prevent such terrorist acts from occurring again anywhere. Easier said than done, this requires not only dealing with the effects and the aftermaths of such incidents, but far more consequentially, the full understanding of the historical causes that have led to the prolific manifestation of such catastrophic acts in recent juncture.
Aspiring to tackle the above impasse of the current century, and while confessedly there is no magic wand to miraculously resolve it entirely overnight, there are, nonetheless, key elements of perpetrating such aliments that we must decisively deal with, if we genuinely hope to avoid its further propagations. Toward that end, we must also scrupulously examine the historical and more contemporary colonial and post-colonial causes that have exacerbated the Islamic fundamentalism in the past few decades. Notwithstanding, I refer readers to my recent article on Divine Religion or Secular Humanism?
Islam, as conceived by Mohamad in the Arabian Peninsula 1,400 years ago, borrowed heavily from the old Testament, and as it re-narrated these same fables in Arabian mindset and frameworks of time; this is self-evident from many chapters and verses in the Quran that are similar to the same in the Torah.
Unlike Christianity-the faith initially believed by the oppressed on the societal margins of Palestine, that only became politicized as the tool for the rulers and evangelized three hundred years thereafter by the Roman Emperors, and Judaism that was never proselytized as it only applied to the twelve Jewish tribes rather exclusively, it was clearly Islam since its epoch, from the migration point of Mohamad from Mecca to Medina (aka Yasreb), that it served as the combined politicized and proselytized doctrine rather aggressively and militarily. In fact, upon closer scrutiny of the chapters and verses in the Quran [revealed] in Mecca for the first thirteen years after Mohamad declared himself to be the prophet of Allah amongst his own tribe of Quaraish, one could discern them to be conciliatory, flexible, advisory, inconsequential, and quasi-compassionately merciful. The tone of the chapters and verses revealed later in Medina for the last ten years before Mohamad died changes punitively to encompass wrath, rage, threats, war, revenge, vengeance, provocation, warnings, and extremely harsh rhetoric for the afterlife. It is this latter Islamic indoctrination when combined with prior tribal Arab rituals, altercations and raids on the caravans and other tribes, that has by and large driven Islam in less than one hundred years across Asia, North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula and Southern Europe; Southern Europe bore nearly 800 years of Muslim dominations by the Moors before it again reverted to Catholicism. In fact, the arrival and intrusion of European catholic crusaders and later evangelical missionaries and diplomatic emissaries in southwest Asia, namely, in Palestine/Levant and then Persia (aka Iran) is traced back to post Magna Carta era of 1215. As Europe struggled to free itself of the Islamic domination circa 800-1300, the European instigation of the orient must have in part led to the all-out invasion of the Moghuls, Chenghiz Khan et al, spanning from the central Asian steppes as they in essence swept across Persia to Eastern Europe like a lightning. This was followed by the west bound Turkic (Altaic) migrations, settlements and political dominations of Agh-ghoyoun-lou and Ghara-ghoyoun-lou tribes in northwestern Iran in the 13th century C.E.
Although all Muslim adhere to 99% religious commonalities, the Shiite-Sunni schism was conceived right after the death of Mohamad in that a righteous minority represented by his blood relatives-his daughter Fatima and her husband-wanted Ali his cousin/son-in-law, the youngest and the first Muslim convert apostle to succeed him; nonetheless, the majority opined in favor of the eldest apostle and Mohamad’s last father-law Abu-Bakr, to succeed him. Ali was finally appointed two decades later as the Fourth Rashidun Caliphs, preceded by Caliphs Omer and Osman. The Shiite divisiveness, since then believing Ali had to have become the first caliph to be followed by his eleven kin in succession, remained a minor path mostly in the Levant until in the 14th century when it was mixed with the Persian identity idealism, taking soon root in Persia to battle out the Arab and later the Ottoman Sunni hegemonies. The British Shirley brothers and the Vatican emissaries to the Safavid Dynasty in the late 15th century led to not only rapid conversion of mostly Sunni Persians into Shiism, but that it also dwindled the respectable Christian (Armenian/Assyrian), Jewish, and Zoroastrian communities of Iran. It was also through such commissions that the Iranian armies of the time were organized according to European military system and given canons and rifles five hundred years ago. The Iranians now mass converted into Shiism with many passion plays and rituals imposed on them by Catholicism, fought many skirmishes against the diehard Sunni Ottomans as typified in the battle of Chalderon. Such battles, some won, some lost, in essence salvaged the territorial integrity of Persia in that the Ottomans conquered and ruled most Arabian and North African territories for nearly five hundred years but never spent a day in the Persian heartland. In fact, the last incursion of the crusaders into Jerusalem where they let flow the Jewish and Muslim blood baths, and the Spanish inquisitions coincided with the emergence of the Ottoman Caliphate representing the Islamic world. The Xenophobic European leaders led by the Papal States negotiated military alliances with the new Shiite majority Safavid dynasty to open up a major eastern military front against the Ottomans. The eastern front was instrumental in not allowing the Ottoman forces advance beyond the eastern gate of Vienna but to mostly retreat back to the Asiatic side of today’s Turkey. In retrospect, Europe owes it immensely to the Persian Shiites of the Safavid era, as it had otherwise dissolved the second round into the Islamic empire. Many Europeans sill keep a close xenophobic eye on the rapidly growing Muslim immigrant demographics from their former colonies that when considered with the population of Turkey, it constitutes up to 25% of the European population. Again, we must fully understand such Islamic xenophobia still persists today in European and increasingly the American psyche in that they consider themselves to follow the Judeo-Christian values and thus perceive Islam as contradictory. Most Muslims in the west are well educated, affluent and secular. In reality however, all three Abrahamic monotheistic religions including Islam, are in essence anchored on the same set of values and principles, and with the same inadequacies and flaws.
The Shiites comprised of up to 20% of the 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide, is primarily of Jafari (12 Imams after Mohammad, the last one still alive in occultationto return), but also of Ismaili, Zaidi and other subsects. They majority of the populations of Iran, Iraq, Azarbaijan, Kuwait, and Bahrain are Shiites; they also constitute major minority communities in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc.; however, they have little to no civil and constitutional rights when compared to ruling Sunnis in these latter countries.
It in fact, the pillars of hegemonic colonization and subjugation of the orients for siphoning away their natural and economic resources from, or imposing their commodities into south/western Asia and north Africa in particular, were laid out by the Russian Tsars, and the occidental British and French kings/queens in the 14-19th centuries and with the help of Christian missionaries. Despite Europe having stalled in the black ages when the Islamic world enjoyed much progress for the millennium 600-1600, the era of enlightenment and renaissance in Europe coincided with the inward mysticism and socio-political regressions in the Islamic east from the 14th century, C.E., onward.
The Sunnis, comprised of 80% of the Muslims, is further divided according differences in Juris prudence and interpretation thereto into four sub-sects: Hanbalism, Hanafism, Malikism and Shafi’ism. Hanbalism became the foundation for Salafi Wahhabism of the early 18th century in Najd of the Arabian Peninsula; the peninsula was only called Saudi Arabia a bit more than one hundred years ago, when the alliance of Abd-al Wahab and Mohammad bin Saud laid the foundation for self-ascendance of the Saudi Kingdom in 1932. The critical role of British colonist agents as T. E. Lawrence among others who were sympathetic to major Salafi elements in the Arabian Peninsula of the 19th century, and wanted to amplify the most radical Wahhabism against the Shiites now represented by the non-Arab Persians as well instigating against the Ottomans to bring their house down, cannot be sufficiently stressed. This paved the way for Anglo-American oil and gas consortiums that sill meddle in every internal affairs in the region. As odd bedfellows as they seem, the Russian and French colonialists and later the Americans post World War II, were accomplices for such expeditions to install undemocratic rulers in order to exploit natural resources as oil and gas by the western conglomerates.
According to independent scholars and verifiable citations, and with a current surplus of nearly 400 billion dollars, the Saudi Arabian royal Kingdom has spent well over 100 billion dollars abroad within the past few decades alone, in order to propagate their state official Wahhabism; this has in turn led to the training of massive number of devout radicals who resort to any subversive and overt instigating insinuations to drive the Saudi agenda. In fact and as the host of the two holiest Muslim cities of Mecca and medina, Saudi Arabian Kingdom family of 60,000 and their several hundred thousand cronies and lackeys have heavily invested in propagating their radical ideologies and use any means necessary to eliminate or marginalize the infidels in the region and the world. The global massive distribution of the Qurans and other religious paraphernalia in their financed Madrasahs, the Quranic schools where the holly book is only a cover to indoctrinate radical Muslims-the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc. of the past nearly forty years--is only one manifestation of such Saudi Jihadism. Paradoxically, all such projects have been carried out with the blessing and at times participations by the west including the U.S. administration in order to battle out the Russian expansive aggressions and communism (remember the green Islamic belt south of the Soviet Union from northern India to Constantinople of the 60’s and 70’s) at one juncture, or to deter socio-economic and political and nationalist movements on other junctures.
According to Wahhabi Mufti edicts, not only all infidels and non-Muslims, but far more consequentially the other Sunni and particularly Shiite sects are idlers and must be annihilated. The Saudi Kingdom theologians extract such conniving and cowardly ideology from the most radical intersections of Mohamad’s daily battles and excursions that he inflicted on others, especially the Jewish tribes, in the latter part of his life in Medina. Mohammad led twenty seven wars (ghazavat) himself and commanded his generals wage additional forty three wars in the last ten years of his life. The total annihilation of four Jewish tribes when their wealth was confiscated, their women and children were sex enslaved by Mohamad and distributed among his Ansar and Muhajeroun warriors, and as they were promised martyrdom and the reward of huris/concubines, male and female in paradise.; the Jewish men were killed, over a thousand of them from two major tribes of Khazraj and Bani Quraitheh in on one afternoon alone, only scratches the surface of Medina driven Islamic calamity of provocations, aggregations while adhering “you are either with us or against us.” So, for those apologists who consider Islam to be the religion of “peace” and not unequivocal utter submissions, it all depends whether one would selectively believe the Mecca revealed chapters of the book and Mohamad’s life as most Shiites believe in it, or the Medina revealed chapters of the book and Mohamad’s latter part of life as the Saudi Wahhabism adheres to.
And then it daunts on you as to why almost all terroristic activities of the past few decades, and only typified by France episodes and September 11 crimes, were all committed by the Wahhabi Islamists sponsored ideologically and financially by Saudi Arabia. One could only yearn that with the lowering of the cost of oil and gas worldwide, and the independence of the U.S. as the Number one producer and its European allies from importation that the strategic importance of Saudi Arabia and its satellites in the southern shores of the Persian Gulf is not any longer valid and has lost its merits. To begin with, the Saudi Arabia and other regimes in the region must be held accountable to ensure the aspirations of all their citizens, irrespective of their race, creed or religion, toward socio-economic, political and religious reforms, sovereignty and democracy of one person one vote, are pursued organically. We must further treat the loss of innocent life, irrespective of where it occurs and who the criminal culprit is, as equal.
Epitomizing and as esoterically idealistic as it may seem to the cynics and skeptics, allow me once again to share for our common humanitarian sense of purpose in life, the translation of the famous poem by Sa’adi the 13th century Persian Poet as follows:
All Humans are integral members of One frame
Since all at first, from the same One essence came.
When by hard fortune One limb is oppressed
The other members lose their desired rest.
If thou feel’st not for others’ misery
A Human therefore, is no name for thee.
The Author, born in Iran in a diverse family comprised of the Shiite and Sunni Muslims as well as Baha’i, Jewish, Armenian/Assyrian Christian and Zoroastrian lineage, is a naturalized American who has resided in the U.S. for nearly forty years. As the steward of nature, she has come to believe in and advocate for secular universal humanism and equal [blind] justice for all on earth.
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