// External & Internal problems of Muslims
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« on: Feb 21, 2009 08:02 AM »

peace be upon you

This is not a comprehensive essay, and the second part covers Pakistan only.

To think that there is no war on Muslims is to close your eyes to the truth, and to buy the line of our enemies.

To start with, we accept that there are major internal problems with the Muslim world, and these need urgent attention.

However, there are similarly urgent external problems. To dismiss these as conspiracy theories would be to bury our heads in the sand.

The primary aims of the major powers are:

   1. To hold on to the resources of the world, and to wrest control of those resources to which they have little access.
   2. To make sure that Israel remains unchallengeable in the region, which now includes Pakistan.
   3. To test their latest weapons, and to get rid of older stock by using them, while being paid for it.
   4. To support their major industries, including the war industry as above, and the oil industry.
   5. To ensure the flow of net capital to the West's banking and financial system. This is why the US brokered a deal between Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto, which effectively legitimized the looting of Pakistan by Zardari and Mushharraf-PPP leaders - the loot incidentally being parked in the US.
To this end, the first and the second US-Iraq wars were fought:

The state of Iraq has been effectively divided into three ineffective weak regions, thus removing the threat from Iraq to Israel

The deal with the Kurds, and then with the Iraqi central government, weakened by the civil war, fueled by the invasion and sustained by agent provocateurs. Around 80% of the oil revenue (after deduction of inflated production costs) is now ensured to the western oil companies.

The Great Game is now being played for the resources of Central Asia. And for this the focus is on Afghanistan and Pakistan. The latter is to be destabilsed because it is a nuclear state, and the US wants to disable its nuclear status.

This is why the US is upset with the deal for Shariah in Malakand. It prefers a civil war in Pakistan.

And now for the internal problems. I will reproduce here an article by Dr. Masooda Bano:

Failure of the state

Friday, February 20, 2009
By by Dr Masooda Bano

The agreement between the NWFP government and Maulana Sufi Mohammad of Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat, which promises enforcement of 'Nizam-e-Adl Regulation' in Malakand division in return for promises of Maulana Fazlullah and his followers stopping taking the law in their hands does not have an easy response. True, the regulation will only lead to some cosmetic changes and Qazi courts already exist in that area. Also, the Malakand division and FATA already have many peculiarities and if the population there has a higher preference for Shariah law then the solution might be to let them have a slightly different set of constitutional rules. Finally, it has been argued that imposing the regulation will deprive Maulana Fazlullah of the moral authority that he enjoys among his recruits. This far the arguments make sense. However, what is important is that this peace agreement does not deter analysts from arguing for bigger reforms within the state that are required to check underlying causes of the mayhem visible in Swat today.

Academic research not just in Pakistan but globally on the phenomenon of Islamic militancy shows only three main causes of Islamic militancy. The first one, which often the liberals in Pakistan and the Pakistani state refuse to acknowledge, is that international jihad is supported not only by madressah recruits. Rather it primarily draws on educated and middle and upper income groups because some individuals actually are ideologically driven and want to address perceived injustices. A recent study exploring profiles of over 300 prominent figures involved in Islamic jihad shows that these individuals come from secular institutions and not from madressahs. Thus, a sense of injustice regarding Western policies towards the Muslim world does act as the primary mobilizing force for international jihad.

However, a distinction needs to be maintained between purely Islamic jihad and the domestic activities of many Islamist groups, which could also be involved in international jihad but at the same time, unlike Al-Qaeda, maintain a visible presence in the given country and engage in day to day politics and undertake social mobilization to put pressure on the state to move towards an Islamic way of life. At one end, these groups represent movements like Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East and Jamiat-e-Islami in South Asia. At the other end, especially when in the hands of relatively uneducated population, such movements become close to what is now commonly referred to as Taliban.

The process through which these groups, especially Taliban, win popular support is by providing the answers to day-to-day failures of the state. Having done extensive interviews in the Lal Masjid when under siege and having also met those residents of G6/4 who supported Lal Masjid's abduction of Aunty Shamim, it is clear that what enables the leaders of Islamic groups to gain public support is the failure of the state to deliver. The girls within the Red Mosque and the residents of G-6/4 did not talk of international jihad. They talked about the failure of the state to dispense justice to the weak on an everyday basis. It is the failure of the state to provide security of basic rights that is increasing the appeal of these radical groups within the ordinary public. These groups promise an alternative and for many in the population the promise of an alternative is more appealing than the stifling status quo. We must remember that in the initial period, it was episodes such as the one where Maulana Fazlullah and his followers rescued two abducted girls and subjected the abductors to punishment that won them popular support. Such instant justice could not have been secured through the corrupt state system

But, finally, what is also very important is to note is that research also shows that these groups can only retain their popular appeal for long if their leaders demonstrate high moral behaviour. This is where the Swat episode is very suspicious. When Islamic radical groups, start bombing girls schools or kidnapping people for ransom, they quickly lose popular support. In such contexts, it becomes very dubious whether the concerned groups are really Islamist groups or a bunch of criminals up for sale to the state agencies or outside interests to promote some vested agenda. Thus, what is happening in Swat is to be distinguished from the recruitment for Islamic jihadi groups like Al-Qaeda.

While the latter has more to do with western policies, the former is directly linked with the failure of the state to meet people's basic needs or worse it is actually a product of elements within the state that are benefitting from western aid coming to Pakistan in the name of fighting militancy. The Nizam-e-Adl Regulation will thus not address the fundamental forces driving the militancy in Swat because the resistance is not a result of ideological indoctrination; it is a result of failing state structures.

The writer is a research fellow at the Oxford University. Email: mb294@ hotmail.com

Failure of the State

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« Reply #1 on: Feb 21, 2009 09:13 AM »

I agree with you, but...

Do you think maybe it starts from a far more micro level then what you have proposed?

The muslim world is faced either with things like dwindling literacy rates and minimal health care OR with mismanaged resources.  Not to mention petty corruption, broken homes, and a preoccupation with western popular culture that is spacing out both the youth and adults.

I mean I point the finger at myself first.  Currently, I am a part of the problem, if only by lack of action to bring about a lasting change.
« Reply #2 on: Feb 21, 2009 02:03 PM »

peace be upon you

Of course, the problems do stem from the individual, whether of the elite or the common man.

I am not sure if it is true that there is dwindling literacy and health care rate. True that the government funded services have failed to keep with the rising needs brought on by increased population, urbanization, improved infrastructure and hence demand, and increased expectations. In the private sector, however, both indicators have gone up, unless the increase in population has caused a decline in the percentage of those covered.

The economy, literacy rate, and health care can be improved if there is investment in the Ummah. As I have mentioned on other threads, consider the 3.1 trillion dollars of only Saudi money parked in the US. $2.3 trillion of this was private money, and $0.8 trillion was Saudi government's. Who are the Saudi individuals who have that kind of money? They are the princes and associated tycoons, of course. Where did they get this money from? From sale of the oil and execution of infrastructure projects at inflated rates. To whom does the oil belong? It should belong to the Saudi people, but since this is a kingdom, it is usurped by the royal family.

Imagine what just the investment of this 3.1 trillion dollars can do to the Ummah. There are other Muslims with large amounts of money - the Kuwaitis, the Emiratis, etc. And here the external factors come into play. If Suhartu had not been placed in power in Indonesia by the CIA, the murder of over a million Indonesians would not have taken place, and the oil money from Indonesia would have been invested in Indonesia, not in the US. Similarly, the history of Iran would have been different if Musaddiq had not been deposed by CIA.

The leadership of Pakistan has been mostly feudal, and it pays only lip service to Islam, which it uses with either direct assumption of peership, or co-opts the local peer to control the rural population.

There are other players here, too: Musharraf and other generals before him, Zardari and other corrupt people before him. If the money they had swindled from their nations had not found safe havens in the West, it would have to stay in their homelands, and would have to be invested there.

Since these generals and politicians and business leaders come from the ordinary citizen class, it is indeed our failure at the micro level. We are not just good Muslims. Having accepted that, is it necessary to become good Muslims in order to defeat the Imperialists of today? It is true that the Quran tells us if we are good Muslims, Allah (swt) will hand over power to us.

If you look at the history of Muslims, time and again an ideologically motivated group has managed to gain control of a region and dispelled the kuffar. Yusuf bin Tashfeen's murabeteen were not the same as the easy-going urbanite Andalucíans, yet they were the need of the hour. The muwwahedeen who replaced them were followers of Imam Ghazali, a different approach to the deen, but they too were successful in defeating the Christian Reconquesta until the Andalucians as a whole fell to schism on ethnic and sectarian grounds.

The culprit then is schism, but I agree that this comes from the individual's ignoring of the basic injunctions of being one ummah in the Quran and Sunnah, hence it is a failure at the micro-level. What I have demonstrated above is that despite this schism, many times it was possible to impose rule of one group, and keep the kuffar at bay. Of course it is better that instead of a coercive imposition, there is voluntary acceptance (and that would definitely involve power sharing). There are many organizations that claim to bring Muslims together as one. Some individuals among them may falter, but by and large these organizations do try.

Unscrupulous people come mostly from the class educated in the secular western way. Me and you are part of this class. But not all from this only class are corrupt. The madrassa educated (and scion of the very pious Mufti Mahmood) Fazlur Rehman gets into politics, he plays the same game, but he is not the only Islamist player. There are others, and they are seemingly pious.

What happened in the decolonization era was a fraud. The departing empires left behind a class to which the empire's capital was still home. The leadership was subservient to the white master. The leading world powers also devised financial institutions - the World bank and the IMF - that served to bring the so-called independent nations under inflated debt burdens, so as to keep them permanently under their thumbs. The leaders of these third world countries were encouraged to be corrupt and wars were imposed on them so that the loot could find its way into the banks of the West.

This is the story of my generation. We understood some of what was happening, and we struggled in our own ways to break the yoke.

My intention is to make people aware of what is happening around them. Just as decolonization was made possible due to several factors - indigenous struggle, development of an aware class in the center of the Empire, economic decline of the Empire through wars, this struggle for emancipation may involve  all three factors. Of course, it is Allah's will that will cause the emancipation. But we have to analyze and struggle accordingly. Praying in the dead of night may not be enough.

If people in the West were made aware of the money-laundering that goes on there, eventually loot and corruption on such a large scale may come to an end.

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