- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 19, 2003

DURHAM, N.C.
Does President Bush really expect the world to believe him when he says that he is not engaged in a war on Islam but is only engaged in a war on terrorism?
An adage says: actions speak louder than words. So let us out the Bush wisdom to the test.
To say Islam is a religion of peace is like saying Christianity is a religion of peace despite the countless massacres committed in the name of the Prince of Peace from the Crusades to the mass graves of Serbia. I have never seen Christianity, Judaism or Islam walking in the streets; have you? But I have seen countless Buddhists, Christians, Jews and Muslims do so.
Saying any religion is peaceful or violent is glib talk. Our only experience of religion is in the flesh. Thus we hold Christians, Muslims, communists, liberals and capitalists accountable for offenses.
We cannot prosecute capitalism, but we can send Kenneth Lay to jail. We cannot prosecute Islam, but we can indict Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity.
In today's world, the loudest voices protesting Euro-American hegemony, global inequity and the international double standards emerge from the Muslim world. And most Muslim peoples are fighting two battles: against their own oppressive cliques that pose as governments; and against the Euro-American supporters of their tormentors.
Few people in the West are interested in the freedom struggles of Muslims, dismissing it either as fundamentalism or terrorism. Is this the reason George Bush wants a peace-loving Islam, so he can subdue justice-loving Muslims?
America has had its nose so badly out of joint since September 11, 2001, when 19 hijackers and its few thousand foot soldiers slapped it in the face that it has become a proverbial bull in the global china shop.
Americans, thanks to an administration with an imperial posture and a compliant media, are engaged in amnesia. No one around the world is allowed to seek freedom, self-determination and justice unless it meets Washington's standards.
So what is the Bush administration's balance sheet on Muslims? It creates a moral equivalence between the legitimate resistance of the Palestinian people and Israel's right to self-defense.
Self-defense of what? To illegally occupy Palestinian land in defiance of more than 30 U.N. resolutions?
While Iraq is subject to military threat for the violation of U.N. resolutions, Israel gets rewards in excess of $3 billion of U.S. taxpayers' money.
While Jewish organizations are free to funnel money to settlers who terrorize Palestinians in the West Bank, Muslim organizations that raise funds for desperately poor Palestinians and Muslims elsewhere are charged for assisting terrorists.
It takes a moral cretin to see the morality in these policies. Feeding fasting Muslim leaders in the White House during Ramadan can never offset the vicious killing of Palestinians by the closest U.S. ally, Israel.
Armaments subsidized by U.S. taxpayers in the form of rockets and Apache helicopters daily kill Palestinians. Weapons given to undemocratic Arab regimes friendly to Washington are used to oppress their people, who, like Americans, only desire democracy, human rights and freedom from tyranny.
So while Mr. Bush tries to dupe Muslims about peaceful Islam, the lash of the U.S. fury falls on the bodies of millions of bodies from Afghanistan and Iraq to Guantanamo Bay.
Don't tell me how great a friend of Muslims that America is because of military interventions in Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo. The Bosnians were capable of defending themselves against Serbian aggression. Thousands of Bosnian Muslims could have been saved if the United Nations and NATO did not enforce a scandalous policy of disarming the Bosnians at a time when they needed weapons of self-defense.
Sure, Mr. Bush is not engaged in a war against Islam. The Bush administration is only hell-bent on starting a war with Muslims. With the kinds of war plans the United States has unveiled to deal with the Muslim countries, including Iraq, the forecasts are grim.
When the powerful undermine the international order in service of their selfish needs, they set new benchmarks for the powerless to follow. If you use overwhelming force to subdue your opponent today, there is a good chance he will respond with super-overwhelming force tomorrow.

Ebrahim Moosa is associate research professor in the Department of Religion at Duke University, Durham, N.C., and co-director of the Center for the Study of Muslim Networks.


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