Muslim American: Patriotic or Fifth Columnist?
by Habib Siddiqui
“The founding fathers of this nation envisioned that the US should be a beacon of liberty, security and justice for the planet. When we see that our present government is straying from that path and embarking on a very dangerous road to serve the interests of a small but powerful lobby, it is our patriotic duty to correct it. Surely, we have been raised for good counsel and forbidding evil.ђ These two divinely ordained duties transcend all man-made imposed demarcations. ”
Muslim Americans are constantly suspected to be fifth columnists working to bring down Western civilization or destroy the American way of life. The July 31 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer published such a letter in which a Hatfield resident wrote, Whenever there is a concentration of Muslims there seems to be a potential for violence against Western cultureӅ We need to defend ourselves against internal terrorism by being one step ahead of our enemies. The federal government needs to infiltrate and find out who the leaders are, who the soldiers are and what they are up to, now and in the future. Otherwise, well get caught off guard as we were on 9/11.Ҕ This, in spite of the fact that none of the perpetrators of the 9/11-violence was a Muslim American!
Many Americans are unaware of the fact that of all the religious groups, Muslim Americans have the lowest crime rate, and that prior to the first WTC attack, there was no violence directed against the western culture by its members. A survey of 175 recorded incidents of terrorism in the US from January 1982 to January 1996 showed that of these: 77 were committed by Christian Puerto Rican nationalists, 31 were the work of Christian animal rights and Christian environmental groups, 23 were blamed on Christian left wing organizations, 18 were committed by what the FBI called “Jewish extremists” and 12 were by Christian anti-Castro Cubans. The total number committed by Arabs or Muslims over a period of 14 years was 3 (three).
Anyway, this hysterical and baseless accusation of being fifth columnists laid against Muslims comes not only from the neo-Fascists, racists and bigots within the native population, but also from alienated individuals with Muslim- or Arab-sounding names. [Some of them declare that they are ex-Muslims or Refuseniks.] These alienated individuals act as the cultural coolies and modern-day house-niggers, always willing to please their new slave mastersђ and jump higher than what their masters would have expected from them. They, in essence, are the snitches, stooges and lackeys of western imperialism. Truly, they behave more English than an Englishman or a Londoner and are trying to play their historicђ role so beautifully captured by no less a novelist, playwright, existentialist philosopher, and literary critic than Jean Paul Sartre.
In the preface to Frantz Fanons ғThe Wretched of the Earth, Sartre wrote: ԓThe European lite undertook to manufacture a native lite. They picked out promising adolescents; they branded them, as with a red-hot iron, with the principles of western culture, they stuffed their mouths full with high-sounding phrases, grand glutinous words that stuck to the teeth. After a short stay in the mother country they were sent home, whitewashed. These walking lies had nothing left to say to their brothers; they only echoed. From Paris, from London, from Amsterdam we would utter the words 驑Parthenon! Brotherhood! and somewhere in Africa or Asia lips would open ... thenon! ... therhood!Ғ It was the golden age Then, indeed, Europe could believe in her mission; she had hellenized the Asians; she had created a new breed, the Graeco-Latin Negroes.Ŕ
I thought those goldenђ days of colonialism were over. And that the yellow, black and brown mouths that opened - were opened by themselves - unaided, un-whispered, and unrehearsed. And the yellow, brown and black voices that spoke, spoke only to reproach Sartres world for its inhumanity, for causing dispossession, hunger and pain.
However, it seems that not all ґnatives have been able to shed the slave mentality. There are some who still speak their ґmasters voice.Ғ Look at all the ridiculous and obtuse arguments by these French-friesђ and Hamburgersђ in favor of states and individuals that perpetrate and/or provide aid in mass murder against dispossessed civilians. Look at their hostility to their native culture. And look at how, like a brain-dead moron, they repeat racial and bigoted slurs picking cues from ‘Julius Streichers ‘Der Sturmer.’ They insolently question the patriotism of Muslim Americans who dare to challenge the criminal activities of neo-Fascists and bring sanity to a very disturbed world. These coolies foolishly view that their masters can do no wrong. In their misguided notion of patriotism and newly discovered zealotry, they ignore history, they forget Vietnam; they overlook the rise of Nazism and Fascism; they excuse slavery and condone centuries of immoral colonization of Asia, Africa and Latin America. To them, any Muslim American who follows the dictates of his/her religion has to be an extremist, or worse yet an Islamist, a term first coined by their masters. It is a strategy to disempowering and dividing Muslims.
These fanatics are often irate that Muslim Americans have not lined up as minions behind their masters Җ the unabashedly misguided neoconservative warmongers, most of whose allegiance is more to the only remaining apartheid state in the world rather than their own.
The neoconservatives, aligned with the War Party, have often misconstrued - probably deliberately - Muslim pacifism or anti-war attitude. In their opposition to war, Muslim Americans have been no less patriotic than the likes of Jesse Holmes (1864-1942) who wrote, The pacifist does not deny that wars are inevitable at the present; but he believes that it is the spirit of suspicion, hatred, panic and fear that makes them inevitable. He would, therefore, spend his effort in removing this spirit rather than preparing for war. Such preparation may be safely left to those who believe in it, since it is their belief which makes it necessary.Ӕ Holmes also wrote, The interest of civilization lie in demonstrating that there can be no victor and no victory in present-day warfare. We desire no conqueror dictating to vanquished peoples; we desire no vanquished people plotting for a day of vengeance. ӑPeace without victory is the highest hope for civilized humanity.Ҕ What Holmes had said is arguably more applicable today than it was back in his time.
Have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan made anyone feel more secure today? Violence has only begotten more violence. It is dividing our tiny world into hostile camps. It is producing tens of thousands of orphans, widows, parents without children, sickness, hatred, and spiritual and psychological trauma. It is producing more Zarqawis. What we call terrorist attackђ is viewed by others as retaliation.ђ And worse still is the fact, as reiterated in the Amnesty Internationals 2005 annual report, that when the most powerful nation on earth thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a license to others (like the despots in Central Asia and Myanmar) to commit crime and abuse with impunity. Our government simply cannot preach moral standards while setting itself as one of its worst violators and condoners of such crimes. It cannot plant liberal democracy on the ashes of its victims.
Muslim activism against war is also shared by great minds of other faiths. It was Martin Luther King Jr. who said, ғOur lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Edmund Burke similarly said, ԓThe only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. This activism is also the cardinal principle in the QurԒan: You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in God.Ӕ (3:110)
No, Muslims and millions of others from all faiths (Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, including atheists and agnostics) and races, from one continent to another that opposed and/or protested the immoral and unjustified war are not wrong. They are on the right and just side of history. They are not unpatriotic either. As conscientious human beings of this planet they dared to speak out for human decency, justice and higher moral values that permeate beyond national, religious and all other artificial boundaries against global hegemony, unilateralism, hypocrisy and greed. Calling them unpatriotic would be like questioning the patriotism of George Washington, this nation֒s most beloved and revered president. (Farewell Address, Sept. 17, 1796)
The founding fathers of this nation envisioned that the US should be a beacon of liberty, security and justice for the planet. When we see that our present government is straying from that path and embarking on a very dangerous road to serve the interests of a small but powerful lobby, it is our patriotic duty to correct it. Surely, we have been raised for good counsel and forbidding evil.ђ These two divinely ordained duties transcend all man-made imposed demarcations.
Finally, let me say that as much as immigrant-Muslims are the best ambassadors of their native lands to their adopted countries, Americas best ambassadors to the Muslim world are also the same Muslim Americans. Muslim Americans simply cannot be ignored, demonized and marginalized. They are the best chance America has to change its much-maligned image in the global arena.
. Preempt terrorists, Letters, The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 31, 2005, p. C4.
. According to James Zogby in the Arab American News of 26 January, 1996.
. What is a Pacifist? 1916.
. Why Go To War? ca. 1915-17.
. See the article: Studies: War radicalized most foreign fighters in Iraq, Christian Science Monitor, July 18. Ғ05.
. See the report by the Christian Science Monitor, July 18, 2005.
]9]. See, e.g., http://www.frugalfun.com/deal.html why war is not the solution to fight Ben Laden. (See also: http://www.frugalfun.com/peace.html#peace; http://www.peacefultomorrows.org/article.php?id=583)
by courtesy & 2005 Habib Siddiqui