Benighted Opportunism

Both General Musharraf and his widely publicized pleas for “enlightened moderation” are totally irrelevant as long as these are not seen in the context of providing the West with an excellent opportunity to rethink its policies towards the Muslim world.

General Musharraf’s speech alone is enough to prove that there is more to the Muslim world than secular dictators, Osama, “moderation,” and terrorism, and great care and understanding are needed if the enemies on both sides of the divide are to be identified and, at least, marginalized.

The General’s plea shows that the mantra of “moderation” –” as the Western neo-cons and neo-mods of Islam see it –” is at best, a lamb’s logic and, at worst, promotion of the Western war lords’ concept, which they need for justifying perpetual wars, occupations and support to dictatorial regimes.

Since the OIC Conference (2003) General Musharraf is tirelessly working to get credit for the concept of “enlightened moderation.” All he could actually do is just added word “enlightened” to “moderation” –” a term the Western war lords have invented to use both as a weapon and a shield since long.

It is their potent weapon for winning a war on Islam. However it is used as a shield when the warriors claim to using it not for a war on Islam but only intensifying a “war within Islam,”[1] –” a repetitively less offensive phrase for stating the core objective.

Among Muslims the borrowers and promoters of “moderate” Islam are the classic examples of benighted opportunists.

General Musharraf’s recent “plea”[2] displays the mindset infected with benighted opportunism. It is a mindset shaped into believing the much trumpeted allegation of the Western war lord’s that “the suffering of the innocent multitudes” in the world nowadays is only due to Muslim “militants, extremists and terrorists.”[3]

Musharraf had no option but to begin his plea with the same idea. However, the signs of confusion are so obvious in his thoughts. He admits in the later part of his plea that these terms are wrongly labeling of Muslims alone. In his opinion, if Muslims alone are responsible and he is making a plea to them, why say “wrongly labeled?”

Naively following the neo-cons’ concept, the General argues that the world is “an extremely dangerous place” because of “plastic explosives, combined with hi-tech, remotely controlled activation means,” and “suicide bombers.” Like all moderates, the “enlightenment” makes him conclude that the world is in such a sorry state because “the perpetrators of the crime…are Muslims.”

Musharraf holds Muslims responsible for the “carnage” in the world –” again giving weight to views propagated by anti-Islam propagandists and ignoring that total number of victims of alleged and actual Muslim “terrorism” hardly surpasses 5000 figure. Compare this with the killing of 1.7 million Iraqis with sanctions and the thousands upon thousands civilians killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Do we need to remind “moderates” that the 20th century’s mega-murderers –” those states killing in cold blood, aside from warfare, one million or more people –” have murdered over 151,000,000 people, almost 30,200 times the 5000 killed by Muslim terrorists, and four times the 38,500,000 battle-dead for all the 20th century’s international and civil wars up to 1987. All these killers were not only real carnage-makers but also followers of one or another religion and ideology.[4] Did anyone think of bringing moderation to their faith?

Then there are the kilo-murderers, or those states that have killed innocents by the tens or hundreds of thousands, the top five of which were the China Warlords (1917-1949), Atatürk’s Turkey (1919-1923), the United Kingdom (the 1914-1919 food blockade of the Central Powers and Levant in and after World War I, and the 1940-45 indiscriminate bombing of German cities), Portugal (1926-1982), and the US sponsored Indonesia (1965-87).[5]

The US played a leading role in sponsoring and directly taking part in these carnages. For instance, 450,000 to 500,000 communists and sympathizers were killed by the U.S. backed Indonesian Army and affiliates in a short period between October 1965 and the end of 1966.

One is forced to ask: What role did Islam or Muslims play in these carnages? Why should the world associate carnage, terror and extremism to Muslims for the death of a fraction of human beings compared to the systematic murder of many millions in the 20th century alone?

Not that the course of mindless revenge taken by some Muslims is right or prescribed by Islam, it is that for the sake of fairness in argument, one has to put statistics of the deaths at the hands of Muslim “terrorists” side by side with the systematic death, destruction and misery inflicted by the US and its allies on humanity to let the world see who is responsible for making the world a “dangerous place” and who needs moderation.

The mantra of moderation is no more than a weapon equally used by the neo-cons in the West and the dictators and other neo-mods for their personal gains in the Muslim world. Their victims are both Muslim and non-Muslim masses because they equally reap the consequences of wars, occupations and puppet regimes imposed on the Muslim world for “moderating” Muslims and Islam.

The neo-cons argue that the Muslim World as a whole is devoted to terrorism for which the West needs to “rebuild” and introduce a “civil, democratic Islam.”[6] Infected with benighted opportunism, Muslim “moderates” endorse this lie when they lump 1.2 billion Muslims and argue: “the Muslim world has to shun militancy” and “extremism” for “enlightened moderation.” [7]

It is not that benighted opportunism has over-powered the “moderates” to the extent that they do not realise the truth. General Musharraf cautiously concedes: “the West, and the US in particular, must aim at resolutely resolving all political disputes with justice.” It means:

1) the US and its allies are not dealing with justice and their injustice is the root cause of the problems today, and

2) Whoever stands by the unjust in perpetrating injustice becomes accomplice in the crimes of the unjust.

The Question is, what makes the “moderates” stand by the US shoulder to shoulder in perpetrating injustice when they admit, in Musharraf words: “the root cause of extremism and militancy lies in political injustice, denial and deprivation,” not Islam.

Opportunism and denial such a realisation hold “moderate” Muslims from supporting their words with deeds. General Musharraf’s sermons about “political injustice” are meaningless as long as the US backed dictators remain committed to perpetuating themselves in power and ignore their guilt in continuing political injustice to Muslim nations.

In their attempts to make the leg-less moderation stand, the “moderates” contradict and undermine what they stand for. After giving a historical background, Musharraf proves that Islam, as a religion, does not “preaches or infuses militancy and extremism.” To him, it is “the political disputes which led to antagonism in the Muslim masses.”

When this is true, there is no need for promoting secularism, taking out Qur’anic verses from the school curriculum, proposing “moderation,” civilising Islam and advancing neo-concepts concepts that have nothing to do with Islam at all. If any moderation is required, it is required of those who are responsible for the root causes of the problem.

Promoting “moderation” that runs against the common beliefs of Islam is just a mockery of Muslims and Islam. Musharraf says Muslims have to “wash off the common belief that Islam is a religion…in conflict with modernization, democracy and secularism.” Please note, this is the crux of “moderate” message, which takes the soul out of both moderate’s Islam and the neo-cons’ theory of “moderation.”

Most importantly, the western masses need to understand is that there is no place for secularism in Islam. It also rejects the forms of governance and modernization which are not bound by the prescribed limits of the Qur’an and Sunnah. However, this does not necessarily mean that Islam in its true, fundamental sense is against democracy, modernization, education, human rights and so on. If anyone thinks so, he is either a victim of the neo-cons’ lies or the neo-mods’ benighted opportunism.

The solution to the world problems lies in realization that leaving Muslims alone to live by Islam is the only way forward to peace and security for all. Propping dictators for promoting misconceptions about Islam will never work.

M. A. Niazi of the Nation has wrapped the argument well: He writes: “At one level, a single Muslim state, especially one which implements Islam, is the West’s only safe guarantee against what it calls terrorism. If it met the Sharia requirements, it would be able to control jihad, which has always been seen as a state activity, and those who perforce have to carry on an unprecedented ‘private’ jihad because of oppression, will be bound to follow the decisions of the Muslim[Islamic] State on whether their struggle constitutes a jihad or not. With a strong military, this state would be able itself to deal with Israel and India, at least to reduce oppression, without seeking succour from the West.”[8]


[1]. The New York Times and its foreign affairs correspondent, Thomas Friedman, are the leading examples in this regard.

[2]. Pervez Musharraf, “A Plea for Enlightened Moderation,” The Washington Post, Tuesday, June 1, 2004; Page A23.

[3]. Mentioned in the very first paragraph of General Musharraf’s speech and widely publicized article. Ibid: Pervez Musharraf, Washington Post.

[4]. R.J. Rummel, “Death by Government,” New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994.

[5]. Ibid. R.J. Rummel, “Death by Government.”

[6]. Cheryl Benard, “Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies,” a Study Supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, RAND National Security Research Division. 2003

[7]. Ibid. General Musharraf, the Washington Post.

[8]. M. A. Niazi: “Right Challenge, Wrong Response,” The Nation, June 04, 2004.