West’s religious bigotry of Islam is a matter of policy

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Irrespective of whether Newsweek’s story on the discretion of the Quran is true or false, America cannot escape the undeniable reality that her religious bigotry towards the Muslim world is inseparable from her foreign policy.

In Muslims eyes, the Bush administration is notorious for the humiliation and torture of Muslims in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, responsible for the destruction and defilement of Iraq’s mosques, the debaser of Muslim women and the slayer of tens of thousands of innocent Muslims.

Testimonies from human rights organizations, journalists, lawyers, US officials, former prisoners, rape victims, tell the true horror of America’s war on Islam. In this war, western ideals of ‘religious freedom’ and ‘religious tolerance’ have given way to religious intolerance and anti-Muslim demagoguery.

Since September 11, vilification of Islam has become an integral component of the America’s war on Islam. President Bush started the war by describing it as a crusade. A chorus of US government officials, US army generals and other employees soon joined him in making derogatory remarks about Islam and Muslims.

Away from Washington, the US media, esteemed think tanks and leaders of the religious right who are counted among President Bush’s closest allies continued to vilify Islam. Rev. Franklin Graham, described Islam as a "very evil and wicked religion". Evangelist Pat Robertson, called Prophet Muhammad "an absolute wild-eyed fanatic . . . a robber and brigand . . . a killer". Jerry Falwell called the prophet of Islam a terrorist.

On the international front the Bush administration was quick to sacrifice religious freedom in preference for forging alliances with despotic regimes across the Muslim world. The regimes of prince Abdullah, Musharraf and Karimov who routinely torture, imprison and kill Muslims for expressing
their Islamic beliefs became the main players in America’s crusade against Islam.

The notion of religious freedom swiftly vanished from the agenda of the Bush administration when it embraced Israel and India as part of America’s coalition against Islam. America gave both countries the green light to declare open season on Muslims. Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians and India’s massacre of the Muslims of Gujarat clearly violated the norms of religious tolerance and human rights Instead of taking tough action against Israel and India, America openly sided with them.

The situation of Muslims in Europe fairs no better. There is strong vitriol directed against Muslims and their beliefs. France and Germany have imposed a ban on the wearing of hijabs. European security forces routinely harass, arrest and torture Muslims for simply being Muslims. Writers and journalists are free to insult Islam and their right to do so is passionately defended by politicians.

Take Oriana Fallaci, the Italian war correspondent wrote a book entitled ‘Anger and Pride’ in which she described Muslims as ‘vile creatures who urinate in baptisteries’ and ‘multiply like rats’. To the horror of Muslims, Italy’s Defence Minister, Antonio Martino, praised Fallaci for having the courage to write the book.

The West claims that individuals are free to worship whatever deity they choose. But in practice this leads to perpetual conflicts amongst people, as religious beliefs and practices professed by some can be interpreted as offensive and insulting to others. Hence, western governments are constantly intervening in the disputes and resort to legislation to protect the religious rights of some people by depriving others. Often, the real benefactors of freedom of religion are those individuals or groups whose beliefs coincide with the interests of the government or those who possess the ability to exert influence over the government.

That is why the religious right in America is allowed to attack Islam because their fiery rhetoric is in full harmony with President Bush’s war on Islam. However, if the same conservative Christians were to insult Jews or the Zionist state of Israel the US government would adopt stern measures to restrict their insults.

Likewise western governments use religious freedom to pry open societies closed to western values or totally ignore religious freedom when it does not concur with their interests. In the case of Karimov’s massacre of Muslims in Andijon, the west has chosen to water down its response, as the protestors are avid supporters of Islam and not democracy.

Such hypocrisy only serves to underscore the perception amongst Muslims that the America and Europe are solely interested in the utter destruction of Islamic values and practices.

Islam does not believe in the fanciful idea of freedom of religion, where a handful of men decide which beliefs are legally beyond reproach and which beliefs and practices are subject to unfettered criticism and legislation. Islam stipulates that life, honour, blood, property, belief, race and the mind are to be protected by the Islamic State.

All the citizens of the Caliphate are guaranteed these rights, irrespective of whether they are Muslim or non-Muslims. Islam also protects the rights of non-muslims to worship without any fear of retribution or vilification of their beliefs. The messenger (saw) of Allah said:

"One who hurts a dhimmi (non-Muslim citizen of the Caliphate), he hurts me and the one who hurts me, hurts Allah"

Therefore it is prohibited for a Muslim to insult the beliefs of a non-Muslim or to damage their places of worship. The Islamic history is unrivalled in its ability to guarantee the religious rights of non-Muslims under the shade of the Caliphate.

Muslims living under the tyrannical rule of regimes supported by the west need to realise that holding demonstration against the discretion of the Quran will not prevent the west from carrying out further acts of aggression against them. The only way to prevent the west and her surrogates from vilifying Islam and humiliating Muslims is to re-establish the Caliphate.

The rights of the Muslims were protected, until the very last days of the Caliphate. During the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Britain decided to stage a play, which depicted the life of the messenger (saw) of Allah in a derogatory manner. On hearing this Sultan Abdul Hamid complained to the British government to put an immediate end to the play. The British government defended its decision to hold the play by citing free speech. When Sultan Abdul Hamid threatened Britain with military action only then did Britain relent.

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