What the West fears about Islam
Why the West Fears Islam:
The Enemy Within
When one examines the West's fear of Islam, and tries to relate it to the reasons usually given -- Muslim fundamentalism, militancy, radicalism, terrorism, totalitarianism -- it is difficult, if not impossible, to justify this fear on the basis of reasons given. One has to believe, however, given all the facts and expertise available to the West, that the fear has to be rational. What is this fear that causes enemies of the Muslim world to play subtly on the theme of the Crusades in order to demonize Islam and Muslims? Let us first examine what it is not, before we draw our conclusion as to the real reason why the West fears Islam.
The fear of Muslim fundamentalism, militancy, radicalism, terrorism, totalitarianism, and the West's discovery of the "rogue states," appeared quite conveniently with the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Former Defense Secretary McNamara, in his 1989 testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, said US defense spending could safely be cut in half. It became clear that the US had to either undergo massive shifts in spending, a painful and unwelcome prospect for the defense establishment, or find new justification for continuing high levels of military expenditures. To provide this justification the Pentagon manufactured the threat of "rogue states and nuclear outlaws." The Gulf War was a contrived opportunity to sell this justification to the American people, to protect oil company profits, and to control the flow of oil to Europe and Japan who need it much more than does the US.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies calculates that the $262 billion US defense budget accounts for about 37 percent of global military expenditures. Russia, Japan, and China each will spend about $80 billion, $42 billion, and $7 billion. The six "rogue states" -- Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, North Korea -- have a combined annual military budget of $15 billion. The US budgets for covert operations (US terrorism?) alone is double this amount. Given the paltry defense expenditures of all the "rogue states" combined, even after correcting for differences in costs, one has to believe that the "rogue states" are no match, militarily, for the West.
And, leaving aside the morality of US covert operations that invite retaliation, Muslim terrorists should not be a major fear. Far more acts of terrorism and violent crime in the US, according to government statistics, are committed by non-Muslims than Muslims. And if Muslims do pose a terrorist threat to the US, one hears little discussion of what it is that the terrorists really want. Perhaps, all they want is for the West to stop interfering in their countries, in ways that we would never tolerate in the US.
Islamic totalitarianism, an oxymoron to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of Islam, should not be a Western concern. A Muslim ruler may be totalitarian, but then his rule would not be Islamic. Furthermore, the Western record on supporting totalitarian Muslim regimes -- Iran under the Shah, Iraq before the Gulf War -- and doing business with non-democratic regimes -- China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia -- speaks for itself.
As for Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic law is based upon the Quran, examples and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, analogical deduction, consensus among the learned and individual reasoning. Strict interpretation of the Prophet's words leads to the conclusion that all who believe in one God are Muslim, and their faith is Islam; be they Muslim, Christian, Jew, or anyone else. Fundamentalism is defined in terms of Christian thinking. There is no parallel in Islam that stresses the use of reason and logic. Absent a definition, the label Islamic fundamentalism serves only to obscure issues, rather than to resolve them. Meanwhile, the Christian Coalition, and the Zionists and their biblical claim to Palestine appear fundamentalist to many; yet both are courted by US politicians, and not viewed as a threat.
One can go on eliminating Western arguments against Islam and Muslims. Eventually, one has to ask, what then is the source of the West's fear of Islam and Muslims?
The late Marshall G. S. Hodgson, in "Rethinking World History", states: "[Islam's] conscious hopes for a godly world order represent one of the most remarkable undertakings in world history and because its less self-conscious general cultural heritage is laden with human values."
Muslims see the West beset with broken families, violent crime, and drugs. They see a society divided by race, religion, and huge disparities in income. They long for a peaceful life in which they may provide for the basic needs of their families, and enjoy the respect due to all mankind regardless of their race, religion, position, or wealth.
These Muslims see their goals for a more just and compassionate society thwarted by a corrupt Muslim elite whose primary purpose in life appears to be the accumulation of wealth and power, regardless of the cost to their fellow human beings. They see these elite, who govern not by consensus as Islam prescribes, permitting outside powers to exploit their country while they derive few benefits, and find themselves subordinated by Western influences driving them down the troubled road taken by the West. They see few opportunities to earn a living because most opportunities are withheld for the elite and their sycophants. And they see these elite remaining silent when their faith, which is about all they have left, is denigrated in the propaganda which serves to maintain these elite.
The Muslim elite' allies are the defense establishment and the neo-imperialists. Islam's mandate for justice and compassion opposes the primary objective of these neo-imperialists who seek to follow policies outlined in 1948 by "the leading dove and peace prize winner" Mr. George Kennan, for the US Department of State. In his top secret "Policy Planning Study 23", Mr. Kennan stated in part:
". . . we have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its population . . . Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity . . . To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality . . . We should cease to talk about vague and . . . unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization."
To avoid exposure these neo-imperialists and their allies in the defense establishment, spurred by the enemy within, divert attention by demonizing Islam and Muslims, thereby fanning the fires of bigotry and raising unrealistic fears among the people of the West.
Release Date: January 26, 1996 -- Rev 2
The Wisdom Fund, P. O. Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202
Website: https://www.twf.org -- Press Contact: Enver Masud