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Firas Al-Atraqchi: Enough Is Enough

Enough Is Enough

By Firas Al-Atraqchi Columnist (Canada)

( -- In light of the criminal beheading of Lockheed-Martin engineer Paul Johnson, it's time for the Muslim world to take a stand and clearly say enough is enough. Murder in the name of Islam is actually murdering the good name of Islam. Abducting and slaying innocent men and women, flying airplanes into buildings, blowing up discotheques and trains are not the ways of Islam; they are the ways of cowards, pagans who do not worship the God of Abraham, but the God of death and destruction.

There is a saying that goes something like this: The greatest enemies of a church are within.

In the case of the Islam, as an organized religion, its greatest enemies are so-called Muslims who believe they are fighting in the name of Islam to defend what they claim are Islamic interests in Islamic lands. In fact, they are so-called Muslims who plagiarize sections of the Quran, failing to embrace the comprehensive message of the entire holy book.

Six years ago, many Muslims were cheering the corrupt regime of the Taliban and the al-Qaeda network they harbored and derived inspiration from. The Taliban were seen as the only true Islamic state on the planet. Funny thing is, the Taliban never lifted a finger to better the plight of the Afghan people. Not one school was built, not one road was repaved, not one building was reconstructed, not one hospital was refurbished. The Taliban destroyed television sets, videos, radios, computers -- any instrument that represented the West. However, they held onto their tanks, missile launchers, anti-aircraft systems, guns…well, you get the picture. Hypocrisy hardly begins to describe it.

This is a true Islamic state?

The Islamic nation that the Prophet Mohammed bequeathed the people of the world was one inspired by arts and science, culture and history. It was the early Muslims who propagated mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, irrigation, civic management, and architecture, to name a few.

It was the Muslims who took the forgotten Greek philosophies, translated them and gave them back to a comparatively backward Europe. The first medical college and hospital was established in Kufa some 1100 years ago.

Now compare that with the Taliban who excelled at beating women and restricting their role in society.

But there were signs that a threatening ignorance was sweeping through the Islamic world early in the 1990s when the West, much to its discredit, allowed the barbaric Serb massacres of tens of thousands of Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was there that the seeds of perverse Islamic militancy took root. When the West and the laughable United Nations failed to intervene, hardened Arab fighters from Afghanistan started to pour into Bosnia to defend other Muslims. Ironically, the Bosnians had as much in common with other Muslims as a Chinese man has with a llama. In time, the Bosnians began to feel 'irritated' with the Arab fighters, complaining of arrogance and holier-than-thou attitudes.

Stories emerged from that conflict, stories that were very disturbing. Audio tapes glorifying the Arab fighters and creating incredulous myths spread throughout the Arab countries.

I heard a few and the stories were laughable had they not had such an impact on a disenfranchised Muslim youth with no job prospects losing a bit more each day to the U.S. proxy regimes that ran their countries.

One story spoke of how Serb prisoners of war confessed that they surrendered because they saw bearded men in white robes carrying Kalashnikovs sweeping down from the sky and aiding the Arab fighters. These were the angels of God, a voice on an audio tape explains. It's hilarious that the angels of God would choose the weapon of choice of the communist, godless Soviets to aid Arab fighters, hilarious that the angels would choose to aid Arab fighters and not Bosnian Muslims.

Racism from the holy fighters?

As comic (yet absolutely true) as the above is, it remains a sad fact that such stories were swallowed hook, line and sinker by a disillusioned Muslim youth who desperately wanted to believe in something.

Such malicious myths also prevailed during the Iraq-Iran war when supreme Shi'a cleric Ayatollah Khomeini promised Iranian fighters that all they had to do was cross the Iraq border and they would find themselves in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala and therefore be guaranteed a place in heaven. The holy cities were more than 180 kilometers away. Iraqi officers I have spoken with tell of captured Iranian soldiers who carried keys on their belts, apparently, the keys to heaven personally blessed by the Ayatollah.

The Prophet Mohammed explained such ignorance more than 1,400 years ago when he explained to the new Muslim nation that people of little faith create stories and myths to convince themselves of the faith. Historians have called this religion of the field. The Prophet Mohammed called it bida'a or innovation.

Unfortunately, in the 21st Century, such myths have taken on dangerous proportions as every Khaled, Musab, and Osama now believe they are doing the work of God when they kidnap innocents and murder them. What is more unfortunate is that such actions have been encouraged by those so-called Muslims -- who in truth seek to overthrow Islam -- in a vacuum of socio-political discourse and condemnation.

A few weeks ago, a pregnant Israeli woman and her three infant daughters were gunned down by Palestinian "resistance fighters" but there was scant mention of this in the Arab or Muslim press. Now, certainly the Palestinian-Israeli issue is a contentious issue: Arab Palestinians are mercilessly gunned down by the militant, racist, zealous and inhumane Israeli juggernaut on a nearly daily basis. Israeli actions in Occupied Palestine are allowed to continue, and indeed, encouraged, by a right-wing, anti-Islamic, neoconservative White House. When dozens of Palestinians are killed but no Israelis are harmed, North American press calls it "relative calm" or "a lull in fighting." So barbaric are Israeli actions against the Palestinians that the Zionist state has single-handedly created a new paradigm of evil that would put some of the heinous acts of inhumanity by the Nazis to shame.

Nevertheless, the killing of a pregnant Israeli woman and her three infant daughters is just as condemnable, just as barbaric, just as inhumane. So why no condemnation from the Arab press?

This is the problem. Questionable acts in the name of resistance or Islam have been swept under the rug and allowed to thrive. Have a bug in your house? Stomp it out before it multiplies. And that is exactly what has happened... the bugs have multiplied to the point that they now commit acts of violence against Muslims, Christians, Jews -- it doesn't matter. Suicide bombings in Shia mosques in Pakistan, attacks on a compound of Arabs in Saudi Arabia, and attacks on innocent Iraqis throughout the war-ravaged country are all examples of the wanton violence of those who claim they fight in the name of Islam.

Thankfully, the Muslim world is beginning to realize that it has a serious problem on its hands; columnists, Islamic clerics, teachers, spiritual leaders and common citizenry are all speaking out against these vile crimes and are rightly labeling them "unIslamic."

A poll conducted in Saudi Arabia found that 4.7 percent of Saudis support Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida's actions. A few years ago, that figure was much higher.

Things are changing in the Middle East, but the West must begin to realize that it is complicit in creating the atmosphere in which radicalism and extremism are allowed to thrive.

The first stage is for the West to ensure that the unalienable rights of the Palestinians are preserved, secured and promoted. That is not happening. The plight and strife of the Palestinian people is the fulcrum by which all things Middle Eastern are balanced. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said that the road to Jerusalem is through Baghdad, alluding to the mistaken notion that "fixing" Iraq would "fix the Palestinian problem."

Lately, however, and in light of the abject failure of U.S. attempts to fix Iraq what with the prisoner abuse scandal and disinformation over Iraq's WMD -- some U.S. officials (past and present) are rethinking that logic and offering an alternative: the way to Baghdad is through Jerusalem.

For decades, Arab leaders have argued that resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in an equitable manner will resolve many of the Middle East's ills.

Ironically, the occupation of Palestinian lands has been the perfect vehicle for repressive governments to remain in power, for martial laws to remain in place in many Arab nations, and for military juntas to be the norm throughout the Muslim world (Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Egypt, etc).

Until the Palestinian issue is resolved with the Palestinian people recognized as an indigenous part of Palestine and with their right to a contiguous homeland recognized as much an enshrined right as the right of Israelis, there will always be conflict in the Middle East.

Invading and illegally occupying Iraq didn't help. And it will gradually get worse and worse.


[Firas Al-Atraqchi, B.Sc (Physics), M.A. (Journalism and Communications), is a Canadian journalist with eleven years of experience covering Middle East issues, oil and gas markets, and the telecom industry.]

Firas Al-Atraqchi encourages your comments: is an international news and opinion publication. encourages its material to be reproduced, reprinted, or broadcast provided that any such reproduction identifies the original source, Internet web links to are appreciated.

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