ReflectionsExtremist Islam, moderate Islam and Arab hypocrisy [Archives:2004/750/Opinion]

June 28 2004

By Yahya Al-Olfi
[email protected]

It should not be forgotten that extremism in all dogmas, doctrines, different religions and sects around the world is hideous and tend to demonstrate the monster aspect of humans embracing those beliefs, just take any one of them and you shall for sure find that one day their atrocious symptoms took place here and there. Being an extremist is clearly noticeable if you adamantly believe that you are 100% right and the others are wrong, if you believe that your religion is the right one and others are not, if you believe that your sect is right and the others have a wrong one. I have met many such religion followers (Christian, Jewish, Hindus and Muslims) and found the same human tendency to clutch to one's religion even if one is not a practicing believer.
Trying to assert one type or another of Islam has been going on since after the death of Prophet Mohammed. Any sect ascended to power tried its best to alienate others, oppress them and at times annihilate them. Islam is characterized by its many sects, which amount to Eleven Shiite Sects, and Eight Sunni Sects and there are many others which I am not cognizant of such as Ahmadia, Bahaia etc… Having many sects in Islam makes it easy for everyone to find justification for his actions e.g. there are verses calling for overpowering other sects and religions while at the same time there are verses calling for peace and cohabitation. I was in fact astonished to come across verses in Koran which if applied and correctly interpreted shall make it easier to face fanatic Muslims e.g. Quran says ” Those who believed in God, became Jewish, Christian or Sabiaeah (i.e. other than the three monotheistic religions), those who believed in the hereafter and the goodoers. Each and every one of them shall have his recompense from their god and they should not be feared or felt sad for. So it is very difficult to monopoly Islam or consider an interpretation correct and the other is wrong. Such moderate verses of Quran are mostly shunned or ignored. In point of fact, Muslims should learn to respect each other first, in order for them to respect other religions and beliefs. Intolerance in religion is not an Islamic trait but many other religions have their Radical extremist manifestations, take for example the Israeli Kach or Shass Movements and the United States' Christian Zionists.
Nowadays, Arab elite fear for their lives if they dare speak about separation of religion from state policies and many of them fled abroad just because they made a reference. In order to counter terrorism, such elite should be permitted and defended by the Arab governments. We can be sure that there is no terrorists hiding, when such people are permitted to voice their opinions through our many Arab satellite channels, just give them at least 10th of the time permitted to the religious savants. The other day I was listening to an interview with one of such elite. Although he made us understand his veiled point of view he could not dare divulge it clearly? In fact even Arabs living in London and Washington DC cannot!
During Cold War, USA sought to evict USSR from Afghanistan and hence in a way or another encouraged Radical and Extremist Islam? This took much effort, time and money? But, After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan the different Islamic factions of Afghanistan fought each other while Arab Extremists returned to their respective countries with their heads filled with the incitement that was blessed by the Arab regimes and CIA. The Arab proverb says: ” that whoever breeds serpents shall for sure find his eventual end at the sting of a serpent”. So USA was stung on 9/11th , Egypt went through many sad incidents and the same applies on Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia? Luckily in Yemen's case the current Yemeni president used them against the then Southern Yemeni backed National Front and during the War of 1994, but, they are still there, waiting for the right moment. I have accidentally met some here and there and they still find people such as Bin Laden, Abed the assassin of Baptist Americans and Sawani who assassinated the Yemeni Socialist Party Assistant Secretary as their heroes. They still possess incitement cassettes, videocassettes and published material. They are present in All Arab Capitals and Arab regimes are hypocritical regarding this, even after what has happened in Morocco, Riyadh and Yemen. In fact Arab regimes have always manipulated them by releasing them against Arab Socialists, Modernists etc. and sometimes the other way round. Such games of course did give immediate benefits but remained also as undefused time bombs. Arab regimes are now hypocritical in their approach towards extremists fearing their backlash. So as long as there is no clear-cut approach to remedy such phenomenon by defusing them through many means, extremists shall re-occur as long as the basis is there. One thing must be clear religious related parties should be banned because they are a manifestation of the strength of such groups. Egypt for example banned the Muslim Brothers Movement and was successful in silencing Muslim terrorists. Muslim terrorists can emanate from any sect and if otherwise is alleged that is to me a mere outright hypocrisy. Arab regimes should cease calling such extremists ” The Misled”. Saudis before 9/11th were welcomed everywhere without visas now all embassies delay issuing them visas because of the deeds perpetrated by such extremists. In fact any Arab has become subject to suspicion wherever he goes or whatever he does.