The Arab-Mulsim world We need to change [Archives:2002/44/Focus]

October 28 2002

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Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA there has been much talk about the causes of terrorism. The US has left no stone unturned to find the roots. What are the motives of bin Laden and his fellows to do such horror in the US, and are they ready to do it somewhere else?
I believe that one of the drives of terrorism is the oppression, tyranny and lack of democracy in Arab and Muslim countries. The political regimes in the Arab and Islamic world have been ruling their countries for decades with an iron grip. They have controlled things with cronies, and channeled revenues of their nations into their own pockets.
The latest UN Human Development Report about Arab countries show how we are lagging behind in everything. We are amongst the poorest countries of the world. This sort of oppression on the part of the rulers has frustrated the people, and it has become very easy for some to turn to terrorism.
To drive the public away from their own interests and concern of developing their countries, these political regimes have created enemies for the public, even if they are not real. They have pushed them to believe that we have the Kufar as our enemies and these Kufar are working day and night to destroy Islam and Muslims and that we should work hard to destroy them. These views have made people believe we are in hostility with Europeans and Americans and non-Muslims in general. Our education curricula and mosques, which are very effective, have pushed forward such beliefs.
All these elements have encouraged the creation of terrorists who believe in violence as a sole means for changing the world. In other words, terrorists are a creation of the political regimes. They should be held accountable for this. Even if they did not mean it, their acts have brought about this sort of people.
Therefore, change starts with these systems which should become democratic and transparent. If the US wants to help uproot terrorism from the Arab and Muslim countries, it should push forward the introduction of democracy into such countries. If these countries enjoy true democracy, they would accordingly have transparent systems that allows the public to hold the government accountable for any misdeeds.
In this way, people will have chance to participate in development, enabling them to monitor the job of the governments. This will lessen the corruption in all these countries. The amount of money that is being pocketed under the lack of accountability will go to a democratic system, and to development projects which can alleviate poverty.
Besides, we should work hard to correct our mistaken concepts about religion and non-Muslims. We should start with a new school curricula that encourages dialogue with other nations. We should learn how to respect different opinions of others.
And this must begin with the rulers themselves, who are not able and have not learned to listen to others and accept their views. We need democratic systems that believe in practical democracy, not take it only as a mere slogan to show off or tell others that “we are democratic”.
Therefore, the change of these political regimes has become a must. Either they change themselves, or they should leave their posts of power.