The challenge facing the Moslem world [Archives:2004/785/Opinion]

October 28 2004

If Moslems expect to be left alone to develop and prosper and start to enjoy the vast progress that has been accomplished, in a rapidly shrinking world, with a mushrooming population, then they are getting into the trap of acquiescing to a fait accompli. There is an unusually strong motive amongst a considerable number of Moslems, both at the grass roots level and amongst those who are supposedly able to discern otherwise better, that fatalism and the submission to the “maktoub” or written destiny of mankind is part and parcel to Islam. This is an unwarranted surrender to our own weakness and a gift of great significance to all those who seek to make the Moslem world out of touch with the folding of events, even in their own domains. From the takeover of Palestine to the latest American misadventure in Mesopotamia, Moslems have tended to let fatalism become the source of their continuing demise, even with respect to the control of their own destinies. Yes, God has this world set out on a predetermined course and yes, in the end, Allah's will is bound to prevail. But should that mean that Moslems should succumb to the plunder of their land and the looting of their valuable resources? God Al-Mighty has ordained for the faithful certain inalienable rights and has bestowed the Moslem nation with bounties that can make the Moslem world the dominant player in an increasingly intertwining world of interlocking interests, economically and socially. Furthermore, its location has accorded the Moslem World a strategic location, sitting at the cross-roads of the continents of the world and controlling its vital land, sea and air transport lanes. Moreover, the Moslem world together is rich in cultural heritage that once illuminated the world with most of the scientific, social and cultural advances of most of the Middle Ages and into the “Renaissance” period up to the early days of industrialization. From then on it was a downhill course, as Moslems became specifically targeted victims of a cruel colonialist age that sought to dismantle all forms of institutional Islamic pursuits. The major objective of this onslaught was to eliminate the Caliphate, which symbolized for the Moslems of the world for centuries the unifying political axis that manifested the universal political ramifications of the Nation. The Caliphate, though transferred from one ethnic amalgamation to another since the Orthodox Caliphate that followed the Prophet Mohammed's death (around 40 years), was always viewed as a living global political center that was entrusted with protecting Moslems everywhere from any assault on their peace and tranquility. In addition, Moslems always viewed the Caliphate as the authority that will safeguard their right to embrace the True Faith without foreign encroachment that might seek to dilute such faith or even abolish it. Moslems were in the past always had the feeling that they could be easily subjected the fate of their brethren in Spain, Southern Italy, Sicily, the Balkans and even the Philippines, who were subjected to an inquisition or an ethnic cleansing of unequalled parallel in man's mistreatment of his fellow men. Moslems of today, though not having a Caliphate anymore to rally them to the defense from alien encroachments in their domain, have witnessed Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir and other Moslem territories subjected to severe transgressions and inhumane systematic cultural and ethnic elimination. This has aroused the obvious concerns of most Moslems at the grass roots level, and even among the more religious elites, especially as they see their governments failing to show any sensation of the danger that most Moslems see in such steady systematic encroachments at the fringes of the Moslem World and even at its center, in Palestine and Iraq. This lack of active response by Moslem governments has raised the obvious alienation that exists in many Moslem states between their respective governments and their constituencies. Most of these governments have in fact proven to be failures in sound adherence to the basic tenets of the social contract that binds the governed and their rulers. With increasing social degeneration found to be the rule rather than the exception in most Moslem states, much of which emanates primarily from the corrupt and often oppressive regimes that prevail in most of the “sovereign” Moslem states, most Moslems are keen on aspiring for a more effective universal Islamic regime that will help restore the dignity and spiritual pride that Islam views as a universal right that comes with the adherence to Islam. This right should be upheld rather deprived, and accordingly most Moslems, at the grass roots and intellectual levels view their governments as not adhering to principles of government as Islam decrees and are in fact serving the interests of alien powers that are hostile to Islam.
The challenge that is therefore before the Moslem world is to find the right channels of communications that will provide linkages between most Moslem governments and their constituencies. This would mean that Moslem regimes will have to start given considerable attention to the liberation of their constituencies from the institutions of the regime that have served to create the venue of oppression and corruption. The first phase of this process would obviously be the institution of civil liberties and human rights as absolute and indisputable, because the governed must be accorded with the ability to set their governments straight on the running of public affairs and the management of the resources of the land to the equitable benefit of all the citizens of the country and to make government accountable to the public in terms of performance and proper management of public resources. Only then, can Moslems of any country find the avenues that will enhance their own economic and social well being and the channels that will enrich their cultural development to catch up with the West. If the Moslem states begin on this trek then the challenges that are put in front of them by their enemies will become the concern of both the Moslem governments and their constituencies. The global equations are then bound to change and Moslems will definitely be able to face their proponents on an equal footing. This will take sacrifices, which one hopes will be initiated by the governments before they have to be made by the constituencies, which will mean that the situation becomes more grave before it can lead to a rearrangement of the social contract that is more in line with the aspirations of Moslems everywhere. Next issue, we look at the possibilities open to the Moslem World to be a major player in global affairs, politically, economically and culturally as well as spiritually.