Opinion Editorials, December 2005, To see today's opinion articles, click here: www.aljazeerah.info
Islam Is Not the Enemy of the American Empire
By Hassan El-Najjar
Al-Jazeerah, December 15, 2005
This article is written in response to an article by Tricia Erickson, titled “Know your enemy and call evil what it is,” which was published in Daily Courier of Prescott, AZ, on Sunday, November 27, 2005.
The above-mentioned article lacks basic knowledge about Islam as well as about war. Here are some facts that may help readers understand Islam as well as the American Empire wars.
The Empire Wars
The term “Empire” here refers to the US world-wide dominance, as a result of fighting more than one war every year for the last 150 years.
The current conflict between the United States and many Arab and Muslim countries has intensified when American forces stayed in the Arabian Peninsula after the 1991 Gulf War. The US military presence in the Middle East has been perceived by the people there as an invasion to subjugate the region to the American Empire.
One group, Al-Qaeda, fought back by attacking US forces in Al-Khober, Saudi Arabia, US Embassies in Uganda and Tanzania, and the World Trade Center in New York, for the first time, all of which were in the 1990s, during Clinton’s term in office. The objective was to drive the US forces out of the Arabian Peninsula in general, and out of Saudi Arabia, in particular.
Instead of withdrawing its forces from the region, the US government maintained the US military presence in the Middle East and extended it to the Central Asian countries. It further started a global campaign against Al-Qaeda, which finally attacked the US in September 11, 2001.
The US government got the message and withdrew US forces from Saudi Arabia but to the neighboring little Arab state of Qatar. Instead of leaving the Middle East, the US government planned, invaded, and occupied Iraq. The announced reason for the US war on Iraq was its alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction and its alleged links with Al-Qaeda, both of which were refuted by the September 11 bipartisan Committee.
The real reason for the US war on Iraq was the same reason for the US wars on Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and other wars America launched in the last 150 years: BUILDING, EXPANDING, and MAINTAINING the AMERICAN EMPIRE, in order for rulers of the Empire to control the Planet’s major resources.
None of these wars was launched for religious reasons. America did not launch them in the name of Christianity, or to defend it, or to spread it. America did not fight World War II, for example, to defend or spread Protestantism in Germany. When America invaded Korea and Vietnam, there was no Buddhist or Confucian threat to the US or to the World. Most obviously, when America invaded Grenada and Panama, these little Catholic countries did not pose any threat to the US or the world. Again, these wars were nothing other than BUILDING, EXPANDING, and MAINTAINING the AMERICAN EMPIRE.
It follows that any attempt to justify American Empire wars by blaming the invaded victims and their belief systems represents lack of knowledge about history. America has been doing what all previous Empires did. All empires (including ancient Egyptian, Iraqi, Greek, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, Spaniard, Portuguese, Dutch, French, British, and Soviet empires) were built and expanded by continuous wars until exhaustion, then the fast collapse like we saw in the late 1980s when the Soviet Empire collapsed. All of them got carried away with militarization, wars, invasions, and occupation of other nations until they were stretched very thin in forces and resources.
This is exactly what’s happening to the American Empire right now, with about 700 military bases in 132 countries, its forces are being stretched very thin. With more than $8 trillion of debt, as a result, its financial resources are also stretched very thin. Unless there is a quick reversion by ending all wars abroad and by bringing all US troops back home, the collapse may be coming, sooner than people think.
Islam and War
Neither Islam (the name of the religion of God) nor Muslims (followers of Islam) are the enemies of the United States. As pointed above, the conflict is not religious. It follows that attempts to attack Islam and Muslims in order to justify the US invasion of the Middle East represent lack of knowledge about Islam. All the points she mentioned in the article were twisted to give a distorted view of this great religion of God.
Islam is peace of God to people and submission of people to their Creator’s will. It is the religion of God, which He revealed to people throughout history, through His messengers such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammed, peace and blessings of God be upon all of them.
Islam only allows war under very strict conditions and rules, which do not allow killing of the innocents, whether civilians or captive soldiers. War is allowed to defend one’s country against foreign invaders. It is not allowed as transgression, i.e. invading lands of others. To say that Muslim men fight invaders in order to be killed then go to Paradise where they have hundreds of virgins is either ignorance or distortion and disinformation. Muslim men and Muslim women are allowed by their religion to fight in defense of their homeland against invaders.
Christians and Jews are described in the Holy Qur’an as people of the Book, who are not to be forced to convert to Islam. Just read the Holy Qur’an to see how the prophets and messengers of God are revered, particularly Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ. Here are few examples.
Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, and his virgin mother, Mary, are glorified throughout the Holy Qur'an, particularly in Chapter 3 (Al-Imran: 35 - 55) and Chapter 19 (Mariam: 16 - 36).
"Behold! The angels said: O Mary ! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him, his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and in the Hereafter, and in the company of those nearest to God." (Chapter 3, Verse 45).
"So peace is on me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life again." (Chapter 19, Verse 33).
With regard to polygamy, Islam provides humanity with a solution for the problem of adultery. Instead of cheating (as in extra-marital affairs, the number one cause of divorce in the US), Islam allows a man to marry more than one wife, with full recognition of the rights of both of them. Further, instead of divorcing a sick or infertile wife, a man can marry another woman while keeping the first (if she chooses to stay with him) to take care of her. What’s wrong with that? In the case of powerful men, like presidents (Clinton for example) and kings and Princes (Charles for example), makes sense of this Islamic argument. However, polygamy is rarely practiced among Muslims though it is allowed.
Finally, the US is in dire need for peace with the Arab and Muslim worlds in order to end this conflict as soon as possible. This distortion against Islam does not help the US or the cause of peace at all. The “Permanent War” strategy has hurt the US more than anybody else. The Empire concept is not smart. It’s too costly to be upheld any further.
Let’s close all American military bases all over the world and bring our troops home.
Let’s hope that peace of God and His mercy touch us all and our world.
Merry Christmas to Christians, happy Hanukah to Jews, happy new Islamic year to Muslims, and peace for all people on Earth.
Dr. Hassan El-Najjar is the Editor of the US independent publication, www.aljazeerah.ifo
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.