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Islam: Truths Obama Forgot in Cairo (Conclusion)

July 5, 6:27 AM · Rudolf Okonkwo - Democrat Examiner



On June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated in Sarajevo by Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society. In a World War that followed, over 40 million people died between 1914 and 1918. The war also brought down four empires – the Ottoman empire, the Austro-Hungarian empire, the German empire and the Russian empire.


Most historians will say it wasn’t the assassination of Ferdinand that led to the war. Rather it was the desire of the Austro-Hungarian leaders to go to war that made them give impossible conditions for a form of peaceful restitution.

In 1939, two on-going wars amalgamated to create the Second World War. The first was the Sino-Japanese war where Imperial Japan was trying to lord it over the rest of Asia. Japan had attacked mainland China, bombing Shanghai and Guangzhou. The second war was invasion of Poland in pursuance of its eternal quest to dominate Europe. Germany had to fake a Polish attack on a German post to instigate the war. From 1939 to 1945, over 70 million people were killed in the most wildly spread war the world had ever seen.


It has been over five decades since the last major world war was fought. The stage is set for another major conflict. It may be triggered by a single assassination of a leader somewhere or an amalgamation of two wars. Already, the war on terror, which in many ways is seen as a war on radical Islam, is ongoing and is happening across the globe. At the core of this war is a clash of civilization - a fight for one civilization to lord it over the other. Each day, the world holds it breath wishing that it does not amalgamate with another war.


Breaking away from diplomatic language, Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister of Italy once told journalists in Berlin that, “We should be conscious of the superiority of our civilization, which consists of a value system that has given people widespread prosperity in those countries that embrace it and guarantees respect for human rights and religion. This respect certainly does not exist in the Islamic countries.”


Meanwhile, radical Islam as described by Sayyid Qutb of Muslim Brotherhood in his 1965 book, Milestones, has a central goal of making Islam a way of life all through the world. In the book he argued that no system of government and especially not democracy is suitable for Muslims. He stated that Muslims must resist any system that had men in servitude to other men for it is un-Islamic. Qutb charged that the way to end the chaos of today’s world is to preach the Koran teachings everywhere in the world, resorting to Jihad if needed to destroy the old world.


The crux of the Muslim Brotherhood says: Allah is Objective. The Prophet is our leader. Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.


Even before Qutb, there was Mohamed ibn Abd-al Wahhab, the founder of the Wahhabist. He had called for a purer form of Islam. His followers are ever ready to take his struggle against any Islamic government not perceived as pure.

To members of radical Islam, there is no demarcation between the inner and outer Jihad neither is there a separation between the offensive and defensive Jihad. For all they care, the Umma (Muslim community) must help expand the land of Islam to the rest of the world.


The truth is that there is no gentle way of describing the challenge of radical Islam. There is no hope of being reasonable either because the radicals are like Gibreel, a character in Salman Rushdie’s novel, THE SATANIC VERSES, whose girlfriend Allie observed and concluded that, “The worst thing about him … was his genius for thinking himself slighted, belittled, under attack. It became almost impossible to mention anything to him, no matter how reasonable, on matter how gently put.”


This explains why Islam seems afraid to share space with other religions. It explains why Muslims are buying up abandoned churches in the West, building mosques but will not allow a church to be built in Saudi Arabia. It explains why non-Muslims can convert to Islam without consequence but a Muslim who converts to Christianity faces condemnation and in some cases death. It explains why Muslim governments who suspect theirs is not pure form of Islam are scared of radical Islam. It explains why Egypt, the home of the Muslim Brotherhood, has a vast security service and keeps an emergency rule going over twenty-five years after the assassination of President Sadat.


While optimist in the West are compromising and hoping for the day a Pope, any Pope, will go to Mecca to open a Cathedral, any realist with an inner voice can hear what an inner voice of one of Salman Rushdie’s character said in The Satanic Verses, “Something is about to happen… it’s going to happen, and you don’t know what it is, and you can’t do a damn thing about it. Oh yes: it’s something bad.”


Is Islam secure in its own faith? If it is, we are yet to see the sign. If it is not, we may not survive the clash of the Eastern and Western civilizations to hear the answer. “In this new world,” Samuel P. Huntington says, “local politics is the politics of ethnicity, global politics is the politics of civilization. The rivalry of the superpowers is replaced by the clash of civilization.”


Copyright 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Rudolf Okonkwo is an Examiner from the National Edition. You can see Rudolf's articles at:

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