An Islamic aberration
By Jamal Kanj
Animals! That was my instinctual response to photos of Syrian soldiers being executed by members of the so-called Islamic State (IS). I had the same gut feelings two days earlier in response to the news of the killing of the American journalist, James Foley, in cold blood.
My heart goes out to Shirley Sotloff, the mother of journalist Steven Sotloff, who was also executed by the same group. No parent should go through the anguish of losing a child: whether in the heartland of America or the slums of Gaza.
In July/August also, more than 500 Palestinian mothers lost a progeny by an American-supplied and/or financed Israeli weapon in Gaza. Ironically, the murdering of Foley and the nameless Palestinian children is the outcome of the same corrupt US Middle East policies.
George W. Bush and his Zionist advisers
Long before stirring up the can of worms, to be exact in 2002, US Secretary of State Colin Powell warned President George W. Bush against invading Iraq. “Once you break it, you’re going to own it.’”
Broke it he did and now, America owns it.
…Bush deferred to the counsel of Israeli firsters: Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearl, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams… Some were once employed by the Israeli government, its lobbying arm or even indicted as Israeli spies.
Bush ignored similar advice from top US military brass, including several members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the former head of Central Command and even his own father’s national security adviser. They all forewarned that an invasion of Iraq was likely to increase the threat of terrorism.
The young Bush deferred to the counsel of Israeli firsters: Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearl, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, to name just a few. Some were once employed by the Israeli government, its lobbying arm or even indicted as Israeli spies.
Then, Al-Qaeda was hiding in the desolate caves of Tora Bora in the cold mountains of Afghanistan. Eleven years later, a more radical Al-Qaeda offshoot, IS, has taken control of the second largest city in Iraq and is roaming freely in the expansive swathe of territory extending deep into Syria and Iraq.
“Islamic State” – prodigy of Bush
IS was incubated in the political vacuum created by the Israeli-promoted US invasion of Iraq. The organisation found fertile ground in the ethno-sectarian democracy left behind by neo-conservative Paul Bremer, exploiting the dissatisfaction of the marginalised Sunni Muslims in Iraq.
Young Muslim recruits from as far as the US, UK, Chechnya and even China marched to the drums of a charismatic leader, named Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi. He bestowed on his men the power of God to enslave women or decide who lives and who gets killed, spreading a perverted form of Islam and contradicting the Quran’s basic message of religious tolerance.
The Quran admonished the first Muslims more than 1,400 years ago: “No compulsion in religion.” (2:256). “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” (16:125)
Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, deviant son of Bush
The IS leader adopted the name of Abu-Bakr in reverence to the first Muslim caliph (leader), Abu-Bakr al-Siddiq. He, however, fails to adhere to his namesake’s 10 commandments:
You must not kill a woman or a child, or an elderly person; do not cut down trees, or vandalise homes, or wound a sheep or camel except if you must eat it; do not drown a palm tree, or burn it, do not be treacherous; do not be cowardly; and you will pass by people who have devoted themselves to monastery life: leave them alone with their devotions.
All forms of religious extremism must be debased and fought with vigour until defeated. IS is to Islam what Hitler was to Christianity or Israel’s political Zionism is to Judaism today.
Defeating IS, by reason or coercion, is the responsibility of Muslims first and foremost. The Quran teaches Muslims to “take the middle way in all its affairs before all humanity”, (2:143) for “God loves those who are just”, (60: 8) and “abhors extremism”. (6:141).
IS is an aberration.
A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper. The version here is published by permission of Jamal Kanj.