What Muslims should actually be angry about

There are many things that could legitimately offend people of the Islamic faith - YouTube videos, teddy bears, and cartoons are not included

Do people have their priorities straight?
Ghaffar Hussain
On 23 October 2012 09:05

In this age of riots, murders, and embassy lynchings over YouTube videos, teddy bears, and cartoons, it is worth highlighting the politicised, selective, and hypocritical nature of such Islamist-inspired fury. There are many things that should offend those who are seemingly shocked by benign and ignorable mockery of religion. These include:

- The systematic destruction of Islam's heritage in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Since the Saudi royal family conquered the Hijaz region, mausoleums, mosques, grave yards, and other significant buildings connected to the history of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad and his companions have been bulldozed to make way for motorways, shopping centres and five star hotels.

- The fact that the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) in Pakistan continue to blow up girls’ schools and violently attack young teenage girls for wanting to attend them.

- The systematic persecution of Ahmedis, Shias, Christians, Hindus, and other minorities in Pakistan who, if not being accused of blasphemy, are being hunted down by thugs claiming to be inspired by Islam.

- The destruction and vandalism visited upon the ancient city of Timbukto. Since the al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar al Dine took over the city, mosques have been attacked, mausoleums raided, and other holy sites destroyed, including tombs of great saints. 

- The systematic and widespread practise of female genital mutilation (FGM) that Muslim clerics in North and East Africa defend and promote. A practise that is vile, disgusting, inhumane, and recognised as such around the world.

- The hysterical anti-Semitism that emanates from pulpits all over the Middle East. A form of bigotry that is largely accepted and rarely goes challenged.

- The destruction of Buddist temples and Christian churches in Indonesia that has increased since Islamist parties have begun to make gains in South East Asia.

- The destruction of the Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan by the Taliban, statues that stood for hundreds of years and held great significance for Buddhists around the world.

These are the grievances that should inspire protests and anger but alas they are ignored in favour of ones that can be attributed to the evil West and Israel, however fictitious and spurious the linkages.

The selective nature of the outrage thus points to a much deeper malaise infecting the minds of the faithful. A political narrative is at the heart of this and it is a narrative that provides simple answers, deflection, and solace at a time when the faithful should be doing some long overdue soul-searching and confronting their own shortcomings.

Gravitation towards a grievance and victimhood culture is the easy option because it doesn't compel Muslims to ask the difficult questions such as why we preside over some of the most corrupt, unequal, sexist, dysfunctional, and authoritarian societies on earth.

Instead, Islamist parties, seeking to galvanise the masses behind their apocalyptic message, encourage Muslims to look west and seek answers in the foreign policies of the US and the UK. Unfortunately, many Western leftists also encourage this defeatist and self-deprecating trend in the vain hope that it supports their cause.

The primary victims of this phenomenon are Muslims themselves who are left dis-empowered and undermine their own agency by placing all responsibility elsewhere. The winners are Islamists and Jihadists who continue to wage war against art, culture, women, and vulnerable minorities, safe in the knowledge that most Muslims are distracted by their obsession with the next Danish cartoon or American YouTube clip.

It is not easy to initiate rational conversation in such a context – ask those who have tried.

Ghaffar Hussain is a counter terrorism expert and Contributing Editor to The Commentator. Follow him on Twitter @GhaffarH

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