January 13, 2021


Professor enumerates problems in Islamic world but promises bright future (Javad Heirannia, January 11, 2021, Tehran Times)

 Q: So then, what is the crisis with Muslims and in Muslim countries? 

A: Muslims have been indoctrinated to memorize the Qur'an and follow all the outward rituals of Islam. While these are good things to do, they are not a substitute for living the kind of life that is at the core of Islam, such as standing up for justice and causes that are just, living a modest life and helping those in need, alleviating poverty, supporting good governance and fighting against corruption, and commanding the good and forbidding evil. Practicing these values not just towards other Muslims but it must be done towards all humanity because as Islam preaches we are all one. Muslims have not studied and debated what their religion preaches for their everyday lives. In many countries, Muslims have been spoon-fed an Islam that is difficult to reconcile with the Qur'an (see IslamicityIndices.org). 

As a result, when you look at many Muslim countries today, what do you see? A few living in grotesque luxury while the vast majority live in poverty, under suppression, and with little hope for a better future. In many of these countries, prosperity comes from depleting oil and natural gas assets, which in Islam belong to all current and future generations, yet some rulers behave as if it it's theirs and use it for their own for a lifestyle that is condemned in Islam while others are suffering in need.  

"The weakness of Muslims and Muslim countries is manifested in their fragmentation."There is pervasive injustice. Rampant corruption and poverty. Ineffective governance. Limited opportunities and freedom. And still today in the 21st century, some Muslim rulers obey the commands of their colonial masters and don't support the welfare of their people. They collaborate with their foreign benefactors at the expense of their own people.

The weakness of Muslims and Muslim countries is manifested in their fragmentation. Muslim countries do not support Muslims across the world because rulers are beholden to foreign powers for support to stay in power. Muslims are openly incarcerated and mistreated in India, Myanmar, and China and discriminated against in Israel and across North America and Europe, yet many Muslim rulers look the other way. Less than a handful of Muslim countries push back on China, India, and Israel. Muslim leaders have the power to demand justice but they are afraid because they are insecure in their rule and are not united across national borders; the talk of Muslim brotherhood is just talk and nothing more. Israel assassinates Iranian scientists, the United States assassinates an Iranian general and an Iraqi militia leader and Trump pardons four murders of Iraqi men, women, and children, and Muslims around the world and in particular Muslim rulers say little or nothing. Most egregiously, in the face of these unfolding events and the continued subjugation of Palestinians, some Arab rulers in the Persian Gulf even embrace Israel openly and others do the same behind the scenes. Sadly, what they don't realize is that their colonial masters know one lesson well--divide and conquer. Having divided Muslims, these colonialists will more easily discard any ruler when they have no more use for him. Beware of thine masters!

Let me also say a few words that apply largely to the crisis in the Middle East (West Asia). The whole region is divided over Israel, nuclear arms, and sectarian rivalries. Some Arab countries have forgotten the plight of the Palestinians under Israeli subjugation and decided to embrace Israel while demanding nothing for Palestinian rights and statehood. Trump has twisted arms and intervened where he does not belong, such as recognizing Moroccan territorial claims if they recognize Israel. This kind of pressure further emboldens Israel's oppression of Palestinians as they feel Arabs talk but will do nothing to oppose the subjugation of their fellow Arabs.  But Israeli policies will in time backfire on Israel. Ordinary Arabs will not take this lying down. 

With the implicit support of the United States, Israel is hell-bent on regime change in Iran. Israel has an arsenal of over 230 nuclear warheads that threaten the region and dictates that no other country in the region can acquire such weapons and all the while is unwilling to embrace the only sensible solution--a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East (West Asia)--supported by Iran and Arabs. 

"Muslim countries do not support Muslims across the world because rulers are beholden to foreign powers for support to stay in power."Some Arab rulers, insecure in their illegitimate rule, stoke the fires of sectarianism--Sunni versus Shia--in order to further divide Muslims and to perpetuate an 'us against them' syndrome in order to shore up their regime. 

All the while if one criticizes Israel's cruel policies that are akin to apartheid one is called anti-Semitic in the West. It is truly sad that Jews who suffered so under Nazi Germany are indifferent to the suffering of Palestinians. More bombs and U.S. support will not be a long-run substitute for a just peace for everyone in the region, including for Israel.

Muslims must oppose oppression and injustice wherever and against whomever it occurs, as must Christians, Jews, and all other persons of faith. If some Muslims oppress Christians, Jews or any human being, all Muslims must stand up in opposition. The same is the moral duty of Christians and Jews and every human being. Humanity is one and evil must be opposed wherever it occurs. 

For so long as the Sunni dictatorships in the Middle East share Israel's desire to oppress Muslims they aren't going to insist on Palestinian self-determination.  
Posted by at January 13, 2021 7:42 AM