Listen Americans, Listen!

Besides his plan to keep American forces in Iraq for a hundred more years, another important promise in John McCain’s manifesto is to tackle “Islamic extremism.

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SYED TAUSIEF AUSAF

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Besides his plan to keep American forces in Iraq for a hundred more years, another important promise in John McCain’s manifesto is to tackle “Islamic extremism.” The Republican hopeful wants to ride the anti-Muslim wave that swept the West in the aftermath of 9/11. Neo conservatives in George Bush’s coterie – Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle – systematically raised the spectre of “Islamic terrorism” that “posed a massive threat to the American society”, and promoted the sick notion of pre-emptive strikes which ensured the destruction of Afghanistan and Iraq as planned.
After the WTC attacks, Bush asked in a speech, which is quoted in “Who Speaks for Islam”, co-authored by John Esposito, “Why do they hate us?” “They hate… a democratically elected government,” Bush offered as a reason. “They hate our freedoms – our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other,” Bush explained.
But if a huge Gallup survey released on March 4 is to be believed, Bush and his cohorts are grossly unjustified in their “holy” struggle to equate Islam with terrorism. To neocons, a practising Muslim is necessarily a radical terrorist out to blow himself up in a crowded area.
The survey of the world’s Muslims conducted by the top polling agency over six years and three continents seeks to dispel the belief that Islam itself is the driving force of radicalism. It shows that the overwhelming majority of Muslims condemned 9/11 and other subsequent terrorist attacks.
Muslims in 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East were interviewed for the survey, which is part of Gallup’s World Poll that aims to interview 95 per cent of the world’s population.
The study showed that widespread religiosity “does not translate into widespread support for terrorism” as religiously believed by Bush and McCain. About 93 per cent of the 1.3 billion Muslims are moderates and only seven per cent are politically radical, according to the poll, based on more than 50,000 interviews.
In majority Muslim countries, overwhelming majorities said religion was a very important part of their lives – 99 per cent in Indonesia, 98 per cent in Egypt, 95 per cent in Pakistan.
Another important point to be noted is that radical Muslims, the poll shows, give political, not religious, reasons for condoning the attacks. The poll shows radicals to be neither more religious than their moderate counterparts, nor products of abject poverty or refugee camps, as top US think-tanks want people to believe. “The radicals are better educated, have better jobs, and are more hopeful with regard to the future than mainstream Muslims,” Esposito said. “Ironically, they believe in democracy even more than many of the mainstream moderates do, but they’re more cynical about whether they’ll ever get it,” said Esposito, a professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University in Washington.
The poll showed that most Muslims – including radicals – admire the West for its democracy, freedoms and technological prowess. What they do not want is to have Western ways forced on them, it said. “Muslims want self-determination, but not an American-imposed and -defined democracy.
Washington has to stop looking at Islam through a Zionist prism if it is genuinely interested in promoting peace and democracy. It cannot win hearts and minds if it continues to portray Muslims as having horns on their heads.
If the Americans really want to put an end to flights landing in DC with bodybags from the two self-created hot spots, they have to get rid of Bush’s legacy. McCain thinks Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran can be resolved as per Zionist wishes. And to make this happen, he is even ready to keep the troops in the flashpoint for another hundred years.
The more you crush the resistance to aggression the stronger it becomes. The deadly raid on a rabbinical seminary in Jerusalem is an example. Barack Hussain Obama has many a lesson to learn before he takes charge.
[The writer can be reached at [email protected]]