Sponsored Trips: A Move to Shut Opponents’ Mouths

SOROOR AHMED argues that sponsored trips to the neo-colonialist countries should be shunned as they tend to dent cutting edge of Muslim opinion makers.

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SOROOR AHMED argues that sponsored trips to the neo-colonialist countries should be shunned as they tend to dent cutting edge of Muslim opinion makers.

Recently there was a controversy over the visit of some so-called influential Muslims to the Zionist state of Israel. Some of them developed cold feet at the final moment and did not turn up at the airport to accompany the delegation while others went and enjoyed the trip. This was neither the first nor the last in the list of sponsored visits by Muslims to Israel.

The issue is not just the visit to Israel, but the sponsored trip to that, or any other country, which considers the Muslim world as its enemy. This is a dangerous trend. But the issue is that our community leaders are not only making to the Zionist state, but also the United States, United Kingdom and other western countries inimical towards the Muslim world. Visiting these countries with one’s own money may, in one way or the other, be justified, but undertaking trips at the behest of the governments of those countries is simply unpardonable. After all these maulanas, editors and professors who were invited by the Israelis are neither the men in power, who will change the policy of the country, nor the opposition leaders, who can do so when they come to power in the future. They are only a sort of opinion-makers – or not even that. Then why were they invited?

The Muslim media debated the whole issue only in the context of the visit to Israel. But is it all right for any Muslim to undertake the sponsored visits to the United States or United Kingdom? No not at all. The sponsored trips to these countries need to be condemned with equal ferocity as their leaderships’ attitude towards the Muslim world is inimical. But the tragedy is that we are not taking to task those people who are undertaking sponsored visits to the western enemies.

Why is this typical double-dealing of the Muslim intelligentsia? Either they do not consider the United States their enemy or they just want to shut their eyes and avail all the opportunities to enjoy a foreign trip. Israel is as bad an enemy as the United States or United Kingdom. In fact, these two countries played the most important role in the creation of Zionist state. Jerusalem, it needs to be made very clear, is equally important for Christians as Jews. The Christian world launched eight crusades to take it back and even occupied it for 88 years in the 12th century. Therefore, they always wanted it to be snatched back from the Muslims. Today they have done so with the help of the Zionists.

However, whatever may be the tacit policy of the United States towards the Muslim world in the past few decades, after 9/11 the situation is quite different. The infamous statement of George Bush-II that “either you are with me or with them” makes it clear that the United States considers the Muslim world its enemy. Then why are we rushing towards that country?

We know the United States is the largest global power. We admit that it is in the field of science the most advanced nation of the world. We acknowledge that there are many good people in that country. We agree that Islam’s message of peace should be spread among all.

But then isn’t there 80 to 90 lakh Muslims in that country who can do that work better than us? We do not undertake the sponsored trips to these countries to spread the message of Islam, nor to learn something about science, but just to have ‘a feel good’ experience.

Have we ever heard, in the entire human history, of any single example of people rushing to the countries or empires whose rulers had declared war on them? After 9/11 the United States made it very clear that if you are not with her in her criminal aggressive acts and that you are her enemy.

The Arabs, at the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be with him) or just after that, were in all aspects, less developed and much poorer than the Romans and Persians but not a single Muslim went over to settle in these two empires after they declared war on the small Islamic state. Not a single Russian, French, British or American went to settle in Nazi Germany, though Germany was definitely emerging as a powerful nation.

The United States neutralised Communism in many countries, including India, by inviting intellectuals, professors, journalists, etc. for the so-called higher studies. Once back from the educational trips these gentlemen lost all their cutting edge.

Be it the United States, the United Kingdom or Israel it is a part of their global strategy to make the opponents leaderless and confused. A sponsored visit to Israel, the US etc. by these public opinion-makers is bound to expose them among their own community. Take the example of Aziz Burney, the editor of Rashtriya Sahara. By his writings he made a certain impression on the Muslim community. But though he refused to go to Israel, the news – may be right or wrong – that he initially considered to go to the Zionist state dented his image among a section of his admirers. This is the real purpose of the feel good visits.

Modern state-craft needs to be understood in proper perspective. There is no dearth of good Muslims coming from the United States and lecturing us in India about the tolerance of the people of the West. “See not a single Muslim was targeted in that country after 9/11; while on the other hand thousands were massacred after Godhra, though they were not even involved in the train burning.” This is their common refrain. They say so because their skins have been saved. They know that one million Muslims have been massacred in Afghanistan and Iraq by the same tolerant Americans yet they have been rendered speechless. More than them some non-Muslim activists in that country are speaking out against the US tyranny. The West knows how to tie the tongues of their opponents.