Still On Islam and Threat to Peace (1)
By Patrick Dele Cole
19 January 2015
I HAVE read the Quran over seven times, page by page. As I have been at pains to point out, education is universal and every culture, religion, group contribute to its gigantic trough. Islam, the Arabs, Shintos, Confucius have done their bit by contributing their wisdom into this pot. I do not claim to be an Islamic scholar and my piece was not about the doctrines of Islam. It was about world politics, which I know many Islamists are unable to differentiate from Islamic ideology. This is not about a doctrinaire commitment to one religion or the other or to the West as I have been condemned to be. The Pope has his problems and good luck to him.
There are 28 wars in the world today. 26 are or concern Islam, or Islamists – either the Islamists are persecuted or there must be another explanation for there to be so many wars in Islamic areas. In any case the question of persecution cannot arise as most of these wars are in Islamic countries where one group of Moslems are trying to wipe out another group.
Some accuse me of not understanding Islam, having a little knowledge of the religion, of not reading the commentaries as well as the doctrines as contained in the Quran. I am the first to accept that I learn every day even from the misguided personal attacks or apologists for a failure of an otherwise powerful tonic of human and heavenly endeavour – Islam. I have never praised the West or Christianity. The failure of Christianity and the West in several theatres of human endeavour is self-evident. If the conquistadors were blood thirsty and bestial, that is not an attribute of Christianity, it was a human failure and tragedy, and strongly condemnable.
If a group of hoodlums, without any human conscience could seize 276 girls at a school in Chibok in the name of Islam, all those who profess that religion have one of two options – dissociate Islam from that action or by their silence acquiesce that the religion actually supports violence against such soft targets. It is the silence of a majority of Moslems that leads to the conclusion or to the suspicion that they, deep down, believe these unwarranted bestial attacks of innocents are justifiable. The commandment of God, Allah, is “thou shall not kill”. In his commandment there are no if or buts. If a Moslem in the name of the religion beheads Sergeant Rigby, even if obviously both perverts are descended from Nigerian parentage, there is nothing but condemnation for their act.
The reality of what faces us is clear – the majority of those killed by Moslems are their fellow Moslems in Syria, Iraq, in Pakistan. If the Taliban in the name of some perversion of Islam can go to a school and kill 145 Moslem Pakistani school children, the answer to their evil is an earth shattering “No. you are evil”. If one Moslem in the name of this same perversion of Islam can in Sydney, Australia, hold 17 people hostage and display a sign of Islam in his demented action, I do not need my good Islamic friends’ consent to point out unadulterated evil where it is so glaring. If Hitler killed six million Jews in an attempt to wipe out the Jewish race, he committed genocide and war crimes. No, none would call what he did Christian: he may have been a Catholic but his religion did not encourage his atrocity. The allies who fought Hitler were also Christian but they did not go to war in the name of Christianity. It seems incredibly puerile to even discuss Hitler’s evil in the name of any religion. So the Atomic bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima were Christian bombs!! Incredible!!!
The Holy Book of Quran has plenty to attract people of all faiths. What has gone wrong is that people, radicalized, by commentaries on the Quran, in the name of Islam, are killing themselves and children. Islamic states are refusing to allow Moslem women marry non-Muslims; sometimes the parents of such women have killed the women rather than allow such marriage. If my detractor’s argument is that you cannot judge Islam by the action of the “extremists”– I have no argument against that. But when extremists are allowed to rule whole countries, imposing inhuman treatment on all dissenters, then true Moslems must not only condemn such actions, they themselves must take action against their own extremists.
There have been many killings in the U.S. by obviously mad people in schools, in cinemas, etc. No one of good conscience has ever had anything to say but to condemn the action of these mad men. If those who killed Sergeant Rigby by butchering him to death in the streets of London are condemned as despicable unhinged Moslems, I have no problem with that. But to accuse me of lack of sympathy or understanding of Islam because I bemoan actions perpetrated in the name of Islam by radicalized Islamists is to be blinded by the proverbial beam in one’s eyes. (Remove the beam from your eyes before you can see clearly to remove the mucus in your neighbour’s eye).
Radical Islamists in their misguided mission seized seven planes; deliberately crashed them in the Pentagon, World Trade Centre, etc. The killing of thousands of people remains an act of unmatched human cruelty exceeded only by Hitler and Rwandan genocide. In Iraq, the ISIS were asking people to quote verses in the Quran and failure to do so meant death.
Someone has whispered to me that the bombings in the U.S. and in Europe – rail stations, underground transports – were strategic or tactical manoeuvres – in a war not dissimilar to the ones used against the British by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in its war of independence, or indeed by sympathizers of the Allies in the underground movements attempting to tumble the German forces in France and elsewhere during the Second World War. But what demented radicalized Moslems have done far outstrips consideration of strategy or tactics. What strategy do you have to kill children and women? Is it to strengthen the resolve of the rest of Islam? The children in Pakistan were killed by seven suicide bombers who went into the school to unleash mayhem.
When people talk about tactics and strategy – they in fact mean that whatever they have done could be justified by claiming that they engage the attention of the enemy. Islam now fully has the attention of the world. What does Islam want???
In the context of Nigeria the Boko Haram has declared its objectives to be nothing less than the annihilation of the nation, Nigeria, to be replaced by an Islamic Caliphate State. It is still hazy about what it means as a state because we have many Islamic states in the world – Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc. What will happen to non-Moslems in such a Nigerian Boko Haram state? Will they follow the Chibok experience – convert our women and marry them to Moslems? In India it was religion that divided India and Pakistan – where we had the unworkable agreement of East Pakistan and West Pakistan – leading to the eventual creation of Bangladesh.
In an Islamic Nigerian nation under Boko Haram, what would happen to large chunks of the Middle Belt, and most of the South? Is the recipe of Boko Haram the creation of parts of the North into an Islamic State? Would they yield in negotiations to breaking up Nigeria or do they still need the oil of the Niger Delta? If the proposition is a Northern Islamic State, there may be several takers, although I will oppose it. It is like a child who sees chocolate and gauges itself on it until it is sick. The South needs the North as much as the North needs the South. But as at today, Mr. President’s writ does not run in 33% of Nigeria. That is a serious problem, which the elections will not solve. But rather exacerbate.
But Moslems must seriously ask themselves what they want? There is, whether they like it or not, a world order, to which nations fit. That order cannot allow the discriminate killing of people who happen not to agree with your way of thinking. I am told that the critics who have inundated the press on my views are doctrinaire and therefore illogical, beyond reasoning. I have no intention to call anybody names. We started from the simple premise of looking at realities.
There are wars all over the world; nearly all of them are Islamic. If the boundaries put in place by Europeans in 1919 are the problems then we are dealing with nationalistic issues. If that is the case, how many nations, given the ethnic diversity of Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Libya are you going to create? They may all be Moslems but their record in killing one another does not show brotherly goodwill. So are we dealing with the problem of ethnic diversity masquerading as religion? Libya has been broken up to ethnic warlords, an outcome the Western world have been well advised to leave alone in its stupidity in attacking and killing Ghadaffi. Iraq had both ethnic and religious divisions which the wars have made more truculent. Saudi Arabia, Syria etc, is a polyglot of ethnic diversity; so is Pakistan. Indeed the only glue keeping these countries together was Islam but even that has come un-stock because of the Sunni/Shia dissent.
• To be continued tomorrow
Dr. Patrick Dele Cole (OFR), a former Nigeria’s Ambassador, wrote from Lagos.