Out of my mind: The big Muslim tragedy

After all,there have been terrorist attacks on the West since mid-1990s, if not since the Munich Olympics of 1972. What is different now?

Written by Meghnad Desai | Updated: November 22, 2015 1:10 am
Flowers are put in a window shattered by a bullet as a forensic marker sits next to the impact as people pay their respect to the victims at the site of the attacks on restaurant Le Petit Cambodge (Little Cambodia) and the Carillon Hotel on the first of three days of national mourning in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (AP Photo) Flowers are put in a window shattered by a bullet as a forensic marker sits next to the impact as people pay their respect to the victims at the site of the attacks on restaurant Le Petit Cambodge (Little Cambodia) and the Carillon Hotel on the first of three days of national mourning in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (AP Photo)

When President John Kennedy was assassinated 52 years ago this week, the Black leader Malcolm X said “Chickens have come home to roost”. He was condemned for his callousness but no one debated the meaning of his statement that since White Americans had built their society on violence, such events were to be expected. When Azam Khan says that the attacks on Paris were a reaction to Western attacks on the Middle East, we should condemn him but also debate what he said. After all,there have been terrorist attacks on the West since mid-1990s, if not since the Munich Olympics of 1972. What is different now?

The Middle East was once a single Empire with a Sultan/ Caliph at its head. The Ottoman Empire was the last one in a continuous series of Caliphates since the death of the Prophet. Defeat in the First World War led to the dissolution of the Empire and then Kemal Pasha abolished the Caliphate in 1924 . Ever since, Sunni Muslims have not had a legitimate head of their faith. The post-1945 history of the region has been full of violence; three wars, 1948, 1967, 1973, where Arab armies fought Israel and lost. There was the Iraq-Iran war through the 1980s, and Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait which led to Operation Desert Storm.

Then the US and UK invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the subsequent disastrous reconstruction of post-Saddam Iraq. Then the Arab Spring, followed by the intervention in the Libya civil war. For the last five years we have had the rebellion against Bashar Assad by his own people in Syria, the eruption of the Kurds who want Kurdistan and now the establishment of a new Caliphate by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Al-Qaeda and Taliban have been overtaken by more ruthless terrorists.

The tragedy is not the war of Islamists against the West. The war in the Middle East that Assad and Baghdadi are waging is of Muslims against fellow Muslims. Azam Khan should know that there is no schadenfreude to be got out of the 129 people killed in Paris by IS militants. Thousands more Muslims — Shia and Sunni — are being massacred by the murderous regimes in the region. The Middle East is almost 100 per cent Muslim but the majority of the world’s Muslims live outside.

Why have the majority living in India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia , Pakistan, Nigeria not protested against this massacre? Why has there not been an agonised debate among Muslims in these countries about how Muslims around the world can tackle this biggest tragedy which has struck the birthplace of Islam? Why have the men or women political leaders in these countries stayed silent? Who will launch ‘Save the Muslim Civilisation’ campaign from among all these nations? Will Azam Khan or any of the secularists do it?

Paris is not just a declaration of war by the IS against the West. That war has been going on since the mid-1999 attack on the US Embassy in Kenya. It heralds a severe crisis that has seized all Arabia. As of now Russia, the US, France and the UK are ‘solving’ it to protect their own backyards. When will the Muslim world wake up? The cause of saving Muslims from killing by their fellow religionists is urgent. Wake Up.

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  1. StarofVela
    Nov 22, 2015 at 11:30 pm
    wow..Mr Desai has completely taken out the role of British, France and US in dividing the Middle East. Lawrence of Arabia pla a major role in breaking the Caliphate and destabilising the region and creating an Israel state in the Arab lands. Since then till the recent Iraq war, the brtish and french are complicit in destroying these countries. This is also the reason that there is no violent acts by muslims in India, malaysia and Indonesia. These countries have the largest muslim potions in the world.
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    1. K
      K SHESHU
      Nov 22, 2015 at 8:09 am
      The terrorists have no plan in mind, they are in a blind alley. They are killing their own people whom they are fighting for. They have killed more muslims than their opponents. Political problems cannot be solved through terrorist acts. They can only cause murders and mayhem. No side wins by senseless strikes.
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      1. M
        Mavala
        Nov 22, 2015 at 6:38 am
        A good insightful piece. The pont about Malcolm X, is interesting in that much of Islam also has a violent past, in common with empires in general.
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        1. G
          Gujarat Model
          Nov 22, 2015 at 12:11 pm
          Well Indian politically correct brigade still insist we call wolf in sheepskin as harmless sheep ..Well if a certain religion is misinterpreted (and rather so many times ) to kill innocent then burden of correcting its interpretation lies with people following said religion don't expect west to change their way of life !
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            Achal
            Nov 22, 2015 at 5:28 am
            Well said! In fact, the way islamists are increasing their terrorist activities, Muslims outside middle East need to echo the voice of harmony. Muslim leaders should come on the road and speak against terrorist organizations to weaken the islamists forces. They should take the leadership role in projecting the true image of Islam which is based on peace and harmony rather than being used by so called secular forces as vote banks which have done nothing for the betterment of Muslims.
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