Tuesday, March 15, 2016

789 How much pain can Palestinians take? ISIS sanctions organ harvesting from 'Infidels'

How much pain can Palestinians take? ISIS sanctions organ harvesting
from 'Infidels"

Newsletter published on 28 December 2015

(1) Nixon was a very left-wing Republican. Agnew, Kissinger & Nelson
Rockefeller too
(2) Isaiah 9:6-7 says Messiah will be called " The mighty God, ... The
Prince of Peace"
(3) Re: Isaiah 9:6-7: even Jewish & JW translations suggest 'divinity'
of coming Messiah
(4) How much pain can Palestinians take? "Good Samaritans" are everywhere
(5) ISIS sanctions organ harvesting from 'Infidels"
(6) Saudi Arabia, the mainspring of Islamic radicalism

(1) Nixon was a very left-wing Republican. Agnew, Kissinger & Nelson
Rockefeller too


    Paul Bustion<pbustion22@gmail.com> 27 December 2015 at 23:35

Peter,

 > http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3368287/posts
 > Why Liberal Media Hate Trump
 > Pat Buchanan

I read the article by Patrick Buchanan. I agree with what he said that
there is a left-wing bias in the press. But he cites Nixon and Agnew as
examples of victims of that bias and people who stood up to press, and I
disagree with that.

Nixon was a very left-wing Republican. He chose leftist Henry Kissinger,
who was a former aide to leftist Nelson Rockefeller, as his Secretary of
State. His Vice President Spiro Agnew was a left-wing Republican who
supported Rockefeller's presidential campaign in 1968 and enacted
left-wing social programs as Governor of Maryland. Nixon and Agnew used
right-wing rhetoric to pander to the right-wing, but they were not
sincerely conservatives, they were just seeking votes. They passed a
great deal of socially and economically liberal legislation. Nixon was
pro-abortion. He said he was pleased by the Supreme Court ruling Roe v.
Wade when it was made. He also appointed John D. Rockefeller III to
chair a commission that recommended not only legalizing but encouraging
abortion while he was president. Of all the Republican presidents of the
twentieth century, Nixon was probably the least conservative. The press,
in my view, just did not like Nixon, they agreed with his politics
though. Because he was a left-wing radical just like them. Even though
Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller despised each other, they shared similar
nonsensical egalitarian political views. Nixon was a left-wing
Republican of a similar kind to Rockefeller, in my view.

(2) Isaiah 9:6-7 says Messiah will be called " The mighty God, ... The
Prince of Peace"

Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2015 18:56:47 +0000 (UTC)
From: Eric Walberg <walberg2002@yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: Neocons to create 3rd party if Trump gets nomination; but
HE  could also form a 3rd party

 > the Torah was written by priests with a mentality like the Taliban
 > Protestant Christians endorse the Torah, with all its violence ...
 > Exodus 32: 28, Moses instructs his men to kill those who "worship idols"

Excellent analysis, peter. I'm battling it out here with my lefty poli
correct friends (who secretly relish my incorrectness). it's sad that a
trump victory will let yahoos target immigrants, especially muslims, but
we can only hope that trump will discourage this.

It is worth checking out the OT to remind ourselves how vile much of it
is. Your quote of exodus can only be described as hideously funny.

One of my favorite passages is Isaiah 9:6-7:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government
shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon
the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish
it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The
zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

I heard it quoted at a Xmas eve service, and forgot how strongly the OT
predicts the advent of Jesus. So i thought i should double check, and
there it is. and read a bit more and see if there was more such beauty.
no such luck. before and after it is muck

9:5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments
rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

9:10+ after chopping down all the sycamores (turning them into cedars)
the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek
the LORD of hosts. Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and
tail, branch and rush, in one day. The ancient and honourable, he is the
head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. For the
leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them
are destroyed.

So the Jews are not 'passed over'

17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither
shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an
hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this
his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. For
wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns,
and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up
like the lifting up of smoke. Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is
the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no
man shall spare his brother. And he shall snatch on the right hand, and
be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be
satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:

Whew. you can feel the out-of-control anger and vengeance growing with
each phrase. and jews are not left out. the idle unbelievers roast along
with all the goy.

Handel found the nugget for the messiah, but these bits seem like the
exception that proves the rule

(3) Re: Isaiah 9:6-7: even Jewish & JW translations suggest 'divinity'
of coming Messiah

- Peter Myers, December 28, 2015

Eric,

Those verses from Isaiah were interesting. Early Christians could have
found in them support for the idea of Jesus' divinity. I thought that
idea came only from the Mystery Religions, but here it is in Isaiah.

Of course, not all translations are the same. I checked some Jewish
editions to see if they have this 'divinity' suggestion re the Messiah.
The Chabad translation has it, and the Jewish Virtual Library
translation does too.

The Jehovah Witness translation has it too, even though Jehovah
Witnesses deny the divinity of Christ.

Jewish Bible (Tanakh) - Chabad translation

http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15940/jewish/Chapter-9.htm

5. For a child has been born to us, a son given to us, and the authority
is upon his shoulder, and the wondrous adviser, the mighty God, the
everlasting Father, called his name, "the prince of peace." ==

Jewish Bible (Tanakh) - Jewish Virtual Library translation

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Bible/jpstoc.html

Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6

9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the
government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The
Prince of Peace. ==

Jehovah Witness bible - New World translation

http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2010733

Isaiah ch. 9

9:6 For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to
us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his
name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace.

(4) How much pain can Palestinians take? "Good Samaritans" are everywhere
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2015 20:51:35 +0200
From: Mazin Qumsiyeh <mazin@qumsiyeh.org>
Subject: [HumanRights] Le Petit Prince

In this email: Reconnect with the inner child, Bethlehem, and words of
Jesus, meeting for volunteers.

How can we learn from children dealing with adversity? There were many
images that shock us almost daily. The Palestinian child splayed on the
beech in Gaza with his tiny body ripped by Israeli bullets. In 2015 it
was of a Syrian child with the same pose, face down in the sand having
drowned in the Mediterranean. About the same time, Palestinian children
where being killed (two were burned alive) How much pain can people
take? How can we think of the dictatorial leaders of countries like the
very rich Arab gulf states and Egypt closing their eyes to this
suffering which they help perpetuate. We can reflect on these painful
episodes of man's inhumanity to fellow human beings. We can focus on the
greed and the corruption and the cruelty that we face daily (five
Palestinians killed here during the two days of Christmas). But I really
do not want to do that any more.  As this year comes to a close and a
new year begins, I reflect on value of good deeds and then reflect on
other living children.

When Israel demolished a Palestinian home in Nablus recently in an act
of collective punishment as they do routinely, good people (most of them
poor) donated thousands within 24 hours for rebuilding). "Good
Samaritans" are everywhere and I meet them every day. I am so grateful
to them for making the lives of people around them better. Those who
give of themselves and in so doing enrich themselves. It is hard to
describe how motivating it is to see hundreds of good people giving to
good causes that try to better the lives of fellow creatures on earth.
Some challenge oppression  to the point of sacrificing their lives to
push for the freedom of others. Others donate to help suffering people.
Some gave up their careers to work with refugees desperately clinging to
life.

Sometimes we can lose faith in humanity. But as a biologist, I find new
adaptations and new life especially hopeful. Spring is coming earlier
today in Palestine (perhaps because of the global warming). A small bird
manages to survive a broken wing. A lizard regenerated its tail. A
flower blossoms. A new seed sprouts. A new human birth (a miracle). One
surviving child in particular gave us so much hope. Every once in a
while we see a video chronicling the progress in recovery of the
surviving Dawabsha child (he was severely burned, his mother, father,
and younger sibling all perished in the Jewish settler arson attack). We
see his grandfather able to solicit the beautiful smile and even
laughter and we say: there is hope in humanity. I see a hungry child
share his bread with another hungry child with a smile. I remember how
one child from Aida refugee camp whose mother was killed by Israeli
soldiers once told me and another adult that "Do not worry, Palestine
will be free". I remember and reread the story of "The Little Prince"
(Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; I have a collection of it
in many languages) and I am reminded when tough times fall (and they do
more and more often) that we need to tap the little child inside us.
Children still have the idealism, kindness, social connection, and hope
that adults seem to loose.

For me personally, many people harmed me or tried to do harm to me in
2015 ranging from Israeli soldiers and settlers to deluded Palestinians.
To such all I hope we all say: we do not hate you and we do forgive you.
It does not mean we will stop working for justice or challenging
oppression and corruption. It is actually our (positive) way of doing
so. We call on you to join the ever increasing circle of people who
light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.  They know that doing
good without expecting any return is the most enriching experience in
life. Working for a bigger cause than one self is the best and most
healthy way to live. It is the essence of true happiness.

In this same spirit, Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michael Sabbah wrote in
the Israeli paper Haaretz a meaningful message to Israeli leaders:
"Israel’s Christmas gifts to Bethlehem this year serve towards
consolidating the separation between Bethlehem and its twin city,
Jerusalem; the city where Jesus was born and the city where he was
resurrected – the essence of the Christian faith. Aside from the daily
violations that the besieged Bethlehem suffers as a result of the
occupation, Israel issued a military order last week announcing that it
has confiscated 101 dunams of Bethlehem’s northern lands. In the same
week, the Israeli government approved the expansion of the illegal
settlement of Gilo - built on privately owned lands of Bethlehem - by
891 new housing units....Despite Israel’s claim that it is the only
country in the Middle East where Christians prosper, the unspoken
message it sends on the ground is that it has no respect whatsoever for
their rights as Palestinians and for their existence in their
homeland....Bethlehem is now either a symbol for peace, or war. I invite
the Israeli leaders to make it a symbol for peace and for a new just
approach for Palestinians. Palestinians deserve the full achievement of
their inalienable rights..."

"But Jesus said, Allow little children, and forbid them not, to come
unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

All those volunteers, and anyone interested in reawakening the giving
and curious spirit of our inner child: The Palestine Museum of Natural
History/Bethlehem University invites you to a meeting of volunteers and
supporters to be held at the museum on Monday 28 December 2015 at 3 - 5
PM.  We will briefly review our accomplishments (some are posted here
www.palestinenature.org/achievements-first-year/) but focus more on how
we can give more and serve more especially the children of Palestine and
safeguard their future. Please send us an email
(info@palestinenature.org) or call us (02-2773553) to confirm attendance.

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
http://qumsiyeh.org
http://palestinenature.org

(5) ISIS sanctions organ harvesting from 'Infidels"

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-islamic-state-documents-idUSKBN0U805R20151225

World | Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:19pm EST

Islamic State sanctioned organ harvesting in document taken in U.S. raid

WASHINGTON | BY WARREN STROBEL, JONATHAN LANDAY AND PHIL STEWART

Islamic State has sanctioned the harvesting of human organs in a
previously undisclosed ruling by the group’s Islamic scholars, raising
concerns that the violent extremist group may be trafficking in body parts.

The ruling, contained in a January 31, 2015 document reviewed by
Reuters, says taking organs from a living captive to save a Muslim's
life, even if it is fatal for the captive, is permissible.

For a U.S. government translation of the document, click here

Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the authenticity of the document.
U.S. officials say it was among a trove of data and other information
obtained by U.S. special forces in a raid in eastern Syria in May.

"The apostate's life and organs don't have to be respected and may be
taken with impunity," says the document, which is in the form of a
fatwa, or religious ruling, from the Islamic State’s Research and Fatwa
Committee.

"Organs that end the captive's life if removed: The removal of that type
is also not prohibited," Fatwa Number 68 says, according to a U.S.
government translation.

The document does not offer any proof that Islamic State actually
engages in organ harvesting or organ trafficking. But it does provide
religious sanction for doing so under the group's harsh interpretation
of Islam - which is rejected by most Muslims. Previously, Iraq has
accused Islamic State of harvesting human organs and trafficking them
for profit.

The document does not define “apostate,” though the Islamic State has
killed or imprisoned non-Muslims, such as Christians, and Shiite
Muslims, as well as Sunni Muslims who don't follow its extremist views.

DOCUMENTS SHARED WITH ALLIES

U.S. officials say the records that were seized have given the U.S.
government a deep look into how Islamic State organizes, raises funds
and codifies laws for its followers.

Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, told
Reuters the documents should be examined by the U.N. Security Council as
evidence that Islamic State could be trafficking in organs to raise cash.

The May raid in Syria, which resulted in the death of Islamic State top
financial official Abu Sayyaf and the capture of his wife, netted seven
terabytes of data in the form of computer hard drives, thumb drives,
CDs, DVDs and papers, said Brett McGurk, U.S. President Barack Obama's
Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, in
an interview. Abu Sayyaf was a Tunisian militant whose real name was
Fathi ben Awn ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi.

U.S. officials have previously described the Abu Sayyaf raid and some of
the documentation seized. But until now, none of the actual documents
have been released - aside from materials illustrating Islamic State's
trafficking in antiquities, made public at an event at New York's
Metropolitan Museum of Art in September.

The U.S. government has shared some of the documents from the Abu Sayyaf
raid with allied governments in an effort to increase their
understanding of Islamic State in recent weeks as Washington works to
shore up support for countering the group.

The group of documents reviewed by entitled "Lessons Learned From the
Abu Sayyaf Raid" - show how the Islamic State has provided a legal
justification to its followers for a range of practices.

For instance, “Fatwa Number 64” dated January 29, 2015, provides
detailed rules for rape, prescribing when Islamic State men can and
cannot have sexual intercourse with female slaves.

The fatwa sanctioning organ harvesting justifies the practice in part by
drawing an analogy to cannibalism in extreme circumstances, a practice
it says earlier Islamic scholars had allowed. “A group of Islamic
scholars have permitted, if necessary, one to kill the apostate in order
to eat his flesh, which is part of benefiting from his body,” it says.

McGurk said Islamic State's Research and Fatwa Committee reports
directly to the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

ORGANS OF ‘INFIDELS’

The ruling on organ harvesting cites Islamic texts, principles and laws
that it says support what it calls "the notion that transplanting
healthy organs into a Muslim person’s body in order to save the latter's
life or replace a damaged organ with it is permissible."

Senior U.S. officials, including McGurk, said they have not been able to
ascertain whether the Islamic State had followed through on the fatwa on
organ harvesting.

The document provides “a religious justification for harnessing the
organs of what they call infidels,” he said.

William McCants, a Brookings Institution scholar who is author of the
book “The ISIS Apocalypse,” said the group's ruling on slavery and human
organs don't represent modern Islamic interpretations.

In February, Alhakim, had urged the U.N. Security Council to investigate
the deaths of 12 doctors in the Islamic State-held city of Mosul.
Alhakim said the doctors were killed after refusing to remove organs.

The U.N. special envoy for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said at the time
that he could not confirm the claim, but it would be investigated. The
U.N. has not provided an update on that investigation, which Alhakim
said he would ask the Security Council to revisit.

(Reporting by Warren Strobel, Jonathan Landay and Phil Stewart; Editing
by David Greising and Martin Howell)

{photo}
An Islamic State flag flies over the custom office of Syria's Jarablus
border gate as it is pictured from the Turkish town of Karkamis, in
Gaziantep province, Turkey August 1, 2015.
REUTERS/MURAD SEZER
{end}

(6) Saudi Arabia, the mainspring of Islamic radicalism

http://thesaker.is/saudi-arabia-the-mainspring-of-islamic-radicalism/

December 22, 2015

by Nauman Sadiq

If we look at the evolution of Islamic religion and culture throughout
the 20th and 21st centuries, it hasn’t been natural. Some deleterious
mutations have occurred somewhere which have negatively impacted the
Islamic societies all over the world. Social selection (or social
conditioning) plays the same role in the social sciences which the
natural selection plays in the biological sciences: that is, it selects
the traits, norms and values which are most beneficial to the host
culture. Seen from this angle, social diversity is a desirable quality
for social progress; because when diverse customs and value-systems
compete with each other, the culture retains the beneficial customs and
values and discards the deleterious traditions and habits.

A decentralized and unorganized religion, like Sufi Islam, engenders
diverse strains of beliefs and thoughts which compete with one another
for gaining social acceptance and currency. A highly centralized and
tightly organized religion, on the other hand, depends more on authority
and dogma rather than value and utility. A centralized religion is also
more ossified and less adaptive to change compared to a decentralized
religion.

When we look at the phenomena of religious extremism and the consequent
militancy and terrorism in the Af-Pak region in particular and the
Islamic world in general, it is not a natural evolution of religion,
some deleterious mutations have occurred somewhere which have negatively
affected the whole of Islamic world. Most Pakistani political
commentators blame the Pakistani security establishment for deliberate
promotion of religious extremism and militancy throughout the ‘80s and
‘90s in order to create a Jihadi narrative which suited the
institutional interests and strategic objectives of the Pakistani military.

There is no denying of this evident fact that the Pakistani security
establishment had wantonly nurtured Islamic radicalism and militancy in
the Af-Pak region but the Pakistani military’s support for Islamic
jihadism during the Cold War is only one factor in an array of factors
in order to reach a comprehensive understanding of the phenomena of
Islamic radicalism and the agents that are responsible for it; because
the phenomena of Islamic extremism is not limited to the Af-Pak region,
the whole of Islamic world from Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria to
Indonesia, Malaysia and even the Muslim minorities of Thailand, China
and Philippines have also become the victims of this phenomena and
obviously the region-specific security establishments do not have any
influence over all the geographically separate and remote regions of the
Islamic world.

In my opinion, the real culprit behind the rise of Islamic extremism and
jihadism in the Islamic world is Saudi Arabia. The “Aal-e-Saud” (the
descendants of Saud) have no hereditary claim to “the Throne of Mecca”
since they are not the descendants of the prophet, nor even from the
tribe of Quresh (there is a throne of Mecca which I will explain later.)
They were the most primitive and marauding nomadic tribesmen of Najd who
defeated the Sharifs of Mecca violently after the collapse of the
Ottoman Empire in the First World War. Their title to the throne of
Saudi Arabia is only de facto and not de jure, since neither do they
have a hereditary claim to the Saudi monarchy nor do they hold elections
to ascertain the will of the Saudi people. Thus, they are the
illegitimate rulers of Saudi Arabia and they feel insecure because of
their illegitimacy, a fact which explains their heavy-handed and brutal
tactics in dealing with any kind of dissent, opposition or movement for
reform in Saudi Arabia.

The phenomena of religious extremism and jihadism all over the Islamic
world is directly linked to the Wahhabi-Salafi madrassahs which are
generously funded by the Saudi and Gulf’s petro-dollars. These
madrassahs attract children from the most impoverished backgrounds in
the Third World Islamic countries because they offer the kind of
incentives and facilities which even the government-sponsored public
schools cannot provide: such as, free boarding and lodging, no tuition
fee at all, and free of cost books and stationery.

Apart from madrassahs, another factor that promotes the Wahhabi-Salafi
ideology in the Islamic world is the ritual of Hajj and Umrah (the
pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.) Every year millions of Muslim men and
women travel from all over the Islamic world to perform the pilgrimage
in order to wash their sins. When they return home to their native
countries after spending a month or two in Saudi Arabia, along with
clean hearts and souls, dates and “zamzam,” they also bring along the
tales of Saudi hospitality and their “true” and puritanical version of
Islam, which some Muslims, especially the rural-tribal folk, find
attractive and worth-emulating.

Authority plays an important role in any thought system; the educated
people accept the authority of the specialists in their respective field
of specialty; similarly, the lay folk accept the authority of the
theologians and clerics in the interpretation of religion and
scriptures. Aside from authority, certain other factors also play a part
in an individuals’ psychology: like, purity or the concept of sacred,
and originality and authenticity, as in the concept of being closely
corresponding to an ideal or authentic model. Just like the modern
naturalists who prefer organic food and natural habits and lifestyles,
because of their supposed belief in “the essential goodness of nature”
(naturalistic fallacy,) or due to their disillusionment from the
man-made fiascoes, the religious folks also prefer a true version of
Islam which is closer to the putative authentic Islam as practiced in
Mecca and Medina: “the Gold Standard of Petro-Islam.”

Yet another factor which contributes to the rise of Wahhabi-Salafi
ideology throughout the Islamic world is the immigrant factor. Millions
of Muslim men, women and families from all over the Third World Islamic
countries live and work in the energy-rich Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE,
Kuwait and Oman. Some of them permanently reside there but mostly they
work on temporary work permits. Just like the pilgrims, when they come
back to their native villages and towns, they also bring along the tales
of Arab hospitality and their version of “authentic Islam.” Spending
time in Arab countries entitles one to pass authoritative judgments on
religious matters, and having a cursory understanding of Arabic, the
language of Quran, makes one equivalent of a Qazi (a learned jurist)
among the illiterate village folk; and they simply reproduce the customs
and attitudes of the Arabs as an authentic version of Islam to their
communities.

The Shi’a Muslims have their Imams and Marjahs (religious authorities)
but it is generally assumed about Sunni Islam that it discourages the
authority of the clergy. In this sense, Sunni Islam is closer to
Protestantism, at least theoretically, because it prefers an individual
and personal interpretation of scriptures and religion. It might be true
for the educated Sunni Muslims but on a popular level of the masses of
the Third World Islamic countries “the House of Saud” plays the same
role in Sunni Islam that the Pope plays in Catholicism. By virtue of
their physical possession of the holy places of Islam – Mecca and Medina
– they are the ex officio “Caliphs of Islam.” The title of the Saudi
King: “Khadim-ul-Haramain-al-Shareefain” (Servant of the House of God),
makes him a vice-regent of God on Earth; and the title of “the Caliph of
Islam” is not limited to a single nation state, he wields enormous
influence throughout “the Commonwealth of Islam: the Muslim Ummah.”

Now, when we hear slogans like “no democracy, just Islam” on the streets
of the Third World Islamic countries, one wonders that what kind of an
imbecile would forgo his right to choose one’s government through a
democratic and electoral process? This confusion about democracy is
partly due to the fact that the masses often conflate democracy with
liberalism without realizing that democracy is only a political process
of choosing one’s representatives and legislators through an electoral
process, while liberalism is a cultural mindset which may or may not be
suitable for a backward Third World society depending on its existing
level of social evolution. From an evolutionary perspective a bottom-up,
gradual and incremental social change is more conducive and easily
adoptable compared to a top-down, sudden and radical approach.

One feels dumbfounded, however, when even some educated Muslims argue
that democracy is un-Islamic and that an ideal Islamic system of
governance is Caliphate. Such an ideal Caliphate could be some Umayyad
or Abbasid model that they conjure up in their minds, but in practice
the only beneficiaries of such an anti-democratic approach are the
illegitimate tyrants of the Arab World who claim to be the Caliphs of
Islam albeit indirectly and in a nuanced manner: that is, the Servants
of the House of God and the Keepers of the Holy places of Islam.

The illegitimate, and hence insecure, tyrants adopt different strategies
to maintain and prolong their hold on power. They readily adopt the
pragmatic advice of Machiavelli to his patrons: “Invent enemies and then
slay them in order to control your subjects.” The virulently anti-Shi’a
rhetoric of the Gulf-based Wahhabi-Salafi preachers, who are on the
payroll of the Gulf’s petro-monarchies, appears to be a cunning
divide-and-rule strategy on the lines of Machiavelli. The Arab
petro-sheikhs cannot construct a positive narrative that can delineate
their achievements, that’s why they espouse a negative narrative that
casts the “evil Other” in a bad light.

The Sunni-Shi’a conflict is essentially a political and economic
conflict which is presented to the lay Muslims in a veneer of
religiosity. Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest “proven” petroleum
reserves, 265 billion barrels, and its daily crude oil production is 10
million barrels (equivalent to 15% of the global crude oil production.)
However, 90 % of the Saudi petroleum reserves and infrastructure is
situated along the Persian Gulf, but this sparsely populated region
comprises the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia which has a significant
and politically active Shi’a minority. Any separatist tendency in this
Achilles heel of Saudi Arabia is met with sternest possible reaction.
Saudi Arabia sent thousands of its own troops to help the Bahraini
regime quell the Shi’a rebellion in the wake of “the Arab Spring”
uprisings in the Shi’a-majority Bahrain, which is also geographically
very close to the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

Al-Qaeda inspired terrorism is a threat to the Western countries but the
Islamic countries are encountering a much bigger threat of
inter-sectarian conflict. For centuries the Sunni and Shi’a Muslims have
coexisted in relative peace throughout the Islamic World but now certain
vested interests are deliberately stoking the fire of inter-sectarian
strife to distract attention away from the Home Front: that is, the
popular movements for democracy and enfranchisement in the Arab World.

Islam is regarded as the fastest growing religion of the 20th and 21st
centuries. There are two factors that are primarily responsible for this
atavistic phenomena of Islamic resurgence: firstly, unlike Christianity
which is more idealistic, Islam is a more practical religion, it does
not demands from its followers to give up worldly pleasures but only
aims to regulate them; and secondly, Islam as a religion and political
ideology has the world’s richest financiers. After the 1973 collective
Arab oil embargo against the West in the wake of the Arab-Israeli war,
the price of oil quadrupled; the Arab petro-sheikhs now have so much
money that they don’t know where to spend it? This is the reason why we
are witnessing an exponential growth of Islamic charities and madrassas
all over the world and especially in the Islamic World.

Although the Arab sheikhs of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and some
emirates of UAE, excluding the comparatively liberal Dubai, generally
sponsor the Wahhabi-Salafi brand of Islam but the differences between
numerous sects of Sunni Islam are more nominal than substantive. The
Islamic charities and madrassas belonging to all the Sunni denominations
get generous funding from the Gulf Arab states as well as private
donors. Therefore, the genie of petro-Islamic extremism cannot be
contained until and unless that financial pipeline is cut off. And to do
that we need to promote the moderate democratic forces in the Arab world
even if they are moderately Islamic.

The moderate and democratic Islamism is different from the
monarcho-theocratic Islamism of the Gulf variety, because the latter is
an illegitimate and hence an insecure regime; to maintain its hold on
power it needs subterfuges and external rivals to keep the oppositional
internal threats to its survival under check. Takfirism (labelling
others as infidels) and jihadism are a manifestation of this
Machiavellian trend. In the nutshell, Islam is only a religion, just
like any other cosmopolitan religion, be it Christianity, Hinduism or
Buddhism; we don’t have to find any ‘exceptionalist’ justifications to
explain the phenomena of Islamic resurgence; it’s the petro-Islamic
extremism and the consequent phenomena of Takfirism and jihadism, which
is like a collision of the continental tectonic plates that has engulfed
the whole of Islamic world from the Middle East and North Africa region
to Af-Pak and Southeast Asia.

Some people are under the impression that democracy and Islam are
inconsistent. But I don’t see any contradiction between democracy and
Islam, as such. Though, I admit that there is some friction between
Islam and liberalism. When we say that there is a contradiction between
Islam and democracy, we make “a category mistake” which is a very
serious logical fallacy. There is a big difference between democracy and
liberalism. Democracy falls under the category of politics while
liberalism falls in the category of culture. We must be precise about
the definitions of the terms that we employ.

Democracy is simply a representative political system that ensures
representation, accountability, the right of the electorate to vote
governments in and to vote governments out. In this sense when we use
the term democracy we simply mean a multi-party representative political
system that confers legitimacy upon a government which comes to power
through an election process which is a contest between more than one
political parties in order to ensure that it is voluntary. Thus
democracy is nothing more than a multi-party representative political
system.

Democracy is not the best of systems because it is the most efficient
political system. Top-down authoritarian dictatorships are more
efficient than democracies. But democracy is a representative political
system that brings about grass roots social change. Enfranchisement,
representation, transparency, accountability, checks and balances, rule
of law and the consequent institution-building, nation-building and
consistent long-term policies are the hallmarks of a representative and
democratic political system.

Immanuel Kant had famously said that moral autonomy produces moral
responsibility and maturity. In my opinion this axiom also applies to
politics and governance. Political autonomy, democracy and
self-governance leads to political responsibility and social maturity. A
top-down political system is dependent on the artificial, external force
that keeps it going. The moment you remove that force, the society
reverts back to its old state and the system collapses. But a grass
roots, bottom-up political system evolves naturally and intrinsically.
We must not expect from the movements for democracy and enfranchisement
in the Arab World to produce results immediately. The evolution of the
Western culture took place over a course of many centuries; the
movements for political reform in the Arab World are only the beginning
of a long and arduous journey.

In order to explain this phenomena by way of an allegory, democracy is
like a school and people are like children. We only have two choices:
one, to keep the people under paternalistic dictatorships; two, to
enroll them in the school of representative democracy and let them
experience democracy as a lived reality rather than some stale and
sterile theory. The first option will only produce half-witted retards,
but the second option will give birth to an educated human resource that
doesn’t just consume resources but also creates new resources. We are on
a historic juncture in the Arab World in particular and the Islamic
World in general. This is the beginning of a new era; this is the
beginning of the Islamic Renaissance and Enlightenment.

About the author:

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, blogger and geopolitical
analyst who has a particular interest in the politics of Af-Pak and MENA
regions, energy wars and Petro-imperialism.


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